On Leaving

The Fool

Something broke today: a levee on the inside. My heart, tight and clenched for days, softened.

And when it did, I knew…

I have to leave ADF.

I spoke the words out loud, and they sounded right. They didn’t sound easy, or pretty, or anything remotely uncomplicated.

They just sounded right.

I’m not leaving because it’s convenient. Quite the contrary. Leaving ADF means, by extension, stopping my work for the Solitary Druid Fellowship.

That kind of terrifies me.

I have built this thing, virtually all by myself, and I don’t know what will happen to it. I don’t plan to take it away from ADF and have it be my own Druidic group. ADF leadership always feared I’d do something like that, and I assured them I wouldn’t. But more than that, I don’t really feel called to keep doing the work.

I’m in the middle of a 7-day series called “Shared Gnosis” that was supposed to wrap up with the release of a new liturgy. The High Day — Summer Solstice, the Feast of Labor — is in less than a week. But this series was a desperate attempt to re-inspire myself into doing this work at all. For the better part of the past month or two I’ve felt almost completely disconnected from the work of the Fellowship. I’ve been trying to encourage others to dive into a liturgical practice when I, myself, have begun to question the relevance of liturgy. I’ve been talking about hearth cultures and High Days, and I have felt almost no connection whatsoever to any of those things.

I’ve been doing ADF drag.

Leaving isn’t convenient, and it isn’t pretty. This doesn’t make me look good. In fact, this looks very much like a repeat of what is becoming a trope of Pagan culture:

• Person finds Paganism.

• Person finds tradition.

• Person is inspired by tradition, and moves into leadership position.

• Person has a crisis of — what? — faith? (I thought we didn’t have faith.)

• Person leaves tradition.

• Everybody rolls eyes and says they saw this coming.

• Repeat.

I’ve been around for only a few years, and I’ve already seen the cycle more than once.

And now here I am.


Shutting down the thing that I created.

Starting the cycle all over again.

The thing is, this is my life. This is me, right here, trying to be human.

And I think my biggest challenge in being a part of ADF was that I didn’t feel like there was anyone really speaking to the challenges of being human. In a devotional religion, the emphasis is placed over there, not in here. The things that cut deeply for me, that are real and sometimes really difficult for me — things like compassion, despair, forgiveness, hope, kindness, patience, honesty — I don’t feel like we spend any time talking about these things. I think we experience these things, but they always feel secondary to “right relationship.”

Frankly, I don’t care about right relationship. Or right action, for that matter.

I think those concepts are distraction from the messy, mucky, complicated, beautiful acts of being human that have nothing to do with how virtuous or pious we are.

I didn’t think I could earn my way into Heaven when I was a Christian, and I don’t think I can, through my own actions, earn my way into good standing with the Gods.

It’s the same thing to me. It’s a repeat, and it just feels wrong.

I can try to do well and I often fall short, but — amazingly enough — when that happens I experience a deep, profound, spiritual understanding that, in spite of what any ancient person said…

I am not at the center of the cosmos.

I cannot will things into happening exactly as I would like. My life, at times, feels really broken, and I don’t know how to proceed, and I need to own up to that.

But all of these things, these inner conflicts that I will mostly likely continue to process through here on this blog, are extremely personal and contextual to my own life. I can believe that ADF needs to place a greater emphasis on matters of the heart, matters of the psyche, the soul, with the same level of rigor and intensity that they’ve been looking at academic texts about Celts and Norseman for twenty years, but that’s not what the organization is all about. I can think, “who cares what the ancients did?!” every time it comes up in an ADF e-mail list or Facebook group, but the truth of the matter is that some people do. Very much. That’s very, very important to them.

And I respect that. I don’t want to try and dismantle that, simply because it doesn’t hold much (or any) importance to me.

So I’m choosing to step aside.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with the Fellowship. There are a number of people who have contributed to the life of this project, including some ADF members on the path to the clergy, and I’d gladly let them take the helm in they feel inspired to do so. If this project — this idea of uniting solitaries of a variety of traditions around a liturgical practice — is something that has a place in the world apart from me, then it will continue to live on.

If not, then it has done its work.


I have different work to do.






82 responses to “On Leaving”

  1. SFSOLSTICE Avatar

    What is ADF?

    1. Lauren F Avatar
      Lauren F

      Stands for Ar nDraíocht Fein, a Druid religious organization.

