1. Choose a primary source from one Indo-European hearth culture that discusses or provides a suggested code of conduct or ethics. Select at least 3 different points from it and discuss how they may have applied in that culture and time period, and how they may or may not apply to or influence your personal ethics now. (min 150 words each, quoted text does not count towards word count)
Ancient Indo-European cultures had a vast array of different codes of conduct and depictions of ethical behavior. Within the Hellenic hearth, one example is the Delphic Maxims. The Delphic Maxims are a set of 147 phrases that are inscribed in the temple of Apollo at Delphi (Hellenic Faith). These phrases described a set of societal expectations and acted as a code of conduct for Greek citizens. Choosing just three phrases from this list was a very interesting challenge for me, but ultimately, I narrowed it down to just the following:
Maxim 2: Obey the Law
Ancient Greece had a number of laws in place, as well as a formal court system to give trials to those people who did not abide by the rules of society. People were able to bring private claims against their fellow citizens for some situations, such as property damaged. There were also public trials available for crimes in which “the state had an interest in punishing a wrongdoer,” such as murders (Lambert). Cities like Athens relied on their citizens obeying the law to maintain order and keep their citizens safe and unified.
I believe this same expectation is held today. We have a number of laws in our country, as well as state and local laws that are in place to protect our citizens and keep our people and property unharmed. Personally, I do tend to be someone who tries to obey the law as often as possible. I try to set a good example for my children, and do my part in society. However, I do recognize that there are outlying circumstances in every situation that have to be assessed. If someone steals bread to feed their starving children, how can they be punished? We all need to find a balance in life, and do the best we can for our fellow humans.
Maxim 13: Honor the Hearth/Hestia
Hestia is the Greek goddess of the hearth and home, and honoring her was an important part of ancient Greek spiritual practices. As goddess of the sacred fire, she was the one who oversaw all offerings, so the first offering was always made to her (Atsma). The hearth was the center of the home, bringing warmth and light and cooking a family’s food. It is here that guests and hosts gathered together in community. As the goddess of the hearth, all of these parts of life fell under her jurisdiction. By honoring Hestia, you are fostering and supporting our virtue of hospitality. Often within ADF, we see this described as *ghosti, but the ancient Greeks used the term “xenia” to explain the relationship and responsibilities of hospitality (Biggs, Joseph and Bennet). In my personal ethics, hospitality is an important virtue. It is through hospitality that we build our relationships with the Kindred, as well as our interpersonal relationships within our community.
Maxim 43: Be accommodating in everything
When I read this maxim, I begin to think of the ancient Greek ideas of reciprocity and hospitality, a concept they called “xenia.” Xenia is described the reciprocal relationship between guest and host, or a “guest-friendship” (Biggs, Joseph and Bennet). One example of xenia can be found in the Odyssey where an expectation of reciprocity is described as Odysseus approaches Eumaeus, the swineherd. Eumaeus welcomes Odysseus, even though he doesn’t recognize him by saying that it would be wrong to turn a guest away. He expresses the idea that every stranger is sent from Zeus and a gift is expected. Odysseus shows his gratitude by calling upon Zeus directly “May Zeus and the other gods give you your heart’s desire, sir, since you welcome me so warmly” (Homer).
The idea of hospitality and xenia are very important parts of my personal practice. It’s important to recognize the give and take, the respect, and the balance that we are all working to build in our relationships with the Kindred and the world around us.
2. Write on the concept of reciprocity and why it is important in our lives as modern Druids and modern Magicians. (min 350 word)
Reciprocity is a concept that is vital to my personal practice, both as a modern Druid and Magician. I consistently work to build reciprocal relationships with the universe, the Kindreds and with my community. I give offerings to those beings who I call out to in ritual, and those who I ask to aid me in magical work. I try to act as a good host and guest to the nature spirits who live on my land. I honor the memory of my ancestors by sharing their stories and showing my gratitude for them. I volunteer for projects in my local community that gives me so much in return. These are just a few small examples of the small acts of reciprocity that are woven into my practice.
