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If you actually read this post (and I won't blame you at all if you don't), please, I beg of you, do not try to address my issue of figuring out the ADF stuff with respect to what's going on in my own brain, that's not what I'm writing about here, and for reasons you will see below, I am liable to knee-jerk and rip your head off. Nothing personal but people have really aggravated me today.

In reference to this post: http://community.livejournal.com/adf/143425.html

So recently, in my attempts to figure out why I'm waffling so much on ADF and the IP for the last year, it finally dawned on me how much my experience with getting my DP approved has bothered me. I know I bitched about it plenty. I know I've said it made me mad, but I don't think I've really realized just how much until now. There is another person on my friends list, who shall remain anonymous unless he chooses to identify himself, who has been having communications issues with the clergy training program and has been writing about it on occasion. I've followed these writings wit interest. And after knowing other people who have had issues in the higher study programs too, one of the big issues in my mind is that I pretty much know that it's going to be the DP over again and on a grander scale- since the DP was one big submission, but the IP is multiple segments submitted separately. It's a lot more writing, so a lot more potential for repeat performances.

Finally, last night I got it in my head to make a post to [livejournal.com profile] adf. Now...I think I did a reasonable job of being very clear that I did not expect the impossible and that I understand that this is all volunteer-based. I also think I did a decent enough job of making it perfectly clear that The issue that I was posting about was the *only* question that I could not answer for myself.

So I express concern about such points as:

Having submitted my work already approved, but when it got re-reviewed (which to my understanding was just to be a once-over to make sure that everything was okay since I was the first DP for Caryn to review), the reviewer (Whose name I don't know and after this debacle, don't expect I ever will) had questions about my work but didn't bother to ask me- who wrote it all in the first place- or Caryn- who okayed it but took it to Raven Mann who also didn't bother to ask me or Caryn, but took it to the clergy council- well, took the questions, but not the actual work being questioned.)

Once I submitted my DP for review yet again for the CTP, I was asked to do some additional work on three essays, but no specifics given, basically just "add to this kthxbye". On the first two, I guess I got lucky, they were accepted without question on re-submission. The third, however, came back to me three times. The first two times, no specifics were given and it was weeks between sending them off and hearing back, never even got a "Received your essay, will review it as soon as possible" notice. Finally, on the third try, I was told what was wanted.

Now, for running on volunteer power, you'd think people would want to be as efficient as possible right? I mean, wouldn't it make sense to have added the one additional sentence to the first request for additional work on the essay so I could get right to the point to begin with? There would be a couple of times that they wouldn't have had to reread the essay, a couple of times that they wouldn't have had to think about it, a coupe of times where they wouldn't have to email it back to me. But no, they wasted their time and mine, and at the time, because of this one essay and the crappy communication, I was ready to give up. If I wasn't accepted wen I was, that would have been it.

I don't want to go through this again. I know someone working on the CTP who would submit her work and not hear anything for months, and get no reply when she emailed asking for a status update. I know someone working on it who gets his work rejected with no explaination why when it is comparable to other work that was accepted. I don't want to be in this spot.

So I made the post linked above, and the reaction is to blast me over the volunteer issue, to lecture me about how people have their own lives and how they can only do so much. Bitch, please. I don't expect a volunteer to work miracles. I expect that if I'm doing a study program and someone has volunteered to review my work that they will at the very least acknowledge when they receive it and let me know that they will be getting to it. I expect that if something happens to delay things, that they will have the courtesy to let me know. A two-sentence email "Hey, I was going to sit down with this last night but my kid got sick, I'll need a few more days" takes roughly thirty seconds to write (at least as I type) and lets me know that they're not ignoring me. Hey, if something comes up, I understand, but where my work is concerned, I expect to be kept in the loop.

This is not unreasonable. This isn't brain surgery, people. Hell, it isn't even rocket science.

Then there were several people who asked me what it was that I wanted out of ADF anyway. This was completely beside the point. I don't need help figuring that out. I mentioned my questioning of what I'm doing to give an idea of why I was posing what I did.

