Goals of ADF
I believe that the ultimate goal of ADF ritual and our Druidry is to build reciprocal relationships with the universe we live in. We build these connections within our communities and with those beings that we invite to our rites. You can see this reciprocity reflected in many different aspects of ADF, from virtues and rituals to our organizational structure.
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.
From my perspective, even our democratic approach to leadership shows a sense of reciprocity. We allow our members to have complete control over who is in leadership positions through our election processes. We honor members who have been with the organization longer, and therefore have invested more of their time to us, by giving them a larger say in who leadership should be, as shown in the scaled number of votes. For me, this practice is a gift to the membership who have been dedicated to the organization and is a good form of hospitality.
Our emphasis on reciprocity and hospitality is well based on the practices of the ancient Indo-European people. Ancient Greece had a concept called “xenia” which described the reciprocal relationship between guest and host, or a “guest-friendship,” and the importance of hospitality (Biggs, Joseph and Bennet). It's very similar to the term *ghosti that we utilize regularly within ADF. This type of interaction regularly seen in the relationships between ancient Greek mortals and deities. For example, in the Odyssey, we see an expectation of reciprocity described when 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 importance of the guest-host relationship, and the divine can also be found in 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 the temple, 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.
Hospitality and reciprocity are easy concepts for us to forget or ignore, but I truly believe that they are the very heart of our organization. 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, especially within an orthopractic organization.
Biggs, Cory, et al. The Value of Hospitality. 2002. 2019. <https://minerva.union.edu/wareht/gkcultur/guide/8/web1.html>.
Homer. Hymn to Demeter. n.d. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/demeter.htm>.
—. The Odyssey. Ed. Robert Fagles. n.d.