The importance of reciprocity and hospitality is well based on the practices of the ancient Indo-European people. Ancient Greece had a concept called “xenia” which I have explored in other questions of this course (Biggs, Joseph and Bennet). Within our organization, we see the word *ghosti used to describe a similar idea. Ghosti is defined as a “Proto-Indo-European word which refers to the reciprocal relationship of hospitality” (Thomas). This reciprocal relationship again applies to both relationships built with the Kindreds and a relationships built within a community. The concept of ghosti also allows us to define our own boundaries and determine which relationships are appropriate for us to work with, and which ones we can refuse.
The importance of the guest-host relationship, and the divine can also be found in many different pieces of mythology, including the Eleusinian Mysteries. The Pheneatian sanctuary to Demeter is where the Mysteries first began. The myth tied to this temple indicated that Demeter had visited, and was shown hospitality by Trisaules and Damithales. In return for that hospitality, she showed them the wisdom of the mysteries and how to grow many crops. They built the temple in her honor and to share those Mysteries with others.
Additionally, the idea of reciprocity is found throughout ADF. For example, one of the earliest concepts we introduce to new members through the Dedicant Program is the Nine Virtues of ADF. Within this list of virtues, we express many different ideas for positive interactions and behavior including the concept of hospitality. This virtue is simple: we should behave both as a good host to those in our care, and a gracious guest when being hosted. This could apply to every aspect of our lives, from our interactions within our community, to our public and private rituals.
In my opinion, the entire premise of the Core Order of Ritual is devoted to this idea of hospitality and reciprocity. Throughout the rite we invite many different beings to our rituals, give them offerings and thank them for joining us. Each of these actions is intended to build our relationships, show respect, and act as good hosts to those attending. Additionally, in the center of our rite, our role changes and we receive blessings from these same beings in return for our gifts to them. Reciprocity, respect, and hospitality are key to these rites.
Hospitality and reciprocity are easy concepts for us to forget or ignore, but I truly believe that they are the very heart of my practice as a Druid and Magician. It’s important to recognize the give and take, the respect, and the balance that we are all working to build in our personal spiritual paths.
3. Explain how you determine if a magical working is the proper action in the situation you wish to apply it to. Describe your method of determining the proper magical course of action, from start to finish, as well as any particular exercises (such as divination) you go through to ensure that your actions are correct. (min. 300 words)
Magical work is something that I take very seriously. To determine if a magical working is the appropriate action, we have to take into consideration whether the working is needed, if it is ethical to perform, and if the action is virtuous. Before I decide if magic is an appropriate action to take, I make sure that the situation I am approaching can’t be resolved through simple mundane effort. At the very least, even if normal actions can’t be used to resolve a situation, I try to combine my magical acts with “real world” activities. For example, if I’m doing a working to find a new job, I make sure that I am actively posting resumes and applying for jobs in addition to performing the magical working. The magic in this case is used to aid my search and I have no expectation that a career will appear without mundane action on my part.
My next step is to consider my personal code of ethics to determine if the action is something that I should be doing. In that moment, I treat magic the same as every day action. If I would not do the action physically if I was able to, then I will not take magical action. If it doesn’t follow my ethical expectations of myself and others, then I will not proceed with the work I am considering. However, if it fits with my personal ethical standards, then I move forward with further consideration.
I then consider the nine virtues and whether the action I am taking is virtuous. I verify that the action is based in wisdom, vision, piety, courage, integrity, perseverance, hospitality, moderation, and fertility before proceeding. Occasionally the magical act doesn’t meet these standards so no action will be taken.
The final thing I do before taking action is to take an omen, asking each of the Kindred if magic is the appropriate action in the situation. If the omen is negative, I don’t proceed. If it is positive, I take the omen a step further and ask if the specific type of magic I have planned is appropriate or if I should take a different route. Once all of those questions are answered, I can finally begin my magical work.
