Gary's Druidry Path

A place to write stories and essays from my druidry training and work

This blog post by A Forest Door really encapsulated what I have felt since I started this journey. It seems I’m always running across posts or questions asking what the gods really are. The truth is that we cannot say with certainty. They are mysterious beings that surely exist and interact with us at times, but defy clear, objective definition. Still, if you have ever had a close experience, in ritual or out of ritual, you can never forget the feeling and experience that we have.

It’s true that we often try to box them into neat, little categories and descriptors. But it’s easy to forget as we study the mythology, they are beings that are as diverse as we are, if not more so. They are not going to fit neatly into a single category. The best thing we can do is study, learn, interact, form a relationship, and grow. The rest will be our personal insight.

Three Kindreds

 The Three Kindreds are the three spirit realm that ADF druids work with and honor, especially on High Days and other rituals. The Three Kindreds are the Ancestors, The Nature Beings, and the Shining Ones.


The Ancestors, also known as the Sacred Dead or the Mighty Dead, are those humankind who have lived on earth once and now live in the beyond after their death. These human spirits may live in the underworld, in another realm, or even among the gods at times, but they continue live their lives after their physical death on earth. The path they take is unclear to us but they may reincarnate back into life in our realms or continue on in their own. They have interest and influence in human activities and are likely vested in the outcome of descendants of their family lineage. The ancestors are one of the allies we can call upon in our mortal lives (and likely beyond too).

Archdruid Drum (2019) describes three groups of Ancestors that help us express their roles in our lives. First, he describes those of blood which were our biological ancestors and contributed to our existence on earth. Secondly, he identifies those Ancestors of Hearth. These are the Ancestors who make up the Hearth Culture in which we hold attraction towards. They may also be heroes from our past which we respect and admire. Lastly, Ancestors of the Bone are the group who are buried in the grounds we stand or live. These are largely influencers of the local lands where their bodies rest and may have interaction with the nature spirits.

Because the ancestors have both a hand in our existence and continued influence in our realm, we build our practice to honor the ancestors and grow a relationship with them. The ADF Core Order of Ritual includes all three Kindreds, and offerings to the Ancestors. Additionally, we should seek to perform regular devotional practice to all the Kindreds, including the Ancestors. These may be simple remembrances and shrines or special altar pieces that we focus upon to give our respect and continued relationships. The Ancestors form one of the three triads of Kindreds ADF recognizes.

 Nature Spirits

The Nature Spirits are the non-human beings that inhabit many planes, but include the earth in which we live. Human history is full of encounters and interactions with these beings, sometimes called the Noble Spirits. These spirits are creatures and beings of place and elements, and some may have inhabited our planet long before humans evolved. They not only share the land, sky, and sea but they also affect and influence our lives and fates. Yet they may not live in our plane all the time but visit to accomplish desires and goals only they understand. They can be our allies but may also be distant and untrusting of humankind.

Additionally, these beings may be similar to humankind in appearance and shape but live very different lives. These are the other spirits such as dryads and pixies, the leprechauns and Menehune, the Elves and the Alfar, and so on. These beings are as varied as the wild spirits that live in the lands and often interact with our world for purposes that may benefit both their kind and humankind. These Nature Kindred balance the forces and effects across the planes and work in conjunction with the Shining Ones to maintain order and inject chaos where necessary.

ADF Druids understand that these Spirits of Nature deserve our respect and honor as Kindred because they share the realm we inhabit and can have similar interests. They are not necessarily our allies or friends but we seek to have a good and reciprocal relationship to help each other. They can benefit our lives through fertility of the land and enriching our spaces. As Druids, we should seek to care for our planet, not just for ourselves, but for all beings who occupy and visit our plane. This partnership must be built into reciprocal trust because the Nature Spirits are the most likely to distrust us. However, with respect and honor we can build a connection that enables us to work together and share goals for a better planet.

The Shining Ones

The Shining Ones are those beings we usually call Gods, Goddess, and Godden. They are the eldest, mightiest, and wisest beings in our accessible universe (Corrigan, 2010). While they typically appear in human-like appearance, they may be in this form simply for our benefit. The true form and nature of the gods’ existence is mostly a mystery to humankind, but we understand their power and influence in our civilization. Most reside in the upper worlds or planes but have a vested interest in our Midworld and the lives of humans. For as long as humans have lived, they have worshipped the God/desses in hope of benefitting our lives and gaining favor.