  2. Rev. Michael J Dangler Avatar
    Rev. Michael J Dangler

    Deepest of luck to you: we walk our paths in the directions that take us to bright places an nourish our souls. Sometimes, they go where we expect, and other times, they go places we don’t expect. Your work for ADF and for our Sols is inspiring and I hope that they (we) will continue it in some form.

    Brightest blessings on your path, Teo.

  3. Crystal Hope Kendrick Avatar
    Crystal Hope Kendrick

    If the Gods aren’t pleased with you, I for one would be very surprised. I don’t comment often, but when I read your blog I am always left with the sense that you are a truly good person, Teo. I wish there were more like you in Paganism. Best wishes and many blessings on your continued journey.

  4. Melissa Burchfield Avatar
    Melissa Burchfield

    Many blessings and much joy on your path, Teo.

    I offer the following statement not because I think you are wrong. You and everyone else in the world need to look inward and follow the path of your own heart. For me, I have found my path in ADF, and without my grove family, their love, compassion, understanding, patience, forgiveness, hospitality, and shared religious experiences, I don’t know where I would be today.

    It is very difficult for a solitary to find these things. The cybersphere of paganism is often a very cold and unfeeling place. I do hope that your path will surround you with love and a place to pursue the contemplative paths to which you are being drawn.

    Also, I was going to suggest looking into the Zen Druidry bit. Glad you’ve found your way there already!

    1. Lauren F Avatar
      Lauren F

      “The cybersphere of paganism is often a very cold and unfeeling place.”

      You are not kidding, Melissa! I’m still wondering what I’m going to do with myself spiritually, or even if it matters, and part of that is trying to figure out where to find a community that really resonates with me. I know what I’d like to have, but it doesn’t really exist anywhere, so trying to figure out how to fit in with what exists is the next best thing. Still working on that. Not too interested in looking at pagan communities, lately, given what I’ve seen recently in the cybersphere.

  5. ChristopherBlackwell Avatar

    I think you have to do what you have to do. Within the Pagan community we may pal many different roles at different time/ Sometimes that mean within the community and sometimes outside the community.

    I myself and normally the outside and that seems to be my best role. Now I don’t avoid groups, in fact, I may take part in groups in different parts of the world and do, but I take part when something interests me, or there is something I can do.

    I am not there to tell the group how to function or what Paganism should be in their community or their part of the world. I am not a leader, nor am I a follower, but I will take part at times when there is something I can do.

    So maybe you will go back to being solitary again until something else gets your attention, or something that you can do, or something that perks your interest.

  6. xxdemosthenesxx Avatar

    You have my complete support and love and understanding on this. What I have found over the course of my own 13 years of spiritual path forging in Paganism is this-spirituality is inherently personal. At the end of the day, our spirituality cannot be defined by just one thing, whether that is as pagan, Druid, ADF, theosophist, etc. It comes down to what happens between you and the Gods.

  7. Treeshrew Avatar

    Hi Teo, I just wanted to say thank you for all your writings and work, you are an inspiration to me. Thanks also for having the honesty to follow your heart instead of doing what others may expect or think is ‘right’. I hope you find whatever you’re looking for!

  8. Lupa Avatar

    I admire your bravery. Too often people stick with something they’ve committed themselves to for such a long time that they’ve practically become synonymous with it, for fear of the backlash if they differentiate themselves again. I hope you continue to find support in your path, and thank you for sharing this difficult decision.

  9. Sam Carranza Avatar
    Sam Carranza

    Teo, now you and I and everyone else knows what my “pulling back” Omen from one of the High Days meant for the SDF. The draw didn’t make much sense then, but it certainly does now. My Ogham omen went against the grain for sure, but it has borne its meaning at this point. I wish you well and thank you for the provocative issues you’ve covered, and for the devotional downloads on the site…I’ve used them considerably since their publications and will continue to do so before my home shrine. All the best, Teo…

  10. Sam Carranza Avatar
    Sam Carranza

    I’ve always questioned divination from a mathematical and logical perspective, so it alarmed me a few rituals ago when I interpreted a “pulling back” in SDF was necessary and this message occurred on the Ogham and Tarot draws simultaneously. With Teo needing to put time into other endeavors, and now this…I know now how my omen has come to frutition. Perhaps there is something to this divination thing after all…I wish everyone all the best in their solitary pursuits…

  11. Kaitlin Avatar

    Dear Teo,

    I haven’t read every single blog post of yours on every single site you write on, but in all the places I have seen you write, what you’ve said has truly endeared you to me, both as a fellow pagan and as a person. I think it is incredibly brave to step away from a post where you are heard by so many people so often and you have such an active presence in the community. You have to do what feels right and true to you. Spirituality and religion shouldn’t be about just sticking with it to keep up appearances. It is so evident not only in your own posts but also in the way you respond to others around you that you have such a kind soul, and I truly hope that you find what makes you happiest. Selfishly, I will miss hearing from you!

