Archive for the ‘elders’ Category

I had a wonderful experience in the forest earlier, and I will blog about that later – but for now I want to talk about something else.

For me, ADF satisfies three very important things – my desire to worship using reconstructionist models, my desire to be creative, and community.  I love these aspects of ADF and it’s why I feel at home there.

But there are times where I find myself wanting more…  And I guess when I say more, I mean more community in the here and now.  I wish the grove was closer and I wish we met more often than on high days.  I know this would be terribly demanding in reality, but there are times when I feel like I could really benefit from a more hands-on teacher.  I read about traditional witches with their apprentices or very close-knit CR groups that practice trance, divination, and other folk magic together.  I try to do these things on my own but I so often feel like I’m afloat in a great big sea.  I have had significant trance experiences, including moments where Gods or a spirit guide help me out, but they are rare.  Often it is only myself.  In some ways, I suppose this is empowering.  I can forge my own paths without bending to the will of an elder, but that’s very easy for a young whippersnapper like myself to rationalize.  I know I could gain much from an elder, but few seem spiritually/emotionally/physically available, especially when it comes to CR or CR oriented Druidism.

Anyway, these were just thoughts rolling around my head this afternoon.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Hail to Isaac!

I have a few other entries I would like to write, but today I must reflect on the passing of ADF’s beloved founder, Isaac Bonewits.

I never had the pleasure to meet him in person, but like many others in the Pagan community, I was profoundly influenced by his work.    When I was a complete novice, I understood that he was a VIP*.  It wasn’t until my friend Parallax lent me her copy of Bonewits’s Essential Guide to Druidism that he truly inspired me.  At the time I was searching for something.  Wicca wasn’t it for me** and I was feeling a pull from my Irish ancestors.  Through his vision of modern Druidism, and the organization he founded – Ár nDraíocht Féin – I found a spiritual home.    With that came a real sense of belonging and community.  I wish I could have met him in person on this plane to thank him.

His other books I read, NeoPagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals That Work, The Pagan Man: Priests, Warriors, Hunters, and Drummers, and most recently Real Magic: An Introductory Treatise on the Basic Principles of Yellow Magic were all incredibly influential on my spirituality.  NeoPagan Rites facilitated my understanding of the importance of well-thought-out liturgy and the effect that good theater can have on one’s psyche.  My husband originally wanted to read The Pagan Man and, while I don’t think he got very far, I read the whole thing, reveling in the exploration of the spiritual male in a Pagan world that seems so focused on the female.  It’s probably strange for a woman to say that, but hey – I’m just as drawn to the Gods as I am to the Goddesses!  I loved that Bonewits created such an important resource for men seeking spiritual guidance within Paganism.  FinallyI picked up Real Magic at the most recent Wellspring Gathering.  As some of you may remember, I’m working though ADF’s Initiate Program, and am trying to complete Magic 1. Isaac’s first book really changed the way I thought about magic.  His exploration of magic as divided into a spectrum of skill rather than morality was especially formative for me.

One of my Live Journal friends, prophet_maid, commented on the awkwardness she feels about mourning a celebrity, and that’s very much what Isaac was/is within the Pagan community.  I never met him and yet I felt profoundly moved by his life and death.  It seems strange to mourn for someone I never met, but to those of us in ADF, he was an elder – a spiritual father, even.  He shared his vision and paved the way for us.  I can’t exactly articulate what that means to me, but it was powerful enough that I lit candles and prayed for him to my patrons.  I now consider him one of my ancestors to be honored.  As prophet_maid said of herself, Isaac shaped me into the woman I am today and that cannot be ignored.

If any of you weren’t able to participate in the rolling coins movement to help pay for his medical costs, I urge you to make a donation.  I couldn’t give much during the rolling coin drive, but I did what I could because I respect him as an elder and know how hard it is for a family when someone passes away due to cancer.  My aunt died at 40 from bone cancer, and it was an expensive ordeal, in part because she spent her last months at home with the help of Hospice.  Giving a tiny bit to his family is probably the best way to honor him as an ancestor at this point.

Isaac, I thank you for your influence and inspiration.  May you continue to guide us as an ancestor and may we honor you in all we say and do!

* “Very Important Pagan,” of course!
** Bonewits was a practicing Wiccan, I believe, and also authored a book or two on the religion.  He was actually very educated on numerous forms of Pagan religion.  

[ Photo from ADF’s website.  It was taken by Ava Francesca.]
( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Isaac Bonewits

Most Pagans probably know this already, but in case you don’t, Isaac Bonewits, founder of ADF and Pagan elder, is not doing well.  As Skip Ellison, former Arch Druid of ADF, announced today:

As many of you know, our founder, Isaac Bonewits, is suffering from cancer.
While it appeared at first that he was getting better, it now looks like
things have taken a turn for the worst.

This is from Isaac's Facebook page this morning.

" A very stressful day for both of us. Isaac's very weak from last week's
chemo, so he is back in the hospital for a few days. A very frank talk with
his oncologist was not encouraging. In short, the best they can do is
control his disease. He will not get well. If he cannot tolerate chemo at
levels that control the tumors, there is nothing else they can do."

" "Of course," she (the doctor) said, "miracles do happen." So, family,
friends and fans, we need a miracle. If there was ever a time to kick the
magic into gear, this is it."

Please keep Isaac in your thoughts and prayers as he and Phaedra both go
through this hard time.

Updated information can always be found on his Facebook page located here -

Bright Blessings,

I'm planning to light a candle and say a prayer at the very least.

[ For my LJ friends, please visit me at: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ ]

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Pagan Elders

I posted this on the MVPN forums first but decided to put it on my blog in case anyone else wanted to chime in. 🙂

Pagans and magic practitioners alike have some very intriguing, innovative, and (in)famous elders. They’ve inspired us with their rhetoric and ritual. They’ve given their lives to helping others. They’ve taught others, authored books, and made the occult more acceptable and understandable. They’ve bastardized cultural practices and pantheons. They’ve founded some of the most beautiful traditions in modern religion. They’ve been saints and sex-addicts. Whatever you feel about Gardner, Crowley, Starhawk, Z. Budapest, Cunningham, Buckland, Bonewits, Erynn Rowan Laurie, Diana Paxson, or any of the other people we can’t stand and look up to… You can’t help but admit that they’ve helped to shape modern Paganism.

If you could meet any Pagan elder, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you talk about? Would you laud them or slap them? Or both?

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