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Indo-European Studies 1, Requirement 5

From its beginnings, ADF has defined itself in relation to Indo-European pagan traditions. What relevance do you think historical and reconstructed IE traditions from the past have in constructing or reconstructing a Pagan spirituality for the present and future? (minimum 600 words)

A lot of what ADF does is defined by the Indo-European past, this is true. There is the practical aspect of "limiting" ourselves so that we have some sense of community and commonality, and there is the phenomenological aspect that indicates that Indo-European cultures shared a certain set of religious ideas that have a lot of value to the modern world. The focus in IE cultures, then, is one that is promoted as including those of like mind, not so much excluding those of other cultures and beliefs. It has always been important to me that while ADF promotes an Indo-European mode of worship and a focus on IE deities/spirits, we are fully accepting (and, indeed, inclusive) of other cultures in our members' and Groves' personal practices.

ADF assumes that there is a niche to fill, one that has existed in all IE cultures in the past, exists in at least some of the modern cultures of the world, and will continue to exist in future societies. That niche was, in the past, filled by the Indo-European priests, and has gone more-or-less unfilled (or transiently filled) for nearly two thousand years in some cases.

This niche is one of magico-religious function, and part of filling that function is self-creating ourselves in a reasonably well researched image of an Indo-European society. ADF sees itself as providing priests and those skilled in the bardic arts, as well as magicians and diviners to not only the ADF community, but to the Neo-Pagan community as a whole, as well as beyond if there is a call for such. One of the original stated intents of ADF was that we would be an example for other Neo-Pagan groups, and there was a hope that those who wanted to become priests in their own traditions would come to ADF in order to obtain the training they needed. To some extent, this has happened.

In order to become what we wish to, ADF has worked hard to represent itself as finding value in the study of Indo-European theory, and reworking it into a modern context. I dislike the word "reconstruct" because we are not at all "reconstructing" the faith of the ancient past, but revalorizing it to ourselves, and utilizing that revalorization to create and experience the niche we fill. We have found that in order to create an environment in which the magico-religious class can be nurtured, we need to provide an environment in which the rest of the tripartation system can be supported and nourished as well. Within the broader Neo-Pagan community, ADF provides the priests. Within the microcosm of ADF, the first-function Guilds and the Clergy Council provide the priests. It makes for an interesting series of levels.

If the present requires that this niche be filled, and this niche has gone unfilled for nearly two thousand years, then there is no reason to believe that its utility will be lost, or that its relevance to the people will change. I don't see any use in worrying that it will go away, nor that it will necessarily change. It seems to me that the route ADF takes in the future is more likely to be defined by our past than where the road might take us, and that's fine with me.

This is not to say that ADF has created a fiction of self-created placement, but rather to say that we feel that there is a value in retaining this placement. Our growth rate and the demand for the services of our clergy speak strongly to the need for someone to fill this role of upholding the magico-religious function within the Neo-Pagan community, and that is what ADF has always done and will continue to do.


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