Often deities were grouped around a particular culture. However, people brought their gods and beliefs with them as they migrated and those beliefs shifted and adjusted to new settings. We recognize the Shining Ones are individual beings with their own personalities and goals, but it is not uncommon to find deities in different cultures with similar domains or characteristics. Now that we live in a widely globalized and connected world, people are experiencing different Shining Ones then their culture may have granted in the past and the diversity in Paganism grows. There are also Gods and Goddesses of places in our planet and examples throughout our history of the gods of rivers and mountains. Generally, however, we look to the sky and the heavens for the Shining Ones.

Much of our ritual practice and devotion is directed towards the Shining Ones. We view the deities as the most powerful influence over our world and seek to form reciprocal relationships to benefit each other. The relationships we form with the Shining Ones are as varied as the people on Earth. Some people seek out deities to follow, serve, or worship while others feel called to a particular God/dess. Regardless of how we have come to recognize our deities, forming relationships with the Shining Ones is important in our practice.

The Three Kindred

Together, the Three Kindred make up the spirit world that ADF druids seek to work with in Our Druidry. All are important relationships to build although each druid will find different beings and relationships formed in his or her practice. The Core Order of Ritual celebrates and honors each of the three Kindreds in a fashion that recreates the desires of our predecessors from the Proto-Indo-European people. The Kindres are our allies in our lives and in our spiritual practices.



Ár nDraíocht Féin. (2009). Our Own Druidry: An introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid

     Path [Pamphlet]. Tucson, AZ: ADF Publishing. v1.5.09122009

Corrigan, I. (2010, October 21). The worlds and the kindreds. Retrieved August 16, 2019, from Ár

     nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. website:


Pagano, J. (2019, August 13). Building a devotional practice with the ancestors. Retrieved August

     16, 2019, from Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. website:


The Dedicant Handbook defines fertility as follows: “Bounty of mind, body and spirit, involving creativity, production of objects, food, works of art, etc., an appreciation of the physical, sensual, nurturing.” Sticking with Collins English Dictionary, their definition is: “1. the quality, state, or degree of being fertile; fecundity; 2. the birthrate of a given population.”

 Exercise 1: Who and What Is Fertile? Identifying specific fertility examples as a virtue is an interesting exercise in the various ways to interpret ‘fertility.’ Fertility can be physical or mental and spans a wide array of action. I first think of Galileo Galilei’s pursuit of knowledge and propensity to invent and create. He was one of the most prolific creators in history and a great example of fertility. Many small farmers in my area demonstrate fertility in their tireless efforts to produce crops that feed the world. I believe that I, like many people, have periods of fertility and periods where I am not so productive. I believe the average person is fertile as the need or desire surfaces and they cycle through fertile periods.

 Exercise 2: Examining Definitions: I find the Collins Dictionary definition lacking in any modern interpretation of fertility. The Dedicant Handbook definition spans the course of humanity from ancient activities to our modern resourcefulness. Being fertile was once an exclusive term for childbearing, husbandry, and horticulture. However, the word originates from the Latin ‘fertilitas’ meaning fruitful and abundant. As a fertile person, one can be a producer of life or of creative expression and activity.

 Exercise 3: Seeking the Mythology and History: People may view fertility as focused on creation of life in historical settings but it is not exclusive. Michelangelo was a fertile creator and created awe-inspiring art in a world where such creations were not commonplace. Ēostre is not only a prominent fertility goddess but evolved into a modern springtime celebration of fertility. Fertility is commonly seen among those in the arts too.

 Exercise 4: The Virtue and the Self:  Defining fertility in myself is difficult because I have experienced a huge variation in my life. I have produced one child, but I would say I have failed in reference to propagating my family name. In my military career, I have experienced periods where I have created new and exciting breakthroughs in technology in my duties. This is not just typical productivity but new applications and processes that have never been done before. I have also experienced periods where my fertility dwindled and I was complacent about my creativity. After completing my second Master’s Degree, I did not want to do anything involving study or creation for several years… I simply had burned out.

