Training

Training

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Books: Gaulish Celtic Studies:Ancient Fire: An Introduction to Gaulish Celtic Polytheism by Segomâros Widugeni: This is a go-to for anyone who is looking for a good introduction book to Gaulish polytheism.The Celtic Gauls: Gods, Rites, and Sanctuaries by Jean-Louis Brunaux: This book is a short, but a condensed overview of the Gaulish Celts and their culture.The World of the Druids by Prof. Miranda Aldhouse-Green PhD: She references some of the Celtic material from Britain and Ireland, but most of this text is about the Gaulish CeltsLady with a Mead Cup: Ritual, Prophecy and Lordship in the European Warband from La-Tene to the Viking Age by Michael J. EnrightA Crane Breviary and Guide Book: Rituals for the Cranes of ADF, when they must kindle their own Good Fire by Rev. Michael J Dangler Books: General Celtic Studies with Gaulish References:The Gods of the Celts by Prof. Miranda Aldhouse-Green PhDThe Ancient Celts by Barry CunliffeThe Magic Arts in Celtic Britain by Lewis Spence Books: Other Resources and Studies with Gaulish References:Our Own Druidry: Publication by Ár nDraíocht Féin: a Druid FellowshipMyths and Symbols in Pagan Europe by H.R. Davidson Videos: Gaulish and Other Resources:Cernunnos: Looking Every Which Way: by Ceisiwr Serith, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ap3LEcfVig&t=961sThe Gaulish God Taranis: by Ceisiwr Serith, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=233DWe89JRs&t=252sA Tour of the Nautes Pillar: by Rev. Michael J Dangler, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lzpQzxTk6c&feature=emb_logo Websites: Gaulish and Other Resources:Esus: by Rev. Michael J Dangler, http://www.chronarchy.com/esus/Cernunnos: Looking a Different Way: by Ceisiwr Serith, https://www.ceisiwrserith.com/therest/Cernunnos/cernunnospaper.htmNemeton Segomâros; Gaulish Polytheism in the Woods of Florida: by Segomâros Widugeni, http://polytheist.com/segomaros/page/7/Epona.net; A Scholarly Resource: by Natonos and Ceffyl (non-ADF), http://epona.net/index.htmlDeo Mercurio: by Viducus, son of Briganticus (non-ADF), http://www.deomercurio.be/en/index.htmlGaulish Personal Name Elements: by Rev. Michael J Dangler, http://www.chronarchy.com/essays/gaulpersnames.htmlFacebook Gaulish Polytheism Community (non-ADF): https://www.facebook.com/groups/162531797160858/
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Below are some resources we have found useful in progressing through ADF's training programs or just learning more about Our Druidry.A Recommended Reading List for DedicantsRecommended Out-of-Print BooksOther Recommended ReadingA List of Primary Source MaterialReadable Mythology BooksBooks by ADF MembersAncestors of the CeltsA Druid Irish DictionaryLearning Ancient I-E LanguagesADF members can find more resources in the members training section.
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I came to ADF after about five years of searching for a place where I could learn about spirituality and how my ancestors lived and worshipped. I basically wanted a place where I could learn—I was so tired of reading books where authors would differ on the same subject, and when I would ask others that had been following the path longer than I about the differences, I was always told, "It's however you feel it should be." I found in ADF a road map, if you will, of how to go about learning what I needed and wanted to learn.I was very concerned that what I wrote would not be what someone thought it should be, but this was not the case. I joined ADF in 1999 and one year later had finished my Dedicant's Program and ever since that time I have been very much into learning and spirituality—I just can't seem to get enough. I felt greatest pride when I wrote my Dedicant's Ritual; even though all of it was not mine, this paved the way for me to delve into writing other rituals.After finishing the Dedicant's Program, I felt the urge to promote it to others. I cannot emphasize enough how much finishing the program has aided me in my knowledge and spirituality. I really don't think people realize how much it will change them, and there is no easy way to convince them. When I would hear some say, "Why should I have to write it down?" or, "Well, I could just say I read the book, who would know?", this would frustrate me to no end. I now realize that there is no way for me to make people start or finish the Dedicant Program. I'm just happy that I have taken that first step, and boy has it opened a lot of doors into knowledge and spirituality for me.I still cannot emphasize enough the Dedicant's Program is great! I'm very happy to be a part of this wonderful group of people and look forward to more learning and growing.
