What calls you to become an ADF Consecrated Priest? How does this step fit with your calling as an ADF Priest?
Much of my work as an Ordained ADF Priest has been focused on a more local level, with only a bit of branching out beyond that. However, I keep feeling more and more of a drive to expand my work in such a way that I can serve more people, that I can do more for a broader audience, that I can help more folks feel the connection they crave and build the practice they want.
My Vocation Statement for Ordination included the following statement: “For any who seek the flame, I will act as a guide on their path, aiding where I can, challenging when I need to, and supporting always.” My call to become an ADF Consecrated Priest is a furthering of this call. I can continue to expand what I’m doing, and continue to develop skills, both internally and externally, that will allow me to continue to serve a broader community. It feels like a natural next step for me, my practice, and my service.
How have the specializations you chose within the CTP prepared you for the deeper work of an ADF Consecrated Priest?
The two specializations I chose, Leadership and Ritualist, reflect some of my interests that I’d like to develop further, though I’d also like to take on Professional Helping Skills at some point. I think leadership skills are important for all our priests, as we’re all viewed as leaders to at least some degree. Considering that I want to continue to grow in my leadership roles both locally and beyond, the self-reflection parts of this course were particularly beneficial. They helped me to recognize my leadership style and its strengths and weaknesses. This allows me to better compensate in situations where my leadership style is not as well heard or recognized. I am a gentle leader, and so in contexts with lots of loud and outspoken individuals, I have to very consciously focus on holding my own so that I am heard.
The Ritualist specialization I actually chose more because I’m interested in the 3rd Circle course than specific interest in this one. Comparative ritual theory fascinates me, and I use basics of it often in planning rituals. I’m looking forward to that course to learn more. With this course, while foreign language interests me, in most rituals I find it’s impact is minimal, or possibly detrimental if not well planned and scripted, to the overall effect of the ritual. I do like to include hearth flavor in rituals with the hearth’s language, but the translation needs to also be included, or the ritual has a tendency to lose its focus, especially in large groups.
Both of these specializations will help me continue my growth as I deepen the work I’m doing as a Consecrated Priest. The Leadership skills will help with the more in depth outer work I foresee doing with the broader community. The benefits from the Ritualist skills will likely be seen in my broader work with the community, but they will also significantly help me continue to deepen my own practice, and give me a broader knowledge base from which I can plan rituals, draw inspiration, and interpret omens and spiritwork.
What does your inner work look like? How has your inner work prepared you for greater outer work with the community of ADF?
My personal work involves a fairly large amount of self-reflection on how I’m working both to maintain my practice and working with my community. I consider how that aligns with my values, ethics, and motivations. This has been, and will continue to be, something that benefits both me and others who find themselves in similar situations. I have found myself having more conversations with folks considering the upper level study programs, and by sharing my own experiences and struggles that I have processed through, I am more able to be a sounding board and mentor to those still working through them.
Other inner work that do is continued trance work and continuing to build relationships with various spirit allies. Part of this inner work takes place during the regular clergy Mound work, and part of it takes place during other trance experiences. Having a strong set of spirit allies to back me up and provide inspiration is useful in serving the greater community because it not only gives me ideas for new things to try and how to implement them, but also allows me to tap into more energy when leading rituals and workings.
I find I am called on regularly for both minor and major magical workings, and because my inner work involves a fair amount of personal magic, I am better able to work off-the-cuff for immediate requests as well as better plan major workings for specific purposes. I lean on my spirit allies when I need ideas for how to get something done. I’ve also been continuing to experiment with different methods that work well for me, such as sigil work and more types of thaumaturgic magic that in the past I haven’t dabbled too much in. This will continue to allow me to serve the folk by choosing methods that speak to the requesting individual or group, and that I have personally worked with before.
The last bit of inner work that I do is maintaining my personal devotional practice. It has ebbed and flowed with changing life situations, but continued to be a part of my practice. In general, it takes the form of a very brief devotional at my home shrine, where I light my Hestia flame, burn some incense, and honor the Earth and Three Kindreds. Often times my daughter joins me. When she doesn’t, I am able to spend a bit more time at my altar and add in an omen-taking, praise for my patrons and spirit allies, and/or a more in-depth working. Maintaining this level of inner work keeps me centered, balanced, and in-tune with the spirits so that I can approach the clergy work I do from a more active and centered place. In addition, the struggles and adjustments I’ve had to make with my personal practice have given me a better background for helping others work through similar struggles and adjustments.
What further skills would you like to develop as an ADF Consecrated Priest, and how will these skills help grow Our Druidry?
One of the things I noted in my journals during the past two years is the general lack of good religious materials written specifically for a pagan audience, to say nothing of materials written with a focus on our particular flavor of paganism. I want to work more on producing materials for those who aren’t local to me, though I recognize that the local crew will also benefit. This includes articles, books, study guides, and video materials to name a few. I want to focus on making materials that are accessible to all and that fill the various niches and holes that I’ve noticed in published works. This will help grow Our Druidry because it will put our name out there in conjunction with quality and valuable work.
I would also like to continue to deepen my personal practice where magic, trancework, and divination overlap. I would like to continue my experimentation with new magical techniques, and work on learning and polishing skills in that area that I’ve only just started to read about and touch on. By learning these new methods and techniques I’ll be able to use those skills for others, as well as begin explaining and teaching others to use them.
I’d also like to deepen my trancework further, and work on carrying this over into sharing methods of building relationships with spirit allies. Additionally, the information I gain through both trancework and divination will allow me to share the useful bits with our community as a whole.