I’ve neglected this blog, and to be honest I lost my way with the damned thing. So I have chosen to start over. Thus if you wonder where the posts went, they went into the trash.
If anyone read my old blog which I abandoned a number of years back, I am big on the idea of personal responsibility. Especially when one claims the titles like “warrior” or “druid” or hell even “witch”.
So I claim responsibility for having lost my way. I stopped actively focusing on my spiritual side, and let life sweep me along. That now ends.
So starting over means a great many things. It could mean walking away from everything you have built, or it could mean building on what is already there, and regaining focus.
I’ve seen my own pagan “Church” have to “start over” after the passing of the founder Isaac Bonewitts. Well I say start over, in the sense that he was not around to speak for himself, not forget he existed.
This rebirth (of sorts) has been fraught with issues. Up until near Isaacs death, the Arch Druids of ADF were all “Isaac’s Drinking buddies”. Now I say this based on comments made to me by some long standing members of ADF, not my own views, as I don’t know. I never met the man in person; I have never talked to the “drinking buddies” off line. But with Isaacs passing, it seemed that ADF was moving to new grounds. Indeed there was a feeling of expectation within the organization. Sadly Isaac no longer being physically with us, exposed a group of potential problems, which are now actual, significant ones:
- There has never really been a structure for the various subgroups within the organization.
- Now that we have our own Clergy program, and a not insignificant Clergy population, it appears that there is a faction within the “Church” which does not like this. Note Isaac wanted us to train our own clergy.
- Using the term “following Isaacs dream” as a way to get elected. Ignoring that ADF has been beyond his ideas (dream) since the mid 1990’s.
- Oh yes, political factions are forming.
So let’s address some of these:
Structure is a dirty word in the Neopagan world in many ways. However ADF has a phrase that it wears like a fetish (not the kinky sort, well perhaps). “Why not excellence?”. Excellence implies standards, and standards imply some sort of structure, by which to measure excellence against.
Clergy, that is another dirty word in the pagan sphere. Again it implies a lot of things that make many of us uncomfortable. Dirty old Uncle Gerry laid the ground for this with the idea we could be our own “clergy”. Even if we do not subscribe to his path (I certainly do not), it is ingrained in us, that no one “tells us how to interact with the Gods”. This is very true, but Clergy are more than ritual leaders. When you get a large enough community (say bigger than a coven or two), you need specialists, who fill the role that our ancestors had for Druids, Magi, Flamen, Brahman, etc. lets call them Clergy. However there is a suspicion that someone is trying to make a move to power, by dedicating themselves to the role of Clergy. Hence it becomes an us versus them situation. it is as if there is a worry about a pagan space pope getting into power or something. I mean we never had that with Isaac as un-elected leader right???? *watches tumbleweed roll past”
We do not actually know what Isaacs’s final views on ADF were. He never said much about ADF after he had to step down as Arch Druid in perpetuity (due to ill health). In most ways he did us a favour when he stepped down. It made the group have to be more self-sustaining, rather than one man’s vision. However it also has allowed the ghost of Isaac to be used like a weapon. In this most recent election, 3 of the 4 candidates for Vice Arch Druid used the phrase “following Isaacs’s dream” in their biography on why you should vote for them. It has been used by people like a weapon (in disagreements) since he died as well. Without getting into the nitty gritty, are we tied to one man’s dream? If so, we are a cult. Gareth does not do cults.
Political factions are indeed forming. It was inevitable, but for me, sad, that a young spiritual movement, has got two major factions forming up to essentially do war. Now this might end up being some equivalent to “Democrats vs Republicans” or “Conservatives vs Liberals” (except its not that sort of split) that we see in some political systems. I hope it is that, because the other option is it is the Sunni vs Shi`ite or Catholic Irish vs Protestant Irish sectarian nonsense we see in Abrahamic Religions.
So what does this have to do with being a Warrior? A whole lot. The theme of being true to yourself holds. A warrior should hold to the virtues they hold to be the truth. Otherwise they are soldiers following orders. Our myths are replete with Warriors telling their leaders to go “kiss their axe” if it breaks their code of conduct. Sadly the last point is also something that a Warrior will take note of. Warriors choose sides, and that means you may line up against people you once called friend. In this case it is a stance of rhetoric, but in the past, the Clan you stood with last year, may be across the others side of the battlefield this year.
Which brings you back to the first point. Perhaps the most important one:
What do you stand for?
I leave you with some nonsense to lighten this all 🙂