Archdruid Blog

Working with High Days is a wonderful thing, but High Days come and go eight times a year. What can someone do if they want to develop a monthly, weekly, or daily practice? This series of articles will investigate building a devotional practice with the Three Realms, namely, Land, Sea, and Sky. Lunar-based devotional practices will also be discussed as part of the Sky realm. Land In approaching the land as the object of a devotional practice, one should not focus on the creatures living on the land, but the land itself. While all the earth is “land”, each locale has variations and differences that make it unique. One can approach this devotional in one of two ways: a) acknowledging and working with the local variations of the land to anchor one’s practice in context with the local surroundings; or b) working with the land as an entity. This option is not the same as working with the Earth Mother.   In working with the land and devotionals, one should always have an offering in mind. The perfect gift for land-based entities is water. Water will most always be absorbed into the land and will therefore be an offering that will immediately be consumed. I believe that offerings which are immediately consumed are immediately accepted. The land may be found in the soil in a potted plant in your home. It may be found in your garden outside. It may exist in a nearby park. It may be found in a painting or a photograph of a landscape. It is where you find it. Why Devotion? Why establish a devotion to the land, outside of a relationship to the Earth Mother? Let’s use the garden as an example. While I feel that the Earth Mother is at work most directly with the garden, the plants that inhabit your garden are alive and they require your help and your interaction. When I place the plants or seeds in the garden, I am ever-mindful that through the interaction of light, heat, soil, and water – along with some degree of spirit – these plants will either produce fruit, vegetable, flower, or some other bounty that will benefit, feed, beautify, or otherwise enrich my life. Once the plant is first put in the ground or the seed is sown, I say a prayer for the well-being of the seed/plant. I offer my work in planting to a deity, be it Goddess or God, and ask for their blessing while it grows. As it grows, I remain ever-mindful of the work that must be done between seeding and producing, and I treat the plants as living, beneficial entities. Once the seed is planted and the head breaks through the surface of the soil, there develops a relationship between plant and caretaker. In an area like mine, where rain has become less frequent than before, the plant cannot flourish without my help. This is where devotion arises: in the relationship between need and provision. I provide water so that the plant may grow Water is the offering in and of itself and it is also exactly what the plant needs. A relationship develops between plant and provider that should last all the season long.   Speak in Devotion As part of the devotional, I think it makes sense to talk to the plants in question, just like you would talk to a deity in one’s devotional practice. My neighbours got over the fact that I was talking to my garden rather quickly and it is just another voice in the wind to them. Another part of this devotional practice, whether it is garden or tree or plant in the window is care of the soil, care for the Earth. We must remove weeds and maintain the general care of the plant. Pruning of branches and care for roots can also be important for trees and saplings. Land devotionals can extend beyond the garden to roses, trees, lawns, patches of weeds, even potted plants in the house. It really is anything that grows on the earth or in earth. The possibilities are endless. When it is time to harvest the bounty of the plants, for every fruit, flower, vegetable, herb, etc. that I gather, I always say “Thank you for your bounty”. My offering to these plants, to these residents of the land while they are growing? Water and love. Even after they have ceased producing, I continue to water them and rejoice in the fact that they are alive and sharing this place, this space, with me. The relationship that develops between plant and person is unique – the plant is alive, and I am alive and we both share the need for companionship and nourishment. The devotional we establish becomes a devotion to life, to one of the Spirits of Nature. Cycles The Spirits of Nature teach us of the cycles in our world: birth, growth, flourishing, maturity, decline, and death. By establishing a devotional with the Land, we see, upfront and personal how these cycles work, and we see ourselves, in a small way, in this annual cycle. We are all used to seeing our lives unfold in a linear fashion. Time moves forward in a straight line and we just add a day every day from the day we are born to the day we pass into the next world. I prefer to look at time in a cyclical manner, where our lives pass in cycles that return, as opposed to a straight line that just keeps going. For me, the hands of the clock measure our lives whether we live one year or 95 years: the clock doesn’t fill out until the end of our days. The hour hand measures our years; the second hand measures our progress through a given solar year. In this way, we are much like our plants, living a yearly cycle. With a garden, our plants live for a year and then they are no more. With perennials, these plants return every year and we may continue our devotionals with the same plants, our same objects of devotion. For plants that drop seeds, we can then establish devotions with the heirs of last year’s plants. In longer lived plants, like tree, we may find that they outlive us in the grand scheme of things. In this case, if the Gods provide, someone will take our place in the grander cycles of devotion. When we come to the end of our days, we return to the Earth Mother. Our bodies or our ashes will return to the land and will become a devotional in and of themselves. We will then become a part of the grander cycle of life and return, just like the Land to which we devoted ourselves. Here is my devotional for the Land: I call out to the land;; I offer you water to nurture Those plants and animals that live On you I will water you with regularity And devotion And love. From the living, To the living, For the life that arises. Thank you for the bounty That you bring to my life.  
