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The Nine Sacred Woods

An Overview

A Path Through Nine Sacred Woods is a 9-month to 1-year journey toward Initiation in ADF, covering the requirements of the IP. This is similar to the DP WotY.

The Nine Sacred Woods are drawn from lore and history. There are several lists of 9 woods, but this set was developed for the ADF IP. These woods and their meaning are:

Oak - Study | Birch - Liturgy | Hazel - Bardry
Rowan - Magic | Hawthorn - Liturgy Practicum | Willow - Myth
Fir - Language | Apple - Trance | Vine - Divination
The Tools of the Nine Woods

Oak - Study

The path of the oak is one of study, for the oak tree is a firm foundation, one that can be used to build other skills atop it. This path will teach you to work through Indo-European Studies 1. This course is designed to teach our Initiates about the central, foundational aspects of ADF's deep roots, and to bring them proudly to the forefront.

Birch - Liturgy

The path of the birch reminds us that even though we may know only a fraction of what the religious rituals of the ancients were, we have the roots that allow us to form a basis and understanding for our practices: as the birch tree may grow from roots even when the trunk has been cut clean, so too may our rituals grow from what remains. Thus, this path teaches us Liturgy 1.

Hazel - Bardry

The path of the hazel is the path of beauty, both in word and creativity; it is thus the path of the bard, and teaches the groundwork of General Bardic Studies 1. Through this path, we can learn to create through our voices and through our hands as well.

Rowan - Magic

The path of the rowan is one of magic and learning the inner skills. This tree is known for what it hides and the trickery associated with catching the birds. This tree's red berries represent the life-blood of Druidry: the magic inherent in nature. This path will teach the groundwork for both Magic 1 and Magic 2.

Hawthorn - Liturgy Practicum

The path of the hawthorn is the path of doing the work. The tree is known for use in ritual that renews the cosmos, and the work of the Initiate is known to do the same. Here, we will work our way through Liturgy Practicum 1, expanding our understanding of the cosmos through working with it and re-creating it in our daily lives.

Willow - Myth

The path of the willow is known for its flexibility and mutability, as well as the many complicated notions that follow it. As myth is a driving force in our work, and as we will sometimes work through the holes and loops in myth to get to our aim, this path will help us to complete IE Myth 1.

Fir - Language

The path of the fir is one of speaking in the way you wish to be understood. The Scholar's Primer tells us that the fir is the beginning of speech, and as such this path will lead us to completion of IE Language 1.

Apple - Trance

The path of the apple is the path of the Otherworld and contact with the spirits. This path will take us through to completion of Trance 1 and Trance 2.

Vine - Divination

The path of the vine is one of inspiration, joy, and abandonment; it is also the path of communication. Just as in vino veritas, in the vine do we also find truth. Through this path we will learn the skills to answer the questions of Divination 1 and 2.

The Tools of the Nine Woods

  1. Oak - The Cup - Study fills us up, and the cup is symbolic of the vessel we fill within ourselves.
  2. Birch - The Sickle - Liturgical knowledge brings authority in ritual, and the sickle exemplifies that authority.
  3. Hazel - The Voice - Bardry brings us a voice that commands and draws attention.
  4. Rowan - The Wand - Magical training leads to a need for tools of the magician.
  5. Hawthorn - The Bundle of Woods - Practical experience with liturgy brings a fire of piety, to be kindled in the fuel of the nine woods.
  6. Willow - The Crane Bag - Mythological understanding allows us to know what the crane bag hides beneath its flap.
  7. Fir - The Druid's Egg - Language can be well-used in life, as the Druid's Egg was used in the courtroom to bring victory.
  8. Apple - The Apple Branch - Trance is induced by the music of the Otherworld, replicated by this branch.
  9. Vine - The Divination Set - Divination guides us through the tools at our disposal.

The course outline for the IP consists of the following courses:


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