This week’s lesson focused on the optional “First Oath” of the Dedicant’s Path. The purpose of this oath is not to obligate one to any specific deity or hearth culture, but to obligate one to a life of spirituality, study, and to establish a link to the Gods, Earth, spirits, and ancestors. After much thought and consulting with a long time Druid on one of our email lists, I decided not to do it. The Dedicant’s Path through the Wheel of the Year suggests it should be done in the context of a ritual, and although a sample one is provided, I do not feel comfortable in performing an ADF ritual yet. I simply do not know enough to properly put one together. Secondly, I still have no idea which deities or hearth culture I am comfortable in dealing with. Although an example is given of conducting a ritual and making an oath to the Gods/Goddesses in general, I do not feel comfortable with doing that. I believe that many deities do exist that people made religions around and I just do not feel comfortable obligating myself in the presence of them all. In my opinion Thoth is just as real as Zeus, Thor, and the host of deities worshiped throughout time. In a ADF ritual a doorway of sorts is opened to the otherworld and there is a gatekeeper who is trusted to be in charge of this. I simply am not comfortable to assigning this task to a generic someone whom I know nothing about. As one who was a follower of Yahweh until recently, I certainly do not want him coming through that gateway because he is admittedly jealous in the extreme, and is accredited with doing terrible things out of vengeance; however, I do intend to take the First Oath when I at least have some leanings to a particular pantheon and know enough about its deities to pick one to call to my presence and make an offering to.
To the ends of beginning to at least start learning about the history and Gods/Goddesses of pagan Europe, I ordered the book A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones. This is one of the few books that give at least some attention to all the major cults of pre-Christian Europe. It is on the book list that I have to pick three books from to write essays on. Moreover, it looks like a great place to start. This way I can get a feel for all that is out there. The reviews on GoodReads.com say it gives a wealth of information not found anywhere else, but that it is somewhat difficult to follow as the author wanders off the topic of each chapter pretty regularly. I found an excellent deal on this through a used bookseller on Amazon. I paid less than a dollar and a half for the book which is described as being in very good condition; while new copies sell for right under forty dollars. I try to buy used books whenever possible both to save money and trees. While I was at it I bought the hardcopy of the Dedicant’s Manual even though it is free on the ADF’s website, because I hate reading on the computer. I also purchased a copy of former Archdruid, Rev. Skip Ellison’s The Solitary Druid. I also found an excellent deal on that used also. Rev. Ellison’s book is not on the list I can chose from to write the three essays on, but it is a recommended book to read.
Next week’s lesson will constitute study of the celebration of my first high day–Mabon, the autumn equinox, which will occur on September 22. Since I do have some time to prepare I think I may do something more than what I had originally planned. Perhaps I will be ready for a formal ritual; I do not know at this point. I will have to study the recommended readings, which thankfully there is still enough time to do and make plans.