    Best of luck and bright blessings!

    Kaitlin Eachna

  12. Elizabeth A. Singh Avatar
    Elizabeth A. Singh

    Best of blessings to you, Teo. I have no doubt that the seed you planted will grow mighty and strong!

  13. Daniel Grey Avatar

    Hey Teo,

    In the immortal words of a good college buddy of mine: “You be who you is, girlfriend.”

    There comes a point where we really have to decide for ourselves what’s worth it and what’s not. I hope you don’t feel too disappointed with yourself. Your spiritual life is up to you and you alone, and no group or organization can give you a sense of self-worth, dignity, and purpose. If you /don’t/ feel those things with the work you’re doing, then maybe it’s not the work you’re /supposed/ to be doing. And that’s okay. It’s okay to explore and to make mistakes, to get excited and stay excited but one day to wake up with nothing there. It’s not fun, but it’s common and it’s okay.

    I told you that SDF was what might keep me in ADF, and I wasn’t lying. As a solitary, I just haven’t been able to find what I needed in ADF (or a lot of other traditions, in fact) and more importantly, haven’t found something that really makes my heart sing. It’s a pity, because the one ADF ritual I’ve been to in person was lovely, and I loved the people in the grove.

    Plenty of people I know have crafted their own traditions, and plenty more have syncretized or just bloody made shit up as needed. Whatever the answer is for you, no matter how many times you need to revise that answer (because changing your mind is YOUR PREROGATIVE and no one, not even the gods, can make you happy if things don’t fit or feel right) you need to be true to YOU. At the end of the day, if you’re brave and honest and kind and sincere, it doesn’t matter what the hell you do or believe in my books.

    You’ve been an inspiring writer and good friend over the past several months. If you ever want or need to talk, just let me know.


  14. MistressPolly Avatar

    i think i love you a lot right now, ok maybe not you personally but certainly what you have said and the integrity and honesty that you have said it with.

    that Human back into what we are doing, and realising that we are doing it today!!

    also that cycle that you mention i believe is an important one, and i do call it a crisis of faith, that faith is not just in Gods but also in yourself, and i believe the deeper you explore yourself, your spirituality, your beliefs etc etc the deeper your crisis of faith go, its shitty, its messy, its pretty crappy and it really really ain’t pretty or fun to go though, but it is the beginning, the beginning of a deepening change that will take several years.

    also there is no big dawning moment with the flashy lights and obvious signs, this deepening change is much subtler than that, and like you said it is when you fall on your arse, say the wrong thing, speak at the wrong time when you are trying to do what it is you are meant to be doing, so to speak, that you learn your deepest? most profound? lessons.

    oh and.. welcome to the club of being an human! you will like it here, it gets grubby at times and things don’t always go wright.. but the food is great, and the company awsome !!

    well that was a bit more than i had intended to write.. oops


  15. Crystal Groves Avatar
    Crystal Groves

    When you say you need something more integrated and holistic, I’m not sure I follow what you mean exactly. I am honestly interested in understanding 🙂

  16. John Beckett Avatar

    At the Sacred Lands and Spiritual Landscapes conference, I had a conversation with a Feri initiate who spoke about how some people think they HAVE to be Feri, even though they’re not well-suited for it. The good news, we both agreed, is that there are plenty of other traditions, and if one doesn’t work – for whatever reason – there is likely to be one that will.

    I suspect you have some deep internal work to do – what in some traditions is the Second Degree. When you’re done with that (to whatever degree any of us is ever done with it) I selfishly I hope you’ll find your way to another Druid order, or even back to ADF.

    Teo, you’re a good thinker and a very spiritual person and I’m proud to know you as a fellow Druid, whether that’s as part of an order or as a true solitary Druid.

  17. Tami Olsen Avatar
    Tami Olsen

    Teo, Thank you for the inspiration you gave whilst trying to help the solitaries here. Thank you for the lovely discussions so far. Thank you for being yourself, bolstering my own strength in being MYself.

