CTP Prelim – ADF Structure, Customs, and Policy

  1. Explain why public, inclusive ritual is important to ADF. (200)

Article 1, item 2 of the Purpose section of the ADF Constitution states:

Since one of the primary duties of the ancient Druids was to

lead their tribes in magical and religious activities, ADF advocates

and practices, as an integral part of our faith, open, inclusionary,

and public ceremonies to worship the Earth Mother and the Old

Gods and Goddesses, rites of passage to mark the cycles of our

lives, and magical rituals to accomplish our other goals in an honest

and ethical manner.

The most often publicized role of a Druid was to oversee and assist with ritual and sacrifices of their tribe, clan or territory.  The Druid was there to serve the entire community.  This included every member of said tribe, not just the ones who believed in exactly the same things as the druid.  I believe the ADF policy of open and inclusive ritual reflects this.  We wish to enrich the lives of everyone in our communities not just the ADF members.  When we allow others to participate in our rituals we are able build a stronger community and sense of cooperation as well as beginning to bridge the chasms of fear that have been created by ignorance and stereotypes.

We, like the ancient druids, are community builders and you cannot create a true sense of community by excluding those who are different but have a sincere desire to learn about and participate in our rituals.  As long as the participants are respectful and willing to adhere to the few rules that we have, there is no need to turn away certain people from participating.  Doing so only serves to reinforce the stereotypes and fears that we are trying so hard to dissolve.

  1. Describe the duties and function of clergy in ADF. (100)

The Clergy Bylaws state that the clergy council’s role is to;

      • “formulate and articulate the theology and liturgy of ADF and to act as spiritual advisors to its membership.”
      • “ordain, train and supervise all of ADF’s clergy who will work in service to the Kindred and ADF, both in ceremony and in the common lives of our members.
      • “establish and conduct an ADF prison ministry to work with and support imprisoned ADF members and will train, authorize and supervise ADF Prison Spritual Advisors.
      • “establish and conduct an ADF Distinctive Faith Group program to work with and support military ADF members and will train, authorizes and supervise ADF Distinctive Faith Group Leaders.

The article “The Role of the Priest in ADF,” states that the Clergy Council, in 2009, decided that the role of clergy in ADF is as follows:

      • Priests have an obligation on ensure that sacrifices are made at the proper times and in the proper way.
      • Priests having engaged in training, and provide training and service to others.
      • While acknowledging that our members can establish their own relationships with the Kindreds, Priests can, through their training and dedication, aid members in developing and maintaining those relationships.

Historically Druids, the priestly caste of Indo-European society, served many roles in the society in which they practiced.  They were the scholars and leaders of ritual.  They were also often mediators and judges.  In ADF, the role of clergy members echoes this diversity.   One of the easiest roles to recognize is that of directing rituals and the sacrifices contained therein.  They oversee the recreation of the cosmos which, in turn, allows celebrants to feel confident in their place in the universe. Clergy members may also act as mentors or guides that assist and advise others on their spiritual journeys.  They can serve as sounding boards for ideas or a willing listener when someone needs to talk out a situation.  When asked, they can present alternative ways of looking at situations as well as assisting or fostering with the process of building personal relationships with the Kindred as well as patron deities.  Clergy members in ADF are considered scholarly because of the extra training that they must complete before being ordained.  This is a stereotype, of course, but one that is more of a positive than negative. Clergy is also involved in outreach to ADF members that may be serving in the military or in prison.

  1. Explain why ADF has an Indo-European focus, and why we use the term “Druid” in our name. (200)

As I was pondering this requirement the old question “Which came first the chicken or the egg” sprang to mind.  Do we have an Indo-European focus because we use the term Druid or do we use the term Druid because we have an Indo-European focus”.  In the Grove Hand book, Skip Ellison responded to the question of Indo-European focus by stating “Very simply put, that’s who we are.” Some see this answer as fairly unsatisfying and want further explanation.  To that point he states, “If ADF were a NeoPagan church, open to all versions of Paganism, we would have no real identity. Our focus on IE cultures gives helps us move from having an incomprehensibly huge focus to having a somewhat smaller focus.”

So basically, we had to make a choice somewhere, if for no other reason than to be able to narrow our cultural focus to a more manageable size and wee chaise the Indo-European cultures.

I think the determination to go with Indo-European may also have had another cause.  If you look at the cultures that are included in the Indo-European language group you will find that, other than the Egyptians, most of the most popular pantheons are represented.  This includes the Greeks, Romans, Celts and Norse along with Vedic, Baltic, Slavic and Iranian cultures.   These are also the cultures to which many of us can trace our own ancestral roots.

