Reflections on my Ordination
It seems a bit strange to look back on this very public ritual and think about where I've been and what I've done.
I began my association with ADF in April of 2001, with The 6th Night Grove, ADF, in Dayton, OH. I was driving an hour each way to get to rituals and business meetings, and it was good. I really loved the folk, and still do. In many ways, being in ritual with the folks of 6th Night still feels good and home-like to me.
In 2002, I founded my own Grove, Three Cranes Grove, ADF. I met Joe and Jenni, and we had our fits and starts, but in the end, we went pretty far.
In 2003, I took a pair of oaths at Summerland, oaths I still live up to even today. I began shortly thereafter with the newly-approved Generalist Study Program in ADF, and moved on to the Clergy Training Program as soon as it was approved.
In 2005, I became single for the first time since joining ADF, and I got a lot out of my system. As I look back on that year, I know I needed it, but I also know that I learned that I didn't want to be the guy I was that year again. It was somewhat dark, and I have many regrets (and many fond memories that lessen the pain of the regrets to great extent), and I know I've moved on from there in deep ways.
In 2006, again at Summerland, I was consecrated as a Dedicant Priest. I had just completed the First Circle of the ADF Clergy Training Program, and I was the first Priest to be consecrated as a result of completing the Study Program, outside of Fox, who had completed the old "Superdruid" program in 1994. Still, I felt like I had far more to do down the road, like there were many things I still needed to do, and I wasn't sure I was ready for the full responsibility of being clergy. This has led me to often describe our Dedicant Priests as being generally unprepared by their training for the work they need to do. Perhaps this is me, projecting my own inadequacies onto the work of other Priests, but having been there, I remember what it was like.
In 2009, I was Initiated, which gave me the drive and desire to finish the CTP in a timely manner.
In April 2010, I completed the last requirement for the ADF Clergy Training Program. As I reflected on it at the time, I saw that it was nine years previous that week that I had joined ADF. My training, in which I had been fully engaged almost the entire time, had taken 9 years: a good druidic number.
At the end of the CTP, I had a different feeling about myself and my abilities than I had at the other major milestones. Those had all left me feeling that there was "still so much to be done." The completion of the CTP had left me feeling that I had "accomplished so much." It wasn't a feeling that I had "finished" or that my training was "complete," but merely that I was fully and completely prepared to be where I was, and to be who I wanted to be.
The Ordination rite itself turned out to be the test of my ritual skills that I had been begging for: the rain forced me to shout and really use my voice, and complicated my offerings so that I had to improvise on some cases. The pre-ordination rite tested my concentration and my dedication, as well as my comfort in ritual space and my trust in the deities. The whole thing showed me who my friends were and how much they cared for me. The fact that it was the same weekend as Isaac's memorial service made the event even more weighty to me, and caused me to reflect deeply on what it meant to be a part of the Vision of ADF in a post-Isaac world.
This whole process taught me a lot: I was able to spend it with my friends, to show off my ritual skill, and to really come into who I am. As Kirk placed that stole upon my shoulders and introduced me as an "ADF Senior Priest," I truly felt like one.
The Clergy Training Program has prepared me very well for this role. I even know more about what the role is, now several years into it. And the whole process has made me very happy.
Essays and Articles on Ordination: