The following are some frequently asked questions about ADF's Dedicant Path (DP). If you have a question that is not listed here, please feel free to contact the ADF Office. If you are an ADF member, please see our DP FAQ for members.
How does the Dedicant Path differ from the Study Program?
The Dedicant Path is the prerequisite for all other forms of ADF training, which includes the Study Program. After you complete the Dedicant Path, you can join the Study Program and/or also join various ADF Guilds. We also have a Clergy Training Program which is complete, and an Initiates Program you may also join.
The Study Program, or more properly the "Generalist" Study Program, consists of further study of the history of druidism and ADF, comparative mythology, and a chosen Indo-European cultural focus. It is weighted academically, so we recommend that students continue to observe the eight ADF High Days, maintain their home shrines, etc.
There are currently eleven ADF Guilds: the Artisans Guild, the Bardic Guild, the Brewers Guild, the Dance Guild, the Healers Guild, the Liturgists Guild, the Scholars Guild, the Magicians Guild, the Naturalists Guild, the Seers Guild, and the Warriors Guild. Each Guild provides its own training systems for students interested in those particular areas. You do not need to be enrolled in any other Study Program to enroll in Guild training, or vice-versa, but if you have the time they are obviously complementary.
The Clergy Training Program is currently accepting students. Its focus is on training ADF priests in applying the religion of Our Druidry to all the traditional areas that are associated with ministry, such as birth, death, marriage, divorce, naming (saining), etc. rituals. This training will include the development of these ministerial and counseling skills, as well as exploring the use of ADF Druidry for a wider range of life situations.
The Initiates Program is a natural next step of progression after the Dedicant Path, and is much more focused on magical and religious skills than the more scholastic Generalist Study Program and pragmatic Guild training systems.
How much does the Dedicant Path cost?
The guide to the Dedicant Path, the Dedicant Manual, comes with your ADF membership. The program also has some required reading, so there is an additional cost for those books if you purchase them (though most are available through your local library).
Our recommended reading page lists many books in order to give students choices of what to read, but you definitely don't need to buy all of them. The only required books are one Indo-European studies title, one preferred ethnic study title (Celtic, Norse, etc.) and one modern Paganism title. If you buy the books new, at about $25 per book that's an additional $75 spread out over the year of the program. However, many Dedicants use libraries, borrow books, get the books used, check EBay auctions, etc., so the cost can be considerably less.
How long does it take?
It typically takes about a year. One of the requirements is documenting rituals for each of the eight ADF High Days (which correspond to the traditional Neopagan High Days of Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, etc.), so that ensures it will take at least eleven months or so.
What do I get?
As part of your membership packet, you get a copy of the Dedicant Path Manual, which is about 100 pages and is currently in its second edition.
The DP Manual contains several different sections introducing the student to various aspects of Our Druidry. This includes ethics (our nine Druid Virtues), mythology, home worship (the Druid Shrine and the Hearth), the different Spirits (Kindreds) we worship, various personal ritual practices, meditation techniques, and dedicating oneself to a particular Patron deity.
What else do I get?
The DP is a very personal effort and experience, and the bulk of the work will be the result of your following the road map outlined in the DP Manual. One resource you will have access to, which many Dedicants find invaluable, is our ADF-Dedicants mailing list, where you can ask questions about any aspect of the Dedicant Path.
Do I get a mentor?
If you request a Dedicant Mentor, by asking the ADF Preceptor, we will try to accommodate your needs. If there is a mentor available, we will be happy to connect you with her/him. The exact kind of mentoring you receive will vary with the mentor's experience and availability, but will likely consist of a combination of more frequent e-mail and less frequent phone contacts.
Most Dedicants find, however, that the Dedicant Manual lays the program out sufficiently, and any questions are readily answered on the ADF-Dedicants e-mail list. In fact, most questions come up repeatedly, so searching the archives of that list usually provides several satisfactory answers.
Yeah, but what's actually in the Dedicant Manual?
The following is the table of contents from the most recent edition:
- Right Action
- The Home Shrine
- Mental Training
- The Land & The Spirits
- Personal Ceremony
- The Hearth Religion
- The Dedicant's Oath
- Appendix 1: Documentation
- Appendix 2: Ethnic Adaptation
- Appendix 3: Group Training
If you mean, how much is "reading", and how much is "doing", it's really a mixture of both. However, while it is necessary to read about the various Indo-European cultures which form the background Our Druidry draws from, rest assured that ADF Druidry does not consist of merely reading books. The goal of the Dedicant Path, and the emphasis of the work in it, is to help you create and practice your own personal form of Our Druidry.
What kind of reading are you talking about?
You're in luck—we make our recommended reading list for ADF Dedicants available on our web site.
If you're wondering why we would do that, there are two reasons. First, the books on our recommended reading list are excellent works in their own right, books that stand out for quality in a field full of shoddy work aimed at the masses. Quite frankly, it's our pleasure to give these authors the recognition they deserve.
Second, and more importantly from the perspective of someone considering ADF membership, is the fact that the Dedicant Path, and ADF Druidry in general, is so much more than just a list of books to read. We do recommend books so that you know where ADF Druidry draws its inspiration, and often its practices, from. But the real work of Our Druidry takes place in homes and groves, at shrines and sacred places in nature. Our Druidry manifests best and most fully every time we make an offering to our ancestors, nature spirits, and gods. Books are a component of the foundation, but the real work we are building is a closer relationship with the Kindreds.
Do I have to be in a Grove? What if I'm a solitary?
No, you don't have to be in a Grove (local ADF group) at all. While having a Senior Druid or Grove Organizer available to answer questions in person would obviously be beneficial, the Dedicant Path is written assuming that a solitary Druid will be doing the work.
If you are interested in an ADF group, either for support with the Dedicant Path work or just for regular worship services on the High Days, please see our Groves section.
Why is it so cheap? Does that mean it's low quality?
Not at all. It's priced the way it is, as a standard part of ADF membership, because we want it to be easily available to anyone who feels the calling of the Spirits and yearns for a strong personal Druidic practice grounded in the Old Ways. We want to achieve the Vision that our founder, Isaac Bonewits, layed out twenty years ago, a vision of a community focused on excellence in its own worship of the Kindreds, and in providing quality worship services to the larger Neopagan community.
We are aware that other Druid organizations have correspondence courses, pacing students and charging for each portion of the training. That's neither better nor worse than our method, but simply has a different focus. Our goal is to create and grow a community of Druids who are well-skilled in regular Neopagan Druid religious practice and are able to share Our Druidry with the larger Neopagan community. We include all our basic Druid training as part of joining ADF because our emphasis is on building a mutually-supportive religious community bound together by our oaths of serving the Kindreds with Excellence. If this is a community you would like to be part of, please consider joining ADF.