Week 18: Personal Religion
*Lets try this again...darn computer crashed last time!*
Week 18 is all about reflecting on our own relationships to the Kindred and to our thoughts on Religion through the Dedicant Path thus far. By looking at some of the questions we answered in week on we can reflect on any changes to our initial thoughts.
Week 1 Assignment:
Answer the following questions.
Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?
- Because I am eager to learn more about Druidry, ADF and shape my own beliefs. I think right now is as good a time as ever and its ideal as I have a lovely study group to bounce ideas around with.
Is this a step on your path, or will this become the path itself?
-Interesting question, while I think this is a path in itself I am human and thus I will change my ideas over time likely so this will be only the start of my spirituality.
What do you expect to learn?
- I expect to learn more about Celtic history (the history of my heritage and a history that has called to me but I have not looked into researching near enough). I expect to learn ways to incorporate meditation and religion into my daily life. I expect to learn more about my thoughts on religion in general and myself.
What would you like to get out of this journey?
-From an academic standpoint, a sense of accomplishment and the knowledge to support my religious decisions and ideas. From a spiritual standpoint, I hope to get a sense of direction in my all-over-the-place, somewhat ADD, religious ideas.
Do you know where this path will take you?
-No. And I don't want too. All paths worth taking in life will take you through uncharted waters, through roads less traveled, and through darkness without lanterns, it is through these challenging paths that we truly learn about ourselves. If I knew the end of my story I would never start it or never learn from mistakes. I want to grow and I want the ability to grow outside my original ideas.
If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work on this immediately?
-Mostly because of timing. I have the joy of having a study group community and there are several of us doing the Dedicant program all at once. :) I basically fell down the rabbit hole of "holy crap this sounds awesome" and would have started on my own though had I not had this group.
If you have been ADF for a long time, why are you starting only now?
-This one does not apply to me.
Does it look hard or easy?
-Parts look easy, others hard. My life is very busy, but I think a lot. I'm a creature of analysis and of balance but time is always my restrictive area. I also think it will be rather hard to write less on topics that I am passionate about haha.
Which requirements appear to be difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy?
-It will be difficult to find time to meditate. It will be difficult to write concisely instead of creatively. It will be difficult to not fall behind because I can be rather lazy. It will be easy to research High Days. (because they are interesting!) It will be easy to reflect on High Day rituals. It will be easy to find my heart in the reading.
Do you have doubts, questions, concerns that you need to talk about?
-Not really, my biggest doubt is that I am leading our study group and I am really afraid of falling behind and letting others down. On the flip side, I think this study group will keep me motivated and I really do need that as I have a bad habit of ADD all over the place thinking despite my love for organized academic focus. haha
Do you feel that you are upholding that Oath?
-Yes! I can honestly say that I really deeply feel proud of my dedication to that oath. When I preformed my First Oath I made my interest and devotion to the Old Ways known and I vowed to do my best in honoring them and building my relationships to the Kindred while constructing my own beliefs and spirituality as well. The Dedicant Path has helped with this, obviously, but my actions outside this study have been actually more impactful.
Honestly, my local ADF Grove involvement has kept me 100% attuned to the seasons and high days around the year. I actively write for the Grove newsletter and help write and co-lead occasionally our public High Day rituals. I attend Grove meetings and speak on behalf of ADF on monthly public Meet and Greets with our grove members. I sing with our grove Bards and through that vocal confidence I have begun to start writing singing invocations to my deities. My spirituality has moved from a dusty corner in the back of my mind to a shining kaleidoscope through which I look through each and every day now. My husband and I often use the phrase “that’s not very Druid” or “we could be more Druid” when it comes to everyday activities and decisions.
When I first spoke the words of my First Oath, I made sure I didn’t have a lot of promises I could not keep because I was very afraid of my focus at the time. Now I am exceptionally proud that not only have I been keeping that Oath but I have been running free with it and I have never felt so happy or confident in my beliefs as now.
Did you make any mistakes in the way you wrote it? Are you still comfortable with it?
-Good question. My answer is yes, there were mistakes and no I am not super comfortable with the original first oath but ONLY because I used a generic first oath that I fleshed out lightly with my own words. It could be more personal. It does have deep meaning and it was a very very long first oath that my heart was connected too. But I do wish I had written it myself and made it a bit shorter initially.
It’s hard to put this into words but I will do my best. I feel *safe* and welcomed in the Irish Celtic Hearth. From day one I have felt like I was being welcomed with open arms into a loving family. Reading the histories feel like going through old family member’s trunks tucked in the attic full of historical treasures. I feel deeply rooted in the Irish Celtic Hearth culture and the more I read the stronger that gets. Before coming to ADF I felt I had a connection with the Sidhe and through ADF I have been able to explore that and build the relationships that I would like to keep and avoid the ones that cause me turmoil. Through research and reciprocity in the Irish Hearth I discovered an undeniable relationship with Brighid who has become my first genuine Patron that I feel a strong connection too. I’m working on others but Brighid was kinda just “always there” with all her complexity along side me once I opened my eyes to her. I have Brighid on my altar and my meditations are often inspired by the attributes of Brighid, she is ever present in my spirituality now.
But then there is the other side of my Hearth Culture that I am actually a bit intimidated by. This part is the “difficult to put into words” part. The Irish Hearth in my heart is much like a child going to grandmas house or feeling safe with your family. Words like “Safe”, “Tradition”, “Family”, “Relaxing” and “Meditation” surround my feelings around the Irish Hearth but if I am completely honest…something is missing. I’m missing the words “Adventure”, “Power”, “Boisterous”, “Impulsivity”, and honestly “Danger.” Could I look into the Irish Hearth to find these? Absolutely, I could find stories that reflect all these attributes but these aren’t emotions or thoughts that come natural to me. I have to force them and it doesn’t feel right.
When I first started this path I was looking for a Hearth Culture to feel like “home”, a safe place that was inviting and stimulated me. I found that, and I love it. But much like a child grows into a free-thinking, free spirited teenager…I do have a rebellious side. A deep part of me that needs some sort of chaos, needs something to be my inspiration for Power and Badassery.
I’ve been hearing the Norse Hearth calling my name for quite a while now. It got stronger when I discovered my large amount of ancestry in Scandinavia but it was there long before then. The women in the Norse Hearth remind me of myself in countless ways and I have limited knowledge of them. The Norse Hearth is inviting to me but I have refrained from diving right into research yet because I am kinda afraid of obsessing about something new and forgetting my relationship to the Celtic Hearth because it is my “safe place.”
This is weird to admit but I am a bold person. I don’t fall in love lightly, I fall madly and deeply in love and my passions can turn into obsessions overnight. I chose not to avoid things like Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol when I was younger because of such and waited until I felt I was balanced enough myself to not lose myself to the “Fun” in chaos activities. When I felt balanced, supported, and loved I knew that exploring these things wouldn’t “take over everything else” so at this time I have been waiting to walk the Norse path until I branch out in the Irish more.
With journal entries like this I feel like I am getting closer and closer to being comfortable balancing potentially two different Hearth Cultures but I am not there just yet. There is still SO MUCH I want to learn in the Irish.
I’m still new to this, I’m keeping my eyes open, and I hear the Norse call but I am not quite ready to jump down that inviting rabbit hole just yet. It’s hard to explain the feeling in my stomach, its not quite fear of the Norse Hearth, its actually “too much eagerness” that worries me. Maybe I need to do some meditating on it or throw tarot or look into omens more. Maybe I just need to journalize more. Either way, I am certain I will begin walking the Norse/Germanic road, all in due time.
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