- ADF has two levels of Priesthood: Dedicant and Ordained Priests. Dedicant Priests are consecrated, and required to renew their credentials each year. Ordained Priests are ordained (funny, that), and their credentials are good "for life" (at this time). I am currently a Dedicant Priest, and have been renewing my credentials annually for three years.
- There are seven currently Ordained Priests in ADF: the past and current Archdruids, and two non-AD ordians.
- The only way to become an Ordained Priest currently is to complete the entire ADF Clergy Training Program. Only three people have ever actually done this (other ordinations were done prior to the creation of the CTP, or when the Study Programs were closed to students due to revisions). I am one of those three.
- Wellspring 2010 was our first ordination of any Priest in 8 years, where Kirk was ordained and made Archdruid at the same rite.
Right now, we're trying to work out what exactly is meant by our SOP, which indicates that the Officers will "conduct a detailed examination of each candidate for ordination."
There are some major changes that appear to be occurring with this step, though. . . changes that I did not expect.
A key change has been in my relationship with the patron goddess most people know about: Eris. Over the years, we have begun to drift apart, and the relationship, while still extant, is no longer one of patronage, but one of mutual respect and acknowledgment that we had a great time. It's sort of like a good relationship that had remarkable chemistry but not the kind of staying-power you expected it to have. You remember the good times fondly (and like to trade reminiscences over a bottle of good wine), and there aren't any hard feelings now that it's over. It's just in the past now.
But, I have never felt that patronage of a deity was necessarily life-long. Some paths through the woods diverge, even if they have moved together for a long time, and do not come back together in the foreseeable future. And that's okay. Nine years is a long time to work with anyone.
Another thing I found is that unlike previous steps (my Dedicant Path work, my consecration as a Dedicant Priest, and my Initiation, for example), I feel ready for this. I feel like the training has fully prepared me for this next step, and that while situations will always arise that test my ability, I have enough training to see me through them, even if I have to learn more along the way.
I don't worry about tests that ask tough questions (including "how many Sidhe can dance on the head of a pin") or proving my ritual skills to others. I don't wonder if I'll be the Priest people expect of me.
I am, really, in a place of deep peace surrounding the process of Ordination. I am okay with the changes taking place, and I am encouraging of them. The aim, assuming that I pass the "detailed examination" (which is not a foregone conclusion on my part: ordination tests can be quite difficult to pass) is to be ordained at the Unity Rite on Saturday of Summerland.
I do hope that folk can make it. It would mean a lot to me to have the support of friends and Grove when I take the next oath in my work in ADF.