4. Describe how self-reflection plays into your personal ethics. (min 300 words)
Self-reflection is an important part of establishing and upholding personal ethics. I believe the ability to reflect on your own words and actions is key in any leadership role, but especially in a position such as magician or clergy where you may be asked to do magical workings on behalf of other people. We need to be able to step back and review how our actions and interactions can be interpreted by others, both positively and negatively. We also need to be able to reflect and understand the impact we may have on the world around us. This requires us to have a good understanding of our personal ethics, boundaries, and biases, as well as how we communicate with others.
Personally, I believe self-reflection should be both the first and last step of any magical working. We should reflect on our ethics and actions prior to undertaking a magical work to determine why we are doing the magic in the first place and whether the acts align with our personal ethics. If we find that the magic doesn’t meet our expectations for ourselves, we should not pursue it further. And again, once a magical working is completed, we should take the time to reflect on the magic itself and the work we have done. We should reflect upon the ritual to see if it were effective or if there are areas we can improve in the future. We should also reflect upon the outcome and how it ties to our efforts, asking ourselves if the resolution matches the efforts we put into the work. This gives us the opportunity evaluate our magical skills for both those things we did well and those areas that need improvement or changes we need to make.
Self-reflection may also come into play when it comes to ethical issues like confidentiality. We need to be able to honestly look at ourselves and determine how situations may impact us, and how our actions may impact others. We have to be confident in our abilities to look at ourselves and our actions and determine the ethical impact that they have.
5. Create a personal code of ethics for your use as a Magician, using the information you learned in questions 1-4 as a starting point. Personal Code must include at least 3 distinct points. (no minimum word count)
Code of Ethics for Rev. Amber Doty:
Preamble: This code of conduct is developed in an effort to give a clear and decisive guideline for actions and reactions to circumstances encountered while working as a Magician.
6. Detail your understanding of the warning signs of a con artist, and provide an explanation of how you would deal with a client who appeared to have been taken advantage of by a con artist. (min 300 words)
The term con artist is defined as “a person who tricks other people in order to get their money” (Merriam-Webster). That is an easy enough concept to understand, but it can be much more difficult to see a con artist in action. Unfortunately, there are numerous methods that con artists use to take advantage of unsuspecting “customers” when it comes to magical practices. They may give someone a canned reading that use the same phrases and symbols, no matter what the omen itself actually says. They may even take it a step further and indicate that there is darkness, such as a curse or “bad energy” that is surrounding them that can only be cured through the skills of the “psychic,” of course for a price. This type of con will often will require a follow-up appointments to make sure the “bad energy” is gone (often it isn’t) and each visit has an additional fee (Yronwode). If a reader is asking for more and more money, it’s often a very clear sign that their actions are fraudulent. If they indicate that their spells are guaranteed, or make promises that the magic will work, it’s another sign that you are dealing with a con artist.
As the internet has become more and more prevalent in our world, online con artists have also come up with new ways to defraud their clientele without even meeting them. Sometimes they will have websites with little more information on them than a Paypal link for you to send them money. Other sites may offer free magical workings to entice their customers. Often these works are stolen from other authors. They may also utilize fake credentials to make their practices seem more legitimate to the unsuspecting contacts (Yronwode).
Working with a client who has been taken advantage of can be quite challenging. Often they are convinced that the person they were working with is legitimate, so you have to be sensitive and professional. I would first listen to their experience, and then try to delicately explain that I believe they had been taken advantage of. If they still feel like the worker was legitimate, I may point them to some references that describe magical cons and see if that helps. However, most importantly, I would not pursue any magic that the con artist had indicated should be done on the client’s behalf.
7. Choose at least one scenario from each category below and for each describe how you would determine a course of action, how you would respond to the person in question, and how your personal ethics and techniques would inform your response. (min 200 words each)
Category A i A young woman comes to you, obviously flustered. She asks for a reading, which is normal and uneventful. At the end of the reading, she says that she was just at a psychic up the street who told her that she had a malignant spirit hanging around her, and that she had been cursed since the womb. She's already paid $150 to the psychic to have the curse removed, and seems unsure about your reading because it wasn't as dire as the last one, but she wants to go back to the other reader and use you as a second opinion on the psychic's work.
