Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Discipline 2

*Please note: certain portions of this course have been removed as it contains information that is shared only with ADF Clergy.  Sorry!*

1. Describe your discipline practice as an ADF Priest. Explain what you have learned from this practice, describe how your connections with the Court of the Sky has grown and changed over the time you have worked with them, and reflect on your journals and omens over the period. (min. 600 words)
            I completed the first circle of the Clergy Training Program in February 2015, nearly two years ago as I write this.  The past two years have been transformational and moving in a way that I never anticipated they could be.  As I have worked through the second circle of the CTP and other study programs, my practice has changed and adapted as I developed a deeper understanding of my own spirituality and how I wanted my path to progress. 
My practice currently involves several small rituals that are practiced at different times of the week or month.  I have continued performing monthly retreat days during the first week of every month, involving both a full COoR rite and prayers throughout the day.  These rituals help me continue my relationship with the Earth Mother and Gatekeeper, while also helping to remind myself of my goals and responsibilities as ADF Clergy.  
In addition to these monthly retreat days, I have continued to do other workings on a weekly basis.  Most recently, I have rituals that I do four days a week, with other days set aside for the monthly practices.  The days may vary depending on schedules and how life works out, but I try to adhere to my schedule so I don’t fall away from the practices.  Each Sunday, I wake in the morning and have tea or coffee with my ancestors.  This gives me the opportunity to further my relationship with them and reconnect with those I have lost.  My grandfather very recently passed away, so this ritual is now quite painful but it has also become even more important to my practice.  On Wednesday evenings, I am currently working with Demeter and the Meeting Demeter meditation for the Demeter and Eleusinian Order to work through their study program.  Building a relationship with Demeter and the theoi associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries has been very interesting, and I look forward to continuing that development beyond this submission. 
Thursdays are reserved for magical workings, including trance work, healing, or other magical work that I feel is important at that time. Those rituals are the ones that vary the most depending on where life is at that moment and what work I feel I need to be doing.  My final ritual of the week is on Saturday where I have spent the past couple years working with a trance and magical journey I have written to follow the story of the Odyssey.  It has been transformative and challenging work that has taken much longer than I anticipated, but I am quite proud of this project.  What I do feel necessary to say though is that this is just my current practice and isn’t the same as what I was doing two years ago, and my not be the same as what I am doing in six months.  Essentially, my practice is continually changing and evolving as I learn more about my spirituality and the world around me, but I feel that is important to me, both to have the flexibility to grow, and to continue to keep the practice interesting and involved. 
Continuing to journal through this process has been challenging, but vitally important in order to remember everything.  It allows me to go back to failures to try to figure out where things went wrong, and to reflect on the positive outcomes of other workings.  Looking back at these experiences helps me continue to form my path going forward and helps me to improve my work.  It also helps me to remember small details or moments that may have seemed insignificant at the time, but grew to hold a much more important meaning.  It has become a small glimpse into my spiritual life, showing me both at my best and my worst, pleading for aid and gushing with gratitude.   
During the past two years, I have also taken the opportunity to complete the Seers Guild Study Program 1st Circle, which I feel definitely deepened my divinatory practice and helped me become much more comfortable with my skills.  For my divination practices, I primarily work with the Greek Alphabet Oracle, dabbling in other methods when it seems appropriate.  My omens have definitely varied over the past few years, giving me guidance and encouragement when things are going well, and seeming to reprimand me when I’m not doing what I need to be doing.  Additionally, my Oracle set seems to have developed its own unique sense of humor, telling me to “Flee the storm” when doing ritual in the rain.  It seems to fit my own personality, so I really enjoy it.  I can see through my writings that I have grown more confident in my ability to use the Greek Alphabet Oracle in my personal practice, as well as during my grove’s public rituals.  This development is incredibly useful on a practical level, allowing me to perform better rituals and better serve my community.   It seems strange to say, but I have grown to love these little wooden disks and have developed a very personal relationship with them.  Not only do they fit the hearth that I am most comfortable in, but the disks themselves were made for me by Rev. Jon Drum as a gift at my ordination, so I feel an emotional attachment to them as well. 
Ultimately, when I began on this journey in 2015, two years seemed like a long time, and this journey seemed daunting and nearly impossible.  Today, I stand on the other side of it wondering where the last two years have gone.  Realistically, I know I still have so much to learn, and I hope to continue growing and expanding my knowledge as I move forward.  However, I know that all of my practices, my hard work, and the relationships I have built have helped to reaffirm my path and to establish a stronger sense of my own spirituality.  I also think that they have allowed me to develop into a better person who is now more comfortable and prepared to continue doing the work of ADF Clergy. 

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