The Mountain Ancestors motto, for me, speaks to what I believe is the ultimate goal of ADF: A liturgy of offerings, a practice of relationships. We are tied as one organization by our Core Order of ritual (shared orthopraxy) built on the foundation of reciprocity in feeling (orthopathy) and the exchange of gifts (sacrifice) with the divine. In other words, the ultimate goal of ADF is to make offerings in the right way with the right intent to the right beings. This very basic function of our religious path stems from the pre-axial cosmotheology of the earliest Indo-European peoples, as mentioned above, tying us to a truly unbroken current. This current may have existed beneath all things without our knowledge for sometimes generations at a time, but we have tapped into the same energies our Ancestors did to fuel their spiritual endeavors. While our Ancestors shared some beliefs (the Gods were real, the cosmos required specific types of actions to maintain itself, and any misstep in performing these actions could potentially bring devastation to the entire tribe, to name a few), they had a well-defined system of what needed to be done for whom and when. Today, we have a common calendar of events and shared way for upholding these holy days that is consistent with that of our forebears.
Taking a deeper dive into how this manifests in the greater community reveals several places where ADF has room to grow into this vision of our ultimate goal. The most current debate lies in the different ways we treat with the Outdwellers. Some groves and individuals still view the Outdwellers as any spirits who purposes are “cross” to ours who also possess the desire to disrupt the work of our Druidry. Others are taking a different approach and using this space to bring healing to the native peoples of their lands, those who honored the spirits of place and the Earth Mother before our Ancestors settled here.
As an othropraxic faith, the idea of “right” is not one easily defined without creating an accidental belief system. The way forward for ADF as I see it relies on a coming to together of opposing “rights” to build understanding and practice the right relationships we seek with the divine with one another.