As I indicated in my previous question, working with someone who has been taken advantage of can be challenging because they often truly believe the words of the con artist and are emotionally invested in the magical acts that they have been promised. However, I would as tactfully and patiently as possible try to explain that they have been scammed. I would provide resources that explain the type of scam that they have encountered. In reading this scenario, I’m not entirely sure if the client is asking to just share my reading information with the psychic, or if they are asking me to go to the psychic with them as a second opinion. If they are trying to take the information from my reading back to the con artist, I would also try to dissuade them from going back for any reason, explaining that the psychic would likely try to take more money from the client. If the client is asking me to go with them to the psychic, I would personally have to decline. I see no benefit in visiting an establishment like this and essentially making a client choose who to believe in that situation. Additionally, if the client was to take my advice to not return to the psychic, but instead asked me to perform the working to remove the malignant spirit, I would gently refuse to do any such working and further explain that it is unnecessary.
Category B ii. A new Grove member comes to you asking if you can help them do a ritual to the mother aspect of The Morrigan so they can get pregnant.
I feel that there are a couple layers to this scenario that need to be addressed. First, if I did determine that I was willing to do any sort of working for this member, I would begin by asking them to do some additional research on the Morrigan to clarify her role and their expectations for this rite. The Morrigan is not a goddess who has a “mother” aspect in any sort of historical writing that I am familiar with. I would be willing to help them find resources and guide them to learn, but until we fully understood what their expectations were and who we should be working with, I would not proceed with any sort of magical acts.
The scenario also indicates that this is a “new” Grove member. This type of request is quite personal for someone who I am not very familiar with and may not know much about. If that is the case, I would decline to take on this magical working because I am personally not comfortable doing any sort of magical working for someone when I do not know very well, especially for an act as life changing as pregnancy. I would gently explain my stance and specify that I feel that this type of work is too intimate for me to pursue at this time. I would also explain that I may be willing to assist in the future as we get to know each other and better understand the circumstances.
Category C i. After a discussion of magical techniques, a young man asks if you can explain to him how to create servitors or work with spirit allies to make his roommate so uncomfortable that he will leave. He mentions he'd really like to do a ritual called the "Black Sacrament" from the Elder Scrolls video game (http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/Black_Sacrament), and use that to make his roommate leave.
There are multiple red flags in this scenario, and unfortunately I’ve had similar experiences to what is described here. The first, and I believe easiest, thing to address is the intent of this requested working. Working to make someone else uncomfortable goes against my personal code of conduct. I will not perform workings that are intended to do harm to other, be it physical or emotional, even if it is only a discomfort. That alone makes it easy to say that I am not interested in helping with this cause. The second point, using a ritual from a video game, is something I have encountered. It isn’t always easy to explain to someone that magic in real life does not work the same way it does in a video game, but it is necessary. Explain to them that they would need to pursue other avenues to learn about how magic works. However, reading the text of that ritual itself is much more concerning. The ritual itself calls for the use of actual human body parts. With that information, I would really have to examine the conversation with this person. If I felt that they were a danger to their roommate, I would try to contact them if I had any way to do so to explain my concerns. Otherwise, if I genuinely believed that this person was dangerous to themselves or others and capable of doing harm, I would contact the local authorities with the information I had. Either way, I would try to be cautious and thorough in explaining that I am unable to assist them with the task at hand.
Category D ii. A man comes to you and asks for an exorcism: he says he feels a presence in him that he would like out, that he's not happy with how it makes him feel. He comes from Haiti, so he's familiar and comfortable with exorcism in general, and asks you to do the exorcism in a Hatian Voodoo style.
To begin with, I would thank the man for having enough confidence in me to believe that I was able to assist him. However, ethically I would not be able to perform the exorcism as requested. I am not a Voodoo practioner and would not be willing to pretend I have those skills in order to assist the man. I would explain to him that I don’t have the skillset necessary to do a Voodoo-style ritual. I would be willing to discuss how we could work together using my own practice if he is interested, but would be understanding if he’d rather find someone who could do his preferred type of magic.