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When I came to ADF, I came at the behest of a group of eclectic pagan friends who would roll their eyes at my constant theological and cosmological questions, and who ultimately suggested that I would be happier with "those Druids" because Druids think about such things.I came to ADF dragging behind me 30 years of Christian ministry. I immediately resonated with the people and loved the liturgy, but polytheism was so very foreign to me, and I didn't enjoy the mythology very much. Add to that my natural resistance to going from being on the cutting edge of the then current wave of Christian theology known as "cosmic spirituality," and suddenly finding myself a neophyte.I brought this baggage to the Dedicant Program. I didn't resist it, but I wasn't really sure how valuable it would be. I kind of thought of it as a stepping stone to be "gotten through" so I could get on with what I was really interested in—the clergy study program.By the time I completed all the documentation nine months later, I was astounded at the change the Dedicant Program had wrought in me. I no longer felt like a Yawhist who was studying Druidry, I began to feel like a Druid. I remember asking our Senior Druid in the beginning if I would really be a Druid if I believed in One God/Many Aspects rather than being a true polytheist. By the time I finished the DP, it was no longer an issue because I now had patrons, and the concept of polytheism was as natural as monotheism had seemed before.The dedicant's journey was truly an adventure, not only anp unforgettable one, but one that opened up whole new worlds and paradigms for me. From my first foray into Berresford Ellis's The Druids to the last pen stroke of my patron rite, I was immersed in a whole new world, one that has become my life and my breath.
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The Dedicant Path (DP) is ADF's beginning training program that serves as a year-long introduction to the beliefs and practices of Our Druidry. It is also the prerequisite for other ADF training systems such as guild study programs.Frequently Asked QuestionsA Preview of the Dedicant PathA Further Preview: Right ActionA Further Preview: Pagan PietyOnline Dedicant JournalsUncertainty and the Dedicant JourneyThe DP: A Milestone on a Wondrous JourneyInside the Dedicant Path (1)Inside the Dedicant Path (2)
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When Isaac Bonewits founded ADF, he wrote in his Vision statement that: In ADF we believe that excellence in clergy training and practice is vital for any healthy, growing religion. To that end we are attempting to create a professional clergy training program equal in difficulty and superior in results to anything done by the world's other religions. Unlike many alternate religions, we will never have "instant initiations" into our clergy. The path toward clergy within ADF is not easy: you cannot purchase credentials from us (indeed, the cost of the training is, at this time, simply the cost of membership in ADF: there are no hidden fees), nor can you bring "transfer credit" from another tradition with you (though we encourage those who are interested to study in more than just our tradition). In order to become clergy in ADF, you must engage in our training programs and complete them. The program of study is built to require a disciplined approach to Our Druidry over time, as well as providing the practical and theoretical knowledge that a Priest will need. The steps are fairly simple: Join ADF. Complete the documentation for the ADF Dedicant Path (which takes approximately 1 year of solid study). Complete the baseline clergy training (this can be done, depending on how focused you are, in about six to twelve weeks). Complete the First Circle of the ADF Clergy Training Program (roughly one year of dedicated study). Once you have completed the First Circle of the CTP, you are eligible to be ordained as an ADF Priest. To become an ADF Consecrated Priest, there is an additional year-long training course to be taken. An ADF Senior Priest can expect to train for one additional year. Keep in mind that the above timelines are based on a student who spends his or her time deeply involved in the study surrounding their clergy training. Most students will take longer than the minimum amount of time indicated above. The path of an ADF Priest is open to all members of ADF at this time, whether male or female, old or young (so long as you're past your 18th birthday), solitary or Grove-affiliated. Completion of the Clergy Training Program does not guarantee that you will become clergy, as background checks and ritual skill factor