    May your new path be even more exciting than the ones you’ve already walked. Send postcards. 🙂

  18. Brannen Avatar

    It really sounds, Teo, that you are not looking for a religion or religious practice. It sounds more like you’re seeking a life philosophy.

    The best of luck on your search.

  19. C.S. MacCath Avatar
    C.S. MacCath

    I wish you well, and I hope that your gentle departure encourages other contemplatively-inclined Pagans to continue the search for those teachings that *do* speak to the challenges of being human.

  20. Name Avatar


    I wish you all the best on wherever your journey leads you. Most people during a spiritual transition switch churches/philosophies before finding one that ‘feels” right. As Drum stated, ADF–like all paths–should be treated as a mirror rather than a photograph. In other words, it’s whats inside that reflects back on ourselves and becomes our true inner working. I hope you can look back on your face-to-face interactions with us at the Eight Winds Festival and remember that the community interaction was not all about Celts and Norsemen, but about real people joining together and celebrating community and ritual. That’s what’s real, and no amount of electronic media can replace that. I wish you well brother and may your path unfold before you on your journey.
    Sean Harbaugh

  21. Stephanie Woodfield Avatar
    Stephanie Woodfield

    I have seen the same cycle you are talking about, but I wouldn’t call it a crisis of faith so much as people evolve along their path. That sounds like what you are doing, but I’m sure it will lead you to the work that calls to your soul

  22. Alan J Sheridan Avatar
    Alan J Sheridan

    Teo, you have to do what nurtures your heart and enriches your life. Otherwise, you and the people around you suffer. I’ve had to leave something I created and it was a heart-wrenching, painful experience. While I still wish I hadn’t had to leave it, I also know that it was the right decision at the time.

    When you said: “I didn’t think I could earn my way into Heaven when I was a Christian, and I don’t think I can, through my own actions, earn my way into good standing with the Gods.” I was kind of surprised. Through my own actions, I *am* in good standing with the Gods. We chat on a daily basis, I offer my devotional time, prayers, and dedicate acts of kindness to Them. I know we’re on different paths, but that’s my experience.

    You also said “I thought we didn’t have faith”… well, I guess so. Not everyone shares my experience with the Gods speaking directly to them, so what is fact for me is not for others. Many pagans do have faith because they feel the energy is there, or they just trust in the reality of the gods as part of their religious learning.

    I have faith that your mind and heart working together with a little help from the Divine will lead you to the next phase of your spiritual evolution in a positive way, my friend. If you need to chat, feel free to holla 🙂

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      I think it’s important when reading this post to know that this is *all contextual* to my own life. Things I say here will likely not resonate with a lot of people, and I may come to re-read this in time and find that there were subtle, nuanced things about the entire picture that I wasn’t seeing when I wrote it. (Such is the way with most written things of mine.)

      I have faith, too. I have faith that what is happening is the right thing to happen, just as the struggle that led up to this moment was also the right thing. It’s all a part of a grand narrative, I think.

      Thank you for your support.

  23. Michelle CB Avatar
    Michelle CB

    Blessings on your path, Teo.

  24. Chef Ette Avatar
    Chef Ette

    Breathe Teo! Everything will work out the way it’s meant to be. you don’t need to justify what you do to anyone, you have to do what’s right for YOU! I have enjoyed your writing, I hope you will write more sometime in the future when you are ready to share again. I sense you need a big hug and to be assured that all will be well. It will be, you know? As I’m always thought of as everyone’s mom at work, for a moment I will be mom here too 😉 [[[[[ Teo ]]]]] blessings go with you always and may you find peace in your heart.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thanks, June. I appreciate the reminder. And I will be writing here. That won’t stop. In fact, it may just pick up more.

      Blessings to you,

  25. Drum Avatar


    I have been with ADF for almost 30 years and it is still unfolding to me, and I hope that I too am unfolding within it. For some, it is many things; for others, it is nothing at all. I think it is best to treat it as a mirror, as opposed to a photograph.

    I wish you the best in your journeys and leave you with this passage from Heraclitus:

    All things come in their due season
    Yours in the Way,

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      “I think it is best to treat it as a mirror, as opposed to a photograph.”

      This is sage advice, Drum.

      Thank you for having always been supportive of me. Your friendship and kindness have meant a great deal. I will reach out to you shortly in private to talk more about all of this transition.

      Blessings to you,

  26. Soli Avatar

    I have done the leaving a group thing before, but in my case it was just on account of the group and not because of faith or praxis. I think one of the bigger struggles in modern polytheism and paganism is just finding community and people with whom you can work and communicate.