For me, morally, this is an easy question to answer. I recognize that this is not my skillset, and have a responsibility to be honest about that. Additionally, as someone who does not have any cultural ties to Haiti, I would not want to appropriate that culture in a way that is disrespectful, so I wouldn’t take on the task even if I knew how. If the man decided that he would rather pursue someone who could assist him with Voodoo, I would give him resources from the local community to help him find someone to assist him better than I can.
Atsma, Aaron. Hestia. 2011. January 2020. <https://www.theoi.com/Flora1.html>.
Biggs, Cory, et al. The Value of Hospitality. 2002. 2019. <https://minerva.union.edu/wareht/gkcultur/guide/8/web1.html>.
Hellenic Faith. Delphic Maxims. n.d. 2020. <https://hellenicfaith.com/delphic-maxims/>.
Lambert, Kelly. Law and Courts in Ancient Athens: A Brief Overview. 20 September 2018. June 2020. <https://kosmossociety.chs.harvard.edu/?p=40452>.
Merriam-Webster. Merriam Webster Dictionary. 2020. June 2020. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/con%20artist>.
Srinivas, Hari. The Problem Solving Process. n.d. January 2016. <http://www.gdrc.org/decision/problem-solve.html>.
Thomas, Kirk. Ghosti! n.d. September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/identity/ghosti-cheer.html>.
Yronwode, Catherine. Lucky Mojo Curio Co. 2014. 2020. <https://www.luckymojo.com/blackgypsies.html>.
My name is Rev. Amber Doty and I am honored to be your new Vice ArchDruid. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote, and for trusting me enough to hold this position. This is a responsibility that I take very seriously and I am excited to continue serving the organization as a member of the Mother Grove.
I joined ADF in 2008, and knew I had found my spiritual home. I am a Senior Priest and Initiate. I have completed several of the Study Programs offered through our subgroups, each allowing me to explore my personal practice. I have spent time both as a member of a Grove and as a solitary practitioner, and know the importance and value of both options. ADF has given me many gifts. In an effort to give back to the organization, I have held a number of leadership roles. These roles have allowed me to take part in projects like handbook creation, bylaw revisions, and subgroup reclassifications. I take on these tasks to try to improve internal processes and clarify expectations for members and future leaders. While change is hard, I’m willing to put in the time and effort needed to make improvements where necessary.
I see ADF as an organization that encourages right practice and reciprocity. My vision is that we can be a safe space for all of our members, and move toward effective communication without hostility or animosity. I won’t write this essay and make promises that I can change things but I want to see our focus return to building reciprocal relationships based upon hospitality. I want us move away from the perceived divisions within members and the related feeling that people have to “choose sides.” I hope from here to be able to move forward and to continue to make improvements as we go. I know that there are still processes we can improve and changes that we need to make. I also recognize that those items will take time.
This spring was unlike anything any of us had ever experienced. Typically, this is the time of year where we are beginning to plan for festivals, outdoor spaces, and spending more quality time in nature and with our peers, but this year definitely looked a little bit different. With social distancing and quarantines in place, each of us had to find new ways to communicate and celebrate together. We may not know what the future holds, but I’m proud of the perseverance and hospitality that I have witnessed throughout our membership. I’ve seen people reaching out to each other, building relationships, opening their hearts, and lending a helping hand whenever they could. The members truly are what make ADF special, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Rev. Amber Doty
VAD 1. How much time and energy do you have to devote to ADF work? In particular, do you have confidence you are prepared to assume all the responsibilities of the Archdruid if you are called upon to do so unexpectedly?
I do currently devote a lot of time and energy into my work for ADF. When I became a member of the Mother Grove a few years ago, I paired down the number of positions I had within the organization in order to make sure that I had the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to my role. If I were to need to step into the ArchDruid position, I would resign from the few positions that I do have left on my plate. By leaving those positions, it would give me more available time and allow me to focus my attention and confidently take on the responsibilities of ArchDruid.
VAD 2. How will your role as the Vice Archdruid be involved with the other officers of the Mother Grove in order to make sure that everyone is working together in a harmonious and productive manner that benefits the ADF community as a whole?
