Joining the ADF

I’ve been keenly interested in druidry and all things related since my mid teens (about 25 years to date). In most of that time I’ve focused on solitary study as time and interests permit, much of which is documented on this site. Over the years I’ve also found occasion to be involved with a couple of groups including a couple of druid groups with groves in the Houston area and a Wiccan coven (two covens technically, but who’s counting?). I’ve also had several incidental contacts and relationships with other pagan groups over the years too numerous to really count.

My involvements with those group situations really never worked out, mostly because I didn’t jive with the other group members (most pagans are either full of crap or fruitier than jello salad) or because their study material was either non existent or lacking. I have met a few rare pagans that I really clicked with though and we started forming our own druidic tradition and grove (see order of prismatic druidry), but honestly i never really wanted to be in a position where I was running a grove and the folks I was collaborating with at the time moved out of the area. So, that was a bust.

While I don’t click with a lot of pagans I really do dig the group energy dynamic that develops from working with others in ritual. I’ve mentored a few folks over the years and that’s always a rewarding experience in itself, but I’ve also wanted to be a part of a larger organization… ideally somewhere where I could grow and be enriched and also give back / share and teach what I’ve learned over the years.

I’ve looked into various druid organizations over the years such as OBOD, Keltria and the ADF. They all look interesting but OBOD and Keltria don’t have local chapters / groves in my area. There was an ADF group on the north side of Houston for a while, but they fell apart before I could bring myself to go meet and greet them (I’m an introvert after all, it takes me a while to work up to that). Of the three groups the ADF seemed to take their study material the most seriously, which I love. They also have organized guilds centered around many topics i’m very interested in such as herbalism, home brewing and the like.

For a while I seriously considered stating a ADF grove, but one of the major draw backs for the ADF has always been that their rituals are required to be public. I’m not exactly kosher with that on a personal level. I absolutely understand and appreciate that approach and don’t mind participating in public rituals, but I’m not a fan of leading a serious ritual that’s open to public scrutiny. Starting my own ADF grove didn’t’ seem like a viable option for me personally. I want to be involved with one, but not run / lead it.

A few months ago I was googleing around for other pagans in my area and saw that there was a new ADF grove just south of me called Nine Waves (see also Nine Waves FB group). I stalked them on FB for a while and talked quite a bit with their leader, who very much seemed to have her head on straight. Eventually I got hooked up with one of their members to make a ritual robe for a handfasting I was leading so I got to meet someone from the grove itself. She also seemed to have her head on straight and was very sweet and approachable so I figured i’d give going to an actual grove meeting a shot.

I’m glad I did. The group seems serious about what they’re doing, but not stuffy. They’ve got a good leader who seems genuinely dedicated to her group and growing in a positive direction. After a meeting or two I decided I wanted to look seriously at being a part of ADF itself even if it didn’t work out with 9 Waves (9W hereafter) so I joined the national ADF membership.

I’m going to continue involvement with 9W and get more engaged with them. I’m also interested in working through the ADF’s Dedicant Path program, which is their entry level druidry study program (should be relatively easy from what I’ve ready) and I look forward to getting involved with their herbalism and brewing guilds in the future. The Dedicant Path requires a weekly blog for 11 months along with a couple of essays and book reports so I plan on recording that work here on the site

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Custom Wine Labels

Here are a few of my favorite custom-designed wine labels:

If you want a custom label designed feel free to reach out to me via the contact form. I’m happy to put something together for you for a couple bucks. Here are a couple of examples I’ve made over the years. The green label below is the one I personally use.

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What if I told you…

What if I told you that almost all organized religions are false and are more interested in controlling you than helping you find truth? The cake is a lie.

What if I told you that the science is proving more and more every day that reality is subjective and your experience here on this imaginary rock is directly linked to your belief structures and therefore the most critical aspect of life is being judicious with what you choose to belive?

What if I told you some of the most useful tools to grow spiritually have been vilified and demonized in order to suppress their truth and keep you controlled and suppressed?

