I’m having a hard time deciding if ADF is really the druidry for me, partly because I really feel pulled away from the whole “devotional polytheism” thing more towards devotion to the Earth and Her cycles. I think that’s why I’m struggling with the whole concept of a hearth culture — because my practice is centering around the land and seasons more than any particular deity or pantheon. Can you be a druid in ADF with a more Earth-focused practice? Because I would be quite content just celebrating the magic inherent in the tilting axis of our planet that allows us to experience seasons.
The devotional work I have been doing isn’t giving me much to work with in terms of hearth culture. As a former reconstructionist my instinct is to get really into the weeds with specifics, really nitpicky things like “what were the inscriptions to Wepwawet in the tomb of Seti I indicating about His relationship with the Kingship?” Part of my challenge is discerning when to leave the library and get personal experience. The other challenge is… well, there’s much much less written on the Celtic deities, and that seems to be where my attention is being drawn.
I’ve always had some devotion to Brighid, and since coming back to Druidry She has re-entered my life as Brigantia. A super specific manifestation of Brighid from northern England? GREAT. I don’t have any clue where to start with the Brigantes. And I’m fairly certain the other Celtic deities showing up in my life weren’t a part of their practices.
How about the Mórrigan? She’s a uniquely Irish goddess. Brighid is Irish — but Brigantia is not. Unless the crow battle goddess in my life is Cathubodua — but that name only appears in one inscription in France — I’m already pulled in two different directions.
Why not center in an Irish hearth culture and just stick with the Mórrigan and Brighid?
Cernunnos showed up. I admit, I always thought Cernunnos was a modern Wiccan invention — and maybe he partly is, but turns out he’s… also Gaulish?
I’ll figure it out, I suppose, but I’d like to find a way to balance the three of them. I’m already stressed enough with a handful of lingering Kemetic gods.
I’ve been telling people I’ve been Kemetic but I’m “seeing other gods” right now.
It’s a complicated place to be in. As I’m reading about the Irish and Gaulish gods, participating in Druid rites and just generally soaking in the lovely, grounded vibes of a nature-based polytheism that follows my local seasonal cycles, I can feel my gods from Kemet at the edge of my perception. I imagine Them looking a bit like this:
I’ve intentionally been avoiding Them. I struggle to understand how They fit into my practice now. It feels like having estranged family — I know They love me and want to be a part of my life, but I don’t know how to interact with Them anymore. I can’t imagine not loving Them and keeping devotions to Them, but I struggle to imagine what that looks like outside of the context I came to know Them in. It doesn’t help that They are explicitly not welcome in official ADF practice.
I really don’t know where my relationship to Them is heading.
Am I fully devoted to other gods now? Or will I find my way back to Them? Or will there be some third, hybrid possibility? Honestly, I’m not sure how I’m going to work that out. I have to hope that time will help. I need to remember that 3 months of Druidry is nothing compared to 16 years of Kemetic practices. I will find my footing again.
Managed to completely re-do the shrine space. Husband and I switched spaces in the house — our house is subdivided kind of oddly, and I had been using the sunroom off the kitchen as my office/spiritual space since we moved in. But he decided he wanted more windows so he could set up a 3D printer with a window vent. Fine by me — even though the sunroom is larger by area, the room he had been using as his office is more square and thus feels larger. The whole space is more functional for me, and my altar table is in a better position for plants. Plus it’s right next to the playroom, so later when she’s old enough, kiddo can occupy herself over there and I can spend time reading in here.
The short answer is: I’ve been pagan too long to be anything else.
The long answer… amounts to about the same, honestly. In high school I concluded that God was too big to be one God, life was too big for any one religion to be right, and I wanted a more personal relationship with God than Catholicism could offer me. I made a few faltering attempts at being a devout Catholic until a deck of Tarot cards showed up with my Christmas presents; this led to me buying a book on being a “Teen Witch”, and that was that.
I used to say I’d be Kemetic or I’d be an atheist, because I couldn’t see myself believing anything else. In this transition I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t my belief that ever made me Kemetic. My belief was and is fundamentally polytheist: I believe the world is full of forces much bigger than humans (often called gods) and interacting with these forces has mutual benefit for the humans and the gods. I’ve spent the last 16 years interacting with those forces in one paradigm, but that doesn’t mean I can only use that paradigm.
That thought led me to consider Christianity again– very briefly. It didn’t take much for me to realize I would be a terrible Christian. I imagined the first time I wanted to make an offering to God… or ask God a question with some divinatory tool… or continue my ancestor veneration practice… I couldn’t imagine how I would explain myself. I briefly considered being a Unitarian, since they seem a little more open to the weirdnesses I’d picked up while polytheist. What stopped me? I stumbled on Druidry before I made it to the local UU church, which my husband was happy with, since it meant he got to keep sleeping in on Sundays.
