The Blessings of the Earth Mother to one and all!
I was fortunate again this year to be able to celebrate both Samhain and Beltaine within the same week. It is so very interesting how different the world is just across a single divide. Having travelled between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres for two years now, I have come to believe and understand that there just isn't Samhain and Beltaine, there is actually Samhain/Beltaine and the Earth Mother expresses herself as both seasons at the same time.
I still find myself looking out the window here, in North America, thinking about what I saw and experienced there, in South America. I surely will never forget the beauty of the incredible scenery, rich plant life, and beautiful ocean that was just within reach. The hospitality of my hosts, the members of Fine Na Dairbre Protogrove, was something I will cherish for a long, long time.
I vowed to visit members in Australia last year, which I did to coincide with the wonderful Mount Franklin Festival, and then this year to visit with our Brazilian members, at Fine Na Dairbre Protogrove. I wanted, first and foremost, to show people that ADF has many faces and that mine is one of them. I wanted people abroad to know that ADF is more than just the e-lists or the Facebook pages that bear the name "Ar nDraiocht Fein". I wanted members to understand that we truly are an international organization, an international Druid Fellowship, and most of all, an international church.
While I know that some people dread the thought of a long airplane flight (14 hours LAX to Melbourne or 10 hours DFW to Sao Paolo), I have grown to view it as a rebirth in a way, from my old life in some airport in the United States to a new destination in a foreign land. Not only am I reborn into a new place, but I am reborn into a new season, a total 180 degree turn from where I was. It is probably the closest I will ever come to a Tardis.
I arrived in Sao Paolo (and eventually in Curitiba - pronounced Curichiba) rather unprepared. While I had spent time studying syntax and the history of the Portuguese language, I was totally unprepared for any conversation in this language. I am fluent in French and can understand and do fairly well in Spanish), but Portuguese not only is a very different language, it sounds very different. I loved listening to the lyrical and musical quality of this beautiful language, but when I first arrived, I couldn't understand a word. I was lucky that my rather rusty Spanish was enough to get me to the right baggage area and then onto my next gate. This was all part of the rebirth-transition that was built into this trip. While I was never really able to hold a conversation in Portuguese, I did eventually arrive at the ability to understand parts of what people were saying.
After a long layover and a good amount of delicious coffee, I was on the flight to Curitiba and the welcome arms of my hosts, Marina, Alessio, and Erik. What better way to arrive any where than to find smiles, open arms, and warm hearts. I knew, upon arrival, that I was blessed. We drove back to Curitiba, rather speedily by my slower, North American standards, and I was feted with delicious food and intriguing conversations. Each of my hosts spoke English and I have vowed to learn Portuguese for my next trip back there. (Yes, I will go back; yes, I must go back).
Conversation quickly turn to ADF, not surprisingly, and I was asked what was next for ADF and I gave them a brief outline of my vision as an extension of Isaac's Vision. A rather long discussion ensued and after a while I decided to return the favour and ask them what they thought about ADF - a totally opened ended question. I was about to learn a few things.
I was told that since we tell people that we are an international organization that we should act like one. Wow. While many of our members are from North America, we are experiencing growth in countries outside of North America. It is easy to forget that life goes on outside of our national boundaries, but it does. There are certain words and concepts that we use over and over again and we assume that everyone knows what they mean - this is not the case. Here,in some of our posts, we discuss political issues and often refer to liberals and conservatives, or left and right wings. These mean different things in different places and we need to learn to use these terms more wisely. In Australia, the Liberal Party is really the more conservative of a number of political parties and it is the Labour Party which is really more what we would call "liberal". In Brazil, left-wing denotes communist or socialist and these terms may or may not be positive terms in the ears of the listeners. The concept of "Freedom of Speech" is not a universally observed. While we take it for granted and while people here often say whatever they may please because they feel they have the right to do so, this sometimes takes people abroad a little by surprise.
One suggestion that was made was to use ADF Discuss or the General Discussion ADF page to discuss general questions about ADF and not necessarily about politics or other issues that may not be of interest or germane to a foreign (or domestic) audience. While we may have pressing social issues here in America, those issues may be seen totally differently abroad or may be viewed in a broader manner such as poverty or environmental issues. I think it is important to remember context and immediacy. After all, 13% of our membership lives outside of the United States.