in as much (or more) than academic work. While we don't have a system of endless interviews, we do hope to meet our candidates prior to their ordinations: please do consider attending local festivals where you can meet some of our members and leadership. So, here are the big three questions most people ask: Question: How much does it cost to become an ADF Priest? Answer: By keeping your ADF membership current, you have paid all you need to pay to ADF for the training. When you apply for ordination, there may be an administrative cost (to cover background checks or ritual items), or travel costs to get to a festival, but those costs are nominal in general. This is "cheap" compared to other courses of study, we know. But we believe our students will pay back to the Pagan community far more than the cash value of their training, and that's more than enough for us. Question: How long does it take before I can become ordained? Answer: It depends on the student, but you should expect a minimum of 2 years. Some students have taken as long as 6-7 years before feeling prepared to apply for ordination. Question: Can I transfer previous experience/coursework/training into the CTP? Answer: No, the ADF Clergy Training Program is self-contained and is a complete program. There are occasions within some courses where a previously-written paper or essay may apply, but you cannot test out of an entire course.
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The following is a brief timeline of the history of the "Celts", drawing on information from Brittania and other online resources.Overall TimelineBritish Isles and Cultures Referred To10,000 BCENeolithic (new stone age) Period beings in Europe.5000 BCENeolithic Period begins in British Isles; first evidence of farming appears; stone axes, antler combs, pottery in common use.4500-2500 BCEKurgan culture.4000 BCEConstruction of the "Sweet Track" (named for its discoverer, Ray Sweet) begun; many similar raised, wooden walkways were constructed at this time providing a way to traverse the low, boggy, swampy areas in the Somerset Levels, near Glastonbury; earliest-known camps or communities appear (i.e. Hembury, Devon).3500-3000 BCEFirst appearance of long barrows and chambered tombs; at Hambledon Hill (Dorset), the primitive burial rite known as "corpse exposure" was practiced, wherein bodies were left in the open air to decompose or be consumed by animals and birds.3000-2500 BCECastlerigg Stone Circle (Cumbria), one of Britain's earliest and most beautiful, begun; Pentre Ifan (Dyfed), a classic example of a chambered tomb, constructed; Bryn Celli Ddu (Anglesey), known as the "mound in the dark grove," begun, one of the finest examples of a "passage grave."2500 BCEBronze Age begins; multi-chambered tombs in use (i.e. West Kennet Long Barrow) first appearance of henge "monuments.; construction begun on Silbury Hill, Europe's largest prehistoric, man-made hill (132 ft).2500-1500 BCEMost stone circles in British Isles erected during this period; purpose of the circles is uncertain, although most experts speculate that they had either astronomical or ritual uses.2300 BCEConstruction begun on Britain's largest stone circle at Avebury.2300-1400 BCEBattle-Axe or Corded Ware culture; Beaker Folk identified by the pottery beakers (along with other objects found in their single burial sites).2000 BCEMetal objects are widely manufactured in England about this time, first from copper, then with arsenic and tin added; woven cloth appears in Britain, evidenced by findings of pins and cloth fasteners in graves; construction begun on Stonehenge's inner ring of bluestones.1800-1200 BCESecular control of society passes from priests to those who control the manufacture of metal objects.1500 BCEFarms (houses and separate, walled fields) in use on Dartmoor (Devon) and in uplands of Wales; stone circles seem to fall into disuse and decay around this time, perhaps due to a re-orientation of the society's religious attitudes and practices; burial mounds cease to be constructed; burials made near stone circles or in flat cemeteries.1500-1300 BCEÚnetice culture.1500-1200 BCETumulus culture.1300-700 BCEEmergence of a warrior class who now begins to take a central role in society. Some believe that these people, also known as the Urnfield civilization, are the "proto-Celts."1300 BCEProto-Celts arrive in Spain.1200 BCEProto - Celtic cultures in Gaul and Germania.1000 BCEEarliest hill-top earthworks ("hillforts") begin to appear, also fortified farmsteads; increasing sophistication of arts and crafts, particularly in decorative personal and animal ornamentation.750 BCEIron replaces bronze, Iron Age begins.600 BCENew Celtic invasion