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It is an exciting day in the world of Druidry and Pagandom!

(For me, at least.)

I’m happy to announce that the Solitary Druid Fellowship has launched!

The Solitary Druid Fellowship, an extension of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) is live and running at SolitaryDruid.org.

This has been a labor of love, and would not have been possible without the support the ADF leadership, the contributors to SDF, and the encouragement of the community of solitary Pagans and Druids I’ve come to know online. Thank you for your support!

In case you missed my first post about the Solitary Druid Fellowship, let me give you a little rundown on what it’s all about:

Rather than work to organize solitary Druids and Pagans into groups, or to use online technology to create a digital “hangout space,” or “virtual community,” the Solitary Druid Fellowship works from the idea that solitude is a good thing. Solitude, as you may have seen on the SDF Twitter page, is the staging ground for real, meaningful change. Solitude isn’t always an easy state of being, but there are certain things that can occur when one is alone, centered, settled into their personal practice, that are of tremendous value.

So, rather than try to simulate on-the-ground, group activity using online technology, the Solitary Druid Fellowship seeks to use online technology to enrich and strengthen one’s solitary practice, wherever they find themself.

The Fellowship begins with the premise that solitude is good.

As I wrote before:

Liturgy is an underutilized tool in the service to solitaries. Liturgy, when organized around and synchronized with the Wheel of the Year, is a way of uniting solitaries in a shared practice that does not simply mirror the experience that one can have in a Protogrove or Grove; it does something altogether different. Solitaries joining other solitaries in a shared liturgical practice makes possible a transcendental experience of congregation.By aligning with the Neopagan calendar, the series of holidays that ADF recognizes (and that most Pagans celebrate under one name or another) we will join one another through the use of a shared liturgy as a means of bringing people into rhythm with one another.

It’s all about the rhythm.

And it’s going to be a long-game kind of project. The Solitary Druid Fellowship’s website is up, and there is plenty to read and see, plenty to contemplate, but this is just the beginning. This barely scratches the surface of what’s to come.

As we move towards the Winter Solstice, SDF will release its first official liturgy. Anyone who comes to the site can get it, and everyone is welcome to use it. (Follow the Fellowship’s RSS feed so that you won’t miss it.)

After the Solstice, we’ll do a little reflection on what it was like to use the shared liturgy. We’ll talk about what felt familiar, what was new, where there were challenging moments, and most importantly, we’ll talk about what was relevant about the experience.

That’s got to be central to moving forward with the Fellowship. I’m going on a hunch that this will be relevant to a lot of people, and based on the initial response I think that my intuition is pointing us in the right direction. But as we go along, and as we begin to get more integrated into the shared practice, the shared rhythm of the SDF liturgies, we will uncover things about ourselves and about this process that none of us could anticipate.

It’s exciting, and a little scary.

This has been a long time coming. The idea first came after the ADF festival, Eight Winds (which I wrote about here), and it’s been slowly working its way into being ever since.

I have to admit, I’m a little nervous. When something lives for so long in a state of potential, it becomes difficult to conceive that it will actually be alive in the world. I’ll never be so fortunate as to carry a child, so my creative work sometimes substitues as a way for me to think about things like creation, potential, gestation… labor.

It pails in comparison to a flesh and blood birth, but it’s what I’ve got to work with.

The birth and new life of the Solitary Druid Fellowship is, for me, a commitment to living out the Wheel of the Year from day to day, week to week. It’s about placing my Paganism–my Druidry–at the center of my life, and doing so not only as a means of deepening my own spiritual practice, but as an act of service.

[Exciting.]

[Scary.]

But I go boldly forward — as boldly as I can muster. I launch SolitaryDruid.org, and invite the world to dig into the pages, to sign up for the SDF Newsletter, to follow the blog (which has 3 posts on it now — one by Rev. Michael J. Dangler — with more in the works). I invite people to be open, to be imaginative, and to be willing to embrace something new.

Join me, as we create congregation in solitude.

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  • http://www.xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

    Congratulations, Teo. From what I’ve read so far (admittedly, only what I could snag while on break), it seems very nicely done. I lift my mead (well, coffee, since I’m at work) to you, good sir!

    • http://www.bishopinthegrove.com/ Teo Bishop

      Thanks, Eran. I hope you enjoy digging in deeper when you have the time.

      Have a wonderful day!

  • Brighde

    I’m looking forward to the solstice liturgy….all my flesh n blood community rituals are this weekend….way too early for my body. I feel like the big four sabbats can flex a few days before or after, but I like to observe the solar feasts on the days themselves.

    I have questions about the various places the SDF exists. I there overlap between the writing on the blog, the newsletter, and on the .org site? Or does each one carry different information? Will there be devotional writings for/by solitaries? Short liturgies for daily use? :-)

    • http://www.bishopinthegrove.com/ Teo Bishop

      I feel the same way about the timing, Brighde. I’m planning to do my personal observance on the 21st.

      I love these questions! As of now, there is a certain amount of overlap. On SolitaryDruid.org there is a wealth of information about the ideas behind the Fellowship, as well as information about ADF. This is an introduction to the philosophy, and most of this information will stay the same. Some of it may be altered a little as we evolve together.

      The blog is, by far, going to be the most dynamic aspect of the Fellowship. It is where I, along with other writers (ADF members and non-affiliated solitary Pagans) will reflect on solitude. This will naturally evolve into different kinds of writings, depending on the needs of the community of participants. I would like to see use moving toward devotional writings, and if this is something that you are interested in perhaps we could connect via e-mail to discuss what you imagine that looking like. Personally, I would love for the site to provide those kinds of resources to solitaries.

      The newsletter will be somewhat like the one sent out to notify people of the site launch (http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=ec2d6275020ce8c3e7742fab3&id=c2f777867a&e=%5BUNIQID%5D). There will be updates about recent blog entries, and news about any additions to the site. It’s more a “touching base” kind of newsletter.

      Wow… thanks for inspiring so many thoughts! We’ve got to talk about this more!

  • DruidJessie

    I’m so proud of you and our solitaries for getting this much needed work under way. Somewhere near half of ADF’s members are solitary and they deserve to be supported in their work every bit as those who have Groves to work with. Blessings to you all.

  • Drum

    Teo, best wishes for the launch of the Solitary Druid Fellowship; when we all dream together, it makes for a very large dream

  • Soli

    Congratulations, Teo!

  • Dave

    A suggestion, perhaps it would be more inclusive to name the high days according to their month such as “August Cross-Quarter” or “December Solstice”. This would allow folks in the Southern hemisphere to follow along while also “flipping” the calendar for seasonal appropriateness as desired.

    • http://www.bishopinthegrove.com/ Teo Bishop

      Thanks for the comment, Dave.

      This did come up after the first announcement of SDF, posed as a question as to how the Fellowship would serve our friends in the Southern Hemisphere. The challenge I run into is that the liturgies, while hearth culture neutral, are written for the season and moment that is being experienced in the Northern Hemisphere. The liturgies are being created as we move toward the next High Day, and I haven’t been in a place to write two sets of liturgies — one for each side of the world. I feel it might have been a bit canned for me to try, you know? Disconnected from ,y own engagement with the seasons.
      Ideally, I would like to have a revamp of the site by the middle of next year which takes into account these two simultaneous experiences of the Wheel of the Year. By then, there will be a set of liturgies for that will correspond to the Winter down under.

      • Dave

        That actually makes perfect sense.

        It also brings up another question, how are you going to expand the bare bones framework of the COoR into something that is both meaty enough to “work” and hearth culture neutral? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

        Very excited about this project. :)