 Exercise 5: Your Understanding of the Virtue: Fertility is defined perfectly in the Dedicant Manual as it applies to our druidry, and after careful research and self-deliberation, I do believe it is a virtue. I was initially inclined to contest this virtue but now understand how fertility is more than just producing offspring. It is giving birth within our minds and with our hands. It is creation and expression in many aspects of our lives, from arts to sciences. Inventors and scientists, artists, writers, and programmers are just a few of the people who must express fertility in their work. Those of us seeking to work with the divine in druidry must be able to express fertility in our works!


Works Cited

The Dedicant Handbook defines moderation as follows: “Cultivating one's appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical), through excess or deficiency.” Collins English dictionary breaks down the definition into three parts:

“1. a moderating, or bringing within bounds, 2. avoidance of excesses or extremes, 3. absence of violence; calmness.”

 Exercise 1: Who and What Is Moderate? When I think of moderate people, I tend to think of politics. Moderates are people who can see and understand both sides of an issue and believe both have some merits. They balance the needs and desires of people across the spectrum of people they govern. Moderate politicians are hard to find nowadays but I have seen a few local congressional representatives who campaign for cross-party platforms and sincerely hope to tame the political discourse.

 Exercise 2: Examining Definitions: The Dedicant Handbook definition seems concise but maybe it is a bit too short to cover the span of what moderation entails. Collins dictionary does not focus on food but incorporates the “bringing within bounds,” and “calmness” to the definition. Moderation spans across many subjects and clearly involves bounds that one should seek. A better definition for our purposes might be “cultivating one’s appetites and behaviors to bring and keep them within bounds. Avoiding extremes and balancing needs and wants against desires of excess or deficiency.”

 Exercise 3: Seeking the Mythology and History: It seems easier to find examples of those lacking moderation than those who are moderating their behavior through history. I always believed my parents displayed great moderation in my discipline. They tried to give me some freedoms and limits, and the punishment was designed to teach and not just penalize. I can think of a USAF officer who was greatly moderate in his decisions when others might have gone extremely to either side. The moderate leader tends to garner respect from those he or she leads in my experience.

 Exercise 4: The Virtue and the Self: Like everyone, I have expressed both moderate behavior and extreme behavior. Most commonly, I can recall feasts in which I have overeaten and failed to moderate my indulgence. I can also think of times my reactions to other drivers were not moderate when they should have been. Occasionally I can get quite irate when someone negligently threatens the safety of my family. On the other hand, I found my political activities and stances quite moderate as I seek to balance what people want and need on both sides of the debates.

 Exercise 5: Your Understanding of the Virtue: Moderation is a virtue worthy of special mention. Every behavior a person exhibits needs to be analyzed and balanced against extremes. Very rarely does any extreme produce good results. Whether food and drink, or politics and war, a person needs to look at all angles and solutions to choose a solution with moderation in mind. Moderation is a virtue, especially when one’s actions can be unhealthy for one’s self or others’. As a society, we need to seek moderation in order to main good order and peace.

 Dumezil understood that most people were producers and those who focus on nourishment. Moderation is important to all of the functions Dumezil recognized but the producer function would cease being productive if they routinely failed at being moderate. Their jobs required a focus on fertility and harvests, goods and services, and providing the needs of the community. Failure to moderate would have disruptive effects on life and could even cause the collapse of the society if it was significant enough.


Works Cited

The Dedicant Handbook defines hospitality as follows: “Acting as both a gracious host and an appreciative guest, involving benevolence, friendliness, humor, and the honouring of “a gift for a gift.” Collins English Dictionary has a couple of related definitions:”

1. the act, practice, or quality of being hospitable; solicitous entertainment of guests, and

2. kindness in welcoming strangers or guests, also receptiveness.”

 Exercise 1: Who and What Is Hospitable?  I find that identifying modern examples of hospitable people is difficult. Society has changed significantly over the last 100 years (even the last 25 years!), and hospitality looks different today than it did a century ago. I picture the 1950s neighborhoods with neighbors all sharing ingredients for each other’s’ recipes. Of course, that didn’t occur everywhere in the US but it’s the perception of American hospitality that stands out. I clearly remember my first military duty station when a sponsor was there to meet me, help me out, and even invite me over to dinner. Even when the hospitality was ‘assigned’ to someone it was carried out without question.

