Archdruid Blog

The death of our Founder, Rev. Isaac Bonewits, on August 12, 2010, while not unexpected, was still a great shock to many of us. He had battled cancer since last autumn, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but even with all that discomfort he kept his sense of humor and general orneriness to the end. He shall be truly missed. ADF honored him with a Memorial Service at the Summerland Festival near Yellow Springs, Ohio, on the following Thursday. It was filled with song and eulogies, and was quite touching and uplifting. We managed to get the rite video taped, and segments from it are now available for view on the ADF website. I want to thank all the people who helped with this, particularly Karen Clark of 6th Night Grove, the main organizer of the festival, who went out of her way to make the service possible. I also wish to recognize all the folks who participated, such as our three lady bards, Emerald Bronowicz (the ADF Bard Laureate), Melissa Burchfield (current holder of the Wellspring Bardic Chair), and Maria Stoy; the clergy of ADF; and all the volunteers who stepped in at the last minute to make this happen. Isaac’s death is the end of an era. One of his main goals was to start a religion that would grow, thrive, and outlast its founder. After Isaac became ill in the 90’s and had to resign as Archdruid, he wisely stepped back so that his creation would have to stand on its own two feet. ADF went through some rough patches, but Isaac can now look back at us from the Otherworlds and know that he succeeded. May Isaac continue to care and watch over us as a great ancestor, and may the Kindreds bless us and keep us and help us thrive. So be it!
Wellspring 2010 was an incredible weekend of fellowship, frith and friendship. Enlightening workshops, powerful rites and fascinating conversations around the fire filled our lives for this brief time, bringing all of us in attendance closer together. And so we say, Thank You! to the Rev. A.J. Gooch and all of Stonecreed Grove for their hard work in putting this festival together once again. But it's the volunteers all over ADF who make our religion possible. And I don't just mean our elected officers in the Mother Grove, Clergy, our Guilds, Kins and SIGs, but also those unsung heroes who toil behind the scenes to make our on-line experience as easy and comfortable as possible. And these volunteers deserve to be recognized by our entire church. So this year we have begun to create such a system, in the form of an awards committee, which will be chaired by our new Vice-Archdruid, Rev. Jim 'Seamus' Dillard. This committee will be tasked with finding out who our volunteers are, what they have been doing, and recognizing their efforts. To kick off this idea, we created the ADF Volunteer of the Year award, which was presented to Beth Savage for all her hard work, often unnoticed by the membership, in answering so many of the e-mail queries that ADF receives each day from outside of our membership. And some of these queries are really oddball ones. She has responded to even  the most outrageous comments with tack, diplomacy and respect, truly showing us all in the best possible light. Her award was a beautifully engraved crystal chalice which she will get to keep. And we have more available for future years! May the Kindreds bless us all with the joys of true communication, of fellowship and of fulfilling spiritual experience in the months and years to come. So be it!
Back in the back old days (the 1970′s, say) there was no Internet and most Pagans were quite isolated. The Pagan Festival movement changed this, and folks came together in large numbers where ideas percolated and new influences were felt, bringing the Pagan movement to a new maturity. We in ADF have our own festivals now, but there is still value in going to some of the pan-Pagan ones. We look at these festivals as a chance to show non-ADFer’s just who and what we are. We do workshops and rituals and, at Brushwood and Wisteria, at least, host a Druid Camp where we are available for hospitality (including a few beers!) and conversation. This year, at the new Summerfest Festival here at Brushwood, there will be a new Druid Workshop Track where Skip Ellison, Leesa Kern, Seamus, Robb Lewis and I will be presenting workshops on ADF Cosmology, the ancient Celts, warrior spirituality, etc. We will also be hosting daily morning devotionals and a couple of full ADF rituals. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it will also be satisfying fun as well. And we always have a ball at our base camp at Druid Central! So if you’re free next week and can get to western New York State, come on out and join us! Bright festival blessings, Rev. Kirk Thomas, ADF Archdruid
For the last nine years Rev. Robert “Skip” Ellison has ably led us as our Archdruid, through periods of great growth and change, and with a warm and supportive demeanor. I, for one, am very grateful to him for all his hard work, his evenhandedness, and his tireless efforts on behalf of ADF. I am delighted that he has agreed to continue helping out wherever he can, and his institutional knowledge will be of great help to the Mother Grove as we make this new transition. Thanks, Skip! And now let us once again look forward. We have several obstacles facing us now, with communication being one that we must continually tackle. Some great strides have been made recently with our study programs – new technology and new procedures should improve the interface between our students and their reviewers, cutting down on wasted time and lost submissions. Our Guilds are expanding and improving their study programs all the time, making the work of our students available for all, and the new Orders that are coming into existence have great potential for the future of ADF spirituality. The Clergy will shortly begin travelling to visit our more isolated Protogroves and groups of solitaries, spreading education and fellowship as they go. Our festivals continue to increase in number, and more and more resources are appearing on our website. Our journal, Oak Leaves, and all our publications continue to expand and improve through the hard work of our publishing team, while our podcast, Tribeways, continues to entertain and inform. And all of this is possible only through the efforts of our many volunteers – you heroes behind the scenes who share the vision of ADF to keep us relevant and growing. To you I give my sincere and humble thanks. May the Kindreds bless us all with vision, courage and hospitality in the years ahead!

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