Leader Bio: Crystal Groves

How long have you been involved in ADF?

I joined ADF in 2003, a year after I started attending Rites at CedarLight Grove, ADF in Baltimore, Maryland. At the end of 2004 I was elected as their scribe for the next 3 years, and in 2007 I was elected as their Senior Druid (and again in 2009). Even after moving an hour and a half away from CedarLight to Gettysburg, I still make it a point to visit near every weekend and absolutely to every High Rite as part of my devotion to my Grove and to ADF.

CedarLight Grove and ADF were both my first and only group presence in the modern neo-pagan movement.

What else have you done with your life?

In the mundane world, I am a web developer by trade, though I've held jobs ranging from Veterinary Technician to Customer Service for Terminix. My trade is self-taught, as I have yet to go to college (I plan to eventually, but only when funds are available as I refuse to take out a loan for it). I am also a musician/singer, and play acoustic guitar and the djembe (drumming is quite a passion of mine).

I was a naval wife for 6 years, but am divorced. I moved back home from the naval base to take care of my father after he had a stroke in 2000. He fully recovered but is on permanent disability due to health issues, so stays with me in my home in Gettysburg, PA as my #1 priority.

I am from a long line of farmers and am a genuine farmers daughter, which is why I have a strong interest in the Naturalists Guild of ADF. I am also a freelance personal finance advocate after years of poor financial decisions, and teach workshops on basic personal finance throughout the pagan community. If I could make a career out of a mixture of personal finance, nature, and technology, then I'd be happy as a lark.

What do you do in ADF?

In CedarLight Grove, ADF, I have served as Senior Druid for the last 3 years, and have recently become a Dedicant Priest, allowing CedarLight to be fortunate enough to have two clergy within the ranks.

I serve mainly as an administrative role within the Grove, making sure everything gets done that needs to get done, or doing it myself. I am currently writing probably the most extensive Grove membership manual to date for CedarLight. I do light liturgical work as well while doing my own training within the Clergy Training Program. Gradually I plan to take more of a role in the liturgical sense and continue study through various ADF study programs.

In ADF I've mainly held very light "duties" withing the organization. I have been re-elected again as the registrar for the Naturalist Guild in ADF, and volunteer my time helping with the many tasks of maintaining the ADF website and social networking presence. Just recently, however, I was asked to take over the position of ADF Preceptor as the role morphs and changes into more of an administrative role among preceptors where I will be allowed to instill my organization and time-management skills.

I also plan to start working on some programs of some sort within ADF that encourage responsibility in personal finance as well as disaster preparedness, much like you would find in other faiths.

Tell us a bit about your personal religion.

The main deity I work with, and have had some degree of a relationship with since the 7th grade, is Athena. I didn't fully understand that relationship until joining ADF, but feel blessed to have had it for so long. My personal relationship with her varies in many ways. But I strongly feel her presence in my financial good sense, and Her stringent wisdom and strength have guided me through my own personal tribulations and triumphs.

But despite Athena's overpowering influence, I do not consider myself Hellenic. I have no Greek that I am aware of in my lineage, and despite my love for the pantheon in general, it is not one I currently follow in my worship. Lately however, I wonder if I am just not seeing the inevitable, as more Hellenic culture seems to slip into my life.

Outside of ADF, I have a strong love for my Cherokee heritage, which often contradicts my chosen druid path. Because of such, I keep the two entirely separate.

My father's maternal side of the family comes directly from Germany (I even have the date and means of arrival under the name Reisberg and/or Reisbach). With such strong Germanic roots, I feel deeply pulled into that spiritual direction, but am still learning.

My mother's maternal side is also Irish (Stephens), which is all the more familiar with me since I belong to an Irish-Celtic Grove and have been exposed to that culture the most over the last 8 years of being involved in CedarLight Grove.

The bonus I get from CedarLight Grove, despite it being an Irish-Celtic Grove, is it is still very much eclectic. We have many walkers of many different pantheons, and it allows us all to be exposed to something different on a regular basis. I am still young, and still exploring and evolving as my world around me dictates and changes at any given time. I consider myself a druid who is reaching deep into her roots to find her place among many.

What is your personal vision for ADF?

I am so honored to be a part of an organization that continually works towards being "the source" for trained clergy and advanced study. I want to see its ranks swell with talented, educated, and dedicated people to continue to propel its knowledge-base beyond all others. I want to see us provide that training, to create that clergy, and to be the foundation for in-depth knowledge and study in the modern neo-pagan movement. Quality -and- Quantity. Why not excellence?

I also want to eventually see much of what we do influence people on a more mundane basis as well. More piety, but also more betterment in our mundane lives. To help inspire each other to get out of debt, remove the obstacles in our lives, become more prepared for recessions, job loss, death, diseases, obesity and retirement. There's no reason why ADF cannot provide a support line for the mundane issues that everyone will deal with as well as the spiritual training that already makes us great. This way we can become whole both physically, mentally, and spiritually, living our lives within ADF. Why not total excellence?

Author Information

Rev. Crystal Groves (Crystal Groves)

Author's Bio:

Crystal Groves is a Priest of ADF, a Senior Druid Emeritus for CedarLight Grove, ADF in Baltimore Maryland, and more recently Grove Organizer for Hallowed Ground ProtoGrove based out of Gettysburg Pennsylvania. She also serves as the Secretary of ADF, a social media helper for ADF, and Chief for the Naturalists Guild, also previously serving as Preceptor of ADF for several years. She follows a Norse Pantheon within her ProtoGrove, is the spiritual leader for an Anglo-Saxon independent Kindred called Great Valley Kindred. In the mundane world she is a farmer, web developer, project manager, musician and blogger. She lifts weights, teaches workshops on fiscal responsibility, and eats lots of meat. You can follow her musings on her blog at: http://tawodi.org

Articles by Rev. Crystal Groves (Crystal Groves)

2017 Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc.

Please consider Donating to ADF

Technical Difficulties? Email adf-webmasterat_signadf.org