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March 1st, 2006


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08:21 pm - Gettin' stuff done, feelin' groovy
I realize I haven't been around much. Sorry about that. I didn't look at LJ for . . . 6 or 7 days, I think. I was in Chicago last weekend, visiting family. It was a good visit. Extra bonus for getting to see a crazy religious cult that was able and willing to joke about their prayer house looking like a UFO! More on that in another post.

I have been working hard, recently, on finishing my Generalist Study Program, plus two requirements for Clergy ordination. I finished three courses last weekend, and it's looking like I'll finish the rest this weekend, if all goes well. I'm rapidly approaching the halfway point tonight, and should be on the downhill run by Saturday morning.

As I was reading some of the vast amounts of literature on and about ADF and our Clergy, I came across an article in Oak Leaves #8. It's the "Law, Policy, Tradition, and Custom in ADF" article that Uncle Isaac wrote early in our history.

In it, the following items appear (taken from various places, but in order):
  1. Illegal drugs may not be used in official ADF ceremonies.
  2. Individuals and special interest groups may do self-bleeding rites for healing purposes, establishing blood-siblinghood, etc., provided that only symbolic drops are spilled, but may not do these as a part of an official ADF ceremony.
  3. Individual members of the Mother Grove may discuss, but not vote upon, leadership candidates with whom they may have a significant personal relationship.
  4. Our overall system of Circles and Tracks published in The ADF Study Manual and the handful of absolute requirements for admission to the clergy (must be Pagan, must get rid of addictions, etc.).
So I, of course, started thinking. I hate it when I do that, but I did.
  1. Isaac took a strong stand on this particular "Law" of ADF, and I admit to being happy to see that in there. It was like, "Oh, look: someone else thinks illegal drugs shouldn't be part and parcel of any ADF ritual. Bonus!" I got a warm fuzzy feeling from seeing that in print.
  2. Is a Dedicant Oath an "official ADF ceremony?" I'm inclined to say, "Eh, could be." Mostly, I recognize that a Dedicant Oath Rite is going to be two things: (a) a (most likely ADF-style) rite dedicating yourself to some sort of Neo-Pagan Druidism in some way that you will "officially" tell ADF was done as part of their training program, and (b) an intensely personal ritual that should be more or less free of restrictions on most levels. If you want to poke yourself and bleed, well, that's partly your right, I guess (though I am likely to be generally negative about the whole thing). But I'll never tell someone that they ought to consider it, and I'll always say, "Are you sure? I recommend that you email the Preceptor and ask him about that."
  3. The essay discusses "significant personal relationships" in generally sexual terms, but I think that it could be extended. Really close friends ought to fall in there as well. Just like I can't review latexpussy's Study Program work in good conscience, I don't think really close friends (regardless of the nature of their relationship) ought to be approving someone for leadership positions. I was extremely happy to see that in there.
  4. I'm all about that "Must get rid of addictions" bit for clergy. I fully understand exactly why that was in there, and when I read this requirement, I suddenly started thinking about myself, looking hard at my life. I am still looking hard at it. I'm sure I'm Pagan (no question there), but I'm not so sure on the addictions. So it's a moment when I get to seriously consider myself and think about who I am and where I'm going, as well as what exactly I'm doing.
I could add the disclaimer that I'm thinking about these things in relation to *me*, but you know, if you've been reading my LJ for any length of time, you already ought to know that :) Some days, I just like to think out loud.

Anyway, I expect that I'll be updating the GSP pages on my website at least once per day for the rest of the week. Some things are submitted, others are not (things submitted are marked). Much is rough draft (esp. the vocational essay!), and nearly all of it was written once and then I moved on. Kinda fun to do it that way.

Doing the GSP has caused me to stumble onto a realization about the way I learn: I don't learn by completing exit standards: I learn by helping others work through their exit standards, and because of this, my GSP work will never match the standard of excellence that I often hope it can attain. That's why I can say with such confidence that the Dedicants of ADF inspire and teach me new things every day, why I say I am constantly learning from them. I may have decided last night that the DP is such a good program precisely because it allows each person to work to their strength. When the GSP develops to that point (i.e. we have a critical mass of students working and questioning and studying), it'll be a decent program, too. But right now, I can tell I get a lot more out of the Dedicant Program than I have from the GSP, precisely because I'm not able to teach the GSP stuff to anyone.

It's interesting how things like that work.
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: "Holiday", -JB

(28 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:trogula
Date:March 2nd, 2006 01:58 am (UTC)
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Hi Kirk! We've not met, but we've exchanged emails (I'm the guy under consideration to be the new ADF Regalia manager).

Mind if I add you to my friend's list? I actually had a major issue this week withen my protogrove that I could use your input on, if you're willing.
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 02:18 am (UTC)
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Kirk doesn't post. Just add him and maybe, if you're lucky, one day he'll turn you from being just a wooden puppet who sits on his "friend of" list into a Real FriendTM!