In speaking with one of the Protogrove members, I was surprised to discover that they had let their membership lapse.. When I questioned them about it, I was told that an ADF Priest had told them that if they didn't believe in a particular way (and this was not about religion), that they shouldn't renew their membership. To say that I was flabbergasted is an understatement. I explained to this newly-renewed member that just because this person is a priest, does not indicate that they speak for the membership or leadership of ADF. No one in leadership should ever tell another member not to renew because of a difference of opinion: we are orthopraxic and not orthodoxic - we won't tell you what to believe. And, more importantly, we will never tell you not to renew. I would not consider that telling a person not to renew is a leadership statement from a priest. In fact, it is quite the opposite. As Archdruid and as a member of the Mother Grove, I apologized to them all for this particular incident.
Finally, I was told that the Dedicant Manual needs a definite revision and I tend to agree. I am going to run this proposal past the Mother Grove and the ADF Preceptor for comment. I have often told people that the Dedicant program is a series of 11 assignments packaged into one large submission. I think perhaps a review of the presentation and some of the verbiage might be in order.
Next in Part II: The Beltaine Rite
A Question of Balance
It is not hard to sense a lack of balance in the world around us from time to time. Even close to home, balance may seem illusive and it appears, at times, as though there is an effort to unbalance things in general from the world without.
It is in time like these that we look to ourselves for balance. It is when one looks within to ground and center and attempt to rediscover or to rekindle that balance. Winter and summer are an example of that balance. In one hemisphere we have the longest day or the year; in another we have the shortest day of the year. Somewhere, in some barrow or mound, the rays of light are finding their way down some long-ago constructed passage way to show the treasures and wisdom found therein.
Now that our inner chambers have been enlightened, it is time to DO something as opposed to just finding our center and holding it. While one may assuredly do a Core Order of Ritual to celebrate the High Day, what about the other 55 days in between? I have a suggestion which might help and may be easier that a Core-Order-Ritual-a-Day: how about devotionals?
Devotionals are really all about balance. We make offerings to an entity because we are a) devoted to that entity, and b) devoted to our practice. An entity, to define my terms, may be an Ancestor, a Nature Spirit, or a Shining One. The divisions thereunder are many and varied.
Devotionals are meant, in my opinion, to be daily events. By building a daily practice, we get better acquainted with the spirits that we work with. Household spirits are a good place to start, in my opinion, because we share a space with them on a daily basis. I consider them to be spirits of nature and certainly spirits of the place.
At the end of this post, you will find a devotional addressed to Manannan mac Lir. This is something I use of a daily basis and I wanted to present it as an example that everyone can do, solitary or non-solitary alike. I feel devotionals such as this may help keep a member’s interest and practice piqued between High Days. I know that many of our Solitary members feel isolated or alone out there. The use of devotionals, especially as summer and winter bring long days and / or long nights, is a great way of developing relationships and keeping the ADF work alive in our lives, today and everyday.
I hope this devotional brings you closer to Manannan Mac Lir and the to balance we all seek.
A Manannan mac Lir Devotional
Hail to you, Manannan mac Lir,
God of the Irish Sea,
Lord of the Isle of Mann,
He who walks upon the waves.
There are rocks that jut from the water, my Lord,
Please protect me from them;
There are eddies that form along the shore, my Lord,
Please protect me from them;
There are pitfalls and traps along the Way, my Lord,
Please protect me from them.
As I begin my journey this day,
Please stand with me, my Lord;
As I continue my journey this day,
Please walk with me, my Lord;
As I near my destination,
Please consul me as to the path ahead, my Lord.
Help me to walk with wisdom today,
And every day,
Let me walk the Narrow Way,
The Watercourse Way,
And set me true to my course.
Accept this offering my Lord:
I honor and I thank you,
Manannan mac Lir.
As issued by the ADF Mother Grove
We call out to those in need and voice our support and solidarity with the
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe:
We ask that the remains of ancestors be respected and not be destroyed,
damaged, or moved without exercising the greatest of care and understanding
in relocating remains, if such an activity is called for. If at all
possible, we would like ancestors left when ancestors have been laid to
rest. We hold our ancestors sacred and hold the ancestors of the indigenous
people of this continent sacred as Ancestors of the Bone, namely those
ancestors that lived on the land before us;
We ask that sacred sites be left alone and not turned under by plough, by
bulldozer, or by excavation equipment when other alternatives present
themselves. Holy sites retain the blessings of the Nature Spirits that have
communed, convened, and celebrated on those spots. When at all possible, we
ask that these sites be left in the way that they were found: still
accessible to those who practice their ways there and safe from unnecessary
We honor those who wish to preserve, protect, and revere the sacred
life-giving waters that are a gift to all from the Mother Earth, or Earth
Mother, to the people who live and worship on the land. We recognize that
the Earth Mother is not the same for all people, but bends, shapes, and
adapts Herself to the locations on which she extends and flourishes. We
honor the Earth Mother in our ways, and we honor the Earth Mother in the
ways of those who live in this place.
