Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Vocational Essay for the ADF Clergy Training Program

Image of my home shrine
          Before one starts down the path of training to become ADF Clergy you have to take time to reflect upon the following questions. I wanted to share with you my Vocational Essay so that perhaps you will understand a bit more about me and my personal Druidry.

1. Why do you want to become a Priest, and what is your plan for making that goal happen?

          In my early teenage years I was lost in my spiritual path. Though I was raised Southern Baptist, I could not find a connection with their teachings, with the way the divine was viewed and worshiped, nor any connection with the idea of monotheism. Because of this lack of connection to any spiritual beliefs, I began searching for something that was more, something that would fill the emptiness in my heart and spirit.

          Years of searching brought me to Paganism, which I studied with great intent. I started with Wicca, where a lot of people do. I devoured anything I could get my hands on to read about Wiccan Paganism. I believed for a long time that I had found my path, but the more I learned, the deeper my understanding became, the more I realized that there wasn't much of a place for me even here. A dualistic faith was not what I was searching for, I needing something more.

          So I continued my studies of different types of Paganism and began to feel a desire to share what I was learning with others. Visions of being a Priest, being the helping hand to those in need, being a teacher of a path and gods I had yet to meet came to me during meditations and divinations. So I resumed searching for the place I belonged, to find the path I was being called to, the path that would lead me to become a priest for the gods and to the people.

          Why I want to become a priest is simple: it is a calling that finds its way into my dreams, my desires, and into my life at all times. It is a calling that I must answer. I have been studying as much as I can about priesthoods throughout time, as well as in the modern Pagan community. I plan to continue these studies with ADF and Hellenion. I also plan to take courses at one of the local colleges, at their continuing education program in counseling and psychology to help make myself a more rounded spiritual source for those around me. I also have been looking for ways to get more involved on a leadership level in the local grove that I am involved in currently. I have also been making myself a source within the ADF Hellenic group that provides devotions, prayers, and rituals to those seeking them.

2. Why do you want to be an ADF Priest in particular?

          Though I have had a compelling desire to become a priest since I was in my early twenties, I had not found a tradition or path that had everything I was looking for. For me, Wicca lacked the concept of true polytheism and seemed mostly focused on magical workings. With other traditions like Shamanism and Ceremonial Magic there wasn't much focus on a central structure of faith in general. They were mostly focused on either journeying into the Other Worlds for healing and knowledge or on honing skills in ritual magic. None of this really filled the void I was feeling in my spiritual life.

          Then came the day when I found ADF through one of my dearest friends and soon to be Senior Druid, James Lock. I spent some time just learning about ADF through the website, and realized from what I was reading along with my many conversations with James, that ADF was what I had been searching for. I loved the idea of working with the Kindreds to create a closer relationship with them. I was also great intrigued with the idea of the Three Hallows. At my first ADF ritual I was overwhelmed by the power of a ritual dedicated to worshiping and connecting with the Kindreds rather than on magic. I was hooked from that very moment.

          Very shortly after I attended my first ritual, I joined ADF and started working through the DP. I was drawn to the scholastic study of cultures, myths, and ancient religions as a part of the program. I had never seen such an approach to religion within the Pagan community. The combination of spirituality and scholastic work was refreshing and inspiring.

          After about six months of working the DP I started reading about the Clergy Program for ADF. I talked with James about the program, which he was working through himself. From what he told me, I decided that this was the course I was meant to serve not only the gods but all the Kindreds.

          Through the ADF Priesthood I will be able to achieve my goal and dream of becoming a priest through honest work and scholarly study. I know it is a path that will take time and effort, but I believe that is part of what makes it such a powerful Clergy Program.

3. What does being a Priest mean to you in the cultural context of your Hearth Culture?

          My Hearth Culture is that of the Greeks. From my research into of the Greek culture, priests were there to serve the people as well as the gods. The Greek priests were the Seers for the people, bringing the visions that the gods wished seekers to have.

          The priests were also the spiritual leaders of all the religious rites and festivals that were on the official public festival calendar, very much the same as the Druids of the ancient world were. They guarded the secrets of the Mystery Cults as well as passing their teachings on to the initiated. The priests also oversaw the upkeep of all the temples throughout Greece.

          Knowing this about the ancient Greek priests, I see a path that is very similar to my own. I have been a practicing Seer for many years, helping out those around me with my visions as well as through the use of divination tools. I feel that being a priest for Hellenic culture means teaching those around me, whether in my grove or just in the Pagan community in general, about the Greek gods and the way They seek to be worshiped in the modern day. I also think it means designing rituals that are Greek based, centered on the mythos to share with the grove at High Days.
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