June 6th, 2012
|09:59 am - Questions about Magic and ADF: Part II|
This may not be the "part 2" some expected (I'll get on that soon), but it's the one I intended to write. That "part 2" will be more about magic in ADF; this one is about ADF itself.
This part is an answer to the second question I was asked about ADF by the local Religious Studies class: In what different ways do people get involved with ADF. What draws them in?
A lot of this reflects my own experiences, and yes, originally this was partially a "marketing" piece for ADF that no one ever really cared to use, called "5 Reasons to Join" (and now it's likely that it won't be used). But really, it's a reflection of the ADF I participate in. In essence, it's ADF through my eyes, and the way I talk about it to other people.
What draws people to ADF? Well, this is what drew me to ADF:
1) Training: Training is the cornerstone of ADF. We firmly believe that it is important to learn the best scholarship about the Indo-European cultures we are drawing form, and that inspiration should start with a foundation of scholarship. We offer five different kinds of training, from our initial training program through clergy training. Two years of constant study can bring eligibility to become an ADF Priest. The greatest strength in ADF's training, though, is the ability of the student to direct his or her studies as he or she sees fit: ADF is not a "one size fits all" program, but a program that the student will craft to his or her own needs and wants.
2) Community: It's been said that the members of ADF are the best part of being an ADF member. The community, online and in person, is amazing. Our members experience vibrant local communities of Groves and the opportunity to start their own Groves with a minimal number of hoops to jump through; for those who do not have access to a local Grove, we have a wide variety of online resources; and several regional festivals that anyone, member or not, can attend to meet our leadership on an equal footing.
3) Support: ADF offers a great deal of support for its members, particularly in the areas of training, mentorship, Grove development, clergy, and military members. Members have excellent resources for problem solving through their local Grove, an accessible leadership, and a fairly "flat" hierarchy where all persons in leadership are approachable. Also, ADF members have recourse to a specific member of the Board of Directors who can bring their concerns to the very top of the organization with no middleman.
4) Identity: ADF is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit church. At over 1,200 members, ADF has members across the United States and in several other countries including Canada and the UK. ADF credentials, such as ADF Dedicant, ADF Initiate, and ADF Priest, mean something in the greater Pagan community. We expect anyone who holds a title bestowed by ADF to be both willing and able to demonstrate the competence associated with that title upon polite request. Once these titles have been earned, the ADF Office can verify that you have earned them if any question should arise, and the training behind these titles is recognized as legitimate by other Pagans.
5) Empowerment: Every person in ADF is considered able to lead their own rituals, work their own magic, and contact the Gods and Spirits on their own. Neither ordination nor specific levels of training are required to lead or run ADF rituals, but training is offered to help those who wish to achieve higher levels of ritual excellence. Our High Day rites are public and open to all who do not seek to interrupt or disrupt them. ADF seeks to avoid a culture of "power over" and instead promote a culture of shared power and equal opportunity; different genders, sexual orientations, races and ethnicities all have equal footing within the organization. No member is required or expected to embark on training, though it will always be encouraged.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Music: "Peddlers and Pushers", -JB
Sounds like a solid organization.
Really, should be part of the website intro page. A nice overview.
I can pass it along to the Webmaster group. Thanks!
You kind of touch on it in a lot of ways, but I think directly, one of the things I like best is the frankness and openness of discussion. With other members, with leadership, with regards to training. The communication is wonderful.
Thanks for posting this. I joined ADF back in the early 80s. Your comments on community and empowerment resonate with my own reasons for joining. The rest was still very much a work in progress back then, and it's been interesting to watch those things develop as the organization progresses.
In training, you can also mention that training is free (minus annual membership dues and any money needed for books). This is, of course, in contrast to OBOD's $400 training program, and various other organizations out there. One of the main reasons why I joined ADF.
Yeah, that was a big thing for me, too: not having $300 (exchange rates were more favorable, as were mailing rates, at the time).
Back in '98 I had a local OBOD member try to convince me to leave ADF and start a local OBOD group (branch? acorn?) with her, and part of her pitch was that we could split the cost of the training program. Sadly, she made the mistake of showing me the first four lessons, giving me the chance to figure out that that wasn't at all the kind of training program I wanted to be in.
(Also, she didn't want to be in my Grove because we had openly homosexual members, and she refused to take part in such a group, and in her e-mail she told me that she knew I had a problem with them too and we could have our own group where their kind wouldn't be allowed, unless they kept it hidden.)
(Next festival we're both at, feel free to ask me to show what my facial expressions were when I read that.)
Anyway, yes, the five points definitely need to be somewhere visible o n the ADF site.