Collaboration and communication are vital for the Mother Grove to be successful. I think one of the biggest advantages I in working with the other officers is that I have been a part of the Mother Grove for the past three years. This experience has allowed me to foster relationships with those who will be staying on the board this year. Building these types of relationships allows for people to work together more harmoniously because it’s easier to interpret tone and intent in text communication from someone you know. However, I also recognize that there will be new faces as well. My goal to make sure everyone is working together would be to host social Zoom meetings for informal interactions and team-building activities.
As far as productivity goes, I believe that we have started to move in the right direction already. We have reduced the voting period for action items and started hosting Monthly Zoom meetings instead of Quarterly IRC meetings. All of these actions have allowed for better communication, faster decision making, and more productive interactions from the Mother Grove.
While we’ve made progress, I also recognize that there are still improvements that can be made. Utilizing some sort of project planning application would help keep us on task and make sure that nothing gets missed. I’d also like to see a handbook created for the Mother Grove to help make sure everyone is on the same page and has an understanding of the expectations of their role and roles of other officers on the board. All of these things would make the Mother Grove a more unified group, which leads to a harmonious, productive Mother Grove.
1. What vision do you see for the future of ADF, and what efforts do you plan to do to make that happen?
I see ADF as an organization that encourages right practice and reciprocity. My vision for ADF is that it can be a safe space for all of our members. My hope is that as an organization we can move toward communicating effectively without hostility or animosity. I want to see our focus return to building reciprocal relationships with hospitality. I want us move away from the perceived divisions within members and the related feeling that people have to “choose sides.” I truly believe that is the area that we most need to see repaired at this time.
As part of the current Mother Grove, I know there have been missteps through the years, but I know we have tried to move in the right direction. We have tried to increase our transparency by sharing agendas and meetings notes. We have publicly posted our actions and asked for members to give feedback on decisions we need to make. We also plan to continue hosting quarterly MG zoom sessions to allow members to ask questions and get to know the people who are serving the organization. As part of the Mother Grove, I think we need to be examples of good hosts, and gracious guests in our communication. Ultimately, I know that there are still processes we can improve and changes that we need to make. I also recognize that those items will take time. The best thing I can do as a single member of the Mother Grove is to be willing to listen to our members, take the feedback, and do the best that I can for the organization as a whole. I can hold onto my own integrity and make sure that I am taking right action.
2. If you are elected to your position, what is the first change you want to work toward on behalf of our members?
If I were elected to the Mother Grove, my first task to undertake would be to do a review of our organizational documents so that I can formally request that any gendered language to be updated or removed. There are numerous documents within our organization that reflect the gender binary. I think updating these references allows us to take one small step toward feeling more welcoming toward the LGBTQIA+ community, which is something that I feel is very important.
I also want to continue our efforts with community outreach, producing more content for social media and our refreshed website to promote the amazing work our members are doing and sharing them with the general Pagan community.
3. Serving on the Mother Grove is a huge commitment of time and energy. How will you fit your potential Mother Grove role into your life?
I have been a part of the Mother Grove for the past three years, so for me being on the board is already a part of my “normal.” I work in technology, so I have the advantage of sitting at a computer for hours nearly every day. I have also taken the time to categorize my Mother Grove email in a way that it is a priority in my inbox so that I can view and respond to those messages in a timely manner.
4. If elected, do you have a willingness to serve your entire term, or if you are not elected, do you intend to remain as a member?
Absolutely. I have been in leadership roles within ADF for over a decade at this point and have never resigned from a position prior to my term ending. I am dedicated to this organization and I have no plans to leave, even if I were not elected as Vice ArchDruid
5. Given the position you are running for, what efforts are you planning to do to promote transparency in your work?
I try to be a very open book. I have a blog where I discuss my personal practice and the activities that I am currently undertaking as an individual. I’m also happy to have conversations and answer questions people may have. As part of the Mother Grove, I will ensure that we continue to share agendas and meeting notes, and have discussions with members as we make important decisions. However, I also hope that people understand that there may be situations in the future where information must be kept confidential for the safety and wellness of those involved.