Another individual...and this one really pissed me off, came back with "Oh, maybe you just had a bad personal experience" and proceeded to tell me about her own experience and how she had to wait, but hew reviewer actually bothered to COMMUNICATE with her and ASK her the questions that they had oh my god someone was doing their fucking job, even if it was a little slow. Well golly geee yee fucking ha it must be nice! Oh, and it was a learning experience for you, it made you think. Well then I guess you're just a better dedicant than me. Here, please have a fucking cookie, would you prefer snickerdoodle or chocolate fucking chip?

Another person accused me of being antagonistic. Listen, if you have a better way to describe my experience and express concern about how many other people are having similar experiences and about the possibility of going through it all again than please...do feel free to rewrite my post with sunshine and butterflies and send it to me so I can repost it to your liking. Because I can't think of a better way to say what I had to say. I was very clear that I understand that people have lives to deal with and all that. I was very clear as to what my concerns are. I was very calm and civil and I even went back and edited myself several times to make sure that I wasn't sounding like I intended to rip people up for this.

I thank the people who actually had constructive and understanding things to say, or who will when they're able to respond. It's good to know that some people are actually bothering to read what I've said and respond to that, not what they've imagined it to be in their little brains.
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So...I've been thinking.

Yeah, I know. Don't do that, it always leads to trouble. Oh well, too late, what's done is done.

Religion. Yeah, I know I haven't written much about that in several months. Not that it hasn't been on my mind...it has, constantly. It never leaves. (Well, maybe it does for a few minutes when...oh nevermind, y'all don't want to hear me bitch about how frustrated I get when something gets stuck in my teeth and I can't get it out and don't have a toothbrush handy or a toothpick or dental floss and OMG I really hate raspberry seeds sometimes...uh, yeah :-P)

Anyways. So it's recently occurred to me that the grove's Lughnassagh ritual is this weekend. No, I lie, I knew that for a while now, but what's just occurred to me is that the next ritual after that is the fall equinox.

I've had myself in a kind of limbo with grove involvement for quite a while now. Cut because reading this will take almost as long )
Ye, gads it's been crazy. I still don't have it all figured out, but I'm a lot more okay with things than I have been in a while.

And if I can manage to get it in before I leave the office, there might be another post on the woo filter to save those who don't care to read such things from rolling their eyes right out of their heads.
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Well, I just finally finished my last little bits of revising and editing and sent my three essays to Raven for resubmitting for acceptance to work on the clergy training.

And now, I start the process of waiting again. Hopefully this doesn't take as long as my DP, and I can move on with it.

i discovered a book on amazon the other week while looking for something else- The Oracle, Ancient Delphi And The Science Behind Its Lost Secrets.

It arrived today, I started reading it on my way to work. So far...quite fascinating. I'm only still in the first chapter, but just reading it makes me want to visit Delphi so much more already.

It's been suggested that I run for secretary of the Hellenic kin in ADF. Oh, what am I saying? No one else is running. I'm also planning to run for grove witan. I took a look at the kin secretary...it doesn't *look* like something that would take away from my ability to serve on teh grove witan. It's not like I'm planning to run for senior druid (though, I'm eligible to do so if I wanted to. But I'm not insane, and there are some aspects of that job that I would not be comfortable with taking on...mostly the parts involving managing the property. If it weren't for that, I *might* consider it. But there's also the fact that I've never served on the Witan and would prefer to do so in some other capacity before I ever even thought about running for SD...so none of that for me.

I brought a couple of movies to work with me this evening- White and Blind Chance. But it turns out that I'm just not in the mood to watch Polish movies at the moment. Or anything that's even half serious really. And it's that time of night when my attention span is completely out to lunch. So maybe I'll just have a nap.
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[livejournal.com profile] stellthebelle, I think you'll appreciate this...

D.P.

What does it stand for?

Dedicants Program, right? Right.

Well unbeknownst to just about all of you, it also has another meaning for me. One that I forgot for quite a while...until today.

