I’ll be working with the ADF Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year: A Working Guide by Rev. Michael J Dangler. Its splits the work involved in the Dedicant Path into fifty-two manageable chunks, with the first week serving as an introduction to the entire process. After asking the dedicant to complete five small reading assignments, the first chapter poses the following questions.
Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?
I want to better myself. Though I generally celebrate the wheel of the year with my family, my practice over the last few years has become increasingly solitary. While I have no problem with that per se, and may in fact find that grove participation doesn’t suit me, solitary spirituality has led me to become lax in terms of ritual construction and “psychic hygiene.” I’m hoping that a more structured year will help clean up my act. Also, I have long dreamed of taking a theology degree. I know that completing the Dedicant Path is nowhere near the same thing, but this the closest thing I can achieve right now, and doing so will bolster my self-esteem.
Is this a step on your path, or will this become the Path itself?
I doubt that my spirituality will cease to evolve after I complete the Dedicant Path, but who knows? Perhaps I will find exactly what I have always needed.
What do you expect to learn?
I expect to ease my way into Indo-European history, and to learn the Norse myths in greater detail. I also expect to learn ADF ritual structure and cosmology.
What would you like to get out of this journey?
I would like to see what benefits can be reaped from a year of consistent practice within a single system. I have worked within specific paradigms for that length of time, but not with any sort of stable ritual or meditation structure.
Do you know where this path will take you?
I don’t, and I think it’s important that I don’t cling to any expectations. For example, I expect that my hearth culture will be Norse, but I know the universe works in mysterious ways. I recognize that I may attend a grove rite and feel a presence reach out to me that is distinctly Not Norse, encouraging me to investigate another set of gods entirely. I am open to that. Though I admit–Loki not being in my life seems impossible at this point!
If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work on this immediately?
I knew going into the ADF that this is what I wanted. It was the main reason I wanted to join.
If you have been in ADF for a long time, why are you starting only now?
Does it look hard or easy?
Some of the reading looks challenging. I know that I could choose the easier books on the recommended reading list, but I don’t think that they will teach me anything new. If I don’t learn anything new during my time on the Dedicant Path, what’s the point in traveling it? I want to push my boundaries. I think that the structured ritual format will be an even greater test, however. I am so used to just winging everything that I worry ritual will feel very stilted for some time. I’m trusting it won’t feel awkward forever.
Which requirements appear to be difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy?
The writing requirements don’t seem very difficult. The minimum word counts are low. It is the thought behind them that is the important point, and the time required. I honestly think the density of some of the texts required may be the part that I find the most challenging.
Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns that you need to ask about?
Of course I have doubts. “Am I doing the right thing?” has played through my mind more than once, but no one in the ADF can answer that. No one in my family can answer that either. Neither can I right now, and Loki has only smiled when asked. For now, the runes look positive, and that will have to be enough.