Greetings! I wanted to give you the details of some of the items in front of the Mother Grove recently. A select committee of Mother Grove members is working through the SWOT Analysis that was completed earlier this year. We are currently working through that work and will report our findings as they become available. We are reviewing the appointment process and hope to have a finalized policy available soon. The Mother Grove is looking at various items on the website that may be outdated and/or have wrong addresses for the ADF Office. There have been some very preliminary discussions about establishing a permanent office location. Currently, the office address changes whenever the office manager changes. This was a non-issue for many years during the tenure of the late Hugh Hampton, but the address has changed twice since then and it might be best to find a way to allow it to remain stable indefinitely. We are looking for updates on the new ADF Public website  and aer hopeful to see its launch very soon. We will soon be putting out a call for a Project Manager to manage the new ADF Public and Member website initiatives and look forward to posting that position in the next few days. After the project manager is selected, we will begin identifying the critical components of the existing website and planning for their migration to a new website. The ADF Mother Grove Annual Retreat will once again be help in Toledo, Ohio on the first full weekend of December. Our next Mother Grove meeting will be held on Wednesday 12 September at 8PM. Remember that there are two ADF Festivals this month: Midnight Flame Festival in Bellaire, Michigan and the Rocky Mountain Retreat near Denver, Colorado. If you can attend, please do so. Blessings, Jean (Drum) Pagano Archdruid, ADF  
News from the Archdruid – Mid Vernal/Autumnal Equinox Season 2018 To begin, please let me cite our ADF Constitution to emphasize how we feel on matters of discrimination: Article 5: Discrimination 4.Proven communication or behavior that discriminates against any person based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, disability, or any otherwise virulently offensive language shall be grounds for expulsion from ADF. This does not include strong verbal statements about the theology, history, or psychological characteristics of other religions. There have been a number of issues in front of the Mother Grove and I would like to discuss them here. First and foremost, ADF Elections have just completed and we wish to thank all the individuals that participated as candidates, and also to those who participated in the vote. The newly elected positions are: Rev. Sean Harbaugh – Vice Archdruid Desiree Cook – Member’s Advocate Jenn Hatter – Non-Officer Director Rev. Lauren Mart – Non-Officer Director Shaz Cairns – Asia-Pacific Regional Druid Rev. Amber Doty – Central Regional Druid Rev. Nancy McAndrew – Southeast Regional Druid I would like to congratulate each and every one of these individuals and I look forward to working with them in the very near future. To the following outgoing Mother Grove members, I thank you for your service to both the Mother Grove and to ADF: Rev. Carrion Mann – Vice Archdruid Selene Tawny – Non-Officer Director Electronic Oak Leaves – as of this morning, the dream of an electronic version of our exceptional Oak Leaves publication has become a reality. The Mother Grove has voted to make Oak Leaves available at a reduced cost for our membership. Details will be forthcoming. ADF Store to be an on-line only store – the Mother Grove has voted to make the ADF Store an on-line only store. It will continue to be available via the website and offer the products it is known for. The Clergy Council currently does a healing working around the last quarter of the Moon each month. We put together a list of individuals who have agreed to be on the list, and we do a collective working around a certain time. Would there be interest among the Folk for doing the same kind of activity monthly? If so, please drop me a note at Perhaps we can set this up through the Healer’s Guild. I hope that everyone’s Spring/Autumn is going well, and if you have any comments and/or suggestions, please feel free to send them along. Vernal and Autumnal Blessings, Rev. Jean (Drum) Pagano Archdruid ADF  