6. How quickly do you believe it reasonable to answer emails or some other form of messaging (not accounting for family emergencies, ritual prep, scheduled time away, or something else unexpected) on behalf of our membership?
I believe that timely communication is very important to our organization, especially because so much of our interaction happens digitally. I try to maintain a 24-48 hour response time to most things. There may be situations that it takes longer than that, but I believe that is my personal goal for general communication.
7. Given the amount of qualified possible volunteers within our community, what thoughts do you have to more actively engage them?
I think utilizing the newly created Volunteer Coordinator position to ask for members to fill roles will be a huge step forward in this area. As Social Media Manager, I also personally reach out to members to ask them to share their skills and creations which acts as outreach, but also allows their work to be appreciated and highlighted. I also believe that if we were to create a more harmonious organization that has more positive communication and interactions in general, more people would be willing to volunteer to take on leadership roles.
8. What are your thoughts on promoting outreach within the Pagan community?
I think promoting outreach is vitally important to the Pagan community. Pagans in general are a minority in the world. I know from experience that it can be very lonely and isolating. By providing resources to the general community, we are aiding our peers. It may be a good form of membership recruitment, but I truly believe outreach is more than that. By reaching out to our fellow Pagans, we give them tools, knowledge and resources to people who may not have them otherwise, including non-Pagans who are trying to understand what we believe. Additionally, outreach is something that I think can help provide legitimacy to our religion, by allowing people of other faiths to see our practice and understand that we aren’t a danger or a threat, but people who believe differently than them.
9. There have been concerns raised related to sexist/misogynistic language, inappropriate behaviors, and challenges to inclusivity within ADF. What actions have you done within ADF or within other organizations to address these issues?
Within ADF, I have strived to actively work against sexism and misogyny by being myself and taking on roles, and having a positive impact in them despite any negative commentary from others. I’ve actively tried to promote positive interactions.
Within other organizations, including my professional career, I have taken part in diversity committees and pride events to better understand the concerns and issues related to other minorities that I may not understand as a cis-white-female. I’ve also taken courses about Diversity Awareness. I work diligently to try to build my own understanding and be sensitive to the ideas, expectations, and experiences of others.
10. How do you envision ensuring that that ADF members--whether those in a grove or solitary, within the United States or globally--are truly represented and their concerns addressed?
I think the key here is to listen to the members and to act accordingly. An important part of that is recognizing that the loudest voices may not be the majority, so to seek opinions from a wide variety of people, including grove, solitary, and global members from across the many spectrums we see in our membership. By allowing those voices to be heard, I think that we can do what is best for our membership. However, it may require the extra effort to reach out to those members to find out where they stand on different issues.
11. What thoughts do you have to promote Mother Grove transparency for ADF members?
I believe I have addressed this topic numerous times in my answers here, but I will reiterate it once again:
We have worked to increase our transparency by sharing agendas and meetings notes and asking for direct feedback before decisions or changes are made. My goal will be to ensure that we continue these actions and make improvements or adjustments as needed along the way.
12. How have you already served ADF, and how do you envision those experiences will be helpful for the entire organization?
I have worn many, many hats throughout the past 12 years in ADF, and I’m very proud of those efforts (you can see my history below) Ultimately, my experiences have given me a very deep understanding of the different subgroups, policies, and procedures. Reviewing and updating bylaws has given me familiarity with our groups and the processes they follow, and what things work well and what could be revamped. Leadership roles in a variety of subgroups has allowed me to see the wonderful gifts that each group truly is. Additionally, my experience as a member of the Mother Grove has set me up in a position that I will be able to hit the ground running.
Here is a list of the positions I have held within ADF:
My name is Rev. Amber Doty. I’ve spent three years on the Mother Grove as the Chief of the Council of Regional Druids and am honored to be nominated for the position of Vice Arch Druid. I am excited for the opportunity to continue serving this organization as a member of the Mother Grove.
