Ethics & Vocation: 2019 Reflection


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. Continue reading “Ethics & Vocation: 2019 Reflection”

Let’s Talk Vocation: Mentoring

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that part of my Vocation, part of my Call, is mentoring. That thread of passion has woven it’s way through many aspects of my life, from coaching to college organizations to my professional life in teaching and into my role as an Initiate and a Priest. Being a mentor can be a tough job, but it is immensely rewarding work for me. It is one of the things that drives me.

I want to be helpful to others, to aid them in their growth, and to give them the tools and skills they need to do the work they want to do. In a way, I want to put myself out of job, though I know that new people, new mentees, will continue to come along. But there is great joy and a sense of accomplishment, in seeing a mentee reach a point where you can step back because they no longer need you.

As mentors, we seek to help our mentees feel welcomed, valued, and part of their own learning process. We walk alongside them, providing support and insight, and encouraging reflection, risk-taking, and confidence in their growing skills. The mentorship relationship will grow and change with time, and that is a good thing. The way that relationship between mentor and mentee develops allows for learning to flow back and forth, and for a guided, yet organic, method of growth to occur.

When I mentor someone I talk with them. I prod them when they need it. I’m a sounding board. They are the team leader and I’m their point person, their support person. When they need something I can’t do, or I don’t know, I find them that resource, or that other person that does know something more, or even different than me, and I make that connection.

When you’re a mentor, you’re in it for the long game, and certainly not for any sense of immediate glory. You start with your mentee, where ever they may be along their path, and you walk with them. Within many organizations, there is this push as a mentor to get your mentee over the threshold of whatever it is that you’re mentoring them for. Whether you’re mentoring them as a prospective leader of your organization, as a student teacher, or as an aspiring priest. The push is to get them to that new position. To get them to and through that Rite of Passage.

But that isn’t enough. It isn’t good enough for the mentor to lead that person, their mentee, up to the threshold of this new position in their life, and then shove them over it. Especially when there may or may not be someone on the other side to catch them, and reintegrate them back into their organization, or society, or church as a person with this new role. When you go through a transition, a Rite of Passage, there is a state of liminality that occurs. And after the state of liminality there is a state of communitas, of being part of the community.

Part of the role of a mentor, and especially for me with how I view my role as an Initiate, is to walk with that person up to the threshold, through the liminal space and time with them, and be there for them on the other side as well, to help them adjust to their new role.

I’ve had some great mentors, especially as I’ve entered the ADF Priesthood. They’ve encouraged me and given me the opportunity to grow and learn and take chances. They’ve been there for me when I struggle, and cheered me one when I’ve succeeded. The best have also been the ones that walked with me at the beginning of my path, and have continued to walk with me at each successive step along the way. These mentors, they’ve helped me navigate these waters and come to grips with my Vocation, my Calling. They’ve become my peers.

So, what are some dispositions and qualities that good mentors have? What does being a good mentor look like? What does a good mentor do, especially internally? Here are some ideas:

Picture on a green background with ADF "Why Not Empathy" logo in the bottom corner that reads: Mentors of New & Aspiring Clergy Should: - Consistently reflect on their practice and performance of ritual to identify areas of potential growth. - Engage in ongoing learning and continually strive to improve their own practice. - Know and use a wide repertoire of effective liturgical and pastoral strategies. - Be approachable, patient, and trustworthy. - Share skills, knowledge, and resources with their community and peers. - Exhibit a positive attitude and passion for clergy work. - Attentively and actively listen. - Be skillful at coaching that generates reflection. - Value the opinions and ideas of others and be able to accept an aspirant priest as a developing member of the clergy. - Invest their time and commit to supporting an aspirant priests spiritual and liturgical growth.

My Vocational Statement

When did you hear the call to the path of ADF Priesthood? What did it sound like?

When I was first considering what direction to go following the approval of my Dedicant Path documentation I waffled for a long while between the Initiate Path and the Clergy Path.  I talked to current initiates and priests.  I asked questions.  I did divination, journaled, and wrote a lot.  When I asked the counsel of my gods, it was obvious to me: I needed to do the Initiate work.  I didn’t feel ready, and didn’t know that I would ever feel ready, to embark on the path of clergy.  I still felt like I had a call for it then, but it was quiet and I questioned whether it was actually there.  I wanted to do the Initiate work first.  I needed to solidify my own practice before I could truly listen to see if the call was true.


The closer I got to completing the course requirements for the Initiate Path, the more I noticed that as I was growing in my own work, the louder the call was getting, and the more insistent.  As my own practice grew, I began seeing places where I could offer my knowledge and skills to those around me.  I feel that, next to walking your walk and owning your path, it is imperative to help others walk their path as well.  I found myself seeing voids in the community, and they were voids that I could fill.  I began leading Full Moon rituals every month, with the focus for those rituals being the magical work that we didn’t really get to do or engage in elsewhere.  It was also a place where I have fostered a “no fail” zone.  I wanted to help others find their voice, the way I felt like I was finding mine.