Greetings! This has been a busy Imbolc season for ADF. First and foremost, we had forty members of Leadership take Cherry Hill Seminary's Consent Culture course, beginning in late January 2018. Cherry Hill kindly extended us a generous discount for signing up so many members - Thank you, Cherry Hill! - and one former and one current Archdruid donated 25% each towards the total cost of the course. This was not an easy undertaking for the Leadership group. We really didn't know what to expect from the course since we had roughly one week to sign up and begin the course. This was also a very challenging course for a number of leaders who were themselves victims of sexual abuse. Revisiting difficult and painful topics such as sexual abuse - especially when one was victimized - made for some difficult times for some leaders. In my eyes, I want to thank all the leaders that did take the course. I wanted our leaders to be exposed and made aware of the topics of what exactly a Consent Culture is, what it entails, and how to make ADF - especially ADF groups - safe for our members. Those who completed the course were awarded course credit in Cherry Hill seminary. The Mother Grove recently brought on a new Public Relations Director. Richelle Stephens came to us through a request for applications from the membership. We are very fortunate to have her on board. ADF Elections are now under way. Our Election Officer, Bonnie Landry, also came to us through an application request from the membership. The election began on March 15th and continues through April 15th. The Mother Grove is currently reviewing applications for Office Manager. The Office Manager position was vacated last year with the untimely death of Hugh Hampton, long-time ADF Office Manager and friend. Selene has been acting as Interim Office Manager until a new Office Manager is selected. The vision of an Electronic Oak Leaves is becoming a reality. The Mother Grove just passed a motion to make the option of electronic Oak Leaves available to members, so members can choose electronic, hard-copy, or both. Details will be made available in the coming weeks. A Blessed end to the Imbolc/Lughnasadh season for our members all across the globe and may there be balance as the Equinox comes to our world very soon. She Knows The Earth Mother knows all souls, All languages, All hearts. The deep waters that flow within her Are the rivers of our lives, Flowing and rippling Until they find their way to the sea. The waters evaporate into the sky, They fall as rain, And absorb, Until we come again. -Drum, late Imbolc 2018    
News from the Archdruid Early Imbolc 2018 Greetings! I just returned from Texas Imbolc in Texas and I must admit it is an excellent ADF festival, full of excellent workshops, rituals, and wonderful fellowship. Held at the beautiful U-Bar-U Ranch, it is a great way to begin the festival season. As I mentioned last month, I would like to begin each ADF festival with the first workshop addressing Consent and I am very pleased to announce that the first workshop at this festival was an airing of the “Consent Tea” video followed by a discussion with the attendees. The Mother Grove voted today 8 for and one abstain to appoint Richelle Stephens as our new PR Director. Richelle’s application came to us via our solicitation for applications. We are very excited to have her join our PR and Social Media team – welcome, Richelle! FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Mother Grove Approves New Public Relations Manager Members of the Mother Grove have voted to approve Richelle Stephens (ADF member #11904) for the position of Public Relations Manager. Stephens is a solitary practitioner in southern Colorado, and joined ADF in 2017. She currently works as a producer in the television news industry, and has experience with video/audio/graphics editing, marketing, and producing content for Web and social media. Stephens’ academic research into reporting on issues of diversity and culture was presented at the First Conference on Louisiana Studies in 2009. She is also developing a blog on full-time RV living. “I am excited to have someone of Richelle’s caliber help us with our Public Relations work and with our social media presentation,” said Rev. Jean “Drum” Pagano, ADF’s current Archdruid. Contact: Richelle Stephens, PR Manager (817) 455-6556   New Protogroves announced so far this year: Winter's Gift Protogrove, January 5, 2018 Protogrove of the Singing Oaks Springs, February 5, 2018 Protogrove of the Three Gorges, February 5, 2018   Upcoming Festivals:   Pantheacon – San Jose, California (Pan Pagan) 2/15 – 2/19 ConVocation – Dearborn, Michigan (Pan Pagan) 2/22 – 2/25 *Ghosti-Con – Albany, New York (ADF Festival) 3/22 – 3/25        
Imbolc and Lughnasadh blessings to People all across the world! The seasons and their cross-quarters dance hand in hand across the hemispheres. The increasing light of Imbolc and the great fires of Lughnasadh give us cause to celebrate!  
Imbolc and Lughnasadh blessings to People all across the world! The seasons and their cross-quarters dance hand in hand across the hemispheres. The increasing light of Imbolc and the great fires of Lughnasadh give us cause to celebrate!  
