What do I do?
Just what is the function of an ADF Priest? How did the ancients view them, and how should we adjust to conditions today? These are questions that all of us in the ADF Priesthood have wrestled with, and we still don't all agree.
In the ancient Indo-European cultures, Priests were at the top of Dumezil's hierarchical ladder, in the First Function, along with the Judges, Bards, Seers, and Magicians. They were supported by the State, or at least by society, and their main job seems to have been to hold private rituals to maintain the order of the cosmos, perform all the great public rites and rites of state, and (in some cases) perform magic for the king, to aid him in winning battles, etc.
But in modern life, at least at the point where ADF now is in it's history, folks expect more of their priests than being cooped up in a temple somewhere performing rites in splendid isolation. ADF, while having many solitaries, is focused on establishing and growing Groves, or local congregations. These require their leaders to be pastoral counselors, organizers, and fundraisers as well as expert ritual technicians. As we have so few priests at this point, the Senior Druids (often the founding members of the Groves) have been filling in admirably with these functions. These are the folks in the trenches, as it were, and ADF could not exist without them and their efforts. I can't emphasize this enough. In recognition of this fact, ADF allows Senior Druids of larger Groves to become Dedicant Priests without prior completion of the First Circle of the Clergy Training Program (though they do have to complete their studies within three years).
ADF felt the need to create a trained clergy, using standards that could be objectively applied. These folks would specialize in being priests, to offer spiritual support to our members, to perform handfastings and weddings, to create liturgies for special occasions including High Days, and, one day, to create churches that would operate continually, with frequent rituals and all the other services that folks have come to expect from a local church.
Some of My Clerical Activities
- ADF Clergy Council - I am the Archivist for the council and participate in our clergy retreats.
- Liturgy - I write, direct, and perform rites for my Grove, ADF festivals and other festivals. I also perform Handfastings/Weddings for members of my local Grove.
- Pastoral Counseling - I am there for my Grove and ADF, to help others as needed.
- Clerical Outreach - I visit Groves and solitaries for support and to perform Handfastings/Weddings and other rites of passage rituals. On occasion I get some photos, which I have posted here.
- Mentoring - I mentor folks in the various study programs of ADF.