The next questions is why are we called druids?  Druids are probably the most recognized name of clergy within the ancient IE cultures for people today.   They were the spiritual leaders of their communities.  They were involved on many levels with the lives of the people they served.  They arbitrated disputes, served as teachers and mentors, and led public rituals and directed the offering of sacrifices to the deities.  They were also the scholars and purveyors of knowledge.  In ADF we strive to do the same within our communities and therefore it is fitting that we use the term “Druid” to describe ourselves.

  1. Describe the Guilds, SIGS, and Kins of ADF in general, their function within the

organization, and the goal of the Guild, SIG, and Kin systems. (150 words min. for each type of subgroup).

Within the ADF there are areas known as sub groups.  These subgroups allow people looking for specific community within the larger ADF family to find one another and communicate.  They include the Guilds, Kins and SIGs.

Guilds revolve around a specific area of expertise such as brewing, art, dance and healing.   They serve as a place for people to learn and share their craft. The Guilds may provide training in their respective area in both technique and history. The Guilds can also service as a place to put your talents on display, whether it is the painting of a picture, the writing of liturgy, or the demonstration of an ancient form of martial art.   The Guilds, when possible, may also supply items to the membership at large.  For example, the Brewer’s Guild may supply liquid refreshment for a Bardic Circle and the Artisan’s Guild may sponsor an art show.  They do not try to seclude themselves from the greater ADF membership in the contrary; the items they produce can be used and enjoyed by the whole of ADF.  More than anything, though, they support the growth of the members and provide strength, support and inspiration to one another.

The current Guilds, according to the ADF website, are:

Artisan’s Guild

Bardic Guild

Brewers Guild

Dance Guild

Healers Guild

Liturgists Guild

Magicians Guild

Naturalists Guild

Scholars Guild

Seers Guild

Warriors Guild

The Kins are based on hearth culture.  They are a place for members of specific hearth cultures to come together and discuss topics as they relate to their hearth culture of choice.  They may work together to create hearth culture specific rites and rituals that can be used by members of the Kin as well as by members at large.  They pose and answer questions to one another knowing that they are probably struggling with the same cultural questions.  They share their knowledge and research with one another which makes everyone stronger when all is said and done.  They may also consult with the Guilds on training in hearth culture specific aspects of the guild’s area of expertise.  For example, the Roman Kin may be able to teach someone from the Seers Guild the history and lore connected to seership within the Roman culture.  The Slavic Kin may team up with the Brewer’s guild to investigate beverages that would have been created in that culture.  As with the Guilds, the Kins should not be seen as exclusionary.  They weave their wisdom and knowledge into the rest of the ADF.

The current Kins, according to the ADF website, are:

Aus Dhwer:  Eastern Gate Kin

Eldr ok Iss: Kin of Fire and Ice

Tylwyth Y Ddraig Goch: Red Dragon Clan

Oi Asproi Koukouvayies: White Owl Kin

The Slavic Kin

The Roman Kin

Clann na nGael: The Gaelic Kin

Potons Proto IE Kin

SIG stands for Special Interest Group.  These groups serve ADF members who are interested in areas that are not covered by the other subgroups.  They provode support for the people within the SIG as well as offering a place to network, converse, and share ideas within the SIGs focus. There is a sense of camaraderie and commonality.  The ADF has a variety of SIGs such as the Solitary SIG, People of the Purple Feather SIG, Military Outreach SIG, and the Non-English Speakers SIG.  Each of these provides a haven for members of the group.  AS with the Guilds and the Kins, the SIGs may also interact with the other subgroups as well as the membership at large.  A member of the Solitary SIG may work with a member of the4 Liturgist Guild to come up with Core Order solitary Rituals for the High Days.  The Military Outreach SIG may work in conjunction with a Kin to brainstorm about the best way to honor the Gods while dealing with the restrictions of service in the Military.

The Subgroups are entities unto themselves, but they still weave in and out off the ADF as a whole, they support and make the texture of the organization richer and more interesting that if we all focused on the same thing all the time.

