DruBear's First Steps for Sol's
I make no bones about this being >>my<< ideas for First
Steps. If you have other ideas, please feel free to share them with me
and I'll be happy to incorporate them into this or save your list and pass
it along too!
Howzat for a start?
Keep doing any religious practice you find meaningful - Xmas caroling
with family, Easter services, fasting at Ramadan. (You'd be surprised how
many of those practices are holdovers from earlier, Pagan times.) We're
not trying to get you to >>convert<< or anything, but you have expressed
some interest in learning more about religion, and your part in the Universe.
You've taken your own Path, and we're here to help you along it. If it
coincides with ours, great! If not, well, we've helped a fellow traveller.
But you're still welcome to party with us! On the other hand, it might
be interesting for you to find out why a religion that celebrates the birthday
of a Jewish kid does so with a pine tree that wouldn't have been around
when He was born. That leads us to...
Read! Read some more! and more! (One of the first things you'll
find about ADF types is that we like to read - and have bookshelves to
prove it.) This kinda breaks down into 3 parts:
Culture/history/scholar stuff - for Celtic things, you might want
to pick up some copies of the tales: the Tain Bo Cualgne (Kinsella, tr., ISBN 0-192-80373-5)
or the Mabinogion. The Norse say you can just never go wrong with Snorri
Sturluson's "Prose Edda" (ISBN 0-520-01232-1)or the Younger or Elder Eddas themselves. (First
sources are always the best place to start from an ADF perspective.) Plato,
Socrates and Hesiod in Greek, and Livy, Ceasar, Ovid and Plautus from Rome
round out the Classical World. (Do remember, BTW, that Ceasar wrote of
the Celts as a conquering hero - i.e. take his thoughts with a very large
grain of saltum.)
And the Indo portion of IndoEuropean is covered in the Unpanishads
and the Bhaghava Gita.
We're real big on IndoEuropean things, BTW, and the connections between
all those peoples and cultures, so Georges Dumezil can write no wrong -
but it is pretty dry. (It's a badge of honor within ADF to be able to say
you actually >>read<< some Dumezil, especially in the original Fran‡ais.
Go for it!)
Another "must read" is >>anything<< by Peter Ellis - especially
his "The Druids" (ASIN 0802837980.) Accept no substitutes (hey, it's
a popular title)! He manages in one book to cover what the Ancient Druids
did, what other Ancients (esp. the Greeks and the Romans) >>thought<<
they did, and what people down through the ages have thought both of them
said >>and<< did and (most importantly) why everybody did and said
everything. Amazing. Simply amazing. (Can you tell I liked it?)
Hippy/Dippy/NeoPagan/Commie/Liberal stuff - Margot Adler's book
"Drawing Down the Moon" (ISBN 0-807-03253-0) is the current classic of
this genre, ditto anything by StarHawk (esp. "Spiral Dance" ISBN 0-062-51632-9.)
Ellis covers some of the stuff in his book, but it's not the principle
point. "Green Egg" magazine and "Circle Network News" are pubs that can
keep you up on the latest national (and international) NeoPagan scene.
I've seen them at Borders Bookstore and Barnes and Noble, so you >>know<<
they're safe - the covers are worth the price of admission. And there's
always Isaac's "Real Magic" (ISBN 0-877-28688-4) if you want to see how
far >>he's<< come along. (So you know there's hope for the rest of
Scott Cunningham's "Guide to the Solitary Practitioner" (ISBN 0-875-42118-0)
is good, but has a >>lot<< of Wiccan stuff, so for ADF purposes it's
not the best. We're in the process of writing a study guide that adapts
it to Our Druidry (watch this space for more info!) ADF is in the process
of writing a "Dedicant's Program" that spells out how we think people can
practice Our Druidry - if you join you get a copy of that.
Fun/speculative stuff- Morgan Llywelyn writes some pretty historically
correct books even though they're a bit on the Romance side. I've also
come to love reading Gene Dixon's "Marcus Didius Falco" detective series
- based in 72BC Rome. On the fantasy side I'm a big fan of Katherine Kurtz
(especially her "Deryni" and "Adept" series) and Marion Zimmer Bradley's
"Darkover" series. People just >>rave<< about Andre Norton's "Witch
World" and Anne McCaffrey's "Pern" (aka "Dragon") novels. Basically, anything
that help's >>you<< disassociate from the local crazies and keep
your creative and imaginative juices flowing is just the ticket.
For almost totally realistic fiction about the way modern Pagans
do magick, and really exciting adventures, Linda Demissy (of SilverFox
Grove, Montreal) recommends Mercedes Lackey's Diana Tregarde investigation
series: Burning Water, Children of the Night, and Jinx High.
Pick up some music - go to a Ren Faire, SCA event or stop by the
Folk and World Music sections of the used record store. (Heck, go to Tower
Records and pig out - this is important!) Lotsa stuff there to help get
into the mood. If you can sing or play already, you're that much further
ahead! Get thee to a Bard!
Start looking into divination techniques: astrology (the Romans
were >>really<< into it), tarot (well, it's not really IE but just
>>everybody's<< doing it these days, so you won't hear me tattle
on ya'), or runes (very primitive, and they only are good for quick thumbs
up/thumbs down stuff for me, but there are people who get a lot out of
'em.) All these help you listen when the Gods are trying to talk to you
(although it's sometimes >>at<< you - you've been warned.) Also,
listen to your dreams, and keep a diary of 'em.
For that matter, it's a good idea to keep a general diary too! Helps
you see how well you're progressing... (Oh my gawd, did I write >>that<<
last year? What was I thinking?)
Look over the Liturgical Outline - there are rituals on the web
site (http://www.adf.org), and I have
a couple of prayers that should make it easy to do any or all the parts
(there are quite a few of 'em, doncha know.) Start to look for places in
the wild to do rituals, or just be a safe place to sit and meditate. (Shoot
- just have a good place for a picnic! The Ancients were big on feasting,
and who are we to deny our heritage?)
Think about putting up an altar there or in your home - nothing
fancy, just a place for special and sacred stuff. You'll be picking up
rocks and minerals and candles and by gum >>someone's<< gonna give
you a statue someday, so you might as well start thinking about where you're
going to put all this stuff...
Good Luck, and welcome!
Yours in the Mother,
Pursewarden, Wild Onion Grove, ADF
Coordinator (Emeritus), Solitaire SIG, ADF