We call out to those in need and voice our support and solidarity with the
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and give blessings for peace and success.
To Those of Open Minds and Open Hearts, we at ADF reaffirm that which we hold important:
“Membership and rank in ADF, attendance at public or semipublic ADF activities, and participation in any Druidic Study Program, shall not be denied to any person on the basis of race, ancestry, color, physical disability (except as mentioned elsewhere in this article), age, gender, or affectional orientation, but may be denied to individuals practicing creeds inimical to Neopagan Druidism.”
“Proven communication or behavior of a virulently racist, sexist, homophobic, heterophobic, anti-Semitic, or otherwise bigoted manner, shall be grounds for expulsion from ADF.” (ADF Constitution, Article 5, Discrimination) Many ADF members follow the Northern Gods and they, along with all of our members and people of like practice, honor these words, these ideals, and this Way.
Rev. Jean (Drum) Pagano Archdruid ADF
The Practical Value of Devotion
I have often talked about the importance of daily devotionals. We, as ADF Druids, often state that by making offerings one builds relationships between the Kindreds, the Earth Mother, and almost any deity or spirit one may think of. We feel that this is the case; we believe that this is the case. It is fundamental to how we worship: we give so that the Kindreds/Earth Mother/deities/and spirits may give back in return. “May” is the functional word in this statement. I believe that the powers-that-be may chose to or not to return the blessings to us.
I discovered sometime ago that one may find unusual results when devotional practices are combined with everyday, practical undertakings. When I was taking one of the courses in the Brewers’ Guild Study Program, one was asked to make up a prayer – or a devotional – when making one’s brew/mead/wine. I wrote a separate song for each batch and I asked the Dagda to not only bless what I was making, but to help make it a successful undertaking. I not only prayed to the Dagda in song, I devoted the fruit of my work to Him.
The various wines/mead/metheglen that I made turned out well, and I felt, in my own mind, that the Dagda had blessed my work. The metheglen that I made even won 2nd place in a people’s choice award at an ADF Festival. I felt that the work that I did was blessed and was also an offering so that whenever someone drank one of my creations, they were also honouring the Dagda by drinking what had been offered to Him.
When I was running in races – a few years ago – I used to always begin the race with a prayer. I would ask for strength, stamina, speed, and endurance. For each mile that I ran, I would repeat that same prayer. While I never did finish in first place, I felt that the prayer and the rhythm of the prayer were instrumental in my doing as well as I did. Since I ran races every week, this was an activity that was carried out repeatedly with what I considered to be positive results.
In this case, the practical value of devotion was that it became internalized as a part of my running regimen. It wasn’t separate in the least. Running and the prayer that accompanied it were integrally intertwined. The devotion and the activity became one, naturally and organically.
I have been gardening for years. I find it healthy and therapeutic. My father has been growing tomatoes from seed for years, so every year, he would plant his tomatoes seeds in February, on the first quarter or sixth night of the moon, and then he would nurture those seeds until they became seedlings and then he would give me a lot of them. My father’s tomatoes have flown on airplanes with me and have been grown in many states. They are fabulous tomatoes. I consider them not only a gift, but a legacy.
My father turned 95 this year and this was the first year in my memory that he did not grow his tomatoes. I did what he used to do last year, which was to keep the seeds, label them, and get them ready to be planted in February, on the sixth night of the moon.
When I plant seeds, or when I plant seedlings, I say a prayer to the Earth Mother for each one. I thank her for the gift of potential and say that I plant this plant in Her name, and that the bounty will be in her honour. I then place the plant in the ground, arrange the soil nicely around each one, and then wait. As time passes and as the seeds and seedlings grown into hearty plants, I am always amazed at the transformation. The prayer that launched the plants is repeated again when the vegetables and fruits are harvested. For each tomato, for each leaf of basil, for every gift of the Earth Mother, I thank her for her bounty. When we plant something, we expect it to grow. Water, fertilize, care and more water, and we expect results. It is perhaps the expectation of agriculture. Yet, for a person who reveres the Earth Mother and the Spirits of Nature, this is an example of the laws of hospitality. We make offerings, in the form of seeds and/or seedlings and prayers. We continue to make offering through out the growing season. As the season matures, as the plants mature, they produce food for us and also exhibit the miracle of growth. When the fruits and vegetables are ready for harvest, we gather these gifts that have been given to us from the Earth Mother herself and the Spirits of Nature and we give thanks for that which has been given.
