I joined ADF two years ago because out of all the Pagan traditions I encountered it seemed to offer a framework closest to my heart and an intriguing study system. ADF theology resonated with my own and the Indoeuropean focus guaranteed enough room to for me fit in. At that time I had vague ideas about most key areas of Pagan religious practice: I didn't have a particularly deep relationship with any deity. I actually had very little experience with meaningful Pagan ritual. I didn't have a proper home shrine. I felt uneasy about prayer and devotional work. I haven't done any meditative divination for some time.
This was about to change. One of the first things I did on my Dedicant Path was setting up a home shrine, back in the flat where lived (we have moved two times since). I started studying ADF liturgy and acquired a new divination set and work with it regularly, taking note of my insights. I visited all Pagan rituals I cold get invitation to, as required, and read a lot; Ceisiwr Serith's Pagan Book of Prayer, books by Isaac Bonewits, I even went to Germany to attend a seminar he was giving to Western European Pagan clergy with his wife.
Perhaps the greatest mistake (or was it one) I did was that I put most of my hopes into the Protogrove I have been organizing, and failed. Even though a healthy community of believers is incredibly supporting to one's own spirituality, it's not the spirituality and sometimes there is no such community. In my case this was a painful thing to realize. Although I am still engaged in local Pagan community at leadership positions, as a board member of Davny obycej1, I have turned my focus completely to personal spiritual work. I pray to my Patrons and other deities, explore the Hellenic pantheon and perform regular meditatory divination.
Regarding Hearth Cultures, I have to say I had huge problem with this concept from the beginning. It seemed flawed to me on the whole and rather discriminatory. Interesting development followed. I observed that some rituals, even though excellently performed,2 brought me little spiritual satisfaction and, most remarkably, I could not hear or see those deities, often at all, contrary to other attendants. As if those Gods were completely foreign for me and were about to stay that way. This was two Celtic ADF rituals. On one ritual I became observably unquiet and felt what is happening is “wrong” (a dark Norse mystery cult ritual). So I came to conclusion that there must be something like spiritual family or ancestry, a particular path one is called to. I have repeatedly received subtle messages, and one time a regular prophecy, from beings of Hellenic origin. I knew I had two patrons, Athene and Hekate, for some time already, but I still uncomfortable with Heart Cultures. Finishing my DP took me almost a year longer than I had planned, because I waited for this important issue to settle down. Then one day this summer, I was just getting out of the bus when I realize I know it now that I have a Hellenic Hearth.
I have been successfully working with Deities such as Hera or Aphrodite, and several minor ones like Hygeia or Nyx. I know Hermes has been always in favour of me, especially since I became a retailer, but he is not my patron. Other interesting outcome is that I have moved far more to the inspirationist side of the reconstruction vs. inspiration argument. I came to the conclusion I have Hellenic Hearth by pure personal gnosis and prophecy, without any ideological input, and I am quite sure now that direct personal communion with the Powers is the only solid foundation one can have. (Or at least an intellectual like me.) I have found much inspiration in writings of Raven Kaldera, a Pagan priest and leader of a small Norse community whose take on Paganism is inspirationist, apolitical and devotional. He derives his practice from shamanism and voudon and, interestingly enough, I have been drawn to voudon too. I will undergo an initiation from the hands of my good friend, a Norse-Voudon priestess, and continue towards this direction with a group of Kaldera's readers that has been forming here. My other spiritual endeavours include “Gothic” Paganism and vampiric lore, a Wiccan training I will probably resume once it is time, and hoodoo, American folk witchcraft.
In ADF I wish to pursue Initiate status and serve as Dedicant Program reviewer.
1Czech Pan-Pagan umbrella organization, founded in late 2008. Registered as citizen's association.
2Some rituals felt obviously dull, because I had no background in those ritual forms and traditions (Wiccan, Satanic).
- Current Mood: accomplished