So earlier, I was talking to [livejournal.com profile] acousticdryad about various and sundry ADF things, including...the DP. I'm typing and out of nowhere, I start typing "flaming" instead of just "DP"

Flaming DP. I dunno why I suddenly remembered it and was typing, but there it was, and it took me a second to remember WTF "flaming" was doing in front of DP.

For practically everyone who sees this, "Flaming DP" is a beverage that was (is?) popular with folks in my chapter of Alpha Phi Omega. Basically, it involved amaretto, cheap beer and just enough 151 to light things on fire...apparently it tastes like Dr Pepper when properly executed. I don't like Dr Pepper or amaretto. At the time, I just really disliked beer, didn't realize I was allergic (or hadn't yet developed the allergy actually) so I never had one.

But then the next thing that came to mind...yes, Stell, I still remember this, was the roll call from the Section 41 conference the semester I pledged....to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies theme...

Come and listen to a story 'bout a chapter named AO
We're the first in Texas don't listen to Alpha Rho
We belong to region seven and section 41
So we figured here at Austin was the place to have some fun.

College that is, at this here conference.

Here are some of our pledges and they are very smart
Listen to these things that they know by heart
AO rules the world and that's all you need to know
And now that we've told you, maybe we should go

Back to SMU for a Flaming DP! (Wha!)
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Okay...I got an email from raven a few minutes ago.

They want me to expend on my kindred and nature awareness essays. Okay, that's cool. A few hours work, I could have it done and submitted before I leave the office in the morning (If I can manage to get my brain back into some semblance of reasonable order).

but the mediation journal/essay part...I might have set myself back five months, having not presented my experience in any sort of timeline/progressive format. I don't think that I could do that with my meditation experience at this point. I might have to start from here and keep a journal for five months. I emailed back to ask, and await an answer.

Overall, not as bad as I had it in my mind, I am happy to know that I was overimagining things...but still, arg, it did have to be THAT requirement, didn't it?
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The announcement email:

Please join me in congratulating
~~~ Renee Rhodes ~~~
of Cedarlight Grove, ADF

who has successfully completed the documentation requirements of the
Ár nDraíocht Féin Dedicant Path.

As Preceptor of Ár nDraíocht Féin, I'd like to welcome Renee among those folks
who've taken the time to learn what ADF is all about and make it a major part of
their lives' spiritual paths.

N.B. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND DIRECTLY TO THIS EMAIL, but send your
congratulations to Renee directly.

Best wishes,
Raven Mann
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My Dedicant's Program has been approved!!!!

It's only been almost 2 years since I first joined ADF.

Now to dig up that letter of intent....
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Ritual yesaterday? Check

Dedicant's Oath? Check.

Writeup soon to be in progress. After I make coffee.

Then I just need to print it all out, get hard copy to Caryn and a blank CD to burn it on and my DP will be off to Raven.

OMG. I'm almost done.

So this was my dedicant's oath:

I'd like to make one last offering here tonight, with everyone gathered as witnesses. This is an offering a long time in the making. I've been attending Cedarlight Grove since November of 2004. I've been a member since October of 2005- it took me nearly a year and some rather difficult prodding to make up my mind and make that commitment. Once I did, I gave myself a year and through no fault but my own procrastication- and sometimes uncertainty- well over a year has passed. But here I am in front of my grove and friends that I have chosen as family, some good aqcuaintences and what are probably a few decent strangers, and with the offering of this promise, I will finally complete my dedicant's program.

I make this promise to all present. And to the nature spirits with whom we share the earth. And to the ancestors, who I've only recently realized may not be so distant as I would believe. And to all of the gods, but especially to the Lady of the Hearth, who is the fire itself, and to the Mother Quail, dark-veiled Queen, long-journeying mother of the divine twins of Olympus, And foremost to the Divine Healer, Far-Shooter, God of truth and light:

On my word, I'll not forsake my gods, nor seek to depart from the road down which they lead me, and neither will I forget that unfamiliar territory does not necessarily mean that I have strayed. As I am called, I will serve. I will trust the gods and cast aside trepidation. At times I may rush in headfirst, but I will not to go in blind. I will remember that askng for help is not a sign of weakness, and that I am but human. To speak the words that need be spoken, and keep the confidences which require silence. To pursue always truth, knowledge, wisdom, understanding. This, on my honor I will try as best as I am able and as far as I can push myself, should I start to falter.


I also think I did a pretty damned good job of reciting "You Create the Reason" by Carl Stephenson... I managed not to totally stumble over any words.

Which reminds me, at least three people asked me for an audio file...[livejournal.com profile] jackgreen60, I know you did...who else? I know Deirdre wanted me to explain it to her...lol...I never got a chance to do that.

Okay, off to make coffee and then write up the last little bit of my DP *dances*

Thatclose

Jun. 19th, 2007 12:16 am
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Well, I talked to Caryn. I will take my Dedicant's Oath this Saturday during our Summer Solstice ritual, then all I will need to do is write about it. I've asked one person to read over the oath that I've written so far. (Someone who will not be in attendance on Saturday...I must say I'm feeling a tad superstitious and plan to not let anyone who will be there read it beforehand. I could not, for the longest time, figure out how I wanted to write it, or what I wanted to say, then one night I happened upon a web link for the church of Thessaly and found the Thessalian Oath:

The Thessalian Oath

I will not disgrace the sacred arms nor abandon the person next to me, whoever it may be.

I will fight for things sacred and against things profane, both alone and with others to help me.

I will transmit the knowledge given me, not lessened, but greater and better than I received it.

I will obey the rules and I will observe established laws, and whatever laws in the future may be reasonably established.

If any person or group seeks to overturn our laws, or to bring harm to any Thessalian, I will oppose it with strength and courage, both alone and with my fellow Thessalians.

I will honor the gods and goddesses of our ways and keep the sacred flame alive.

I call as witness to this oath, the Gods, the borders of my homeland, the wheat, the barley, the vines, and the trees of the olive and the fig.


This inspired me a bit. I liked the style in which it was written, and it gave me some ideas...no, my own oath does not really resemble this, except perhaps rather vaguely in writing style. But it gave me a start to work off of, and I am happy with that which I have written.
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Today is April 23rd.

My Dedicant's Program will be complete and in Caryn's inbox by 11:59:59 April 30th.

That is all.
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My sister's wedding is a month and a half away. And what am I most worried about?

The tattoo thing. Well, not so worried but Trying to figure out what I'll tell people when they ask. And they will ask. Dress has a low-cut back, and my family arenot the sort of people to ignore stuff scrawled across a family member's flesh. My stepfather will comment. Loudly and frequently. He had (to take a phrase from my mom) ten French fits when he saw my first one...six months after I got it. And that's not much bigger than a silver dollar. Uncle Randy will make all kinds of comments about it being some sort of Satanic spell. Samantha will announce to the world that she wants one just like it (along with pink hair). Mumsie will demand to know what it means. And while the truth is easy, simple and makes perfect sense it will raise more questions than Ill feel like discussing that weekend. (Yeah Mom...it's a hymn to this god that i worship...)