(he only saw this post because I dropped him the URL via IM) :)
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From:qorinda
Date:March 2nd, 2006 07:30 am (UTC)
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*grin* Face it, Michael. You just rate! I consider him MY friend and he hasn't ever posted in MY lj!
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC)
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It's my cute butt. I know it. I'm just a piece of meat! Woe is me!
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From:qorinda
Date:March 2nd, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC)
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I suppose you could have worse candidates lusting over you. ;)
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 02:07 am (UTC)
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You'll certainly beat me in finishing then: I won't finish, I've just realized, until March 14 at the earliest. Hmm. . . Seems like a good day, thanks to chirael pointed out last February. I had to laugh when I just saw that particular date.

I suppose a short, "why that date" is in order, huh?

That's the day my final paper is due to be turned in for this class, which means it's also the day that I finish my last paper for Research and Composition. I pity the person who has to read about my position that Quetzalcoatl isn't the same figure at Teotihuacan and Xochicalco, but that's what I'm arguing. I expect 10-20 pages at least. 20-30 is more likely.

So the aim is to finish everything else in the next two weekends, I guess.

And that's when I seem to hit a "crisis point" that Anthony describes. *nods* Yeah, this astrology thing is rather. . . hilarious :)

As for the blood in ritual stuff, yeah: I'm not willing to make any judgement call on it. It's a sticky subject for me, personally. I fully understand the use of blood in ritual, but I often wonder where it falls in the scheme of what's "ADF" and what's not. I don't actually have an opinoin on it, but I observe it and wonder about it.
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From:ferrelux
Date:March 2nd, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
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Kirk, thanks for commenting on Isaac's article re: point #2, blood rites. I was about to outright "call bullsh*t" on that one, but you did a good job of summing it up.

IMNSHO, ADF has every right to set guidelines for those rituals associated with ADF's name. However, if an individual, in an unaffiliated private rite, wishes to bleed themself or even kill a chicken (or a goat, or cow, or heck, their sister) then that's solely a matter between the sacrificer, sacrifice, their Gods, and the local municipal authorities. That particular situation is outside the jurisdiction of ADF, and Uncle Isaac has no more say than any other guy in the street, as far as I'm concerned.

_
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
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*gasp!*

"call bullsh*t" on Uncle Isaac!

How could you even consider it!?!?!?

*grins*
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From:ferrelux
Date:March 2nd, 2006 04:19 am (UTC)
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Bwaaahahahahah!

Thankfully, the humor is apparent in your comment. Now I'm just sitting here waiting to see if any of his less-than-humorous [sic] sycophants come back at me.

Hey! Good grief, are you still at work?!?

_
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 01:53 pm (UTC)
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I was last night when I posted that, yes. But I finished Magic 1 and got rolling on another program. . . It's bad that I can't remember which one it was because I'm so tired this morning. I hope I managed to piece together a coherent essay for it. . .
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From:trogula
Date:March 2nd, 2006 01:54 am (UTC)
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I am still looking hard at it. I'm sure I'm Pagan (no question there), but I'm not so sure on the addictions.

As someone who's actively done this work, I suspect it's referring to addictions that are harmful to self and others. While Issac wrote this, he also wrote liturgy for "Caffeina, the Goddess of Awareness, as practiced by the Javacrucian Order" (Bonewits, Rites of Worship, 29). ;-)

I wouldn't be terribly concerned about this point. Those that actually have this problem, tend to be really obvious to everybody except themselves (Denial is not just a river in Egypt).

I don't learn by completing exit standards: I learn by helping others work through their exit standards

The best way to learn a subject is to teach it. The kindred that I am a member of does a monthly "Runes & Lore" teaching class open to the general public. I've taught subjects several times in that class, and each time, I left the class knowing much more than I did before I taught it. It's the interactions and sharing of ideas and experiences that color and liven up the work.
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
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I'm not concerned about the addiction thing, personally. But I like the sort of self-examination that it's promoting as I look and think about it. It intrigues me quite a bit, and I really really like to question my own actions and motives (you know, in case you have been living under a rock and haven't noticed the general tone of my LJ). I like that when I saw it, it opened up a dialogue within myself where I could say, "Oh, would you look at that? Is what you're doing here *really* an aspect of healthy living?"

And yeah, I'm all about learning through teaching. It's my favourite method. :)
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From:wishesofastar
Date:March 2nd, 2006 01:55 am (UTC)

A few thoughts...

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I know I'm not ADF, but you posted this to everybody, so I figured I'd throw in my $0.02 cents about the policies:

#1) I completely agree with this, and I think that anyone arguing with this isn't thinking about the health of the organization. I can't think of any non-approved Native American religious groups who allow illegal drugs in their official public services, as well they shouldn't. Why risk getting your group shut down over this? If a sub-group of people in the organization want to get together and explore entheogens on their own in an unofficial capacity, more power to them, but why threaten the existence of the organization over it?

#4) The real question is, how do you define an addiction? What if a clergy member has some sort of constant physical pain (i.e, arthritis), and needs daily painkillers to deal with it? Does the addiction have to affect how they perform their duties as clergy, or is the addiction itself disallowed? I know of several people who are addicted to caffeine, but it does not affect their relationships or work.