    Whatever happens next, I hope it works well for you, my friend.

  27. Colleen Avatar

    I’m honestly wondering (and if you care to share please do, but I understand if it’s too personal) how the dedicant’s oath you may have made is affected by this. No judgement here at all, just wondering. I too have felt questions about ADF and just wonder how other people handle this type of event vis oaths.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      I don’t think has anything directly to do with the dedicant’s oath, Colleen. I made a “first oath,” but never completed the DP so I never made that second oath. Thank you for asking.

    2. Eilidh Nic Sidheag Avatar
      Eilidh Nic Sidheag

      Colleen, as I understand it, the Dedicant Oath is supposed to be made to the Kindreds and not to ADF itself. So even if Teo had made it, he would not be committed to ADF or even necessarily to Druidry for life. The Kindreds can be honoured in many ways.

      1. Arthur Shipkowski Avatar

        And apparently Disqus chose to take its time letting me know others had said this. 🙂

    3. Rob Henderson Avatar
      Rob Henderson

      The Dedicant Oath is usually made to the Kindreds. If someone told me they were going to do it to ADF, I would flat out tell them not to, for this very reason.

    4. Arthur Shipkowski Avatar

      To add to Teo’s comment, I should note that neither the First Oath nor the Dedicant Oath are made to ADF. One of the things the DP documentation requirements highlight is that the oath is relative to practices that ADF uses rather than to ADF itself.

      (On top of that, both of them seem to have the character of vows rather than oaths, but that’s another discussion.)

  28. Bennu Heka Avatar
    Bennu Heka


    The journey of the soul does not lay within a religious practice. One most step into the dark of the soul and shed light into that darkness to see what is really there. To learn who you really are.

    I thank you Teo for your work, commitment and your diligent service to all of ADF. It is not an easy task or journey that you have chosen.

    I ask that you be blessed with a most righteous journey of self discovery, adventure and true self knowledge. I ask that you be protected upon your quest. I ask that the light of the sacred fire within you lights your way and shines bright.

    Always remember where you have come from and it will guide you foward upon your path.

    Best of luck and wishes.

    Barry (Bennu Heka)

  29. Peter Dybing Avatar
    Peter Dybing

    Personally, I have been through a similar transformation that required me to let go of the multiplicity of my practices and responsibilities in-order to refocus on what has great meaning in my daily relationship with deity. Many took the opportunity to criticize, the action however, lead to great insight, peace and a feeling of having a valued place in community unencumbered by others expectations.

    May your journey also provide you with a path that has great meaning.

  30. Rob Henderson Avatar
    Rob Henderson

    “I experience a deep, profound, spiritual understanding that, in spite of what any ancient person said… I am not at the center of the cosmos.”

    Different views for different folks, I guess, but I’ve found one of the most appealing aspects of being in ADF to be our emphasis on maintaining relationships with lots of other entities (other humans included), which reinforces that we aren’t the center of the universe.

    Good luck on your journey, wherever it may lead.

  31. Al Billings Avatar

    I’m sad to hear this, Teo. Your work with the Solitary Druid Fellowship is what convinced me that there was enough congruence in my own path (going from Paganism into Buddhism and then somewhat back with both) that I could join the ADF and find others of a like mind.

    Frankly, I don’t care what the ancients did to the degree of bothering with reconstructionism either. I did that path when I was Asatru and, ultimately, found it personally barren. Lived spirituality has to speak to us today and its validity doesn’t rest on whether someone 1,000 years ago did it. I think that there are others in Druidry that feel this way as well. The work that I and others are doing on “Contemplative Druidry” (aka Zen Druids) is definitely along the lines of immediate, contemplative work that is inspired by history and mythology but not limited by it either. I think there is room for all of us, including you, within Druidry and Neopaganism.

    One question that I have is where you will go from here.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thank you for your comment, Al.

      I don’t think that “Contemplative Druidry” is something that is tradition-specific, and I still maintain a strong interest in pursuing how contemplative practice might be woven into a Pagan worldview. I’m interested in learning more about the Zen Druidry project, and reading where your own path is taking you.

      Where will I go?

      I don’t know. Inward, perhaps. Inward, and then forward.

      1. Arthur Turbyfill Avatar
        Arthur Turbyfill

        Teo- That is the course which appears to me as a good one in this time and place. Just don’t forget the “forward” after the “inward.”

