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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

February 22nd, 2005

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10:07 am - Thoughts on ADF's mentorship
So I'm working on this mentorship program for ADF. Promised to have it done by Wellspring, even, to give myself a deadline. At the moment, I'm posting here kind of to think out loud about it.

Here's the gist of what I'm doing:

  1. Lots of people want individual attention. Some people want extra information to go along with the stuff provided in the Dedicant Handbook. A good number of our Dedicants want their mentors to set goals, give homework, and basically do more than just wait for questions.
  2. Some people just need a kick in the ass every so often. They want mentors who will occasionally send them an email that says, "Report on your progress now, and no one gets hurt." I call this the saffronhare School of Mentorship.
  3. Some people just want someone to ask questions to. This is what most of our mentors are now doing.

At the moment, though, we aren't really dealing with category 1. We're only dealing with categories 2 and 3.

In an effort to get more personal interaction, what I'm basically coming up with is a script of sorts that can be extemporized from. This script includes places to find further examples, more resources, and extra information.

The course will run 52 weeks, and at the moment, it's designed to be pretty much one email per week sent from the mentor to the student. Each week will involve a different topic, and some topics will be covered more than once over the 52 week time period (generally, things that require showing improvement or showing change over time will be repeated).

Here's a sampling of the order I'm doing this stuff in:

Week | Topic
  1. personal religion
  2. first oath
  3. first high day
  4. first high day recap
  5. nature awareness
  6. first book choice
  7. home shrine
  8. meditation
  9. second high day
  10. second high day recap
  11. two powers
  12. three kindred: ancestors
  13. wisdom
  14. home shrine
  15. third high day
  16. third high day recap
  17. piety
  18. personal religion
  19. Dedicant Oath (initial thoughts)
  20. vision
  21. fourth high day
  22. fourth high day recap
  23. nature awareness
  24. two powers
  25. courage
  26. second book

That's the first half of the year. There are still some holes in the schedule, and I'm trying to fill them in as I go. But in the end, I'm hoping that this might help form a kind of "Wheel of the Year Through the DP" kind of thing. Or something like that.

The resources listed so far (I'm only through week 19) include:

Week 5: Oak Leaves issue #24
Week 6: ADF Website, <http://www.adf.org/training/resources/recommended.html> (A Recommended Reading List)
Week 7: Oak Leaves issue #28, Oak Leaves issue #26
Week 8: Oak Leaves issue #27
Week 11: Two Powers Audio file: <http://archives.adf.org/audio/2powers.mp3>; Ceisiwr Serith's A Book of Pagan Prayer (ISBN: 1578632552)
Week 17: Oak Leaves issue #29
Week 19: Michael J Dangler's Dedicant Oath, <http://www.chronarchy.com/mjournal/oath/>; Oak Leaves issue #27

I'm still unhappy that the OL's before #24 haven't been very useful to me here. It is, though, very nice to see that ADF's publications now seem to support the training better. Who knows: part of that might be that I'm helping to write a lot of it, but honestly, this started with someone else: the article from issue 24 that I'm using was written by tlachtga, so really, she started OL down this path, not me :) For that, I'd like to say "Thanks".
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "Gentleman of Leisure", -JB

(31 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC)
You're just writing all this to make me hot, aren't you? I promise, if you name that mentorship style after me and arrange to have it published, I'll bite you wherever you like...

I mean that in the nicest way possible.
Really. (Oh, yeah -- and I'll re-read this for actual critique purposes at any moment now.)
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC)
Of course, I'm writing these to get you all hot and bothered! It just took me a while to figure out what worked!

And I'm so naming that style after you. You are, after all, the one who pointed it out like that on the list. So even without the promise of a bite, it'd be named after you.

The bite is just an added bonus.
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 06:15 pm (UTC)
Very nicely put. I'm happy to comment here on LJ once I get a moment to read it more thoroughly, but fear much comment on the e-list will paint a big target on my head/ass -- one that says "volunteer this person for stuff" -- which is something I can't deal with right now.

[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 03:55 pm (UTC)
Sounds good so far.

I think another reason people are looking for mentors and buddies is to simply share what they are learning. If you're doing this alone, you might have a personal gnosis, an 'aha!', and be excited but who do you tell? Or yes, something confuses you and you haven't quite put your finger on it but bouncing it off someone else helps sort it out. And finally, there's something to be said about learning from peers, their observations & their questions.

I know my energy to work on the DP is renewed since the DP study group started near me. And after each meeting I'm more motivated to complete another step. And I learn alot from the discussions we have at each meeting.

Question -- The first oath. Is it too early by having it the 2nd week? I am almost a year into doing the DP, completed a few of the requirements, and I still haven't felt ready to take the first oath. I'm probably an exception but I wondered about someone just starting ... whether the oath at the 2nd week would motivate them, or make them feel rushed to commit.

Anyways, I'm loving the idea of a 'DP wheel of the year'. Even if someone doesn't take a mentor, it provides a nice checklist to work down and you can set yourself weekly homework/goals based on that schedule.
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 04:04 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you asked that. (I've always wanted to say that.)

The First Oath is just that: it's basically saying, "Hi, I'm here, and I'm going to do me best." The three points it covers are "I'll do right, I'll study, and I'll keep the holy days."

Here's an actual exerpt from what I'm working on:
"Isn't it a little soon for an oath? Not at all. The First Oath is not an oath before others, or an oath to ADF, the Archdruid, a specific deity, or even me. It is an oath that is between you, the deities and the spirits. You may choose whether to do this oath in public or in private, but it should be done on or before the next High Day Rite.