As I reached the final months of journaling for the Initiate Path, my call to the work of the priest solidified.  It felt just as obvious to me as my initial decision to embark on the Initiate Path first.  I knew without a doubt that I needed to first complete that work, and that I could then allow my focus to shift and set my foot upon the path of clergy work.  The paths all merge.  The work of the Dedicant is the first stream.  As it flows along, other rivers join it, bringing with their new waters new inspiration, new knowledge, and wider banks.  The Dedicant stream continues to flow strong in the river of my own Druidry, and will always flow in my river as its headwaters.  It has been joined by the Initiate Current, which brings a deeper understanding and a deeper level of work.  These two rivers flow, their waters mingling, and yet each flowing just as strong, now a single river.  As I encounter new waters, like the work of the Clergy, the river will continue to flow, and grow stronger as all the waters mingle.  My work as a Dedicant is a constant, ever continuing path, as is my work as an Initiate now, feeding the river.  I see the work of a priest the same way: once joined they are ever flowing, becoming just as much an integral part of the river as the other waters.


I want to be a priest because I want to help others on their path, whatever that path may look like to them.  I want to provide liturgy to folks who are having trouble coming up with something fitting on their own.  I want to provide my knowledge and skills to those who need them.  I want to help grow our children in our tradition.  I have built my strong foundation, and the pull has intensified.  I understand why so many people refer to it as a “Call.”


It is not a loud resounding gong, nor a can I necessarily put my finger on an exact moment that I felt called, but it is a constant and insistent part of my being now.  It is a constant ringing in my ears and a constant throbbing in my being. The clergy serve the gods the folk and the land, and that is what I feel drawn towards, pulled towards, called towards.  I’ve grown in my understanding of this faith community, and I’ve come to realize that what I want to do and who I want to be can’t be done elsewhere.  The sound of the call was when I heard the sound of that need in my community, when people started looking to me in that role, and when I was able to begin seeing myself in that more confident and capable place.  When I understood that by becoming an ordained priest I would be able to answer that call and fulfill that need, it felt right. The call encompasses the sounds of multiple melodic lines weaving together in harmony as the gods, the folk, and the land all sing together in my soul.


What form do you expect your vocation to take?

I have been doing a lot of work as an Initiate that has revolves around part of the oath that states “…and with these tools I will lead others to the flame.”  My vocation I expect will continue to reflect this work.  I will be involved in making Our Druidry accessible to any who seek it.  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.  I will be involved in the educational programs that we have (in the form of the DP, IP, CTP, and Guild SPs), and with those that are just now blossoming (such as children’s programming, especially locally). I want to help grow ADF into a church that my children can be a part of and feel connected to from a young age.  I want to help develop programming that engages our new members, particularly those who are being raised in our traditions.  One of the biggest draws to ADF for me is its inclusiveness and family-friendly nature, and I want to help grow that.


There is great joy and potential in the balance that exists within ADF between faith and scholarship, between practice and study.  I want to help others see that same joy.  I want to help others in ADF blossom in their practice, and should they decide to embark on the course of higher study within ADF, I want to make sure that the coursework is accessible to them in a way that they can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. I want to help others feel capable and confident in adapting their hearth culture and practice into the greater whole that is ADF practice. I want to help others find their voice.


Do you feel prepared to become an ADF Priest now? Do you see further work that you will need to do to prepare yourself for the work ahead?

I feel as ready as I can without having actually set foot on the path yet.  I know that I am going to run into obstacles and challenges, but I feel confident that while I won’t be prepared in the sense that the challenge wouldn’t have happened, that I am prepared in that I will be able to work with or around the issues that arise.


There is always work to do, and there is always room for more growth.  I don’t think I will ever be done learning and improving.  There are always new things to learn, and new things to experiment with.  There are specific experiences that I lack, but that I’m not sure can be gained before ordination.  I’ve never married anyone, though I witnessed folks declare themselves for each other.  I’ve never helped anyone cross the veil, though I’ve sat with those left on this side.  I’ve never done conflict resolution from a religious point of view, though I it do it on a regular basis at my job and amongst my friends.


These are life experiences, and I think they simply take time.  I cannot say with certainly how I will handle them when the time comes, but I feel that I have been well prepared, and have a solid support network of my own in the form of current Priests and the Kindreds to draw on when I need help or guidance along the way.


Clergy is not all weddings and funerals.  It’s not that glamorous or that that clear cut.  It’s listening and liturgy.  It’s meditation and magic.  It’s the interactions and relationships you develop.  It’s about the day-to-day work – the hundreds of small differences that you are able to make in the lives of those around you.  It’s about fostering a community and growing and tending what you have.  It’s about the thousands of minute details and small-scale actions you take each and every day to serve the gods, the folk, and the land. That I am prepared for.


We are all students, and all continually growing beings. There is nothing wrong with, and perhaps even something good about, accepting that the path we walk doesn’t have a clear end and that there is something new around every twist and turn.  I am prepared in this sense, because I have faith that I can handle the experiences that are to come with the skills that I have gained along the way.