I know, none of my business, but there you are.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 02:17 am (UTC)

Re: A few thoughts...

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#1: No one is doing it in ADF that I know of. I'm merely responding to the feeling I got when I read it, which was, "Hey, cool! Isaac agrees with my feelings pretty darn close there!"

#4: I don't think that anyone I've ever met would call required pain medication an addication. They'd call a dependence on the medication that went beyond utilitarian need and crossed into compulsion addiction, I think. But I don't recall anywhere that ADF said, "Oh, you smoke? Sorry, you're not clergy material." Again, I'm mostly responding to the implication of self-reflection and analysis that I find in my reaction to the statement, rather than to that as a "requirement" for clergy status.
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From:tlachtga
Date:March 2nd, 2006 04:22 am (UTC)

Because lord knows, 2¢ doesn't get you far these days....

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But I don't recall anywhere that ADF said, "Oh, you smoke? Sorry, you're not clergy material."

Nor should it be. Smoking isn't healthy (and frankly, I really hate it), but neither is eating red meat (and I love steak) or consuming a lot of caffine (and I REALLY love Moutain Dew). I'm sure there are carcinogens we don't even know about yet in all kinds of places, like soda.

I would think that "addiction" should seem pretty cut-and-dry: if it interferres with your life, causes trouble with relationships, etc., then it's an addiction. If you physically or psychologically crave it, are unable to go without it, it's an addiction (but then, there's a large grey area--tobacco is addictive, caffine is addictive, but they don't have the obvious imparment of abilities).
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 02:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Because lord knows, 2¢ doesn't get you far these days....

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I agree, and generally think it's pretty cut and dry, myself. Then again, I think a lot of things are. I'm just that kind of person, I think. :)
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From:ariansdreams
Date:March 2nd, 2006 02:38 am (UTC)
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:) Glad you're back.

You know I'm a mostly-conservative person. So, I agree with what you said about the blood/addiction stuff.

[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 02:46 am (UTC)
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Heh. I generally think of it as being a "mostly-smart" person, myself, but yeah, I can see that :)

Good to be back. I missed this place. I need less work in my life :)
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From:ariansdreams
Date:March 2nd, 2006 04:19 am (UTC)
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Would it be ok if I emailed you with some DP/ADF related questions? I see that you're pretty busy atm, so if not that's okay. :)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 01:51 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. I'm always able and willing to answer those. Feel free :)
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From:qorinda
Date:March 2nd, 2006 07:28 am (UTC)
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Individual members of the Mother Grove may discuss, but not vote upon, leadership candidates with whom they may have a significant personal relationship.

Hmmmmm. I can think of an instance or two where this was NOT applied when appointing leadership candidates. Too bad it's not in the bylaws somewhere. *sigh*

AND - for the record, I am glad you are doing the GSP and posting it to your website. This will be a big help for me, who likes to get an idea of a direction when she is doing stuff like this. :)
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 2nd, 2006 01:50 pm (UTC)
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Well, ya'll are writing a "constitution" or something (I admit, I'm still not sure what exactly is being done, but we peons rarely are). Maybe time to revisit this document? I know I certainly learned a lot about ADF's Vision from before I was a member by reading it all the way through. I know I did that when I joined, but that was five years ago. . . It's amazing what you can forget in that short amount of time. Heck, I've quoted it a *number* of times in the past five years, and even re-read specific sections, but re-reading the whole thing was rather eye-opening to me.

Of course, the strongest message I ever took from the ADF Membership Guide was, "ADF is not a dating service."

Documents like this help provide continuity of vision for an org like ours, I think.

As for the GSP, it's problematic being an "early adopter" because you have fewer people to bounce things off of initially. And there's really no one who's done the program that you can say, "Hey, what did you do here?"

And I know I'll get a lot more out of everyone else's work than I do out of my own. That's probably the most frustrating thing about doing the GSP right now: "Why not Excellence?" is hard to acheive primarily because I cannot achieve any (personal) measure of "excellence" in my answers. But having accepted that "excellence" can and will be forthcoming when I go back to work with others on theirs (as it has been with the DP: my original DP submissions are shockingly below par), I can deal with the GSP on numerous levels.
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From:qorinda
Date:March 2nd, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
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I think we finished the Constitution part, which is basically like a mission statement or a vision statement. We are slowly working our way through the bylaws. I have tried to put something in about personal relationships, but it doesn't seem to stick. Alas.

I like your idea of people reading Isaac's vision again though, and reviewing it periodically to maintain that continuity.

As for the GSP, maybe one of these days, I will have time to actually work on it. heheheh

[User Picture]
From:chirael
Date:March 4th, 2006 07:30 pm (UTC)
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I didn't look at LJ for... 6 or 7 days, I think.

Yeah, I think I'm going to put LJ on a once-a-week schedule for me. It's just too appealing and too unproductive to spend time on during the week :)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 3rd, 2011 10:26 am (UTC)
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Aloha there! Where can I find additional info on this topic?

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