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The Wheel of the Year, She is A-Turnin'. . . - Chronarchy

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March 7th, 2007


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10:42 am - The Wheel of the Year, She is A-Turnin'. . .
Since I put the Wheel of the Year document (WotY) on my CaféPress site in late October of 2005, I've sold 37 copies of it. I made $3.02 off of it before I revised it and published it at cost last July. 15 copies were then sold at no profit to me. I've only once held an actual published copy of WotY, thanks to _crow365__: I don't even own a copy of my own book. It's kinda funny, thinking about how much work I've put into it, and what the return has been.

That return has been amazing.

It's interesting: the monetary return has been so darn low (so low I can't even collect it from CaféPress), but the value I place on the experience and the comments I've gotten back from it has been extremely high. Watching Dedicants use the plan (even if only for a month or two) has been very good, and a fairly solid indication that the program is helpful to at least some people.

My original, stated goal with the WotY was this: "If it helps one person, it will have been worth it."

I think WotY has surpassed that original goal.

The highest validation I got that it was a Good Idea™ was from Ian, who said he saw the next edition of the DP as including the WotY, possibly as an appendix, or even as a "book two". That, of course, was before the newest call for DP revisions* took place.

Now, I'm in an interesting fix. By reformatting the DP into more of a "path" than a "program", WotY faces an uncertain future. I fully support the revisions, but I wonder if there's any room for WotY in that path. More to the point, I wonder if WotY is more problem than solution: it was made unerringly clear that many folks feel we focus too much on "completion", and in my eyes WotY contributes to that.

No one else has worried about this, just me. No one has ever said, "Hey, you know, what you did was great and all, but we're looking to go a different direction." There's no pressure on me to re-think this, to re-work it, or to remove it from circulation.

But over time, if we wish to de-emphasize the idea that the DP is "a program you must complete" instead of "a path you can follow", we're going to have to back off on concentrating on the requirements. WotY, of course, is all about the requirements, and it is a central, driving force in the perception of the DP as a program you need to finish. This, then, puts WotY in a jam.

So now I'm stuck here, looking at nearly two years of WotY circulation, thinking about whether WotY will see another full year of use, wondering if it was worth it to write it and then come to a point where we might scrap it.

And I find myself saying, "Yes, it was."

Who knows, though, what the future holds for the WotY document? I certainly don't, and I'm not making actual plans for it. I'm really just thinking about it, and surprised at how satisfied I am with the six or so months I spent working on WotY, and how obvious it is that no matter what happens, what I decide or what ADF's Council of Lore decides, I'll be very happy with the outcome.


* - FYI: These DP "revisions" don't affect the exit standards, so don't worry about work you're doing somehow becoming obsolete. The booklet is just being cleaned up.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "Tonight I Just Need My Guitar", -JB

(33 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:smithing_chick
Date:March 7th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
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Maybe put the focus on "if you want to complete the exit requirements, here's a tool to help you do that" or "If you'd like some structure on your path, here's a way to do it." It's been too much of a help to people to just ditch.
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 7th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
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In general, I actually disagree. The calls for making the DP itself more accessible convinced me that the leadership is seeking ways to break down the idea that we want people to "pass" it. Both you and ardgruntler convinced me that was the direction we needed (and wanted and agreed) to head. And WotY, it appears, will be a barrier to that idea. Time and time again, it was said that we focused too much on the exit standards; WotY is all about those exit standards. The exit standards are mentioned each week, and even in the very first lesson.

You see my quandary: in order to move the direction that the (very vocal) leadership indicates we should, WotY doesn't necessarily fit that picture.

And, honestly, I only know of one person who went through the entire program detailed in WotY. Others start, but few finish or keep up. I think that "too much of a help to people" may actually give it more credit than it deserves. I'm not certain it has truly been helpful to a lot of people.

But that's beside the point. Like I said, no one has mentioned removing it, or getting rid of it, or pressured me to do anything. This post is mostly about random thoughts over time about WotY's future and use.
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From:dqg_neal
Date:March 7th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
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No copy of your own? That is a shame. If and when you decide to revise let me know. If you have a paypal account I will send you the moeny to cover the fee to revise it as well as for at least 1 copy of your own.
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 7th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
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Hehe. No worries. I'll get one eventually. I'm 2/3 of the way there, with other items purchased by folk at my CafePress store factored in. As it stands, I already have the .pdf's, and I didn't really write it for me, anyway, so cash on this particular product is better spent on folks who need it :)

But I appreciate the offer :)
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[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 7th, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC)
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I have an idea of what you mean, but I find it difficult to completely grasp it. Could you explain what you mean a bit more?
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From:tanrinia
Date:March 7th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
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it's no longer a syllabus at that point.

