ADF TRAINING SYSTEM
From the Office of the Fifth Deputy Vice-Arch Druid
Seeing as the training system hasn't been formalized yet, I thought it a good idea to submit some comments before it does so. I like the idea of a well trained Neo-Pagan clergy. And as a whole, I think the circle structure has a lot of advantages in the long run.
Time in grade. This is a Navy (or services wide) term to specify how many years a person has been a specific rank. Two years in between 1st and 2nd circle, and so on are a good idea. This way, new comers become familiar with ADF policy, ritual and "style". For transfer people, I also would like to see them do lots of ADF ritual so that they get the gestalt of it.
The tracks. I'd like to see a series of core courses that everybody has taken by a certain circle. People would have certain skills by the time they make 3rd circle. After that, for some tracks, they would have experiances instead. See the survival track for more details. For details see below. When I walk up to somebody who says they are 2nd circle, I can count upon them to know certain things. People should be proud to be ADF clergy, but also, ADF should also be proud to have somebody be clergy.
Some specific comments on the different tracks. The different skills are for learning while in a circle, and before progressing to the next one.
FIRST TRACK - Survival skills and Physical Health
1st circle -
Learn how to handle a firearm. This is the equivlent of a National Rifle Association safety course. Prior military service would be considered to meet this requirement. The course is availiable through the NRA, some police departments and most rifle clubs. The course should take about 25 hours total, and should lead to a certicicate of competency. As long as there is draft registration, this will be waived for any male under the age of 18, and for any male between 18 and 27 who is registared as a conscience objector. If women are required to registar, it will extend to them also. For people who legally can't be involved with firearms, this can be waived also.
Learn how to drive a car. Personally I like to see people learn how to drive a car effectivly. This is a little difficult to determine what "effective" is but, you can still pass a state examination and get your license. This will be waived for those people who are legally ineligable to get a license. Even if you don't own a car, it is nice to know that you can operate one in an emergency.
Tied into the above, is the ability to navigate through your local urban enviroment by public transport, foot and by personal vehicle. This is more than driving to work and knowing where the food store is. Repeatedly, I have gotten lost near my destination. When I have asked for directions, I often get blank looks. In one case, the street I was looking for was one street over. The "locals" still hadn't a clue as to where it was. If you live in the country, learn the general layout of the largest town within a hour or so. Also be able to use a map and compass to navigate, and know local landmarks in the woods.
Know where you live. Within 30 days of moving into a new place, you should be able to give directions to get there. These directions should be clear and concise. If need be, go out and measure the milage between your markers!!
Be able to cook a healthy meal for yourself and/or a small group of people. You don't have to like to cook or do it on a regular basis, just be able to.
2nd circle -
Basic auto repair. Know how to check your own oil, add oil if needed, and pump your own gas. Also know how to change a tire. If you own a car, make sure it has a jack and know how to use it on your specific vehicle.
Be financely competent. You don't have to be rich, but your monatary affairs should be in order. Know how to balance a checkbook. You wouldn't have to be debt free, but shouldn't be on the verge of declaring bankruptcy because you've bought all sorts of toys on your charge cards.
Be involved in some sort of fitness program. This could be running, swimming, Karate or similar, dancing, etc. Anything that keeps you physically active on a regular basis.
In general, the first two circles of the Survial skills track would teach skills that will/can be used on a regular and frequent basis. For circles three and onward, I would like to see experiances. Before going for third circle, spend a week at an Outward Bound type school. The skills you learn will not be useful on a regular basis, but the self-confidence is a wonderful thing to develope.
NINTH TRACK - Drama and Liturgy
1st circle -
Assumed minimum ritual knowledge. Know the basic ritual outline. See Druid's Progress number 4 for details. If the group you are working with isn't using the script out of DP #2 (and they shouldn't be exclusivly), know WHY and HOW the changes were made.
2nd circle -
Have a more through knowledge of liturgical design. Write and perform a large group ritual. If there are other ADF members in your area, write ritual for the local Grove on a regular basis. If there isn't a Grove, but there are other members, start one and run it for a year. If you can't run or be active in a local Grove, lead rituals at Pagan gatherings when possible. Also write ritual for publishing in Druid's Progress. Be able to critque your own rituals.
I got part of this from Freemasonry. Masons are required to learn certain parts of ritual before advancing to their next degree. To get into another lodge, often people are tested on their knowledge of ritual. I'm not proposing this as a way to keep people from faking their level of advancement. It is more in the idea of knowing that if I ask a 3rd circle to handle the three consecrations, s/he will know what, when and how to do it without running for back issues of DP.
THIRTEENTH TRACK - Interdisciplenary Studies
each circle -
The person should make some sort of contribution to ADF. NOT money, you filthy minded people. Say, a paper giving a in-depth analysis, based upon the circle working for, upon one aspect of research. This is similar to a Master's thesis.