Religious Training and Study Programs

How to begin

The simplest way to begin a home shrine is to place a table or cabinet in a part of your home where it can be private and hallowed. There should be enough space to sit for yourself and the members of your household that will use it. If you have already been meditating at home, you will probably want to use that space. You should begin by placing the shrine symbols of our basic Indo-European Druidic cosmos: fire, well and tree. The home shrine is in fact a sacred grove in miniature, a model of the forces that join to open the gates between the worlds. (ADF Dedicant's Packet, 2005)

THE FIRE: A triple flame should be present. A candle is used to represent the THREE REALMS (underworld, mid-realm, and heavens). A second candle is used to represent the THREE WORLDS (land, sea, and sky). A third candle is used to represent the THREE KINDREDS (the Shining Ones, the Ancestors, and the Nature Spirits).

THE WELL: The well holds the magic waters of the three cauldrons, bounty, healing, and wisdom. It may be represented by a simple bowl or cup of water. You can also use a cauldron if you wish.

THE WORLD TREE: This can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. A small branch, houseplant, or a tree figurine.

Place the tree against the wall side of table, with the well at the base of the tree and the fire nearest your seat. You can add incense near the fire and other candles for light. Add a bowl for offerings and maybe a bell or chime. From this core patterns, you can begin to add whatever additional patterns appeal to you. You may want to represent the three worlds of land, sea and sky by adding incense for air, a shell of saltwater for sea, and a bowl or a stone for land.

A good beginner's daily devotion would be the tree meditation, a prayer to honor the gods and a simple offering.

Study Programs

Our Grove places emphasis on proper Druid training and coursework. We support our members through their self-study and concentrate most of workshops towards meeting study program requirements. The Grove provides mentors (our Elders) for any Kin-level members upon request. Mentors are part cheerleader, part guide and part nag. The following programs are available only for active ADF members. Requirements and additional details are provided with your membership packet from the Mother Grove.

Dedicant Path

The Dedicant Path (DP) is the required preliminary education for ADF’s further teaching and initiatory work, including our clergy training system. The requirements for documenting your work in the program are a series of essays. On a more personal level, the work is offered to our new members as a way to develop a meaningful and effective personal Paganism. It should be worked at whatever pace is comfortable to the student.

Generalist Study Program

The Generalist Study Program (GSP) provides an understanding of the history of Druidism, Neo-paganism and ADF, comparative mythology, and a chosen cultural focus. The GSP is weighted academically and students should balance this with spiritual and religious work, such as meditation and High Day observation.

Initiate Program

The Initiate Program (IP) is designed for those who wish to expand their training beyond a purely academic course of study and to explore Druidic spirituality, magic and liturgy. The IP is weighted heavily on regular journalizing and magical exploration. It should be balanced with other religious work, such as group work and High Day observation.

Clergy Training Program

The Clergy Training Program (CTP) develops the necessary skills needed for ministers to perform their jobs to the Neo-pagan community. There are three circles of training, leading to wonderfully competent priestesses and priests. This requires completion of the DP, a formal request to the Clergy Council, and a background check.