Coming from a Wiccan background, I was a little nervous about doing my first oath for ADF. A part of me was concerned about how the deities and spirits I had worshiped and worked with in the past could take to me, as I was seeing it at the time, breaking the oath I had given to them already. This dilemma ended up causing me to put off my first oath for about 6 months into my DP studies while I worked through this conflict.
The Senior Druid of our grove, James, suggested that I include a part in the oath speaking to those I had followed before. He explained that this way they were not being forgotten or excluded, also it would show that they still would be a part of my practice just in a different way. This seemed like a very good idea from the start, but still I was left with the struggle of how to incorporate this into the oath. I read through a lot of different first oaths on the ADF members’ sites and in some of the DP journals posted on the web. I was able to see how others had written their oaths and tailored them to the individual.
Still, even with this help, I was torn on how to write the oath so that I would show my desire to embrace the spiritual and intellectual teachings of Ár nDraíocht Féin while still respecting the wonderfully rich path that had lead me though most of my life.
Finally, during the meditation portion of my devotionals one afternoon there was a small thread that appeared to me… it was attached to the ring I was using as the symbol for my newfound druidity. I picked up the thread and followed it through paths of memory in my mind. I saw all the places I had been with my studies. I saw all the people that had been a part of those studies. When it finally ended I was rather shocked. It ended with the previous owner of the ring, my dearest and most beloved friend Lane. He had passed into ancestry only a few years earlier. He was the most intelligent well-read person I have ever met. He had given me a passion not only for reading in general but also for history and research. He held out his hand to me, which I took. He said, “Just remember what you said to me when you moved out.” We had lived together for more than 12 years. He was very much a big brother to me, but my moving out had been rather hard on him. I had told him that though I was moving forward and on a different life path than him I was not leaving him or forgetting him in any. I had told him I loved him just as much as I did before.
From that point, it only took me a few days to get the oath completely ironed out to the form I wanted. So in October of 2006 I did my first oath with the Grove of the Red Earth as part of our Samhain ritual. I would like to share that oath with you now:
I, David Crawford, reaffirm to all those present, Kindred and mortal alike, that I am a child of the Old Ways, of the Elder Gods. Though I have walked a Pagan path through out my life, I now set my foot upon a new path.
As the roots of the great oak grow and change paths seeking the deeper mysteries, I too grow, seeking the deeper mysteries.
As the oak grows in the mortal world fulfilling the needs both of Kindred and mortal, so do I seek to grow within the mortal realm.
As the oak reaches into the heavens seeking connection with the Shining Ones, so I seek to further my connection with the Gods.
With my new found Druidity I shall live a virtuous life, seek piety in all ways, and always seek knowledge that will further my studies so that Truth is the light that guides me. For those whom I followed before, see this not as a turning from your ways, but as growth coming from what you taught me, to bring me closer to you and your kin.
These things I swear to the Gods, to the Spirits, to the Ancestors, and to all mortals gathered here today, be my witness, be my strength as I walk this path.