A Call to the Nature Spirits   It is cold this winter. Too cold. I feed a couple of outdoor cats and I stopped seeing one of them in mid-December. It is now the end of January and I fear the worst for her, although I remain always optimistic for her return. The life of an outdoor creature is a difficult one anytime of the year. It is especially difficult now. Everyday, I put food out for my outdoor cats. Every evening I do the same. My other outdoor cat, Ghost or *Ghosti or Ghost-y, comes everyday, often twice, and dines on the offerings I put outside. After the first cold snap in Dec ember, I became worried for these gentle creatures. When I have a concern, especially beyond the ability I have to care, I turn to the Earth Mother or the Kindreds for help. I thought that if anyone would understand the plight of outdoor animals, it would be the spirits of nature themselves. I believe that the spirits of nature are instrumental in teaching us about the cyclical nature of reality in our world. They are born, they grow, the flourish, they diminish, and they pass away. Like us. Some of them go through these cycles on an annual basis; others go through it over the course of time. Like us. While I put out food and shelter for the animals in my world, I begin to think of the other kindred spirits who are struggling with this weather like my friends do. What can I do to help on a grander scale than my offerings of food and shelter on the front porch? I know that my animal friends are not alone in this harsh season. I know there are others, just like mine. I act locally by the things I do here, but I truly feel that by calling upon the ubiquity of the Nature Spirits, that I can help not only my own friends, but all of the other creatures that may need. Will my offerings be enough to change the reality for millions upon millions of outdoor animals? Probably not. I may help one. I may help a few. I may help an ever-increasing number. Yet, through my practice, I can only do so much. Therefore, I put together a prayer that I say during my daily devotionals (they keep growing!) and I wanted to share that prayer with you. Here it is: Hail, Nature Spirits! I call out to you today, In this time of cold And harsh weather. Please, watch over Those Nature Spirits who are Least able to fend for themselves: Give them food, Give the shelter, Protect them from harm, I pray you, Nature Spirits Accept these offerings from my hands, Through yours, Into the places where they will do the most good.   The offerings I made were ones of food and shelter. I felt that these were offerings of immediacy and speak to the matter at hand. In my prayer, I ask for the Nature Spirits to protect the at-risk animals from harm – this is where the magical protection comes into play. What exactly can the Nature Spirits do? Will they keep all animals safe from harm? I think probably not. But I do believe, in my small corner of the world, that perhaps the animals at risk will find a place where they can stay out of the elements, either those that I have created, or those small, out of the way places where animals may find shelter. I believe that offerings and prayers are the things we can do to nudge the universe. I believe that the magic that the Nature Spirits can do is to nudge the physical universe in small ways as to make passage ways open, to make safety and shelter available, where it was seemingly not available before. This is my belief. It is not difficult for us to relate to the Ancestors – we all have someone that has passed from this world into the next. We can still remember them, we can still recall our interactions, we can still feel their presence in our world. They were there, and now they are not. It is not difficult for us to conceptualize of the Gods and Goddesses, the Shining Ones. When we first experienced need, or wonder, or piety, we put a face, a feeling, a sense to those entities that we call the Gods. We may not be able to picture them in our minds, but we have a sense for who they are. It is difficult, I believe, for us to conceptualize of the Nature Spirits. They are the entities closest at hand to us. They are here, living with us in this middle realm, our Earth. The Earth of the Nature Spirits and the Earth of we humans is here together, yet we may never see them. We may find that the unseen among the Nature Spirits are hard to fathom, are just beyond our understanding. Yet, I feel that they are there, waiting. By offering them the hospitality of your home or your environs, you acknowledge them and allow for a deeper relationship to blossom and develop. The Nature Spirits, in my mind, know those secret and hidden places that our animals friends can use to survive in this harsh time. The Nature Spirits cannot help alter the weather, but I truly believe that they can help other animals endure the weather and flourish. I will make my offering and my prayers. I remain optimistic.  
I am writing you today to inform you that Rev. Carrion Mann has resigned as ADF Preceptor effective 31 October 2017. Carrion first took over the job of ADF Preceptor in November of 2014 and was instrumental in implementing some needed changes in the office and the Council of Lore. I want to thank her for her hard work and dedication. Carrion will remain as a resource during the transition to the new ADF Preceptor. I have asked Rev. Rowen Grove to take over the job of ADF Preceptor and she has accepted. Rowen has been an ADF member since 2010. She finished her DP in 2012, became an Initiate in 2014, completed the Seers Guild Study Program also in 2014, and was Ordained as an ADF priest in 2016. She is a co-founder and Senior Druid of Chokecherry Grove in Denver, Colorado. She is currently working on the Generalist Study Program and the 2nd Circle of the Clergy Training Program. Please join me in welcoming Rowen as ADF Preceptor.  
We send out our hearts and prayers to the victims and families of those killed or injured in Las Vegas. It is impossible to understand the wanton disregard for life in such events but we pray for healing and peace. To this end, we make offerings in memory and hope.

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