 Exercise 2: Examining Definitions  I find the Collins’s dictionary definition to be abrupt and incomplete because it fails to merge the reciprocity, friendliness, and hosting/guesting into a coherent picture. The Dedicant Handbook is broad enough with the incorporation of the *ghosti principle to fully encompass the virtue within hospitality and set it as a goal for those pursuing druidry. I have the desire to summarize hospitality as “just being a good to other human beings,” but doing so omits the responsibility for both reciprocity and the host/guest roles.

 Exercise 3: Seeking the Mythology and History  The most prominent examples that come to mind about this concept of hospitality come from multiple religions. Among the Greeks, Norse, and the Hindu, humans sometimes experienced a deity visit to test their hospitality. Often the host would not know of the nature of their visitor and their lives could be significantly influenced by how they performed this duty. The hospitality culture was deeply ingrained in the ancient Viking lifestyle. Both a gracious guest and generous host was considered a duty in their society.

 Exercise 4: The Virtue and the Self  I can think of times when I was both hospitable and less than hospitable in my past. There were times I have offered to help and house a new military member to the base. I felt this was a duty because I would hope the same hospitality would be offered to me in the reverse situation. And while I take great effort to be courteous and gracious in my daily interactions with people, I can recall times when my hospitality did not measure up to the situation. One should expect to see reciprocity in society daily but I sometimes get annoyed at people who take more than they give. Driving among rush hour traffic sometimes pulls these feelings to the front.

 Exercise 5: Your Understanding of the Virtue  Hospitality is a virtue that one should seek because it recognizes the duty of all of us as members of a society. We should treat others as we would wish treated in similar circumstances. We must all strive for *ghosti in our lives to make our civilization a place where we can all succeed. Dumezil would recognize the need for hospitality in all societies where the common people gathered to live and work together. Hospitality would be required for a functioning society!


Works Cited


The Dedicant Handbook defines perseverance as follows: “Drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult.” Collins English Dictionary defines it as, “the act of persevering; continued, patient effort.”

 Exercise 1: Who and What Is persevering?  My wife is my first persevering example, as she is thriving and fighting to remain active after a significant medical incident. She endures the obstacles and fights to live as normal as possible when others might not be so steadfast. I’ve known several military people who were persevering against the odds to improve and retain high fitness abilities, complete college, and complete a full career. Remaining steady and progressing against adversity is always present in these people.

 Exercise 2: Examining Definitions  The Dedicant Handbook covers the definition perfectly to me as it covers the aspects of drive/motivation and the struggle against difficulty. There is no need to require success or completion because the struggle defines perseverance. It implies that one does not simply give up and continues to fight for their goal. Collins English Dictionary’s definition is not incorrect since it seems to focus on the effort but it misses the difficulty that one might face to consider the drive as “perseverance.”

 Exercise 3: Seeking the Mythology and History  Galileo Galilei suffered the inquisition by the Catholic Church and end up imprisoned. Yet he continued to write and study, publishing more work that was later used to exonerate him. His perseverance was virtuous because he chose not to give into pressure that he knew was incorrect. He chose to remain on the path he had decided was correct.

 Exercise 4: The Virtue and the Self  I have experienced both perseverance and lack of it in my life, and I am sure many people have also. I persevered through a military career even when there were obstacles and influences to do otherwise. I failed to persevere in scouting as a teenager because of the distractions of youth. I failed to remain on a course I wanted to continue due to competing priorities. Continuing on a path is sometimes difficult and if there were not some sort of obstacle in the journey, it might not be perseverance. 

 Exercise 5: Your Understanding of the Virtue  Perseverance is virtuous since those who seek out goals must press on through obstacles and competing priorities to make progress. Knowledge and understanding must have some amount of this to succeed and this makes it a virtue to those in ADF where people meet to forge a lifelong learning journey. This trait is essential for those in Dumezil’s warrior class as the path is not easy and filled with many challenges. Any time one seeks to improve something, there will be challenges and it takes perseverance to overcome those challenges.


