What a week this has been.
The SDF liturgy is live, and the response has been tremendous. I don’t have any way of knowing what the perspective is from every person participating, and I kind of prefer that for the moment. It may seem that I’m coordinating some massively social endeavor, but there is still a need to preserve and make space for the solitude in my own personal practice, as well as in the practices of the SDF participants. The not knowing how everyone else thinks requires us to focus on our own experiences for the time being. I like that.
In addition to the SDF liturgy launch, I’ve done a ton of writing. The Wild Hunt piece went up on Tuesday, and today I published a piece about Yule at HuffPost Religion titled, “Yule: Be The Light Of The Returning Sun“.
I hope that the Yule piece inspires some discussion and dialogue. As I write in the post, I’ve really had a challenging time preparing for the High Day, even with all of the work I’m doing for SDF. I hope that the messages offered in the post, as well as in the forthcoming discussion, lead to some deeper understanding.
And, as if this flurry of writing weren’t enough to keep me busy, I’m going to be serving as the Bard in the Yule ritual for a local ADF Grove, Silver Branch Golden Horn. My friend, William Ashton, who is the Grove Organizer for the upcoming Mountain Ancestors Protogrove (more details to come), has been asked to lead this Norse observance of the Solstice, and William asked me to sing. It’s been an interesting experience to hold the space between a very solitary-centered work and a group ritual. The two have been living beside one another, and I can’t tell if they are discordant or not.
There’s also been a good bit of talk on Twitter and Facebook about how the Solitary Druid Fellowship is somewhat peculiar because its website is missing the hallmarks of Internet interactivity (i.e. the forum, the open comment thread, etc.). I’ve heard people’s thoughts, and tried to hold them up against my original intention behind this choice: I believe that there should be moments in a congregation – even a congregation that exists in the form of an unseen bond created through shared practice – when we should be silent; when we should withhold our opinions, and even our questions, or at least allow for them to live in our minds for a while before airing them to the world.
I believe this is valuable, because my experience has shown me that allowing ideas to gestate in solitude can lead to unexpected revelation.
True, online forums can invite a great deal of dialogue, and this dialogue can inspire to new ways of thinking as well. But my intention has always been for the Solitary Druid Fellowship to use the time we commit to dialogue and discussion for a very focussed and clear purpose.
At first, this purpose will be for those who use the liturgy in their practice to come to the SDF blog and share what that experience was like for them. This, I hope, will be a space where people feel safe to express what worked and what didn’t, and to try and unpack why. In time, there be more moments where it makes clear sense to open up spaces for dialogue, and I’d like to do that deliberately and with intention.
(For those who want more consistent conversation with solitaries, there is the ADF Solitaries SIG (Special Interest Group). It’s open to ADF members, and I’ve recently been nominated to be the SIG Coordinator. I’d like to see some synergy between the SIG and the Fellowship, while at the same time allowing certain spaces to remain silent, still, and free of active discussion.)
Perhaps it won’t be long before my not knowing takes a turn. I’ll start to know more about who the SDF is, what they appreciate, what they long for. I know I can’t please everyone, but I am certainly open to understanding the minds and hearts of the solitaries who wish to open up on the SDF blog.
What do you think?
Have you found that the decentralization of the SDF communication (i.e. the talk that takes place on Twitter and Facebook) to be a good way of keeping the SDF site as a clean resource (which is a term I’m just trying out)? Bishop In The Grove has clearly been a place where dialogue has thrived, but do you see there being a valuable reason to keep some spaces comment-free?
If those questions don’t get your brain churching, why don’t you pop over to my HuffPost piece and see if there are ideas there that resonate with you.
And, from my heart, may you have a blessed Solstice and a Happy Yule!