Leader Bio: Rob Henderson

Leader Bio: Rob Henderson

Photo of Rob HendersonWhat attracted you or brought you to ADF?

I had been active in the Ann Arbor area's pagan community since 1990. When SLG was forming and holding its first public rites in 1994, I was in a more solitary mood, doing my own workings at home. Many friends recommended that I attend an SLG event, but I had no car at the time, and I didn't want to impose on anyone for a ride. I did tell those friends that I would come to a ritual as soon as I had my own car. In November of 1995, I finally got a car of my own, and true to my word, I attended the Yule ritual the following month. Since I was only familiar with various Wiccan and ceremonialist ritual forms, I was utterly confused by the Druid-style ritual. I still remember asking myself, "Why haven't they called the quarters yet?" after the invocations were done. After the ritual, one of those friends asked what I had thought of it, and I told her, "It looks like a really good group, but I don't think I'll ever want to join, it's just too different from what I'm used to."

(Go ahead and put that in your "quotes that become ironic with hindsight" file if you like.)

After meeting more of the regular members, including Fox (then Senior Druid) and Johnna (then Grove Scribe), I realized that this was actually the group I had been looking for for so long. One of the reasons I had gone solitary was my belief in polytheism (the gods are multiple and distinct entities) instead of the duotheism (there are two deities, all other deities are aspects of those two) which most Wiccan groups espouse. When I realized that SLG was a polytheistic, non-duotheistic group, and that they did research on actual ancient practices rather than making things up as they went, I knew that I had found a home. And eventually, I got used to not calling the quarters.

What do you do in ADF (personally and as a Senior Druid)?

In the (inter)national scope of ADF, I'm currently the Archivist for the Liturgists' Guild, and a member of the Grove Organizing Committee, helping new Groves and Protogroves get started.

As Senior Druid of Shining Lakes Grove, I lead the ritual planning sessions, and I lead the meetings of An Bruane, our grove's spiritual research/practice group. I also run some (but not all) of our High Day rites. And I write a weekly article for our Grove's blog, plus at least one article for each issue of our quarterly newsletter, and occasionally I write articles for other local pagan publications.

I'm also the Webmaster for SLG, which isn't related to my being Senior Druid, but can be just as demanding sometimes!

Where do you see ADF going/where would you like to see ADF going...?

As a Senior Druid in a large grove, I know I'd like to see more active groves out there! I'd also like to see a focus on Guild chapters being developed at the Grove level, I know that our local Guilds in SLG have been very active in our Grove. They've helped to organize and run the rituals, given classes and workshops for the Grove and the local community, and given our members a chance to feel that they can participate in Grove events in their own way, without having to become Priests.

And obviously, I'd like to see us finish the Study Program for all specialties, so Grove members and solitaries can all learn and grow as priests, warriors, artisans, or whichever specialty calls to them.

What's the funniest grove story you have (that can be published)?

On a trip to Britain, Fox had collected some emmer wheat seeds, a variety of wheat grown by the ancient I-E peoples. He hoped to start growing the wheat here, so we would be better able to understand and work with the agricultural cycle of the year. Sadly, we couldn't find a suitable place to plant the seeds outdoors for a few years.

My mother, Jan Henderson, bought a farm in the autumn of 1997, so she could take care of her mules herself, without having to pay expensive stable fees to someone else. Since there was a lot of land available, I thought I'd ask her if we could use some of it for the wheat.

At dinner during one of my visits, I mentioned that the Grove had some wheat seeds, and it would be great if we could grow some here, we could get the whole Grove to come out and take care of planting and harvesting, it would be a big event and maybe draw some interest from non-members...

And then I saw that she was looking at me with a scowl on her face. "You want to plant WHAT on my land?"

"Um, emmer wheat. It's a kind of wheat the ancients used to..."

"Oh, wheat. I thought you said 'weed'. Wheat would be fine."

So we've been growing our Grove wheat there since 1998. We haven't tried growing any weed, though it might be a good fundraising idea... I'M KIDDING!

More on our wheat growing can be found on our grove website.

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