to Spain.600 BCEConstruction of Old Sarum begun.500 BCEEvidence of the spread of Celtic customs and artifacts across Britain; more and varied types of pottery in use, more characteristic decoration of jewelry. There was no known invasion of Britain by the Celts; they probably gradually infiltrated into British society through trade and other contact over a period of several hundred years; Druids, the intellectual class of the Celts (their own word for themselves, meaning "the hidden people"), begin a thousand year flourish.450 BCECeltic tribes come to Italy.280 BCECelts arrive to the Balkans and Asia Minor.150 BCEMetal coinage comes into use; widespread contact with continent.100 BCEFlourishing of Carn Euny (Cornwall), an Iron Age village with interlocking stone court-yard houses; community features a "fogou," an underground chamber used, possibly, for storage or defense.133 BCESpain conquered by Rome.50 BCEGaul conquered by Rome.43 CERomans conquer Britain.250 CEOgham inscriptions in Ireland and Scotland.409 CERomans leave Britain.450 CECeltic migrations to Brittany.844 CEKingdom of Scotland.In addition to the titles linked above, you may also find The Celtic World by Miranda Green and Europe: A History by Norman Davies, to be of interest.
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While the books listed on the Primary Recommended Reading List are preferred, there are occasions where Dedicant's can and have requested to review alternative books.Below are some of the books that have been approved as alternative resources by the Preceptor of ADF.Hearth CultureClassic Mythology: Images and Insights by Stephen L. Harris and Gloria PlatznerIn Search of Ancient Ireland by Carmel McCaffreyThe Wisdom of the Celts (somewhat dated, not as recommended) by Gina SigillitoModern PaganismIntroduction to Pagan Studies by Barbara Jane DavyThese books were not approved for the purpose of the Dedicant's Program.The Celts by Jean MarkaleThe Religion of the Ancient Celts by J.A. MacCullochOmens, Oghams, and Oracles by Richard Webster
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Some of you who are reading this clicked on it knowing full well who your Patrons are and what Hearth Culture appeals to you. If you are one of these people, this note will likely hold less use for you. On the other hand, some of you have been looking through the rest of the online information on Ar nDraiocht Fein (ADF). Perhaps you found ADF in a quick search, or perhaps you read about this group in a book such as Drawing Down The Moon. You're intrigued, but you're looking at all of the Dedicant information and thinking that you're not quite certain what Hearth cultures interest you, let alone who your Patrons might be. I'm certain that some of you are out there because I have been one of you. Still am, in fact, though to a lesser degree. You see, I was interested in aspects of the Vision of ADF, but the Dedicant Path scared me. It seemed to be designed for those who were more certain than I. The funny thing about certainty is that most people appear to have more of it on the outside than on the inside. You might think that the Dedicant Program is full of people who know exactly what they practice and why, are certain in all of their relationships with the Kindreds, and in general march along a road toward the horizon. Mind you, you'd be wrong. My first real clue that there was uncertainty and exploration involved was through reading the public Dedicant journal of Michael J Dangler. When I read it, I discovered that the Dedicant Program is full of human beings. A few of his entries indicate difficulty in teasing out who one of his Patrons was. He didn't start out with the specific aim of building a relationship with Esus. Reading through his journal made me realize that I had falsely read into the public information on the Dedicant Program as being a travel itinerary, complete with vouchers redeemable for tickets to the Hearth Culture and Patrons of my choice, provided I walked into the travel agency knowing where I was headed. But that wasn't it at all; it was a travel brochure. It pointed out some of the highlights, but didn't get deeply into all possible variations. Some people might be interested in the continental Celtic culture, but not have any idea who their Patrons are. Others, like me, might be more drawn to other parts of the Vision of ADF, such as the commitment to public ritual, or even the commitment to excellence. You can see the range of others' experiences in the Dedicant program via the many public Dedicant journals. So, I joined. Let me tell you; if you like the brochure, you'll love the travel guide with guest commentators and fold-out maps.