If you know your patron deities already, or the hearth culture you will be working in, you may make an oath to those deities, but for the majority of Dedicants, the deities and powers they will eventually worship, honour, or follow are still unknown, standing in the shadows of our consciousness, guiding us with unseen hands. Because of this, the First Oath is not designed to be given to a specific deity or group of deities."

The whole "DP/Wheel of Year" thing is a brand-new idea for me. I'm still working on that.
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 05:05 pm (UTC)
That had occurred to me as well. Are you providing some guidelines or a discussion of oaths and how they work? You need to be careful in choosing and in wording your oaths, and it can be difficult to come up with one that is specific enough to be useful yet general enough to be meaningful.

(That's my heathen side coming through--I always feel it's best to err on the side of too few rather than too many oaths. There are quite a few oath-happy pagans and heathens out there, after all! :))
(Deleted comment)
Date:February 22nd, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)

well said

having someone to talk to about all the new thing yr learning is always good. and the experince of sharing is often what people want.

i like the "DP wheel of the yr idea" too
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 11:48 pm (UTC)
I think another reason people are looking for mentors and buddies is to simply share what they are learning.

Yes, that's probably a big reason.

If you're doing this alone, you might have a personal gnosis, an 'aha!', and be excited but who do you tell?

My first thought was to say that they could tell the other folks on the Dedicants list, but then I remembered that we have to think outside the "list box" if we're ever going to have 10,000 members, so that's why the mentoring and buddy programs are so important.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
Well, there's one every 6 weeks. Originally, I had intended to start with Samhain, but that doesn't work for all sorts of obvious reasons, the best of which is, "Hi, I know it's Yule, but I wanna start now!"

But you can start about three weeks before any high day. . . Which gives you time to either rush into it, or to draw it out and get to know the person. Granted, that's how I like to work, but that's how I am :) Also, the first week and second can be smooshed together, as can a couple of others to get you back on schedule. Not every week has homework, so you can add two weeks together like that. Time can be made up in all sorts of creative ways :)

But adding them onto weeks at random causes its own issues, namely that you have a terrible amount to do that week. And simply off-setting the rest of the lessons will cause trouble with requirements that are somewhat time-limited.

*shrugs* But I do know what you mean. Why make someone wait five weeks? I think I just want to make sure that I have everything set first, then I can worry about moving them around. Who knows, I might just find that I hate the order I've done this stuff in, and then I'll have to do a massive copy/paste to fix it :)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 11:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, as to "why" on the offest: I chose that based on the fact that the DP has a kind of introduction (which is what week 1 is better called, probably), and that darn First Oath that has people so worried is stuck in there before the darn requirements are even discussed. In an effort to keep up with what the Clergy Council has decided is the way the DP should read, I've had to put those two first.

But I skip around the book like nothing else after that.

I know that most people will want to start with a High Day (*loads* of people promise to either start or finish by specific high days), so I basically threw them into their first High Day with a decent amount of preparation about "What the hell is ADF?"

The first High Day thing specifically says something like, "You don't have to do it perfectly ADF-like because the requirements say you don't." But I point them to the resources for an ADF ritual if that's what they want.
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 11:23 pm (UTC)
If there are specific articles in those Oak Leaves issues, please tell me what they are and I'll put them on the website. That will make them much more accessible than their being stuck in huge PDF blob files, and will also beef up the /members/training/ section, which I've been wanting to do for some time.
[User Picture]
Date:February 22nd, 2005 11:36 pm (UTC)
I sent you an email with the specific articles, but nothing is really set in stone. If the articles I want don't get published (issue 29 is still three away), I'll have to revise :)

That's the beauty of a rough draft :)
[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
The whole individual attention thing is critical, I think, especially to those of us who have grown up trying to learn on our own and are starting to get frustrated at our lack of progress <-- (me!!) What we need is an experienced mentor, someone to reassure us and take our hand and help us understand what we are getting into... and THEN a good kick in this ass to send us running forward. Those are the main benefits of having a teacher, no? Anyone can read and write on their own, but it's the guidance the counts. It's learning to extract the maximum amount of wisdom and experience one can get in an orderly time frame. The schedule will help with discipline a lot, especially with bums like me. XD

I do not think the oath is a problem at all... *shrugs*

What is required of the High Days? I am curious about what I would do if I were at home for the summer, for example.
[User Picture]
Date:February 23rd, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
and THEN a good kick in this ass to send us running forward.

A good kick might also send you sprawling :) That's why we need to train the mentors, to prevent them from accidentally putting thier foot in just the wrong place when they kick. :)

I do not think the oath is a problem at all... *shrugs*

Well, I can see the main objection very well. After all, you're making an oath, which is not taken lightly at all in most hearth cultures in the Indo-European world. From this perspective, I think that the wording of the Oath has everything to do with whether it's proper or not, and the concern is that if there's something standardized, it will cause people to oath things that they might not fully understand yet. If it is not standardized, it will cause them to potentially say something they shouldn't. :)

But then, that's part of why we're working on a mentorship program: to avoid that sort of thing in particular.

Curiously, did you know that Oath is the daughter of Eris? Fancy little tidbit, that.

What is required of the High Days?

There are two High Day requirements (you can find the DP requirements on my webpage). The first is just to write about your understanding of the generic 8 Neo-Pagan High Days. The second is to write up the 8 rituals you attend or perform during your period as a Dedicant, including at least four ADF-Style rites. You can do them as a solitary, or you can simply participate in group worship. That part is up to you.

Oh, and if you're thinking about joining ADF (never hurts to have a handy link), you can use any High Day write-ups from rituals you attended before you joined, too. . . like Imbolc with Three Cranes, for instance. :)

But if you are home over summer, you can do your own. . . Or you can attend with the group in Cincy, if you're feeling really adventurous ;)
(Deleted comment)

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