Application for Ordination as an ADF Priest
Submitted to the Archdruid on June 7, 2010
1. How has your work in ADF helped you grow and change, so that you feel you are now ready for the role of Ordained Priest in ADF?
Nine years ago, I began down this path with ADF. It has been a journey full of both right action and mistakes, as any path is, and I pray that I have been diligent in ensuring that the mistakes I have made have served to teach me how not to make them again. But it is the right action that has done the most to prepare me for this role.
In 2003, I offered my Patron Oath and my Dedicant Oath at Summerland, indicating my intent to work the path of Neo-Pagan Druidry from then on, with my Patrons' help. Since then I have leaned on them greatly, but with less frequency as I have grown in the ways of Our Druidry. It has been that basic work of the ADF Dedicant that has ensured that I continue to grow and change, and is the embodiment of my advice to others on this path: "Light a fire, and pray."
In 2004, I began mentoring other Dedicants, and offered input into the new DP requirements. This is truly where my service to others within ADF began, and I found it richly rewarding, and my good fortune to work with Rev. Jenni Hunt during her time as Preceptor instilled many strong values within me, among them a dedication to helping others and a desire to work with members seeking to deepen their Druidry.
In 2006, I was consecrated as a Dedicant Priest in ADF at Summerland [Vocational Statement], and was humbled by those who participated in the rite: each called for blessings and wisdom for me, and I felt given over to the Folk. No longer was I working toward my own ends, but I was working toward the Vision of ADF. No longer was I committing sacrifice on my own behalf, but on the behalf of all of ADF. What I learned most was that I was not prepared before Consecration took place, even though I thought I was.
In 2007, I began the Clergy Order Work, and found myself working heavily with the Ancient Wise. They have guided me and guarded me as I have worked through many things in my own life, and they have seen me grow and change as well. With their teachings, I have grown a great deal, and they were available to me when I was not sure where else to turn.
In 2008, Three Cranes Grove, ADF, collected much of our liturgical work into a single volume and began to sell it to the membership of ADF (and beyond). The experience of gathering that work enforced upon me the importance of Grove Voice, and how to harness it and grow it to magnify the work we are doing.
In 2009, I was initiated into the ADF Initiatory Current, and from there I brought back three valuable tools that I have since sought to bring forth to others: Focus, Center, and Joy. These tools were gifted to me by the Spirits, and form the center of the work I do now. I have worked hard to keep these tools in mind as I do both my daily mundane work and my religious work as well.
In 2010, I completed Circle 3 of the Clergy Training Program. From the program as it stands I have learned a great deal, but it is only now that I have completed it that I feel as though I am ready for some of the situations that have reared their ugly heads in the past nine years of work. There is a definite feeling of "readiness" that I have not experienced with other study programs in ADF, which may have much to do with the great time and effort put into this program, but I believe it has most to do with the depth of learning that brought it forth.
Most recently, I have found that part of my Patron Oath, given so many years ago, is fulfilled. My work with Eris appears to be ending with the step from Consecrated to Ordained Priest, at least as it relates to a Patronage relationship. It draws a somewhat dull ache in my heart to write that out just now, but I find it to be deeply true (and oddly proper).
Each of these steps along the way, as well as the mis-steps where I have stumbled because of personal failing or my (at the time) incomplete training, has guided me to this point. My work in ADF continues to grow and change, much as the fire of piety kindled at my hearth grows and changes with each passing day. The training I have given and received over time has readied me for new challenges, ones that will bring with them new heights to soar to and new depths to plumb.
2. What has your work in the Clergy Training Program taught you about being a Priest?
Primarily, it has taught me that the work is never done; that the lessons are never all learned; and that the life of a clergyperson within ADF is constant study, even if that that study is not on a pre-defined training path.
I have had a unique experience, as I was engaged in both creation of the program and working through the program at the same time. I felt it was vitally important that I work through the program I had designed, not because it was easy, but in order to find the flaws in it before someone else ran into them. The aim of a training program is not to create hoops to jump through, but instead to ensure that the student learns something meaningful to them. I believe that we accomplished this.
Even though I wrote the majority of the questions, I found nuances in nearly all of them that caused me to pause and re-think each preconceived notion I had about where the answers would lead me. Working through Ethics 1 was especially enlightening, as I learned much about my views on the cosmos and how they affected my actions, and I was able to codify my thoughts into a single code. Magic 2 challenged me greatly, in that I chose to do work that was new and unique to the course, rather than using old work that was not unique. Liturgy Practicum 2, my final approved course and the last step I took in the training program, taught me a great deal about both how I do ritual and how much my Grove loves and respects me.
It has also taught me that there is a time when the training wheels come off (if you'll forgive the pun) and the student must learn to ride on his or her own.
Of all the work I have done within the CTP, I have found that each question provided me with a skill or knowledge to draw on. As I worked through the CTP, I learned the mythical side of death, which helped me to cope with facing the death of a loved one in my own life. I learned about the location of the Waters and the place they flow from, mythically speaking, which has affected my own calling for those Waters in ritual. I learned about places that can help others when my own ability to help is exhausted, and have drawn from that to determine my own role as helper.
In the end, the CTP has built a firm foundation, with strong skills from which to work. It also built a storehouse of information from which I can draw to teach others how to work in their own lives and in their own Groves.
3. In what ways will you continue to serve ADF as an Ordained Priest?
The primary way I intend to continue serving ADF is through my current role as Clergy Council Preceptor. As we continue to grow and develop the program, and as more and more students enter the program, this continues to be a driving force behind my vocation.
I also intend to continue to provide writings to our publications, online and in print, that clarify what we are doing as Priests and increase communication between the Clergy Council and the Folk. It is important to note that the Clergy Training Program is the "gatekeeper" to clergy credentials within ADF, and as such the refinements made and communications offered that surround that program will be very important in years to come.
Entering the ranks or Ordained Priests in ADF will also necessitate some limitations: while it is easy to want to do ever more with the skills I have gained in the work, and to do so for the benefit of others, I recognize that I cannot do all things at once, nor should I. My vision of ordination within ADF has nothing to do with obtaining office or gaining clout, but merely securing an opportunity to serve with a greater level of intentional commitment than before.
I will make the commitment to keep the fires of Our Druidry burning brightly, to make sacrifice when appropriate on behalf of those who cannot do it on their own, to teach others to stand at the center of worlds and call out with firm voice to the Powers, and ensure that the work of Our Druidry is done in the proper ways at the proper times.
Bright blessings, and thank you for your consideration,
-Rev. Michael J Dangler
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