It is important to reflect on our Code of Ethics, and the virtues we try to embody, every so often. ADF’s continuing education used to require it at least once every three years, though that has since changed and it’s no longer required that we revisit it. It is still an extremely valuable practice, and allows to see how we are growing and changing as a person and priest, and helps us to realign and reaffirm the work we are doing. I’ve also seen my work shift and focus since being Consecrated, and having had time to settle into that new(ish) role, now seems like a good time to review where I stand, what I believe, and how those things are expressed in my words and actions. I’ve included my reflections and revision to my code of ethics below, and my Code of Ethics in it’s final form can always be viewed here.
- “I will pray with the Good Fire” – I will maintain my own practice and my own relationship with the Kindreds. In this way I will have the fertile soil in which to grow into my role as a Priest.
- REFLECTION: This element of my Code of Ethics seems to be pretty constant. I cannot light a flame for another unless I maintain my own.
- REVISION: “I will pray with the Good Fire” – I will maintain my own practice and my own relationship with the Spirits. In this way I will have the fertile soil to continue to grow in my role as a Priest, and I will be in a position where I can better help others. I cannot kindle a flame for another unless I maintain my own.
- “I will lead others to the Flame” – This is part of my Initiate Oath, and means that I will not hoard my knowledge or skills. I will be a good role model, guide, and teacher for all those who seek to walk the path of neo-paganism, and I will provide services relating to this path as much as I am able.
- REFLECTION: I still view this part of the Initiate Oath in the same way. I think this one can continue to stand as is.
- REVISION: none
- “I will be kind to others” – It costs me nothing to be kind to someone. My words and actions have the possibility of deeply affecting others, and my kindness may be the only bit of hope a person sees that day. I will also do what I am able to be sure that kindness is a priority in interactions that I observe and am part of.
- REFLECTION: I think there is a difference between being passively kind and being deliberately inclusive, and it is the latter than I feel I do, and should continue to, strive more towards.
- REVISION: “I will model inclusivity and kindness” – My words have power and my actions can deeply affect others. I will make adjustments to my language and actions as needed to reflect the changing needs of my community. I will assume good intentions and prioritize kindness in my interactions with others. I will work to maintain a safe space, free from hate, in my community.
- “I will acknowledge growth” – This is two fold: I am constantly growing and as such should strive to continue learning. Others are also constantly growing, and I should allow in my perception of them that they are continuing to learn. I will not hold grudges.
- REFLECTION: one of the things I’ve been saying recently is “learn better, do better.” We have all done things in the past that don’t reflect the kind of person we want to be now. And so, when we learn about it, and learn better ways, we need to apologize for our wrongs, make those changes, and do better.
- REVISION: “I will allow room for growth” – When you learn better, do better. I am constantly growing and learning, and my actions will reflect new knowledge. Others are also constantly growing and learning, and I will accept that they can change their own actions for the better. I will not hold grudges.
- “I will be an independent and responsible person” – I will be my own person, and determine my own actions. I will walk my walk, and not let others’ vision of me influence my path. I am responsible for my own actions, and will strive to remember that I am not responsible of the actions of others. I will also fulfill duties that make me a responsible member of society and the priesthood, especially as it relates to the law.
- REFLECTION: Something that I occasionally still worry about is that I am weak-willed, or that I will change my opinion or go along with what others say too easily. I think that the ability to change your opinion based on new information is valuable, as long as you don’t lose sight of what your core values are. Some of that I think is covered in the above bullet point regarding allowing for growth. I do think this point needs to continue to contain the bit about “responsibilities as they relate to the law” even though it doesn’t flow particularly well.
- REVISION: “I will be an independent and responsible person” – I will walk my virtues, and not let others’ vision of me determine my path. I am responsible for my own actions and reactions, and will strive to remember that I am not responsible of the actions of others. I will also fulfill duties that make me a responsible member of society and the priesthood, especially as it relates to the law.
- “I will be loyal and hold true to my word.” – When I make a commitment, those who are depending on me should be able to be certain that I will not back out, or that if I do it is for a very good reason. I will speak truth whenever possible, admit when I don’t know, and seek out those who do know. I will maintain the confidence of those who have trusted me to hold space with them.
- REFLECTION: this one still rings very true, and is something I’ll continue to do.
- REVISION: none
Regarding my Vocation, a lot of my work seems to have come in to focus on helping others, but now with more specific goals than I may have had before. I’ve definitely gained a focus on mentoring, education, and pastoral care.
My work on mentoring & education is similar, but with a different scope. Mentoring is more one-on-one, and education is more one-on-many (more program of study directed). It has even been progressing some in helping/educating others in how to become better mentors.
Within the mentoring sphere, I have one or two formal mentoring relationships, and another handful or two of more informal relationships. I love mentoring because not only do I get to see others grow into themselves and their own work, I also undeniably learn and grow from them as well. It is extremely fulfilling to me, and I love seeing the work and experiencing the conversations that come out of it.
Within the education sphere, I’ve been involved in revising study programs within ADF (the Magicians Guild SP, and the Initiate Path), creating new materials for folks who are practicing neo-pagainism (The Spiraling Sun winter solstice work, and the upcoming Hearth Keeper’s Way), and giving workshops on sharing our skills and mentoring. This all reflects pieces of my initiate and clergy oath: “I will lead others to the flame” and “I pledge to serve the folk”. I find this all very fulfilling to me personally, and see it’s benefit to others.
The other big thing that has come into focus for me is my work towards pastoral care. I’ve been collecting resources and working on my self-education more, and I have a plan for acquiring a more formal education on pastoral care once time and finances allow. I do a lot of talking with folks about various things, and it’s not so much that each and every thing is huge and life-changing, but that it is something that a person needs to externally process. I am glad that I can be that sounding board. I’ve also found that I’ve been doing a lot more work around end-of-life stuff than I ever expected I would. It’s not exactly enjoyable, but it is fulfilling knowing that I can do that, and be that person for someone. All in all, a lot of it comes down to the idea that no one needs a priest until they do, and I want to be as ready, as capable, and as trained as possible to be the best I can be when I’m called upon to do this work.
I wrote this bit in a previous reflection, but I think it is still true enough and important enough that it bears repeating: “Relationships. That can sum up my approach to my spirituality and religion fairly succinctly. It is all about relationships, whether that is between two or more people, two or more groups, a person and the Kindreds, or any other collection of people and spirits. We build these relationships based on reciprocity and mutual benefit. My personal code of ethics allows me to be sure I’m staying true to myself in my actions and interactions with others. And reflecting on and re-evaluating my code of ethics on a regular basis will help me both maintain knowledge of my ethical conduct and allow me to see if there are parts that need to be added or removed to better maintain myself and my relationships with others.”
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