This past year I have taken a close examination of many things in my life, have dropped some, have altered some, and have embraced others.
It’s no secret that I have really struggled with the idea of making the oath. I had basically quit ADF, by allowing my membership to quietly expire.
I have some issues with ADF, almost entirely to do with ritual structure and the Oath for the DP.
Now, to be clear, ADF has been very good to me. I love the people of ADF. I love the culture of ADF. My issues were never with the organisation as a whole, but more with my own struggle to define my spirituality.
I don’t like the ritual structure. In fact, I HATE it. I don’t like the memorizing of multiple pages. I don’t like the dryness. My personal rituals are a whole lot more visceral, and a whole lot less pageantry. Performing these rituals, whether solo as a requirement of the DP, or as a part of a group has felt forced and uninspired.
I feel weird about the whole concept of “Earth Mother”, which is an entirely modern concept, placed at the heart of every ADF ritual.
I feel uneasy that Manannan, my new patron deity, is assigned to the position of bouncer, and then ignored for the entire ritual.
And then there is the oath. I will not, will not, WILL NOT make an oath to be a life long part of any religion. As I have mentioned before, I made that mistake when I was 15 with Christianity, and felt very not okay with breaking an oath. I have no idea where my spirituality is headed. I know that it is headed further and further away from Neo-Paganism. Making an oath to any religion would only hinder my development.
But… it is important to me to finish what I start. I am half way through the DP. I could finish by summer. But I do need to make an oath. That’s the finishing test for the DP.
I had a talk with Lisa W-M (as my other mentor randomly unfriended me a few months ago after initiating daily conversations with me while I was at work for 2 years. oooookay? Whatevs) Lisa said that I do not have to make an oath to neo-paganism. I had thought about making an oath to my ancestors, but what if I decide all this is bullshit in 10 years? I will still have to live with the oath for the rest of my life. Lisa had said that someone had made an oath to the 9 virtues. THAT I can do. The virtues are very much in line with my personal values. I can absolutely make an oath to live these throughout my life. Also, I am fully comfortable making an oath towards excellence. Excellence is a core value of ADF, and in line with my motto “Mediocrity killed the cat”. We can all use to be more excellent in our lives. I think this rectifies the problem nicely. Well, at least the oath part can be rectified.
I am unsure of my future with ADF. Like I said, ADF has been good to me. I harbour no ill feelings, and no drama. I am just not sure it fits with my current spiritual cosmology. I suppose I will make a decision after the oath.