Monday, September 28, 2015

Scholar's Guild Mission Statement

1.  What role does scholarship play in your personal spirituality?

Scholarship is the idea of continued study, exploration, and searching for the truth in the world around me. My entire life, I have put a strong emphasis on education and learning.  My desire to understand the universe has led me to study science, philosophy, mythology, anthropology, and so many other fields.  However, my favorite practice is finding the places where those things overlap and seeing the relationship between them.  Over the years I have worked to also apply that emphasis on learning to my spirituality. Paganism is a religion that is based upon the practice of ancient cultures, so being willing to examine historical artifacts can help me to better understand their practices and beliefs, which will also allow me to create a better understanding of the practice I am working to create. 
Scholarship also allows me to explore new things and better my knowledge, while also giving me the opportunity to know what can and cannot work within a modern context.   Studying the ancient lore can help me to see how ancient cultures saw the world around them, and allows me understand where we have come from.  Additionally, our knowledge and understanding of the world is constantly changing.  We work to learn more about the universe, while also continuing to find artifacts from the past.  For me, it is a balance between learning from our history, understanding the present, and trying to determine what would be best for my future.   

2.  Why do you wish to be a Scholar? To be known as a Scholar?

Continuing to study is what I feel allows me to grow, both personally and spiritually.  Scholarship and education plays an important role in my life, and my spirituality.  Throughout the past year, I have worked through the first circle of the Clergy Training Program, as well as the Generalist Study Program.  These two programs have pushed me to explore ancient Indo-European cultures from many different perspectives, to examine myself, and to begin to find my place in the world.  The scholarship that each of these programs require has pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I know that I am a better person because of it.  Additionally, by becoming a priest, I see my purpose as one that allows me to help other people to find their own path, in whatever forms they may take.  By doing additional research and study, I can gain knowledge about areas that I previously knew nothing about and perhaps be able to help someone in the future.  However, I also know that there is an infinite amount of knowledge available in the world, so there is no way any person can know everything.  My intention is not to be able to be all knowing, but instead to have a well-rounded education that can be beneficial both to my practice and to my community.  I see knowledge as one small part of wisdom, and I strive to live a life that is influenced by the virtues.   Being known as a scholar is one step along that path. 

3.  Do you have any personal areas of scholarly interest? What are they? What plans do you have for further investigating them?

    There are several scholarly areas that I personally find fascinating.  The most prominent interest I have is Greek mythology.  The ancient Greeks have a rich, abundant history that I first started exploring when I was 10 years old.  The passion for that culture has never waned.  I find myself studying the Greek myths in any context I can, reading books that compare them to other mythology, reading the myths themselves, visiting art and history museums to see the myths depicted in other mediums, and even exploring reinterpretations of the myths in a modern context, such as modern books and movies. 
     A second area that I am very interested in is psychology and the effect that religion and spirituality has on the human psyche.  The human brain is fascinating and there is so much that we still do not know or understand about it.  I read case studies and research about this subject, while also journaling and writing about my own experiences in order to understand my own experiences more deeply. 

4.  Teaching
a.  If you were to teach a class in any subject (whether related to Neo-Paganism or not), what would it be in? Do you feel you could teach it now? What more would you like to learn so you would feel more comfortable teaching it?

I have been fortunate with my local community to have the opportunity to give several workshops and presentations over the past few years.  I have held discussions on the Wheel of the Year, the Nine Virtues, ADF itself as an organization, and several other subjects.   At this time, I would love to be able to teach a class on Greek mythology, and I do believe I could do so competently.  However, I also feel that the thing for me to learn would be the different sources for the myths themselves, and the different interpretations people may have of them.  I have read mythology for so long, that I often forget what myths came from what sources, so I’d like to better prepare myself with that information to be more comfortable. 

b.  In terms of your audience, what would you teach at an ADF workshop? At a local Pagan shop? To your Grove? To Pagan friends who are not in ADF? To non-Pagan (but accepting) friends?

            I think the important thing to be able to do in any sort of coursework is to be able to adapt to your audience.  To teach about Greek mythology as an ADF workshop, I explore the possibility to follow a Greek pantheon and still practice within ADF.  I would look at the different options within the mythology to follow the high days, and discuss the different aspects of Druidry that are found within the myths as well.  At a local Pagan shop, I would probably try to do a brief overview of the most well known Greek deities, and the most prominent heroes found in the mythology.  There is so much to choose from, that the challenge would be to narrow it down.  For my grove, or even Pagan friends who are not in ADF, I think I would explore my own relationships with Greek mythology and how I use them in my own practices.  However, with non-Pagan friends, I would probably take a more scholarly approach and discuss the historical evidence of these myths, and the correlations that we see in other mythology.

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