Works Cited

The Dedicant Handbook defines integrity as follows: “Honor; being trustworthy to oneself and to others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect, self-confidence.” Collins English Dictionary has a longer set of definitions that seem relevant: “

1. the quality or state of being complete; unbroken condition; wholeness; entirety

2. the quality or state of being unimpaired; perfect condition; soundness

3. the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity”

The definitions describe two similar concepts but they complement each other very well. One focuses on one’s character and the other on structural reliability and wholeness.

 Exercise 1: Who and What Has Integrity? Finding people who embody integrity isn’t always easy because sometimes people can display integrity but not live the virtue in their daily lives. It is relatively easy to identify those who lack integrity. However, some people come to mind as those with integrity. I studied Abraham Lincoln in one of my professional military courses and he was known as a person with solid integrity, always keeping his word. His sincerity and honesty elevated his integrity to a new level. The fictional character Jean-Luc Picard displayed exceptional integrity through his belief and execution of the prime directive.

 Exercise 2: Examining Definitions: I really like the ADF Dedicant Handbook’s definition of integrity. It covers the prime aspects of those with integrity and frames it as a high virtue. Oath-keeping (promise-keeping) is a trait of those with solid integrity. The Collins Dictionary adds two traits that I think belong in the ADF definition: sincerity and wholeness. These round out the virtuous person with integrity. It is a trait that you cultivate and live, not something that you are born with or “just have.”

 Exercise 3: Seeking the Mythology and History: One significant stand-out in Integrity is the Roman Goddess Fides. She was the epitome of the highest Roman ideals and oversaw the moral integrity of the Roman citizens. In addition, the principle of integrity was paramount among Viking clans because the Norse expected trust, honor, and support from others in their group. This integrity was displayed daily and resulted in a strong warrior bond among clan mates.

 Exercise 4: The Virtue and the Self: There are many moments in my life where I displayed integrity and times when I did not. I took an oath to enlist in the USAF when I was 18 and even though times got tough, I chose to fulfill that oath and continue through my training and enlistment (eventually making it a career). The breakup of my first marriage was a lesson in lacking integrity because I struggled with honesty and communication during that time. Looking back, I realized I should have taken “the higher road” and maintained integrity through the process.

 Exercise 5: Your Understanding of the Virtue: I do not think it is productive to rank which virtues are more important. Nevertheless, when I think of virtues, integrity is usually the first to come to mind. Integrity is the embodiment of virtuous behavior that encompasses honesty, honor, respect, and trustworthiness. In fact, integrity is vital in the warrior culture that Dumezil describes because great faith and trust was placed in the hands of those in the warrior profession. Displaying integrity increases the trust your community places in you.


Works Cited

The Dedicant Handbook defines Courage as, “The ability to act appropriately in the face of danger.”  Collins English dictionary defines it as, “Courage is the quality shown by someone who decides to do something difficult or dangerous, even though they may be afraid.” It also describes it as, “the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave; valor.”

 Exercise 1: Who and What Is Courageous? USAF Technical Sergeant John Chapman was courageous when he overcame fear and risked his life to defend others in his team. In fact, he gave his life so that the others would survive in a terrible Afghanistan firefight and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. However, journalists also have courage for researching, writing, and publishing stories that sometimes attract attention of angry people. Children have courage the first time they ride their bike without training wheels or assistance. Courage is recognizing the fear and choosing to act in light of your fear.


Exercise 2: Examining Definitions: Courage is easy to define but difficult to recognize in all its forms. To understand courage, one must understand fear. From Collins English dictionary, fear is defined as the concern or feeling that something unpleasant may happen, has happened, or when you think you may be in danger. Fear is a normal and natural reaction to stress and danger as the body and mind prepare for immediate reaction. Everybody has fear to some extent. As I already gave in question one, courage is recognizing the fear and choosing to act in light of the fear. Action without recognition fear is not courage, but more akin to foolhardiness or ignorance.

