Leader Bio: Caryn MacLuan

How long have you been involved in ADF?

   I joined ADF in 1999 after attending the first Trillium Spring Festival. Shortly thereafter, my ex-husband and I formed a Protogrove called RavenHawk in Pasadena, MD. The Protogrove lasted about two years and was dissolved when we decided to merge with CedarLight Grove in Baltimore, MD. I have been with
CedarLight Grove ever since.

What else have you done with your life?

   I've been a pagan since 1975 (you do the math). I attended Sandhills Community College and N.C. State University. I joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1985 and as an enlisted person, my job (rating) was Marine Science Technician. I was an oil spill and hazmat responder/investigator. I became a Chief Petty Officer in 1992. I received a Commission to Chief Warrant Officer in 2000 and spent my last six years before retirement inspecting small passenger vessels like dinner cruise boats and charter fishing boats. I have a Bachelor of Science in general studies completed while in the Coast Guard, a Master Herbalist and am currently working towards a Graduate Certificate in Herbalism. I'm also a Reiki Master, a member of Gladsheim Kindred and the Troth.

What do you do in ADF?

   In my local grove, I am a Priest, Senior Druid Emeritus, and current building manager. I create a lot of the training at my grove however we have a fine lot of motivated individuals who are stepping up to the tasks that I used to do myself (and this is a fine, fine thing indeed!). My duties in my grove have spiraled off into other duties in ADF like being a member of the Council of Senior Druids which led me to take on the job of Grove Coordinating Committee Chair since its creation. I'm also on the Clergy Counsel and have hopefully contributed some useful and insightful comments over the past many years. I have been a member of several guilds and am interested in study programs other than clergy but right now I am putting first things first.

Tell us a bit about your personal religion.

   I like to tell people that polytheism is all about hospitality.  I have called upon a lot of different gods over the years.  Some of them have taken an interest in getting to know me better.  Some have stuck with me and others have not.  When a deity takes an interest in you, it's very impolite to close the door in their face.  No, as polytheists, we welcome them in, give them something to eat and drink and then listen to their stories.  This means that we might have to look their stories up but what I am getting at is that we make the effort to understand what they are trying to communicate to us.  My feelings about the gods is similar to make other people I know.  I have a group of close personal friends that I know I can call in the middle of the night with an emergency.  I have a larger group of friends who I can call in the morning after they have had their coffee and I should probably take them out to lunch or dinner for their trouble.  Then I have an even larger group of professional acquaintances with whom I have interacted but I would need to develop a deeper relationship with before I start asking big favors from them.  Brigid is my primary patron.  She tells me that I can work with as many gods as I like, just as long as I do not forget that I "belong" to her.

What is your personal vision for ADF?

I admit that I came to ADF because of Isaac's original visions and his visions form a lot of my own. I see Druids as the cornerstones of their local pagan communities. The ones everyone else comes to for the best ritual advice and training, for the best and most accurate knowledge base, and for the best workshops. I would expect our clergy to be called to not only tend their own congregations but be called upon by a wide array of folk in the local neo-pagan communities for weddings, sainings, last rites and funerals simply because we are the one's who have our "stuff" together.

What I would like to see is more organizational training to help our newest Grove Organizers and Senior Druids prepare for their roles of leadership in their own groves and in the larger pagan communities. Mainstream religions train their leaders for years before turning them loose with their own groups. Our folks don't have that luxury and the result is sometimes they fail badly or fall really hard. We've lost some very good people needlessly because of this and if there is anything that I could change, this is would be it.

Author Information

Rev. Caryn Laney-MacLuan (Caryn MacLuan)

Author's Bio:

Rev. Caryn Laney-MacLuan has been practicing magic and studying paganism since the mid '70s. She served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 21 years and is a retired Chief Warrant Officer 3. She has been a leader in CedarLight Grove since 2000. She is also a master herbalist, a Reiki master, Spaekona and Seidkona.

Articles by Rev. Caryn Laney-MacLuan (Caryn MacLuan)

2017 Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc.

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