  32. Eilidh Nic Sidheag Avatar
    Eilidh Nic Sidheag

    I am sad to see you leave, Teo, but I’ve been the one doing the leaving often enough to know that it’s important to listen to the inner voice that is calling you to a different path, whatever that may be, and often enough to appreciate the courage it takes to make an announcement like this. I wish you well in finding the work you need to do now.

    In the short time I’ve been a member of ADF, the Solitary Druid Fellowship has been a great source of support and inspiration for me, and I thank you for that. I hope it does live on, and I will gladly do whatever I can to help that to happen. If any of the other contributors you have mentioned would like to contact me, I am on Facebook under this name and on Gmail at eilidhnicsidheag@gmail.com.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thank you for your willingness to be a part of the Fellowship, Eilidh. Your contributions over the past week have been insightful, and I’m glad to know that you’ve found support and inspiration in SDF. I pray that you can take what you’ve started through our shared practice and continue to cultivate it in a way that is relevant for you. Perhaps you are to the be a part of the future leadership for solitaries in ADF. Based on what I’ve read from you, that would seem like a good fit.

      Blessings to you,

      1. Eilidh Nic Sidheag Avatar
        Eilidh Nic Sidheag

        Teo, that means a lot to me, coming from you. I am definitely open to that possibility, but also conscious that I am a relative newcomer and would not wish to tread on the toes of those who are further along on their journey with ADF and SDF. But if there is anything I can appropriately do, I will try my best.

  33. Pixie Avatar

    Hey good for you following your heart!! There are plenty of us druids doing our thing outside of the major organizations. Come join us rogue druids in the woods. There’s vegan smores!!

  34. Michael Elamson Avatar
    Michael Elamson

    “I think I need something more integrated. More holistic.”

    I think, to be blunt, you don’t know what you want or need or how to get it. And I don’t know how to answer that for you. One thing I do know,though: if you are expecting to find any religious system that’s going to hand you the “more integrated, more holistic” you say you need, you’re going to be looking a long time.

    We find that integration by working out our own lives. One’s religious system is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s an important piece to be sure, and you need to be where you feel most at home — but ‘holistic’ comes only by your own effort to bring all the various aspects of your life into harmony. There’s no religious system out there that’s going to do it for you. The beauty of ADF is that, while it also doesn’t do it for you, it offers ample encouragement and opportunity for individual members to discover it for themselves,

    1. theo geer Avatar


      You’re correct that there is no tradition that will hand a perfected experience to a dedicant or celebrant.

      That said, there are many traditions which provide frameworks and teachings with the specific intent of helping us find that integration. Reconstructionist traditions (in general) emphasize the explicit practices of their religious expression.

      I admire Anderson Feri quite a bit in regard to an integrative approach. T Thorn Coyle is an excellent example of someone who teaches holistic, integrative craft.

      And yet, I don’t think Teo is telling us he is looking for a tradition to hand him his spirit on a shiny platter.He says he is leaving the ADF, for what I think are honest and well considered reasons. He doesn’t say he is leaving to find another tradition.

      Often when we leave the places we’ve become comfortable we do so to experience our own journey for a time, to come back to spirituality that is grown from our own life, our own experience. I believe that if more people had the courage and strength to walk their own road we would have many more beautiful light-workers in this world.

    2. Aine Avatar

      “The beauty of ADF is that, while it also doesn’t do it for you, it offers ample encouragement and opportunity for individual members to discover it for themselves,”

      It didn’t do that for me. Because it works for some people and it worked for you does not mean it will be so for everyone. I think, from what Teo has written over the past few weeks, he definitely knows or is learning what he wants and needs. Just because he is leaving a group that helped you doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to get what he wants, and it seems sort of rude to say that.

      1. Michael Elamson Avatar
        Michael Elamson

        It is a bit rude and I actually did not mean to sound as harsh as it came out. But the thrust of the message suggests to me that he’s leaving ADF because it didn’t deliver something that in my experience, no religious system or organization can deliver. Introspection, contemplation and a holistic integration of one’s religion into all aspects of life is always an individual matter.

        But yes, I agree, if ADF is not where he is going to find what he’s seeking, he is right to move on.

        1. Melissa Burchfield Avatar
          Melissa Burchfield

          There are also folks in ADF interested in contemplative practices. We’re just a quiet bunch. 🙂

    3. Daniel Grey Avatar

      You know, it’s really okay for Teo not to have found what he wanted in ADF. No need getting defensive over it.