 Exercise 3: Seeking the Mythology and History: It is easy to think of examples of courage in history. Galileo displayed courage when standing by his scientific discoveries and theories even though it brought about significant risk to his reputation and life. Rosa Parks displayed great courage in refusing to acquiesce to a single act of discrimination. The sailors who sailed into unknown waters for the first time had tremendous courage, even if they balanced the risk against the incredible rewards possible. Courage does not always require the threat of physical harm but can risk one’s reputation, livelihood, or standing. If there is not some risk then it is unlikely a person can show courage.

 Exercise 4: The Virtue and the Self: We all have times when we have courage and when we do not. Sometimes we decide that the risk is not worth a potential reward and make a wise decision to avoid the risk. This is not courage but instead risk management. I can think of many examples of risk management decision making but times when courage failed are often repressed because we do not wish to dwell on these failures. I did not volunteer for a risky deployment to a combat zone because of sensible fear, even though I knew the risks to my life were not that great. However, I did show courage in several of the trips I took into dangerous areas during a later deployment. Courage is a trait I would consider important and desired. Courage is not easy to teach but portions of the virtue can be taught. I would attest though that courage takes more than knowledge and experience but a desire to excel and function while aware of the fear within us.

 Exercise 5: Your Understanding of the Virtue: Courage certainly is a virtue and one that requires we recognize risks, rewards, fears, and motivations. There is a lot of information that we must process to take an action, especially when we must face our fear. ADF recognizes that we must all be aware of our fears and be able to show courage in cases where we are able. Courage grows from learning and understanding which is a key ADF principle. As we learn, we are better equipped to face our fears and demonstrate courage. Dumezil’s warrior class must have some amount of courage to face the fear of danger that they face in their duties, whether spiritual, physical, or mental. Courage is “acting appropriately in the face of danger” because we must all balance the risk with the need and face our fears to demonstrate it. This is completely appropriate for those seeking the Druid path in ADF!


 Sites referenced

The Dedicant Handbook defines Vision as follows: “The ability to broaden one's perspective to have a greater understanding of our place/role in the cosmos, relating to the past, present, and future.” Collins English Dictionary defines it a few different ways but gives these relevant definitions:

a. something seen by other than normal sight; something perceived in a dream, trance, etc. or supernaturally revealed, as to a prophet

b. the experience of having such a perception or revelation

c. mental image; esp., an imaginative contemplation to have visions of power

d. the ability to perceive something not actually visible, as through mental acuteness or keen foresight

 Exercise 1: Who and What Is Visionary? We have all experienced people who possess vision, from politicians to inventors, and artists to educators. Vision is often a fundamental trait of people who excel and advance in their chosen profession or hobby. Dr. M. L. King was a visionary with extraordinary forethought to see where our society needed to change. Thomas Anderson and Chris DeWolfe had incredible vision to take technology a step further to create the first true social networking site, Myspace. People with vision can take past events, the current situation, and extrapolate a future where one hopes to proceed. Vision takes many forms but often takes insights and develops a path to some intended future. I am a visionary in some aspects in that I continually attempt to learn and dream of future progress in science and technology. Both Arch Druids Isaac and Ian were/are visionary in that they knew where progress had brought ADF and where they wanted it to go in the future.

 Exercise 2: Examining Definitions: Visions need to be defined in the subject they are framed and produce a desire to reach particular goals. In other words, it probably takes someone familiarly with druidry to have a vision of where druidry is headed. Some of the dictionary definitions of vision seem mythological (such as things seen in a revelation or trance) and perception of things unseen. They take the definition a bit literal and fail to extend it to people with foresight and imagination of the future. The ADF definition in the Dedicant Handbook seems specific to our spiritual path but in that context, it is perfectly phrased. I would not change a word in it.

 Exercise 3: Seeking the Mythology and History: The virtue of vision has been displayed throughout history. The Pythia of the Oracle at Delphi could predict the future for common folk and emperors alike. They, like others seers from the Proto-Indian-European people, had immense vision of events and the ability to explain them through cryptic and sometimes confusing messages. The long history of the Oracle demonstrates its success and respect of all those who journeyed for the Oracle’s prophesies. A modern visionary Arthur C Clarke had amazing foresight into the future of technology, predicting satellite-based worldwide communications a decade before the first satellite was launched. He is also was credited with visions of home computers, smartwatches, and email and many other futuristic endeavors. The sort of people who seem to fit the virtue of vision have enormous ability to see things that “normal” people do not, past, present, or future. Their gift is extrapolating an analysis to create a forecast that is unique and usually correct.

