1. What draws you to the path of Initiation within ADF?
When I completed my DP I knew I was going to want to progress further, I just didn’t know in what way. I started the GSP because the courses interested me, and would need to be completed for some of the Guild Study Programs I’m interested in, and along the way have found more and more that I want to delve deeper into my studies, my relationship with the Kindreds, and myself. I have felt the urge to walk further down the path and continue further in my journey in the study and practice of worshiping in the Old Ways. I never thought I would be a deeply religious person, but with each step further I take on the path, the further I feel myself drawn onwards, and I think the way of the Initiate is how I want to focus my training.
As I grow deeper within myself I want to be in a place where I can explain and guide others. As an Initiate I want to be able to be a mentor to those also walking the path. I want the training to be able to answer questions and be better able to guide the Folk. I want to explore the liminal spaces that surround the work we do when we connect to the Kindreds. I want to explore the different ways of doing magical and trance work, and experiment with new ways to find what works for me and what doesn’t in a framework that provides training as a baseline for that experimentation. I want to be a part of work that is being done to strengthen our bonds with the Kindreds, strengthen our power in magical aspects, and strengthen the ties that bind ADF and all of it’s congregants together.
2. What does being an Initiate mean to you?
I am hoping that walking this path will teach me what it is to be an Initiate. It’s hard to say what I think it is now, but I see myself exploring the boundaries and focusing on the liminal aspects of Our Own Druidry.
In a group setting, I see an Initiate as a person who uses their training and focus to guide the folk on journeys. They are someone who has the experience, willpower, and training necessary to safely and effective walk between the worlds and guide others in and out. They can do magic on behalf of the Folk, and serve as a guide or voice in trance or divinatory work.
In relation to the Clergy, I think the Initiate can help serve the Folk in ways the Clergy may find difficult. For instance, an Initiate may be more approachable in some situations or more freely able to meet a person on their level, or in a place that they find comfortable. They may also have more of an ability to travel and perform works of magic for the Folk, as they need. These would be more than the celebratory rites and High Days and would be more focused on a task. As ADF grows as an organization I believe the Initiate will have more flexibility to be available to the Folk. The Initiate would also be equipped with training similar to the Clergy, so in ritual would be a valuable tool that the Clergy could direct with confidence to complete magical workings on behalf of the Folk gathered.
As an individual, I see the Initiate as someone who is constantly striving to find a deeper connection with the Kindreds. They are someone who is constantly forcing themselves to reexamine their own self and perceptions, as well as someone who is experimenting with ways to interact with the Kindreds. They use their experience, knowledge, and devotion to gather around them powers that help them further the deeper work of magic and trance, allowing them to further their own practice and hopefully be able to apply that gained knowledge to eventually aid the Folk.
3. What services do you hope to provide to your community with this training?
I want to be able to be a mentor to the Folk. I see myself being someone that a person can come to for guidance and advice on a spiritual level or a more personal level. Teaching is where my strengths lie, and I see that continuing and being adapted to the role of mentoring, counseling, and guidance. Beyond the ability to converse with people comfortably, I could see it taking the form of trance work combined with divination or other magical tasks, as well as helping others find where their own paths will take them. When others find where their paths will take them, they can then begin applying knowledge and skills they have hopefully in turn learned from me.
I’m also very interested in the liminal spaces of devotion, ritual, and magic, specifically rites of passage. Helping someone transition from one place in society to another. I’m interested in the whole process taking them out of society, completing work that helps them transition, and then reintroducing them to society again in their new role. In this transition I hope to help people learn more about and reflect on themselves in a deeper way. I think this will be very important as ADF becomes a multi-generational organization. We’re going to start having more and more children growing up as pagans, and I think Coming of Age rites will be needed in addition to any other training we can give our children. I want to be a part of this progression.