Part of my pull away from Kemet was the disconnect with the local land and seasons. I was losing my connection to a religion grounded in the juxtaposition between desert and river, living in my subtropical bay region with four seasons. Druidry (and nature-based spirituality in general) allows me to observe and connect with the changing world around me. It feels deeply comforting to venerate the Earth in all Her awesomeness. I view spirituality as the practice of connecting with something greater than myself, and what could be greater than the Earth that sustains all life? I can’t think of anything. I guess that means I’m still a Pagan.
Don’t ask me how devotional polytheism fits into the picture… I’m still figuring that part out.
Does anyone else remember when we called those long quizzes on LiveJournal where you’d type out your favorite ice cream flavor and how many tattoos you have “memes”? How interesting how that word has changed. Anyway, I’m giving myself some prompts to help keep the words moving:
30 Days Posts of Paganism
Beliefs – Why (not) Paganism?
Beliefs – Cosmology
Beliefs – Deities
Beliefs – Birth, death and rebirth
Beliefs – Magic, spellcraft, mysticism etc
Beliefs – The power of prayer/reciprocity
Beliefs – Patronage and other deeper relationships
Beliefs – Holidays
Pantheon – For these posts, pick a deity or speak of elements of the patheon, such as tribes or nature spirits, etc.
Pantheon (anti) – On finding a pantheon.
The meaning of terms like “earth-based” and what they mean to this path
My ways of worship
Paganism and my family/friends
Paganism and my relationship
Other paths I’ve explored
Paganism and major life events
Personal aesthetics with magic and ritual
Priest? Clergy? One or both? Neither?
Any “secular” pastimes with religious significance, and why
How your faith has helped you in difficult times
One misconception about Paganism you’d like to clear up
The last three weeks have been a blur with the holidays and work, and I’ve not kept up with my mental discipline practice. Not for lack of wanting to… but I decided I would do them Wednesday mornings, and then promptly forgot when Wednesday was each week until I was already too far into my day. I’ll start my count over… I will say, though, that as I’ve been contemplating discipline in general, I am finding myself able to make disciplined changes more readily. I’ve been meaning to cut back on coffee for a while and I’m finally taking the steps to do it.
I’ve been quietly working my way through the Dedicant’s Path and that’s been lovely, but I’m way behind on the writing. I created a syllabus for myself loosely based off the existing Dedicant’s Path Through the Wheel of the Year. I’ve been doing the experimental things on the syllabus, but the writing? Pfft. I’m a Thinker and a Doer, not a Writer. Who wants to read my rambling thoughts? Well, apparently someone will if I’m ever going to finish this Dedicant’s Path thing, since it will have to be reviewed and approved.
My husband and I switched offices at home. Our house is not large, but it has so many small rooms that along with the standard 2 bedrooms, living room, and kitchen, we have a playroom for our daughter and one office each. I don’t know what we’ll do when we move but that’s a problem for Future Magpie. In making that change I’ve been able to really re-evaluate my religious space. I cleaned up my altar and put my Kemetic gods in a place that feels accessible but not in my face. I have a space for my ancestors, of course, and then a personal altar that suits ADF work. It’s cute – I have a little Zamioculcas zamiifolia, wooden candleholders with three taper candles, and a small ceramic fountain. Land, Sea, and Sky; Tree, Well, and Fire. I should write about how disorienting it is to work in a new cosmology. The short summary is – it’s different, but I’m happy.
I’ll probably meander my way through a list of post prompts as well. I used to have deep thoughts… much less these days, with a toddler occupying 90% of my mental space. My deepest thoughts these days are “Wow, this episode of Bluey is really good!”
Ancestor veneration is actually one of the few things I don’t feel shaky on right now. My relationship with my beloved dead remains positive. I already have a small ancestor altar from my Kemetic practices, which I recently spruced up. I truly can’t imagine a world in which I don’t have some connection with my ancestors, frankly. I don’t know much about ancestor veneration through the lens of non-Kemetic cultures, but my own family culture includes a robust tradition of remembrance via storytelling and sharing pictures, which I intend to keep alive (no pun intended)? The phrase “What is remembered, lives” comes to mind.
I was Kemetic Orthodox for 16 years and as of October 2022 decided it was time to start “seeing other gods”. My heart just wasn’t in Kemet anymore. Currently I’m working through the ADF Dedicants’ Path to help orient myself. I used to blog at carryingtheirlight.com.
On to a new week. Feeling much less flu-ridden as of today, so I’m hopeful to have a good experience with this week’s mental discipline practice. I did finish my IE studies book (Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory) so I can write up that review this week. According to my calendar I should be attending a Yule ritual this week but — the ritual happened last week, pre-flu (thank goodness). I’m not sure whether I want to try to get ahead and write up that book review (it’s not on my calendar until some time in the spring) or focus more on praxis this week.