In a way, the waters that we give as offerings provide a tremendous gift in return. To the unknowing or to the unaware, this is merely the planting of seeds, the watering of the garden, and the picking of fruits and vegetables. Yet, to a child of the Earth Mother, it is really so very much more. It is an observance of a cycle that is as old as the world itself, that demonstrates the bounty of nature and the miracle of growth and harvest, and the exchange that happens right in our very own garden. We offer water as a practical gift of devotion, of the work that is to be done, and we gather the great gifts from the Earth Mother Herself. It is the practical side of devotion that finds the mundane, transforms it through offering and practice, into something sacred, through our belief, through our practice, through the harvest of the work that we have done. How fitting that we touch the earth when we gather the harvest: one hand on the plant, one hand on the Earth Mother, and the cycle is complete.
This Collection of Three
I was looking at the ADF website the other day, and a few things stuck out for me. I would like to share them with you.
From the ADF By Laws: We are dedicated to the preservation of our Holy Mother Earth, the full achievement of human potential, the revival of the worship of the Old Gods in a modern context, and the creation of a world of peace, love, freedom, health, and prosperity for all intelligent beings.
Our vision is that the Gods and Spirits are served in the modern world through:
Public temple worship with a skilled priesthood
Accessible religious training for all
A spiritual relationship with the Earth
Sustainable Pagan institutions
A flourishing family and community Pagan culture
Commonality of ritual practice
Honoring the Earth Mother
Scholarship and research
Reciprocity with the Gods and Spirits
Respect for others through living our virtues
Service to the community, land, and the Gods and Spirits
A few things out of this collection of three stood out to me: while these things apply to everyone collectively or individually, I wanted to focus for this moment on the ones that speak to individuals, the individuals that make up ADF.
The preservation of the Earth Mother and a revival of the worship of the Old Gods in a modern context is really what drew me to ADF in the first place and perhaps many others as well. The practitioners of an Earth-friendly religion would probably find the preservation of the Earth, our Earth Mother, as something desirable. Bring back the Old Gods? I think every one of us is called to this vision and the reality of making-it-so. In fact, this is something each and every one of us can do. I also see it akin to the “A spiritual relationship with the Earth” provision of our vision and the “Honoring the Earth Mother” part of our values.
Our values go on to mention the “commonality of ritual practice” and “reciprocity with the Gods and Spirits”, which are the hallmarks of what we do – that is our practice as is reflected in the use of the Core Order of Ritual and the practice of *ghosti, or reciprocity through offerings with the Gods and Spirits.
We also talk about “Accessible religious training for all”. This typically means the Dedicant Program and the various other study programs that stream from that first effort. Yet, here is an interesting idea and pathway that extends from this collection of three: you don’t need to be an ADF Dedicant to find the commonality of ritual practice and reciprocity with the Gods and Spirits. Folks that have or haven’t completed the Dedicant Program can be equally capable ADF Druids in practice and in relationship to the Kindred(s) that we honour.
Yes, yes, we would like for people to do the Dedicant Program and the other study programs that we offer free of charge. By doing so, one will experience the Eight High Days that we acknowledge. One will learn of the virtues and read some books that encourage scholarship, and make your altar, and do all the things that a Dedicant can do – but you may not desire to do so now – or ever. So how can we offer this “accessible religious training for all”?
For those people who are members of or attend worship services and/or other activities with Groves or Protogroves or Worship Groups, one may easily watch and learn at each of the public High Day observances. They are open to the public and I will guess that a good explanation of what is about to happen and why will precede each ritual. By doing so, one can take that ritual work that is observed and put it into practice for one’s self, whenever the need arises or the desire to reach out and make offerings to the Kindred(s) is felt.
