Week 1: Intro to the DP

Hello friends! This is the first of hopefully a full year of posts chronicling my study through the Dedicant Path (DP) of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF), a Neopagan Druid church. If you look through this blog you’ll see that a few years previous I’d been a member of ADF and also trying to complete the Dedicant Path. At that point in my life, being a solitary Druid just was not feasible for me, and after the dissolution of ADF’s Solitary Druid Fellowship I allowed my membership to lapse.

It wasn’t actually until last week during preparations for my wedding ceremony that I turned to ADF again, thanks in part to Rev. Amy Castner of Cedarsong Grove in Lansing, MI. (Amy is a friend of my spouse’s going way back and agreed to help house the officiant of our wedding, who is a friend of mine going way back named Tyler Coles.) My spouse and I celebrated Samhain together on our honeymoon and that night I paid to renew my membership with ADF; the rest, as they say, is history.

I’ll be using Rev. Michael J. Dangler‘s workbook, The DP Through the Wheel of the Year, to structure my approach to the first circle of ADF’s training. If there’s anything I’ve learned from the past year and some change with trying to figure out this priesthood business, it’s that structure is vitally important for my learning. The way my brain works, I thrive in an academic-type environment with a clearly defined syllabus, expected work, and understood means of achieving goals. Rev. Dangler’s book breaks up the requirements of the Dedicant Path into a yearlong journey that should make the entire process less overwhelming.

My posts about the DP are essentially my Dedicant Journal, a place for myself to both reflect and to get out of my head. Please jump in and ask questions, no matter if you’re an ADF member or not, and I’d love to talk about this whole process! Because a High Day (Samhain) just passed, I’m playing a bit of catch-up to line up with the posts per week, but it should even out eventually. Expect to see a few more posts the next week or two before I even back out to one post a week.

And so we start here at Week 1, introduction/syllabus week, with a few questions we’re asked to mull over regarding the DP. They are:

Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?
To be frank, I am tired of participating only in spiritual groups where I’m primarily responsible for creating my path. I realize that I very much need an external yardstick to keep myself on track – and beyond that, an idea of what “on track” needs to mean! I’m still going to engage with all my other religious practices. I’m still doing devotional hearthcraft with Brighid, still part of Clann Bhride, and still poking around at the Otherfaith. But I want a pre-made training system and I want some sort of guidepost to priesthood, and ADF provides both those things.
Is this a step on your path, or will this become the Path itself?
The DP is more obviously a means to an end as far as my own training and betterment, but whether I stay on long enough to contemplate clergy training depends on what resources ADF has for solitaries and whether my local grove in NYC is accessible enough for disabled ol’ me to participate in. (Or if not… then if being a priest for solitaries and doing online ministry ala Church of the Larger Fellowship is possible for ADF!)
What do you expect to learn?
Potentially some exciting executive functioning skills that include timekeeping! Working out schedules! Planning things out in advance! Sequencing! Decision making! And some stuff about Druids. 😉
What would you like to get out of this journey?
First, I would like to just finish this. With the exception of schooling that I paid for, I can think of very few things that I’ve been able to see through in my life (see above: my brain works funny). If nothing else, I think it would be great to have something to point to that I can say look, I did that, I stuck with it, and I can do that again with something else. Ideally I’d like to find a place for myself in ADF, especially on a local level because I really need some IRL co-religionists.
Do you know where this path will take you?
No, except my Tarot cards literally told me to do it.
If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work on this immediately?
If you have been in ADF for a long time, why are you starting only now?
Both when I first joined in 2010 and now that I’ve rejoined last month, I immediately started working on the DP. For me, that’s the core work of ADF if you aren’t part of a grove.
Does it look hard or easy?
Am I having a good or a bad brain day? None of this seems hard to complete, except that dedication and perseverance are the most important skills to getting anything done. Sure, I can write some essays and book reports no problem, but will I be able to do it in actuality? Stay tuned.
Which requirements appear to be difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy?
I’d say I’m more concerned about figuring out a Hearth Culture since I’ve been solely working with Brighid for a few years at this point; I’m not even entirely sure how to go about reaching out to other gods, at least not in this context. Keeping up with the meditation/mental training will also be tough on me.
Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns that you need to ask about?
Maybe, but I also know who to bother to get some of these answered. 🙂
That’s it for this post! Thanks for coming along with me.

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