  35. 12StepWitch Avatar

    A friend shared a quote with me, I am not sure of the provence but it is
    applicable here I think. It goes something like “Energy workers are people who do the spiritual work of many lifetimes in one.”

    Life is such a grand journey, isn’t it? Of course our spiritual needs change. We change. Our problems change, our desires change, our way of seeing the world changes. What was once a suitable vehicle to travel through one part of your life might start breaking down as you start traveling over some new terrain. it doesn’t mean the vehicle was wrong, or that you are now above it. It just means that the lessons, people and divinities that you will confront in the next part of your life require something new.

    Bravo to you for being honest about your journey and not continuing on doing something you didn’t feel connected to. The real tragedy here would be if you kept trying to stick it out and felt so alienated and isolated that in the end you would turn away from this journey of faith, sickened.

    Remember, there are many models of people who left their first tradition and built new and beautiful things that inspired and invigorated others. Thorn of course is an example, and Starhawk is another. There are many more I am sure. Think about the work they did after leaving the traditions they were so closely aligned with. Think where we might be without it!!!

    This is the beginning of something tremendous. I am excited for you.

  36. Bramblefae Avatar

    I’m writing this before I read the comments so that I say exactly what I mean to. *Smile* Teo, this kind of open and sometimes shatteringly heartbreaking, and wonderfully searching honesty as you explore yourself, your life, you world is one of the things that initially brought me to SDF, and eventually, recently into ADF itself. Your post here just solidifies my own my own choices, and only really affects me in that I have a visceral stab of sadness, but it’s a wholly selfish kind of sadness, and it, like most things, will pass, as I continue to watch you move through your life via this page and other public things you do, while I navigate through mine with more contemplation and depth of feeling than I once had.

    You talked recently and provocatively about finding your pagan Jesus and I didn’t join in the conversations although I read them. You maybe have a similar sort of impact to a lot of different people and I think that is something important to take with you wherever you go, and whatever you do. I have nothing but peace and well wishes for you, and I am thankful that you share so much of your life with us, the random populace. 🙂


    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      This touches my heart, Bramblefae. Thank you so much.

      May your every step in contemplation be blessed.

  37. Joshua Avatar

    “Frankly, I don’t care about right relationship. Or right action, for that matter.”

    I think I understand everything you’ve said in this piece except for these two sentences. Especially since saying that you don’t care about “right action” follows almost immediately after this: “The things that cut deeply for me, that are real and sometimes really difficult for me — things like compassion, despair, forgiveness, hope, kindness, patience, honesty — I don’t feel like we spend any time talking about these things.”

    Compassion, forgiveness, kindness, patience, and honesty are all “right actions,” are they not? Or does that term refer to something that I’ve not picked up on?

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      I think the term “right action” has come to mean something to me, Joshua; a kind of standard without a context. It isn’t that I don’t think that having compassion, expressing forgiveness, practicing patience and being honest are important or valuable — I do.

      1. Joshua Avatar

        I know you value them, which is where my confusion came from.
        A “standard without a context.” Maybe it’s just that because I’m tired, but I can’t think of an example of what that would be.

  38. Teo Bishop Avatar

    Thank you for the kind words, Theo. After all these years it’s great to hear your voice on this post.

    I guess I’m not pursuing apotheosis. I’m not trying to ascend to some enlightened place. And I don’t feel like I’m turning away from the thing that matters to me. I feel like I’m turning toward it.

    I hope that makes sense.

    1. theo geer Avatar

      It does make sense, and I think that it is good. I think you need to follow your desire wherever it leads you.

      What I’m trying to get at here is less about ascension (although I believe Apotheosis is a pretty good goal for all of us), and more about integration.

      We have a habit in the west of turning our focus too much to the outside, too much to the inside, or too much to what is in between. Your comments regarding not being the center of the universe read (to me) like you’re about to start looking too hard in one direction.

      I guess I’m urging self-compassion and unified focus over ego-abolition or ego-building.

      1. Teo Bishop Avatar

        “I guess I’m urging self-compassion and unified focus over ego-abolition or ego-building.”

        Yes. This.

        I have work to do, and I don’t want to build myself up falsely or tear myself down unnecessarily. I’d like to be honest with myself, and compassionate. In many ways, working through this post was the beginning of a series of “workings-through”.

        And again, having your words here at this time means a lot to me. Yours was one of the first voices I ever resonated with when I found Paganism in the first place.