Yet, not everyone has access to or membership in Groves, Protogroves, and Worship Groups – what then? Well, that is where some of the rest of us can help. This will take a little bit of searching, but not too much. First, consult the Liturgist Guild Yearbooks, in the member’s section of the ADF website at https://www.adf.org/members/guilds/liturgists/yearbooks/index.html. This has a list of ritual, prayers, and devotionals that were submitted to the Guild over a number of years. Many of the full rituals are in Core Order of Ritual (COoR) format and would be a good way to learn one’s way around the Core Order. If the rituals aren’t help enough, reach out to a priest – they are well versed in ritual and I predict will be very happy to help with ritual form. We have 33 priests currently – along with two more priests that are retired – and they would be glad to help with your ritual or offerings questions. I am one of those priests, so please feel free to reach out to me as well. Here is a link, under “Clergy”: https://www.adf.org/about/leaders/index.html
I would expect that while people may find a diversity of expression within a ritual context from our priests, one should also find a commonality of practice as far as the Core Order of Ritual goes. There are a number of articles on the ADF website about the Core Order, but why consult an article when you can talk to a priest instead.
As a priest, I have an understanding and am experienced with the practice of the Core Order of Ritual. Yet, as an ADF Druid, I can also make offerings to the Kindreds on a daily basis and help build my relationship with them every time I do so, Core Order or not. The building of relationships is what drives me onwards as an ADF Druid because I believe that it works. I feel the Kindred(s) in my life, sometimes forcefully, sometimes, quietly, but by doing, I feel more attached to my practice and also to that of ADF and its members as well.
I want everyone to be able to build relationships with their Kindred(s). In doing so, I believe that folks will feel their presence in their life and that the experience will enrich their lives. I hope, by the same building of relationships, that our members, and especially our solitary members, are able to build this relationship with the Kindreds and also with the organization that represents the work that we do. There is a beauty in practice. There is a beauty in practice with a group of other people. Yet, even if I am by myself, there is a beauty and value in practice that I can take with me wherever I go. One need only to step out doors or look out the window to see and/or feel the Earth Mother. One need only know that each and every ADF Druid, regardless of where they are, stand on that same Earth Mother and find themselves equally supported by her – yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This, at the most fundamental level, we have in common: however, with practice and through practice, we have so much more.
Devotionals arise out of practice. Sometimes they arise out of careful planning; other times they are the result of an impression in the moment. I was at the shore of Lake Erie this morning, in some way my "sea". Looking out on the distant waters in contrast to the shore, I thought, as I often do, about Manannan mac Lir. This was composed and offered on the spot. I felt Manannan's presence and this is for him - and you.
To Manannan Mac Lir
O Manannan Mac Lir
I am but a tree along the shore,
Water from the sea
Nourishes my roots,
Wind from the earth,
Blows across my branches,
Sun from the sky,
Warm against my leaves.
The water makes such noise
As it clashes with the shore,
Rock, splash, reverberate
Such that my thoughts are
Drowned out by the clamour
Of the surf
I look beyond the ninth wave
And I know that you are there
Carry me out to that place
Where profundity meets purpose
Carry us out to where
The sea meets the sky
Gulls fly by,
Gentle on the wind,
Where silence and
The undulating sea
Speak lessons to the soul
The Blessings of the Earth Mother to us all! I was elected Archdruid after Rev. Kirk Thomas' decision not to run for a third term. May the Blessings of Health, Wealth, and Wisdom be with him always and may the Kindred always provide!
Activities performed in the previous quarter: I attended a number of festivals including Texas Imbolc, Pantheacon, ConVocation, and Ad Astra To The Stars. I communicated with many members during the recent election asking and answering questions. I wrote to people who were not renewing in hopes of learning why and was able to get a few people to reconsider and rejoin. I was interviewed for a number of blogs and publications and continued to talk to people about ADF and Isaac's vision whenever the opportunity presented itself. What we have here is very special - I want people to understand Isaac's Vision and Our Way of Worship.
The spiritual state of the organization, spiritual activities and growth in the previous quarter: The spiritual state of the organization is strong. I inherit a solid organization that is full of hard-working and devoted members who do their part to honour the Kindreds and worship in the ways of their hearths and their hearts. There is still work to do. We have been gaining members, ordaining and elevating priests, and talking to people. We want to know what people think and also want people to understand what we are doing with our church. In my travels and my correspondences with individuals, I am constantly awed by the depth of practice and sincerity in our members. While political challenges may arise from time to time, we are still walking the road that Isaac envisioned for us many years ago. We do not walk alone.
