Before the Initiation: Work and Thoughts
The Initiate's Path was released in December of 2006. In April of 2008, I submitted my Initiate Intention Letter to the ADF Clergy Council in order to embark on the path itself. At this time, there was (and as of this writing, still is) no actual "program" to go with the exit standards: our first few students have had to work their way through based on practicum rather than instruction. For a while, I was dubious about how this would work. The program, as presented to me as a bunch of exit standards, didn't seem particularly spiritual or particularly noteworthy. I even remember thinking, "Hey, I'm pretty much already doing this. . . let's just keep on going."
So, as I worked through the exit standards as a result of going through the ADF Clergy Training Program, I was unsure what the end result of "completing" the IP would be. I expected that the work would be its own reward, and that I would find an inner path to compliment my outward path of Druidry. As I worked through the IP, though, I learned that I had been correct when I suggested in my IP Intention Letter that the practical work in Magic 2, Divination 2, Liturgy Practicum 1, and the two Trance courses "are not things that can leave our souls untouched by beauty and wonder."
I developed fiercely through the time that I did the work, with the LitPract1 Journal particularly spurring my progress. Additionally, engaging in Clergy Order Work brought new growth to my trance skills, which were then further magnified by the Trance practicums that are required for the program. I found that path opening up into the mists before me, a path of inner work that paralleled the outer work I was doing in a beautiful way.
By the time our first opportunity for initiations rolled around, I had some outstanding work that needed to be graded, and outstanding courses that needed to be completed before I could be initiated, so I resubmitted the submissions that had not been graded and submitted the one outstanding course (Trance 2) that remained for my own Candidacy. I had no real expectation that it would be graded before the Clergy Retreat where Kirk's initiation would take place, but I am always a bit hopeful.
By the time I had arrived at Tredara, all my outstanding work was graded and commented on, and I was told that I was, indeed, now a Candidate for Initiation, and could be initiated that weekend. There was just a small matter of three tests that I needed to pass before I became an ADF Initiate.
Up to this point, while occasional mention of testing our Candidates had been heard, nothing formal had been given. The aim of these tests is to determine 1) if the student had learned the requisite skills, 2) if the student had grown in their work and skills, and 3) if the student was suited to become an ADF Initiate.
There are three tests, or Ordeals, that our Candidates must pass in order to become ADF Initiates, and each is more difficult than the last. Anyone who has done the work and remained focused on it will pass the first two, I believe. The third test, which we expect will not be the same for every Candidate, is something that is hard to prepare for and which will test the Candidate's skill in a very real way. To those following, I can only say that regular, comprehensive trancework is the most solid preparation. I understand that failure of any test does not end your work permanently, but it will end it that night, and the Candidate will no longer be eligible for initiation for a period of time.
So, with my own thoughts and the work I have done leading to receiving the ADF Initiatory Current, allow me to present an overview of my thoughts on my own initiation.