        1. theo geer Avatar

          You’re very welcome. I remember many pleasant conversations with you as well. I’m trying to find my own way back to writing, to communion with a broader world right now. Seems fitting to share some of the new words I have with you. 🙂

          As long as you keep that sense of self-care, self-honor, and sovereignty and you balance them with your compassion and place in community you will continue to find that the roads rise to your feet and the wind is soft upon your back.

          Oh, and I’ve decided that Faith needs to stop being a dirty word. 😀 But that’s an argument for another day.

  39. William E. Ashton Avatar
    William E. Ashton

    No matter where your journey takes you, you are and always shall be my friend, my kin, and in my heart.

    It is my hope that we can continue on with our dialogues about process, questioning our doubts, and religious/spiritual lab we’ve built.

    I’m excited to read about what blooms from your new soil.

    Love and blessings, my dear friend.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      I feel the same way, William. I have so much respect for you, and the work that you’re doing with Mountain Ancestors. You’ve got an ally in me, and you’re going to see me at one of your rituals… many, I imagine. We will have much, much more to discuss in our time together as friends.

      I assure you of that.

      1. William E. Ashton Avatar
        William E. Ashton

        I’d like that very much. 🙂

  40. Michelle B Avatar
    Michelle B

    A year ago I started grad school. I am studying for my master’s in transpersonal psychology. Throughout this first year, we are encouraged to develop a spiritual practice and do a lot of self reflection. In addition to this, I also began embracing my Druid faith. Does ADF have every thing I need as a church? No, but I can find everything I need on my own. I’m pretty dang resourceful. It is up to me to nurture my spirit. I’ve had to trust my inner wisdom to guide me as my spirit becomes hungry and stops being nurtured on its current path. I think coming to that realization is a huge step for anyone and I bow to your self-realization of where your path is taking you in your life. I will always be a Druid. Do I need to be part of ADF to “really” be a Druid? No. But, it works for now. You need to trust your heart and what it says is or is not working for you.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thank you, Michelle.

  41. Devin Hunter Avatar
    Devin Hunter

    Follow your heart and listen to what that soul is telling you! You are here for it’s benefit! Congratulations on an exciting new opportunity to unfold once more!

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thank you, Devin.

  42. Kenneth Apple Avatar
    Kenneth Apple

    Excited to see where your personal path takes you. It has been interesting and enlightening thus far, and I trust it will continue to be.

  43. romandruid Avatar

    Best wishes wherever you land, Teo. I hope you find and land in the right place for you. You’re always welcome at our fire. *hug*

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thank you so much.

  44. Brendan Rowe Avatar
    Brendan Rowe

    It has been a long time since I have read anything so heartfelt and inspiring Teo. I completely understand your reasoning and came to a similar decision myself months ago. I look forward to seeing where your journey takes you and believe that you will find a way to get to the heart of what it truly means to be a spiritual human being free from rigid theology. Bright Blessings my friend.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thanks, Brendan.

      In truth, the only rigidity I need to be freed from is my own. That’s a much harder work than letting go of a theology or a religious system. That, I have a feeling, is life-long work.

  45. Chris Godwin Avatar
    Chris Godwin

    Isaac’s vision was of a public religion, one in which focused outward to better the community and change attitudes toward the earth and nature. Isaac had wicca and santaria to fall back on for the inner mysteries. You don’t only have to have one religion, that’s a misconception.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      I think I need something more integrated, Chris. More holistic. “As without, so within.” If we’re not looking at the inner mysteries, how can we ever really connect to nature? *We are nature.*

  46. Erynn Rowan Laurie Avatar
    Erynn Rowan Laurie

    Good luck, whatever you end up doing and wherever you end up.

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thank you, Erynn. I appreciate your kindness. I have so much respect for you and the work you do.

      1. Erynn Rowan Laurie Avatar
        Erynn Rowan Laurie

        My whole life is in a lot of flux right now, as well. It’s not an easy thing to face having to leave the place I’ve lived for 10 years and contemplate moving overseas. I’m excited but terrified. Spent the past couple of days sorting through the library, got to sort through the music and the vids and figure out what to sell and what to keep. Very hard work emotionally.

        1. Teo Bishop Avatar

          My heart is with you.

          You’ve got to go where you feel called to go. You’ve got to live.

          I’m excited for you!

          1. Erynn Rowan Laurie Avatar
            Erynn Rowan Laurie

            Thanks 😀 My brother is pretty confident that I’ll be able to get into Italy. It’s just where I will end up over there that’s the question. Has to be a place I can walk to everything. Awesome pedestrian streets a plus. 😉

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