Where ADF is in terms of its long-term Vision: Our long-term vision continues, along the lines of Isaac's Vision. We have reached out to people across the world with rituals delivered along electronic pathways, reaching more and more people every day. We have members on six continents and Groves and Protogroves on four continents. We are growing - always as fast as a speeding oak - but the acorns fall farther and farther away from the central tree that finds itself in the United States. WE are ADF International and we are proud of our reach and outreach. We have more to do. The Mother Grove will be meeting this year for strategic planning and we will discuss Isaac's Vision at length along with leadership's thoughts on growth and planning as well as asking the membership for some input on certain topics. I think as we look around at ADF, what we see is good.
Planned activities for the next quarter: Festival season is upon us! Wellspring, Three Rivers, Eight Winds, Summerlands, Midnight Flame, and Harvest Nights beckons as welcome stops along the Way. ADF will be doing the main rites for Pan Pagan festivals such as Chrysalis Moon, Pan Pagan, and others. I will be speaking at a number of these venues. I will be reaching out to other Druid leaders and building on our commonalities. I look for ADF to become a place where everyone is welcome at our table and the Core Order of Ritual is broad enough for many, many people. I also want to mention that while I am a believer in the Dedicant Program and the Programs of Study of ADF, we have many devout and practicing members who have not done the Dedicant Program but who are still ADF Druids. We celebrate the great diversity of our practice while reveling in the commonalities of that same practice.
Other comments/information, personal summary of events, etc: I have completed some additional training and I encourage those people who have the time to look at our many programs. We have some GREAT Guilds, SIGs, Kins, and Orders. We continue to offer our great publication "Oak Leaves" and look forward to including more and varied works therein. We have a vast network of practice and learning and worship that spans the entire globe. We honour and support our members in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres and understand that the Wheels of the Year turn above and below the Equator equally. I have several blogs that I write each month and look to the Arch Druid's blog for occasional thoughts and insights. Solitary members - if you want someone from ADF to talk to you, to visit with you, to reach out to you, drop me a line and let us know. The Blessings of the Earth Mother to us all!
The blessings of the Earth Mother to you all!
Great power about us that brings us heat and thus life,
Moves from one place on the ecliptic to another.
Fire lit on every hilltop,
Often, in the distant past,
Now today, in Groves and homes that are aware
Hopefully to all hilltops in the future, again.
We celebrate this fire festival of life,
In its many phases.
We remember and speak to the ancestors who passed,
This past season,
And every season from here to the beginning,
We speak the ancestors of our hearth and heart,
We stand, in respect, on those ancestors who lived on this land,
We celebrate the day nestled in the spirits of nature,
Here is our home;
We are not cut away from them,
They are here with us;
We are not separate from them,
We live with them,
Even if we keep to separate spaces;
We look for rejoinder with them,
We celebrate the connection.
We bask in the light of the Shining Ones on this day,
As they shines their wonders and their magics upon us.
Let us work our magics as well this day!
We touch the Earth Mother and she is warm and welcoming,
Waking from a slumber wearing a mantle of green.
We call to her this day and every day in thanks.
In the perfect symmetry and beauty of the Earth Mother,
We celebrate with our friends in a different hemisphere,
Who gather to them all of the same things,
Yet see the Earth Mother as she rests.
What an amazing world we behold!
May the blessings of the Earth Mother and the Kindreds be yours this day,
Be it Beltaine or Samhain,
Be it Waking or resting,
Be it warming or cooling!
We gather together as one!
It’s that time of year again, when the champagne corks pop and the Times Square ball drops, and everyone shouts out, “Happy New Year!” It’s the time of the changing of the year, when Old Man 2015 gives way to the new baby 2016.
The year is changing. The change of the seasons at our High Days is something that we’re all used to and look forward to. We know that time is circular from the Wheel of the Year and that change is a normal and natural part of the year’s progression. But change is also a normal and natural part of living. We welcome in some changes and spurn others, but change will happen. Indeed, the only thing in life that any of us can truly count on is change.
Change can bring joy, but change can also bring grief. We go though many changes in our lives, and change can be scary. Even if our circumstances are not all that wonderful, at least we’re used to them and know how they work. Change means stepping into the unknown, and that can be frightening at even the best of times. But change also brings with it hope and new opportunities. Change simply is, and by maintaining a strong devotional practice while living in the moment we can navigate these uncharted waters, be they big or small.
ADF is strong, very strong. While once we depended on the fortunes of one man, we now rest on the firm foundation maintained by us all. We will change over time but we will survive and thrive.