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ADF has always been committed to comprehensive training of its members. Originally, ADF had a single comprehensive Study Program, but we quickly found that a single training program was not well suited to the multitude of needs and training demands that individual members required. We discovered there was a demand for specialty training as healers, artisans, bards, scholars, etc. so we created Guilds for each of those specialties.Is there one main Study Program, or are there several?There are many. All ADF study programs have the Dedicant Path as a prerequisite. Beyond that, other programs are offered to help build upon the knowledge gained through the DP, in a direction that the student can choose based on strengths and interests. At present, we have eleven Guilds working on study programs (seven of which have completed their programs). The Clergy Council has approved the Clergy Training Program and the Initiate's Program. Also available is the Generalist Study Program, offering a general background in Druidic studies and offering a core group of courses for for the other study programs to build off.What is the difference between the Dedicant Path and ADF's other study programs?The Dedicant Path is an introduction to Our Own Druidry and helps to lay the groundwork for ADF's other study programs. The DP is the first step along the ADF Druidic path. Members who finish the DP may move onto another study program, but no one is expected to do so. The study programs are designed to increase the spirituality and/or scholarship of our members, and can lead to eventual ordination.What are Guild Study Programs?ADF's Guild Study Programs offer a main advantage to the student seeking training: members are not tied to the same track as everyone else for advancement. As the Druids of old were not only priests, neither are our members. To that end, we seek to provide training to those who wish to specialize in a variety of directions.Each of the Guilds has either completed or is working on a Study Program. Currently ADF has the following Guild Study Programs approved: Artisans, Bards, Brewers, Liturgists, Magicians, Naturalists, Scholars, Seers, and Warriors. The study programs currently under development/revision are: Dance, Healers.Most students, after completing the Dedicant Path, will move on to a Guild Study Program. Each member can choose a program that plays to their personal strengths and interests. We understand that not everyone is a linguist, nor will every person lead public ritual. Some people are primarily attracted to Druidism because it has a strong nature-based component, some to the bardic aspects of poetry and storytelling, while others are drawn to the magic inherent in the cosmos they participate in. In offering Guild Study Programs, we allow our students to choose the best way for them to express their own Druidry.What is the Generalist Study Program?The Generalist Study Program (GSP) is something like a liberal arts degree in college, where you learn a bit of everything. The GSP is focused more on academic or intellectual skills, rather than spiritual or pastoral skills. It is designed to serve two functions: 1) to serve those who desire this intellectual foundation, and 2) to provide core courses from which Guilds may draw.What is the Initiate's Program?The ADF Initiate Program is a program designed for those who wish to either expand their training beyond the ADF Dedicant Path but do not want a purely academic course of study, or are unsure if they are interested in becoming ADF Clergy.At the end of this program a student can expect to be a full ADF Initiate and to have done substantial coursework, all of which will count toward Clergy status, should the student wish to pursue that path. While the student may end their studies as an ADF Initiate, this program is also a good interim step between Dedicant and Clergy.What is the Clergy Training Program?The Clergy Training Program (CTP) is designed to provide ADF and the Pagan community as a whole with competent, trained clergy. Someone who has completed this training will be have the liturgical and pastoral skills expected of clergy, and will be able to provide and lead the rites that define our lives.How much time/work is involved in this?Well, none of the study programs have a time limit set on them, so you can take your time and work through them at your own pace. Most are designed to be worked through one circle per year, and may have three to five circles. That said, the amount of work will vary depending on which study program you are asking about, and how adept you are at the work and how much time you have to devote to it. For instance, for some people math is a subject that takes a lot of work, while for others its concepts are easily grasped. Likewise, students will find that their capability to