Pantheism isn't a broad enough term, because it only includes the gods and goddesses whose names we know. Do the math! Homo sapiens (who should more properly perhaps be named Homo work in progress) has been leaving stuff behind for 100,000 years. What deity inspired all those cave paintings at Lascaux? ALL HAIL WHOEVER YOU ARE!
My daughter The Spare and I set off Saturday morning to a meeting of the Red Oak Grove Druids, held in the famed New Jersey Pine Barrens. The Spare is 13, and I was wondering how a 10-hour, two-meal get-together (hyphen hyphen hyphen) would keep her interest. She was wondering too, but she was game.
You know how sometimes you get a surprise package in the mail, and you don't know what's in it, and it turns out to be a big ol' basket of bon bons from Auntie Em? That's kind of how it turned out in the Pine Barrens.
My Appalachian readers can stop here, because none of the rest of this will make a bit of sense to you. Pagans, read on!
The guests of Red Oak Grove included all three Archdruids of the ADF, including its founder Isaac Bonewitz. The trio took seats under an awning and proceeded to discuss the founding of the ADF, its aims, its goals, and its growing pains.
EXHIBIT A: Skip Ellison, current Archdruid, says he spends about 50-60 hours a week on ADF business. He is not salaried, nor is he running a national bakery and a Washington, DC newspaper.
The following are not goals of the ADF:
1. To send zealous missionaries all over the planet, hacking down deities right and left until everyone on earth believes in the ADF.
2. To support the founder of the ADF and his subsequent leadership in opulent luxury, earned from the back-breaking labor of brainwashed devotees.
3. To become the force that changes our national currency to read "One Nation Under Danu," and our pledge of allegiance to include "One nation, under ... (insert 300 Celtic deities) ... with liberty, etc. etc. etc."
The following are goals of the ADF:
1. To respect the Earth in a proactive way.
2. To produce learned priests and priestesses with education similar to that gained in Christian divinity schools, thus endowing certain individuals with authentic credentials that would be acceptable to, oh, say, the U.S. military.
3. To have an open mind toward all deities and to promote especially the Celtic ones through outdoor rituals and fellowship.
All three Archdruids were articulate, intelligent, kind, and committed. It was a distinct pleasure to meet them, especially since Druid Bonewitz will soon move to the West Coast, making sightings of him in the Jersey Pine Barrens rather more rare.
The entire workshop was videotaped, and I do hope it ends up on YouTube, or somewhere that interested Druids can watch it.
Oh, and I guess I should mention that none of the Archdruids expressed any interest in being worshipped themselves, as individuals. They aren't looking to start a new religion, but rather to throw some business to a highly deserving group of bored Gods and Goddesses.
The Spare listened to the entire workshop while crafting a clay monument to her deceased grandfather. She sat out the ritual, but she did enjoy the company of Bardd Dafydd's son, who is also sweating out Middle School. After considerable ice was broken, they found plenty of common ground.
Well, what can one say about a ritual that includes three Archdruids? We'll just go into standard "Gods Are Bored" vernacular here. It was as good as watching the buzzards of Pomona warm their wings on rooftops of a cold winter's morn.
Druid Bonewitz agrees with me that the bored gods are very grateful for the Druid renaissance, even if we don't know much about how the ancient Celts celebrated their rites. If we don't get it "right," they're still charmed by the effort. And so am I.
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