it's a road path map :D
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From:skye_windsinger
Date:March 7th, 2007 09:46 pm (UTC)
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My husband bought me a copy last year this time and I've been using it exclusively...however, I'm not so diligent and haven't quite finished it yet. But it has helped me tremendously. Thank you so much for your effort in creating it.
[User Picture]
From:caelesti
Date:March 8th, 2007 05:33 am (UTC)
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awesome icon, BTW. Love the changing holiday symbols.
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From:caelesti
Date:March 8th, 2007 05:31 am (UTC)
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What Sleepwolf is suggesting is actually how I and some others I know use WotY. I find it useful as a reference for getting started on something, and then I usually just write down ideas in my journal when they come to me in whatever order. People have to work the DP into whatever's going on in their life, be it work or school (or both) so schedules for the DP have to be rearranged. Ah yes, and then depending on when you start it there's the prospect of doing Nature Awareness in 20 below weather. Well, that's one way to create awareness ;)

Another thing that would be helpful is some kind of Step by Step How to Write ADF Ritual and to clarify exactly _how_ flexible the CoOR is. I've been wanting to re-arrange the steps of ritual.
Maybe the Liturgists could pull something together? That's the biggest problem I have, so I keep putting off those rituals. But then I'm used to just going to public rituals rather than celebrating on my own. Never really been much of a solitary, though I'm trying to remedy that.




[User Picture]
From:brandondedicant
Date:March 8th, 2007 12:27 pm (UTC)

(slightly OT)

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A COoR tutorial is an idea that has come up a lot lately, including on the solitaries list. It's also something I personally think we really need, and can create if there's enough buzz. So please continue to suggest this wherever possible!
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From:brandondedicant
Date:March 8th, 2007 12:48 pm (UTC)
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If people want the dp to be more path-like, i don't think WotY is in jeopardy. Yes, it does concentrate on the exit standards, but on the other hand it is also the most path-like dedicant resource I've seen yet. It's path-like because it gives you thinking exercises that are much like meditations (in the intellectual sense), and because it gives you a weekly way of putting effort into making your druidry real.

But if you want to make it still more path-like, you could add a few more experiential-based meditations in a new edition... or something.

This is kinda similar to a debate we get in the teaching biz. Some teachers (including me) say school classes are often too focused on passing the exams. But that doesn't mean that come exam time, you don't teach the kids how to pass the test! Dedicants still need a clear way to come to grips with the requirements, and to feel confident that there submission will in fact "pass." And since the WotY is not mandatory, I don't see how it could do any harm anyway--people who just want the path don't have to use it, people who choose to use it would be those who *want* to "pass."

Regarding the low numbers of people finishing the book... For what it's worth, I didn't finish it because I didn't need to. It got me thinking in my own terms and confident enough to strike out on my own. I think that was probably your goal anyway.

What the book does well is: It helps you overcome "big scary mush of requirements" feeling and take it bite by bite. It offers more questions than answers, to get you thinking for yourself. And it offers relevant articles and resources to help you get a range for what other people think.

As soon as these three things have given you the wings to fly, you really should leave the nest. The book can stay behind.

Only people who really like structure or are terrible procrastinators probably need to finish the book.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 8th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
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You may be correct there. I hadn't thought about the fact that WotY's really the only set of signposts most people ever see. :)

Hehe. See, this is why I like thinking out loud :)

And yes, you've hit on another of my goals. While the primary goal is "help one person", the correlative goal has always been "help anyone, any way possible." And I did specifically design the thing so that folks would think for themselves.

I was always afraid (and still kinda am) that people will see WotY as "the way to do the DP". When I wrote it, it was originally supposed to be something just for mentors, that the DP mentors would send out to people who were asking for that structure. Then I realized that it wouldn't work well that way, but made a better resource than it did teaching manual (so I went back and reformatted nearly the whole book to change the point of view, which had been first-person-to-second-person, to second-person).

The evolution of WotY alone was pretty weird :) I am, though, glad to see it got you thinking for yourself. And here I thought you just came that way. . .
From:snakesinspace
Date:March 8th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
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I know that you are not making plans for it (you say so in the entry) but what about expanding it to give different ways of looking at the requirements and different places to look for the answers (such as providing examples from the different IE cultures for the requirements or reading lists from cultural specific books or articles specific to the different sections). I mean, I know the DP does not require you have a hearth culture or patron (just that you start looking), but maybe giving meditations or rituals to introduce people to different pantheons within the context of the DP requirements may help in making it a bit more of a "path" than jumping through hoops. Or maybe that should just be another guide entirely....
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 8th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC)
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I do try and introduce at least a bit of culture to the DP through WotY. I do this particularly through two sections: 1) the virtues, where I offer cultural examples for each of the nine, and 2) the High Days, where I have an appendix that covers various rituals from various cultures.

I also try and get folks to read various articles from other pantheons. ferrelux's article on Ratri figures into each of the "personal religion" lessons in WotY, for instance.

I like the idea of adding in meditations to introduce other pantheons, though.

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