The current SIGs, according to the ADF website, are:

American SIG

Ancient Iberian SIG

Brighid’s Hearth SIG

Children’s Education and Parenting SIG

Ecstatic Trance SIG

Foireann Mhorrigan SIG (Morrigan SIG)

Military Outreach SIG

Non-English Speakers SIG

People of the Purple Feather (Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transexual)

Polyamory SIG

Safe Haven SIG (disabilities/mental health)

Sacred Feast SIG

Solitaries SIG

Spirit of the Hunt SIG

Technopagan SIG

  1. Describe ADF’s official ceremonial calendar, and discuss why it was designed in this way. (200 words min.)

A religion’s ceremonial; calendar is a very important part of its identity.  It shows the world at large those times of year that are especially important to the organization.  Throughout history different celebrations, feasts, and general revelries have been important.  Different cultures have venerated different deities in different ways.  With as broad a cultural focus the ADF offers, distilling those down to a list of High Days that would be officially recognized must have been a daunting task.  In the end, the ADF ceremonial calendar is very similar to the standard western Neopagan Sabbat calendar sometimes know as the Wheel of the Year.  The one of the most popular versions has strong ties to Celtic cultures.  The set of High Days is made up of the two solstices, the two equinoxes and 4 days that are approximately half way between them.  In Article 4 of the ADF Bylaws the High Days are listed as follows:

Cross Quarter – November 1

Solstice  – December 21st

Cross Quarter – Feb 1

Equinox – March 21st

Cross Quarter – May 1

Solstice –  June 21st

Cross Quarter – August 1

Equinox – September 21st

This calendar allows our high days to be celebrate in conjunction with other Neopagan groups and therefore lends itself to creating a sense of community and togetherness even though our exact practices may be different from theirs.

  1. Compare Isaac’s original “Law, Policy, Tradition, and Customs in ADF” article with how you see ADF today. Describe what is still true and what is no longer accurate in that document. (300 words min.)

I found it interesting to go back and read Isaac’s article and compare it to what is going on today within ADF.  Most of it seems like it could have been written now.  Other parts are almost prophetic in their estimation of what would happen.

I appreciate the separation of items between law, policy, tradition, and custom.  Too often people assume that because they have done something a certain way, or have seen something done a certain way it MUST ALWAYS be done that way.  They assume that everything is a law or a policy and have no understand of tradition or custom.

Let’s begin with what is the same. We still “live in a world of high technology”.  In fact, we now have more technology at our finger tips and that has made the world connected like never before.  For all the connectivity, though, we still value individualism.  I do think that a new type of togetherness I forming around social networking.  How these cyber communities will grow and evolve and, in turn affect ADF will be interesting to see.

I believe that the “Strong skeleton” that Isaac refers to is still in place.  If it would have crumbled, ADF would not longer exist as we know it.  The listed consequences of breaking laws, policy, tradition, and custom, still seem to hold true.  I got a laugh when Isaac wrote with regards to not liking a change to a minor tradition. “…we’ll grumble a lot and wait and see how the tradition evolves.”  I definitely think this still happens, even if some don’t like to admit it.

Isaac was right on the money when he predicted that the tradition would grow and change over time especially with respect to the training system and the  Core Order of Ritual.  The training program has changed just recently with the change of how submissions are reviewed and the Core Order was developed over time though experiment.  These thing will, and should, continue to grow and change, or ADF will stagnate.

All in all, I think Isaac had a very clear and realistic idea of what was happening with ADF as well as what would happen in the future.  As times change, we have to adapt to service the community, and I believe we are doing that while still maintaining our piety and integrity as a whole.

  1. Describe ADF’s use of Dumezil’s “tripartition” and its effect on ADF’s structure, study programs, and the religion of ADF members in general. (200 words min.)

George Dumezil offered a theory that Indo-European cultures could be broken down into the three classes or functions of Clergy, Warriors, and Providers.   Within society as a whole, I believe members of the ADF can be seen as belonging to the first function.  We call ourselves Druids who traditionally served as clergy, mediators, and scholars, and therefore we have aligned ourselves with those functions.

The Nine Virtues of ADF can be seen as showing evidence of tri partition.  Wisdom, Piety and Virtue belong to the first function.  Courage, Integrity, and Perseverance belong to the second function, and hospitality, Moderation and Fertility belong to the third function.

It can be stated that the tripartitiaon is also seen within the ADF organizational structure.  Members of the clergy would serve the first function, that of scholar and priest.  The members of the Warriors Guild could be seen as holding the second function by the same name.  And the members of guilds such as the Artisans and Brewers can be seen as the providers of ADF.  This separation feels like a bit of bending the data to fit the hypothesis, however.

As far as member’s general religion in concerned, that would depend on the member and their hearth practice.  Personally, I try to balance my practices between the Study (first function), Discipline (second function), and Creation (art, poetry, gardening).