My history in ADF:
I first joined ADF in 2008, and quickly knew that I had found my spiritual home. I have spent time both as a member of a Grove and as a solitary practitioner, and know the importance and value of both options. ADF has given me so many gifts, so in an effort to give back to the organization I have held a number of leadership roles. These roles have allowed me to take part in projects like handbook creation, bylaw revisions, and subgroup reclassifications. These activities have been completed in an effort to improve internal processes and clarify expectations for both members and future leaders.
As a solitary member I am physically separated from a majority of ADF membership, so I know how isolating and lonely the experience can feel. When I was approached about becoming the Coordinator for the Solitary SIG, I jumped at the opportunity. In this role I post weekly discussion questions to give people the opportunity to get to know other members and share their personal experiences. The members have also taken the initiative to host both weekly blessing rites and monthly video meetings. The efforts by the SIG members to build a community are exceptional!
Another area that I am excited about is the digital and social media presence of ADF. As the Social Media Manager, I have attempted to boost our community outreach and online presence by highlighting the amazing work that is done by our members across the globe. I have edited and posted High Day Video Rituals on the ADF Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/adfdruidry) compiled from video submissions by our members. Our social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) now actively share prayers, photo, and artwork submitted by members. We have also setup a members only Discord server (https://discord.gg/3fd3Tkd) to provide additional opportunities for interaction and communication.
For the past 8 years, I have been in the position of Central Regional Druid. I have loved the work involved in being Regional Druid, and getting to know the people who live in my part of the country. I am definitely sad to be leaving this role, but I am also looking forward to the opportunities the future holds as I move forward.
I am also active in many of the subgroups ADF has to offer and love getting to know the people in this organization and their many skills and opinions. I am a Senior Priest and an Initiate. I have also completed several of the Study Programs that are offered through our Guilds & Orders, each of which has allowed me to explore and expand my own personal practice. The Study Programs have had a huge impact on my life, and I am eternally grateful to everyone who has taken the time and effort to create these courses, mentor others as they work through them, and review the finalized submissions.
Outside of ADF:
I live in Omaha, Nebraska with my family and our pets. I have a bachelor’s degree in Management & Information Systems. I work as a manager in educational technology, overseeing the team responsible for technical support and training for database, finance, and student information systems for 18 school districts. This position has allowed me to build skills in conflict resolution, team building, and project management. It also allows me the opportunity to communicate with a diverse population of individuals.
Previously, I acted as the coordinator for our local Pagan Pride Day event, managing all volunteers, working with vendors, and establishing relationships within the community to allow for organized and positive events to be held.
If you have questions about me, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to have a conversation.
I have started and stopped writing this post at least a dozen times this evening. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I am not leaving or resigning from office. Over the past several months I have watched as my fellow clergy and Mother Grove members have resigned, either from office or from the organization entirely. These are people that I love and respect, and I am devastated that they have been hurt enough to walk away from our shared spiritual home.
At this point, I don’t think anyone can deny that things need to change in ADF. Change is hard and takes time and effort, but I can promise you that those of us who are still here are genuinely trying to make that happen. There have been requests for increased transparency, so the Mother Grove has increased our communication efforts and will continue to do so. We are still far from perfect, but we are trying to move in the right direction. There have been requests to get more feedback from the membership, and we have a communication policy in the works that will increase those efforts as well. People have expressed the concern that power is too consolidated, so we’ve created a position for a Volunteer Coordinator to aid those efforts. We’re far from perfect, but we’re trying to make strides in the right direction, all while dealing with the mistakes of the past.
As an organization, we have taken some very, very difficult blows over the past two years. As a member of the Mother Grove, I have personally tried to roll with the punches while burying myself in the work, to change, to build, and to improve what we can expect as “status quo”. At the same time, it hurts to invest so much of yourself, your time, love, and effort into an organization only to repeatedly be told that you’re not good enough.
I guess the only things that I can ask is to please, please believe that we are doing everything we can right now. And please remember that those of us who do serve as Clergy or on the Mother Grove are also just humans, desperately trying our hardest to serve this organization. We have jobs, families, and responsibilities, but we also have feelings.