What is Neopagan Druidry?
Neopagan Druidry is a group of religions, philosophies and ways of life, rooted in ancient soil yet reaching for the stars. We are part of the larger Neopagan movement, one of the world's most vital and creative new religious awakenings. Like much of that movement we are polytheistic nature worshippers, working with the best aspects of the Pagan religions of our predecessors within a modern scientific, artistic, ecological and wholistic context using a non-dogmatic and pluralistic approach.
We call ourselves Druids, and we look to the ancient Druids - the priests, priestesses, wise ones and magicians of the ancient Celts - for much of our inspiration. Like them, we're people who value excellence - physically, intellectually, artistically and spiritually.
Although our name implies an inclination toward things Celtic, we seek to understand all of the currents within the Indo-European spectrum of religions. In addition to those who follow Celtic ways we welcome Norse, Hellenic, Baltic, Slavic and Latin Neopagans, and encourage each to take up the worship and magic of the old ways.
What is ADF?
The full name of our organization is �r nDra�ocht F��n: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. The first part, pronounced arn REEokht fane, is modern Irish for "Our Own Druidism" (or "Druidry" or "Magic") and that's what we are - an independent tradition (denomination) of Neopagan Druidism. Since many people have trouble pronouncing and spelling our Irish name, we usually just say "ADF".
ADF is working to combine in-depth scholarship with the inspiration of artistry and spiritual practice to create a powerful modern Paganism. We're researching and interpreting sound modern scholarship (rather than romantic fantasies) about the ancient Indo-European Pagans - the Celts, Norse, Slavs, Balts, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Vedics, and others. Upon these cultural foundations we are working to build a religion that these ancient people would appreciate and understand yet one which has depth and power for modern people. We're working to develop genuine skills in composition and presentation in the musical, dramatic, graphic, textile and other arts. We're bringing together people trained in ritual, psychic skills and applied mythology to bring the remnants of the old ways to life. We're creating a nonsexist, non-racist, organic, flexible and publicly available religion to practice as a way of life and to hand on to future generations.
In our fifteen years of existence, we have succeeded in building the foundations of this vision's reality. We have local congregations, called groves, in many cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Within those groves we are designing powerful magical and religious ceremonies to bring the blessings of the gods and goddesses to our world. Our groves offer regular public worship of the old gods, serving as centers of Pagan organizing in many localities. We offer our people the full range of religious and social activities including weddings, funerals, child blessings etc. - along with ways of enriching the soul.
We're creating a system of training for solitary Druidic Pagans, so that those who have no grove nearby can participate in our work, and benefit from communion with the gods and spirits. ADF has long worked to build a solid, professional training program for Pagan clergy. In addition we're building a system of guilds, bodies of teachers and students devoted to traditional spiritual, physical and artistic skills. Together we are striving to make our training system the most complete and effective in the Pagan movement.
We're holding regional festivals to help our members meet, study, pray and play together. We're building temples and holy places on the land, places where the Otherworld and our common world can draw nearer. We're actively preparing for the day when Pagan religions will be part of the mainstream global culture.
How is ADF Organized?
ADF is a membership organization. Membership is open to all sincere people, regardless of heritage. While we welcome the curious, leadership in ADF is open only to those who describe Pagan Druidry as their primary religious path. Our organization is managed by a board of directors, known as the 'Mothergrove'. The major offices on this board are the Archdruid, the Vice-Archdruid, the Pursewarden (treasurer), Scribe (secretary), Preceptor (head of the study program), Registrar (membership officer), Chronicler (publications) and Members' Advocate (ombudsman). Our board is elected by the membership every three years, with the Archdruid holding a nine year term.
Our Archdruid, elected in 1996, is Rev. John Adelmann, whom we know as "Fox". He is a lifelong Pagan who has founded and developed ADF's largest local grove. He is an ordained 3rd Circle Druid Priest, being one of the few to complete the ADF study program through to ordination. He brings both management skills and spiritual inspiration to the difficult job of managing a volunteer organization while building a religion.
Our local groves are semi-autonomous, each having it's own local traditions, customs, and forms of our rites. At the same time, these groves are all part of our international organization, sharing the basic order of ritual and following the guidelines set forth by the Mothergrove.
ADF was founded by Archdruid Emeritus Isaac Bonewits, known in the Pagan community as the author of the classic text Real Magic, editor, polytheologian and activist. After long serving his folk, Isaac resigned from his post in 1996, leading to the selection of our first elected Archdruid. Isaac's work and ideas continue to be one of the foundations of our vision.