Yesterday morning, as Rev. Missy and I were preparing to begin our respective days, I shared with her my amazement that it’s been six years already. “Wow… has it really been six years?” We looked at photos from the first memorial toast, and while explaining to the Bee who folks were in the photo, I shared with her how appreciative I am to be able to hear her stories about Isaac. “What about your stories? You have some too, ya know”, she said. Always one to lessen my experiences of things, I told her that I only had the pleasure of spending four days with him at my home in New Orleans, long ago. Rev. Missy encouraged me to write my thoughts… so here it is.
Isaac was a gracious guest, a sagacious teacher, a forward-thinking visionary, and in my experience, someone who encouraged exploration and experimentation with regard to religion and mysticism. I told Rev. Missy that Isaac stayed at my home in New Orleans, filled his belly with the foods and drinks of my Ancestors, and told me something very important.
One evening, after a day of presentations and lectures, my then-wife and family went to bed and I was lucky enough to stay up with Isaac and talk into the wee hours of the morning. He sat patiently as I, a then young enthusiastic Badger, shared the zany ideas that had been arising for me as I explored ADF’s website, his teachings, and my own experiences. I told him of my struggles with my path, and he continued to listen… just quietly listen.
Once the time for sharing had ended, he took a long pull from a glass of dark beer, sat in final moments of thought, and said, “ADF is expansive enough to incorporate ALL our ideas… after all, it’s OUR druidry, not MY druidry.”
Two decades later, and six years since his passing, Isaac’s words stay with me, continuing to inspire and guide.
OUR druidry. Not mine… not yours… but OURS. What we’re doing with Mountain Ancestors, and gods be good, with ADF as a whole, is building a TOGETHER practice.
May the challenges we face in building a together-practice be resolved through inspired excellence.
To me, and perhaps to some others, I see ADF as having the potential to contain highly trained, compassionate, professional polytheist leaders (ordained or otherwise) that are in service to the greater community. These “druids” move through their respective communities in service to the gods, ancestors, and spirits of the land wherever they are.
Here’s where some differences come in: I don’t see OUR druidry as just belonging to dues-paying members of ADF groups (that would make us a coven - the very thing Isaac DIDN’T want ADF to be). The skills and training we receive do not just belong to our grove-mates and the people that are standing around our Fire. They belong to everyone we come into contact with.
It’s all about where you see the boundaries of “our”.
For some, it’s about “me and mine”, for others it’s about “humanity”... I guess what I’m trying to say is that when a diverse, eclectic community can feel like they’re a part of OUR druidry even when they don’t identify as druids, or polytheists, or even as pagan… well, then I think we’ve done something toward the furtherance of Isaac’s vision.
Until then, may he continue to fuel the Fire of our inspiration, and may It’s light guide our church’s mission.
Hail, the beloved, honored dead.