learn various Druidic skills (such as magic, liturgy, and bardic skills) will vary depending on their ability, and the work one person does will not necessarily reflect the amount another must do.How much does it all cost?Most of the study programs are, at present, free. There may be a nominal cost to join the Guild (and of course you must be an ADF member), but once you have done that, there is usually not a cost. It is best to check with the individual Guild, however, for their particular policies before assuming that it's free for everyone.Do I need to order booklets each month? How often am I sent things?There are no booklets sent out each month, which allows us to offer training at a lower rate (and save trees, like good Druids). Most of the information for the study programs is available to ADF members on the website. If you are an ADF member and do not have access to the ADF site, or would prefer a hard copy to be mailed, you should contact the preceptor in charge of the study program you wish to work on and request that the ADF office print and send you a copy. There may be a nominal fee involved in this.So how/when can I get started, what are the requirements, etc.?First, you need to join ADF. Then you can start on the Dedicant Path which runs about a year in length. After you have completed that, you need to contact the person in charge of whichever study program you are interested in and request the necessary information (such as requirements, book lists, fees, etc.).What do I get out of the Study Programs?The easy answer, of course, is that you will get out of it whatever you put into it. Beyond this, though, you will be working with some of the best minds in ADF and learning much (and they, in turn, will also be learning from you). You'll obtain skills that are useful not only in ADF ritual, but in any Neo-Pagan work you do. ADF's Study Programs are like journeys: they are not ends in and of themselves, but they are means to an end. ADF's Study Programs do not entitle you to fancy honors or positions, but it can (and likely will) give you the tools to earn those honors and to fill those positions.Do I get a personal mentor?If you require a DP or GSP mentor, you can contact the ADF Preceptor and request that one be assigned. The Guilds and Clergy Council may have a system of mentors set up with varying levels of formality; usually all you need to do is ask, either on a public list, or directly to the preceptor of that Guild/Council.Where do I ask questions about the programs or about requirements?The best place to ask questions is to check with the Senior Druid of your local Grove. The most widely accessible and second best sources of information and assistance are the email lists and their archives.There is an email list set up specifically for those students in the Dedicant Path and one for the Generalist Study Program, and each Guild also has an email list that members can access and ask questions on, thereby receiving a large number of responses to a single question. It is usually the lists that are most helpful to a student.If you wish to begin Clergy Training, you must contact the Clergy Council and request it. There are no other points of contact available for this type of training.Can I join ADF and not go through a study program, or even start the Dedicant Path?Absolutely. Status is not assigned by the movement through study programs in ADF. Not everyone aspires to priesthood, leadership, or even to embark on a training program. The choice is entirely up to you.I want to order a Study Manual.As there is not currently a single study program, there is no "Study Manual." There is a Dedicant Path booklet available which is shipped with your new membership packet. The manual for the Generalist Study Program is available for members to download from the ADF website (hard copies are available from the ADF Office). The Clergy Council is currently working on its own study manual as well. Guilds may or may not work toward creating a document of this sort.What if I don't like [insert name], Chief of X?If you perceive a potential conflict of interest with the person assigned to review your work, please contact that person first and see if you can work something out. The DP and the GSP are overseen by the ADF Preceptor. If there is a problem with the ADF Preceptor, you should contact the ADF Members' Advocate. The Guilds will each have a preceptor elected by the members of the Guild. Many Guilds will also have other people acting as advisors. If this is the case, you can request a different advisor than the preceptor. If this is not the case, if you feel that you have been discriminated against, you should contact the Preceptor of ADF, so she can look into the situation and come up with possible resolutions. If her response is not satisfactory, you are welcome to take your complaint to the Members' Advocate.