 Exercise 4: The Virtue and the Self: I have experienced vision a number of times in my life, but can also identify with times I apparently lacked vision. When I failed in vision, it was usually because I chose not to see or understand what was coming. Un-vision is closed-mindedness in action. A visionary decision is one that feels right because there is support and facts behind it, and it produces a true vision of what should result. Vision is undoubtedly a virtue that we should pursue and embrace as we consider some of the greatest people in the world have been visionaries.

 Exercise 5: Your Understanding of the Virtue: Yes, vision is a true virtue and one that ADF should teach and typify in its training. While some unique people may have been born with extraordinary vision, most learn it through experience and the ability to analyze information. We look upon our leaders, especially our spiritual leaders, for vision and understanding. Dumezil understood that the priestly class has vision and must show this vision to be a good leader among people. We in ADF should also strive for this virtue.


Sites visited: 

“The Vision of ADF” by Isaac Bonewits

“A Vision for Ár nDraíocht Féin” by Ian Corrigan

The Dedicant Handbook defines Piety as follows: “Correct observance of ritual and social traditions, the maintenance of the agreements (both personal and societal) we humans have with the Gods and Spirits. Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty.” Collins English Dictionary defines piety as, “strong religious belief, or behavior that is religious or morally correct.” These definitions clash a bit because ADF views piety as practice based on belief, whereas the dictionary definition emphases belief or behavior.

Exercise 1: Who and What Is Pious? Piety is often reflected in our history as well as our entertainment. Joan of Arc was considered pious because she devoted herself to religion after visions told her that her devotion would be the key to freeing France from English rule. She withstood harsh analysis by King Charles’ clergy who deemed her humble and reverent. Reverend Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary is extremely pious as demonstrated by her works and history. She is not only publicly spiritual but she works to bring understanding and acceptance of Paganism to the world.

Exercise 2: Examining Definitions: Piety should be an amalgamation of the definitions from the first paragraph. ADF recognizes piety by observances and duty but neglects belief as a component. To perform maintenance of long-historical ceremonies without believing in their value or need is irreverent. Belief by itself is not pious but neither is action without some basis of belief. The Collins definition also seems a bit self-righteous because the definition assumes one is “religious or morally correct.” These terms are highly relative in today’s human culture and are the cause of some strife between religions and beliefs. It’s better to correctly observe and maintain these traditions and agreements because they support one’s own path and religion.

Exercise 3: Seeking the Mythology and History: In looking into ancient history, Plato demonstrates piety without being overtly religious. He is able to take the beliefs and studies of the time and combine them with existing traditions to formulate clearer ethical and moral guidance. His philosophical focus was instrumental in formulating an advancing guideline for society and yet seemingly maintained traditional practices. John F Kennedy was also pious. He adhered to his Catholic beliefs and practices all while professing the exclusive separation of church and state. He continued his practice even though it could have cost him the election due to perceived religious influences.

Exercise 4: The Virtue and the Self: Seeking examples of piety in my own life is not easy as I have lived a life of transitions and changing beliefs. However, I stood fast in practice and belief during the fight to recognize the Wiccan belief symbol on the VA headstones in April 2007. I continued my spiritual practices in the face of growing criticism within the DoD, even working to reverse those incorrect stereotypes. There are also quite a few instances in which I believe I was impious in my life. Before undertaking the modern Pagan beliefs, I was a questioning rebel in traditional church culture. I intentionally broke practices and questioned beliefs as I sought to understand more sensible beliefs.

Exercise 5: Your Understanding of the Virtue: To me, piety is undoubtedly a virtue because a virtuous person seeks to understand and support traditions of belief. This does not prohibit the examination and study of those beliefs as long as proper observances are given. This is even more important for those seeking roles in Dumezil’s priestly class as an impious priest is not going to have any respect by others in the religion!  The openness in one’s practice and beliefs are a reflection of one’s piety, as long as they are done with respect and conviction in the practice being performed.

 Sites referenced