I had been Senior Druid of the Grove I had founded maybe five years with little success in finding a replacement or a competent stand in.
I had shut down the grove formally with the group on Lughnasa, only to have them ask me to restart it for Samhain
This I did , as a reluctant unappreciated leader,only to find Myself , Home-less and Grove-less in a month.
After a grove Yule that wasn’t, without Me,
I was asked to lead again to keep the grove alive.
I agreed to do this in a limited capacity,
It was at this time that a collective program was being shared amongst Groves that included nine virtues as a principal part of our religious beliefs and practice.
The virtues were a component of a package that was bundled together to be the beginning of a formal spiritual training or schooling.
I had been developing my own Ideas over the years as had many of my Druid friends,
but this was to be the official system of Our Druid Organization
It was the Organization that made sure we had all the aspects of our training that other religions do.
Our virtues were further distinguished by referencing the three functions or castes of indo -European society.
While I am willing to indulge intellect and imagination in our exploration of Druid Spiritual Fun.
Issues of Class and Society are not to be play acted.
Indo- European models are not complete or functional without slavery.
Perhaps it was this, and the odd notions that virtues were coupled with vices, that put me off on taking virtues on, as what my religion was all about.
It was a challenge to moderate a discussion group of Dedicants about Their feelings and thoughts about these nine virtues or any others as it was very personal and objective and students want to offer the answer they believe the teacher wants to hear.
Or in this case the course was devised around what the student has to say,
or wants to be.
This marked a very stark divide between the motive and intent of a Druid worship group seeking to honor a spiritual presence,
and those seeking to be heard and acknowledged by a study group.
This seemed to accentuate the difference between Druid as Priest/mystic and Senior Druid as the facilitator of a study program group.
I did not understand it at the time but I sensed that the Organization had become a Brand, the study program its product, and groves the outlets, a consumer oriented approach that perverts vocational concepts from being descriptive of the work done to the fantasy of expectation and desire for outcome. A paradox of profession and confession,
getting hokey with my folky
I encounter the virtues again a few years later.
I was part Of the first group of Priests Ordained by the Organization .
The second group were all of the Senior Druids of Groves of the organization.and Study Program.Students.
I was then expected to complete and submit for review the Dedicant Program and its’ essays about the nine virtues .
By this time the program had produced a couple of crops of virtue loving essayists who just didn’t think it was fair that I hadn't written anything about what was so fundamental to our Organization.
I was again struggling with producing the required expression on a number of levels.
It lacks a genuineness and inspirational nature that I associate with my Spiritual Brand of Druid
It felt coerced or contrived on my part,
not the real love, real deal, real thing I try to stay true to.
My Kindred Spirits were not urging me to write these essays, they were supplying Me with other tasks.
I did not want my voice to be one that was critical of the program.
I did not want to be used by the critics of the program or the anti-clergy crowd.
I did not see our duty to codify our training of each other as vital as kindness.
Years later I paint cards of the nine to draw and read as omens.
I treat the words like beings in and of themselves as well as within us,
Things to live by or through. We need to be careful of what we embody.
Urged to use them as a Priest, Struggling to compose with them as a Bard, I have a found their use as a Seer.
I have to say that it is not a good practice to use virtues as part of judgment of others, Including their level of Mastery in a Program or Vocation.
Others may feel it is important and enriching doing it,
But It is not my thing, and it’s not what My religion, My Priesthood is about.
I am not a Priest of a Program,
perhaps a Priest of process.
A process that has been very public for over twenty years.
I am not closing the door on the Program by pointing out that I don’t like how it is being used in the Organization.
I am not claiming to be a master or knowledgeable of the program or to have any experience with it as an accepted and understanding insider.
I am A Druid with my Arts. and many Muses.