That if I told you that you must accept that your religion is a mythology no more or less valid than one from 200, 2000 or 20,000 years ago but that it’s ok? The important thing is that your beliefs give you a framework to interact with our reality.

What if I told you that most of the major religions today are deliberately designed to seperate you from the experience of spirit and the truth of spiritual growth?

What if I told you the only thing that matters are the beliefs you choose to embrace, your awareness, freeing yourself from doubt, judgment, pre-concieved notions and the most important part of growth is recognizing those belief structures within yourself and changing them?

What if I told you your duty is to learn to love yourself as you love your brothers and if you can do that you can’t help but find truth?

What if I told you Thou Art God and once you truly understand that statement the secrets of the universe will unlock for you and the only thing stopping you is you.

Would you believe? Could you believe? Do you have the courage to see that truth?

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Death – Soysal’s Teacher

you would know the secret of death…
but how shall you find it…

unless you seek it in the heart of life?
the owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light…

if you would indeed behold the spirit of death..
open you heart wide unto the body of life..
for life and death are one,
even as the river and the sea are one…

in the depth of your hopes and desires,
lies your silent knowledge of the beyond
and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow
your heart dreams of spring…

trust the dreams
for in them is hidden the gate to eternity…
your fear of death is but the trembling of the
shepherd when he stands before the king of whose hand it is to be laid upon him in honor…
is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling
that he shall wear the mark of the king
yet is he more mindful of his trembling?

for what is it to die but to stand
naked in the wind and to melt in the sun?

and what is it to cease breathing but to free
breath from it’s restless tides,
that it may rise and expand and see god unencumbered?
only when you drink from the river of silence shall
you indeed sing…

and when you have reached the mountain top,
then you shall begin to climb…
and when the earth shall claim your limbs
then shall you truly dance…

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Dream Within a Dream – Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

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Alone – Edgar Allan Poe

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

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Truth

The truth will wake you in the night and cause a peaceful slumber
The truth will set men free and bind them accordingly
The truth will make amends for unjust actions
The truth will bring brother to brother
The truth will hurt and break and heal and wake
The truth will open the gates to the land of Sidhe
The truth will hold up the walls of sovereignty
The truth will make the stones cry out
The truth will balance the center

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A part of all things

I am raven on the field
I am drop of rain cascading down the water fall
I am deer stepping softly through a wooded glade
I am moss growing on the ancient tree
I am ember blazing in the sacred fire
I am rock hiding beneath the soil
I am beam of light cutting through the still of night
I am wind rustling reeds of the bog
I am sound echoing from the dolmen
I am and was and will be

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Priest

We are people of words,
people of careful action,
living through our conscience,
steeling our wills with words.

To know,
To dare,
To keep silent.

We hold that as our creed.
Speaking twice over double tongue,
beneath our breath,
as our sacred quest.

Our utmost wish,
our fondest desire,
is to decipher
that which cannot be spoken.

Our character is often stoic.
Our nature is that of a babe;
four score decades old.
Our vision: transparent.

Our spirit wanders
about the world until
we perceive
the nature of divine.

Our judgment: weighted with mercy.
Our wrath is rightly earned.
Our vengeance: evenhanded
though not always evident.

Our sword is seldom brought to bear
on our fellow man
unless such a grievous act
compels us to take action.

When we must act,
the flash of steel
and glint of fang
find us as the beast.

Our love: bottomless
Without end
Almost infinite understanding

Such is the nature
of one who seeks
to understand the divine

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Now I see

From out of darkest fire
And deepest misery
We come forth
And renew our vows
To live life
From the heart

From the cold abandon
And the silent halls
We come forth
And renew our vows
To refill our spirit
From the wells of wisdom

From the solitude
And the empty arms
We come forth
And renew our vows
To find hope
From the promise of change

Stepping softly in the darkness
On a path of cobbled stone
There arises a new light
To illuminate our way
And promise of companionship

Perhaps it was always there
And we were blind
With night-bound eyes
To see the glow
Of the gentle white moon

Now I see
With clarity
Echoing words of wisdom
And peace enough for all
Perfection came

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