  1. Explain the difference between “orthopraxy” and “orthodoxy.” Where do you feel ADF falls? (200 words min.)

Orthopraxy means “right practice” where as Orthodoxy is “right belief”.  ADF puts much more emphasis on the practice side of things.  The Core Order of Ritual (COoR) and the outline of High Days are two examples of this.  The COoR shows what makes up an official ADF ritual.  It outlines the steps to be taken in order to guide a celebrant through the ritual with the least amount of confusion.  It set rules for HOW it is to be done, but other than having the culture be Indo-European in origin, it makes no policy about the WHAT is done within the greater structure.  The same applied with the High Days.  We have a set of 8 high days and the dates on which they are to be celebrated.  If you are doing a public ADF ritual, it must follow the COoR but, again, you are free to choose, within the cultural restrictions, what is and who, or what is venerated.  If you are not doing an ADF COoR, then you are free to do as you will, as long as you don’t call it an ADF ritual.

As an ADF member, you are free to believe what you will.  If one of your patrons is the Giant Spaghetti Monster, that is fantastic, but since the GSP is not an Indo-European (as far as we know) it would not be used in an ADF Core Order Ritual as a deity of occasion.

  1. Describe why we make Praise Offerings, how they are made, when they are made, and who they are made to. Be sure to describe this in both solitary practice and in two or more Groves’ practices. (300 words min.)

ADF operated on a principal of reciprocation.  Not the “I give so I get something back” type of reciprocation but the “I give that you may give” kind.  When we make praise offerings we are feeding the deities as well as participating in half of the reciprocity equation.  We are hoping that because we have given something to them, they will find it appropriate to give something back to us.  This is not to be expected, but hoped for.

In my own practice, generally do my praise offerings after the deity of occasion have been invited.  At this point in the ritual, the gates are open, and everyone is in attendance.  The offerings can range from birdseed, to whisky, to incense.  It really depends on who I am making the offering to and the occasion.  You don’t want to make the offering before the dates are open, because the offering may not be fully received.  You also do this before you ask for the blessings because asking for a gift before you have offered anything would be rude and you probably aren’t going to get very far.

According to Rev. Michael Dangler, the Three Cranes Grove does two rounds of Praise offerings. The first one is done after the Kindreds are invited.  At his point, celebrants can make offering to any deity or entity they choose (even the Great Spaghetti Monster).  The second rounds of praise offerings are done after the key offering and those offerings are exclusively made to the deities of occasion.

Rev. Melissa Hill provided me information on how her grove performed praise offerings.  They too divide it into two parts.  As with the Three Cranes Grove, the first round of pairs offerings is done after inviting the Kindred and is open to any deity or entity.  The Second round is made to the deity of occasion.  She states that this can take many forms, but usually they save the best or grandest offering for last.

  1. Describe ADF’s administrative structure. (150 words min.)

The Administrative Structure of ADF is fairly simple,  There is a Mother Grove that is made up of the Board of Directors, the Chief of the Council of Senior Druids and the Chief of the Council of Regional Druids.  The MG is led by the Executive Committee which is made up of the Arch Druid, who also heads up the Clergy Council, the Vice Arch Druid and the Secretary.

The Mother Grove appoints the Preceptor who overseen the Council of Lore.  The Council of Lore is made up of Guild Chiefs and their Preceptors and oversees the Guild’s, SIGs and Kins.

The Mother Grove also appoints the Administration who, in turn, appoints the Administration Committee.  This Committee includes The List Master who oversees the List Team; the Chronicler who overseen the Publication Team; the Regalia Manager who oversees the Regalia Team; the Webmaster who oversees the Web Team; and the Office Manager that oversees the Office team.

Works Cited

“ADF Bylaws”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. Web. 7/17/2014

“ADF Constitiution”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. Web. 7/17/2014

Bonewits, Isaac. “Indo-European Paleopaganoism and Its Clergy”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A

Druid Fellowship, Inc. Web. 7/17/2014

—. “Law, Policy, Tradition, and Customs in ADF”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid

Fellowship, Inc. Web. 7/17/2014

—. “The Vision of ADF”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. Web.


“Clergy Council Bylaws”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. Web. 7/17/2014

“Clergy Council Standard Operating Procedures”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship,

Inc. Web. 7/17/2014

Corrigan, Ian. “A Vision for Ár nDraíocht Féin” by Ian Corrigan. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A

Druid Fellowship, Inc. Web. 7/17/2014

Grove Organizers Handbook, Fourth Edition. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc.

  1. Web. 7/17/2014

“Role of the Priest in ADF”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. Web.


“Standard Operating Procedures” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. Web.


“Subgroup Charter Manual”.  Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. Web.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: