March 7th, 2007
|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: amused
Current Music: "Tonight I Just Need My Guitar", -JB
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.
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.
Both you and ardgruntler convinced me that was the direction we needed (and wanted and agreed) to head.
That's weird since that's not I was saying at all. I don't have a problem with the DP being called a study program-- in fact, I pointed out repeatedly that I thought it was bizarre that folks were suddenly saying it wasn't. What I was saying that we needed something a bit more clear & basic for folks just coming in, some basic explanations of things. Ian, much as I love him, tends err on the side of being extremely vague which leaves new folks floundering while trying to figure out what they're supposed to be doing.
It does make a pretty good curriculum, I admit, and for a situation like yours, it's actually (possibly) ideal. I did see you'd bought 10 copies (amusingly, it was right after I updated it and cut profit out entirely because I thought it was getting too expensive at over $10).
It probably won't become unavailable, I don't think. I mean, if nothing else, it's got some adequate uses. I just don't know how it fits, see? That's what this post is about: fitting it into what ADF is doing, where it's going, and what this new Path might mean for our members.
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.
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 :)
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?
Actually, this was the original "phase II" of the project WotY started. You can find evidence of it in the "A Virtuous Life" publication I wrote. I've started a meditation book sort of like it, but haven't had time to work on it recently (a primary reason I declined all nominations).
Is that book (if you've seen it) something like what you mean?
it's no longer a syllabus at that point.
road path map :D
i LOVE it (that is one of my favorite songs!)
if i had any talent for such things, i'd write the whole thing :) someone else will have to do it though...
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.
awesome icon, BTW. Love the changing holiday symbols.
I'm glad that it's helped you. :) Makes me smile to see that it's been useful.
FYI, if you have comments on it or the structure, I'd like to hear them. Particularly because revising it is so darn easy for me, personally, and I want it to be the best it can be.
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.
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!
ADF has always approached liturgical writing from the (somewhat odd) stance of "if we teach you the cosmology, you will be able to write liturgy." Unfortunately, that's not quite the case :)brandondedicant
is very right: we've seen the call for COoR tutorials, and we're slowly responding.
Re: how flexible the COoR is, well, I tried to get people to write about that in OL last time, but few things along those lines were submitted. I hope to get more into OL over the next few months, as well as up onto the website. A lot of the Clergy, though, are also learning to use it, so it's difficult to say how long it will be before a solid, "this is how you write COoR rituals" document comes out. . . I expect Ian, Kirk, or Skip will produce one, though. And if they don't, I'll write one because, though I might not be the best suited for the job, I'm in such constant contact with the Dedicants that I will be reminded over and over again just how much it's needed :)
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.
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. . .
If the WotY were actually packaged with or merged into the dp manual, as has been suggested in the past, then I could foresee some people assuming it is THE way to do the dp. Dedicants do have a way of reading implications where none are intended. I admit there's a little concern there.
If, however, they are physically separate, I think it's fine.
What I would like to see is a dp manual that lists WotY as an "additional resource available at such-and-such address," with a description of what it is and how people have found it useful.
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....
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.
His article isn't much as far as "other" goes (no offense to my husband is meant). But then I am to blame for that specific culture and various ones near it. Bad me.
I know you do introduce the idea of "hey folks, more than Celtic here", you more than anyone else I have ever met in ADF. :P
To be fair, romandruid
has been talking about Romans for a long time :) And she's actually gotten somewhere with her stuff (there's now a Roman Kin which is pretty active and doing good work). And there's that big Norse movement in ADF that's going on which is entertaining to watch.
But I try and introduce those other cultures. And, if the question post on ADF-Liturgists recently, "are "chakras" a Vedic or later Hindu concept?" is any indication, there's been actual movement
on that front. So, we're doing alright.
The Ratri article was just the first one that came to mind. I've been fortunate to get a lot of articles written and submitted to OL about various cultures, and I've been stealing them and publishing them on the site, too.
Now that I think about it, I wonder if Jenni's articles on Roman High Days was ever published?
I did not realize I was being unfair.... I'm was referencing the eastern IEs specifically in the first half of my previous comment. Other people may be introducing things outside the Celtic, but I stand by that you've done the most as far as I have seen in regards to giving the idea that there is more (I put in the "far as I've seen" because it's an opinion I have, factual or not). Others may have done more in specific places with specific cultures, I take your word for it completely. :) I am not saying work is not being done-- there seem to be far more Greeks and Norse now than I ever noticed before. I just like to think that at this stage there should be more openness than I, personally, have experienced. :)
I cannot say as there really has been movement on the eastern IEs specifically, but then I head a Kin for that and I either find silence or that I'm being argued with there when I try to share information. But, mostly silence, hahaha. :D
Oh, I know. I was just saying that I've seen others who do a lot, too. :) You know, spreading that nougatty goodness of "thank the gods someone else isn't Irish, too" around some. :)
I hadn't thought of this (probably because I'm not on the EIE list), but my Hittite ritual might be of interest to folks on that list: A Hittite Rite of Offering
(43 Kb .pdf)
It was also published in OL this past issue.
As far as I think, there shouldn't be an EIE list for all the good it does (re: none). It stands as a testament that me = fail, hahaha. But yeah, you should send it there, or ask ferrelux
to (I am currently unsubscribed with the travel).