Of course...I could always pretend I don't know what they're talking about and tell them they must be hallucinating. That could be entertaining. At least for a minute or two.

Tattoo? Tree? On my back? Isn't it a little early in the day to be hitting the bar so hard?

Oh hell, I thought of something worse. Receiving line. I have to stand in a freakin' receiving line. In a mauve dress.

I am so getting ballet flats. Chelle had better not have any grand plans to get me into dress heels. Cause...no. I will not endure physical pain. And I can't remember the last time I saw a pair of wedding-appropriate heels that I would be willing to wear. This is not a matter of aesthetics. I will only wear heeled shoes if the heels have a certain thickness. The sort of heels that I'm talking about tend not to occur on dressy shoes. (Damn. I wish I still had my red platform sandals. I wouldn't wear them for the wedding, I just really REALLY wish I still had them. Cause there's just nothing like a 6'2" Fuego.) While I have never injured myself while wearing high heels, I have a certain amount of paranoia concerning my ankles. I've sprained both of them too many times and I'd really prefer not to ever do that again. I'd rather have one run over by a car.

No, seriously. The Mustang running over my ankle hurt considerably less than any of the times I've ever sprained one.

And yesterday, I got a sketchpad and some drawing pencils (the all-graphite, no-wood, really heavy kind) and today whilst tethered to my desk, I started sketching a bit.

Methinks that butterfly wings with knives jutting out all over will be easier to draw than I previously thought. If only I could decide on the precise shape of the wings themselves. Well, I can decide...but I haven't really been able to draw them. They keep looking like crescent moons.

And last night, I found myself made the leader of the Interfaith Fairness Coalition's Gay Pride Week Interfaith Service Sub-Committee. (Yeah, you know what they say, the longer the title, the less important the job) Well, it sorta happened by default. One person has too many health problems, the other is on our little sub-committee in a specific, limited capacity.

Lucky for me, that specific, limited capacity involves him doing a large chunk of the work. And someone else has volunteered to do another large chunk of work. (It's not that I wouldn't be willing to do any of it, I just don't have the information necessary. Or free weekdays. So I get to um...think of a theme or something? I think it also involves some public speaking on my part the day of.

I've always wanted to be a figurehead. (Or not, really. I just felt like saying "figurehead".)

Looks like the weather is slowly starting to improve. All I gotta say is hell if I'm leading another ritual through gale-force winds a la Samhain or torrential downpours much like Midsummer.

I'm difficult like that.

Uhg. It's 10? I need to charge my ipod. I should go to sleep a bit earlier than I have the last 2 nights. Hopefully I'll sleep a full night.

Speaking of next week, I still have to write stuff. Invocations. Seasonal lore. Meditation. And the last couple of pieces of my blasted DP. I've got my dedicant's oath somewhat figured out. I keep forgetting that I have my book reviews mostly-written. I just have to get them off of the cd they're on.

Hot Damn!

Feb. 21st, 2007 08:08 pm
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I FINISHED MY PERSONAL RELIGION ESSAY!!!!!!!

I also have sent it off to Caryn...though, in my excitement I forgot to actually attach it to the email the first time.

Now to go and have some ice cream, and probably face taunting from the roommates when I tell them.
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I finally wrote a personal religion essay that I'm happy with. Of course, I left it on my desk at work (reasonably sure I did anyway, really hope I did.)

Today at the Grove, we talked about the Spring Equinox and what we're doing. We've decided to do a ritual this time for the strengthening and protection of native trees against invading species like Aleantha. Everyone is supposed to research, looking for deities that are connected to the protection of forests and/or trees. Caryn seems to be very set on the idea of a ritual asking the assistance of Artemis, to which I said that we would definitely need to include the nymphs (more specifically, hamadryads) in this venture. The hamadryads' lives depend on the lives of the trees (Though, what about hamadryads connected to the trees of the invading species...?)

And folks are also researching other possibilities. We'll see what is found. I went looking for non-Greek stuff too, but haven't found any deities or spirits so far that are as intimately connected to the trees.

In any event, I am working up an adaptation of the festival of Thargelia, for possible celebration this year instead of Beltane. (The idea seems to be going over pretty well with people. Nothing is decided yet of course, but everyone that's heard it seems to have an enthusiastic response so far.) Since I am so interested in doing that, I will certainly be happy if people decide that two Greek rituals in a row are in order, but I would not be nearly as vocal in expressing a particular opinion for this one as I might otherwise. I would, of course, help out in ny way I could...but I would do the same for any other ritual.

After the Grove, Steph, Jesse, Dominic and I went to Barnes & Noble down at the harbor. I bought a new journal tonight, for a specific purpose. None of the blank books that I currently have actually suit my desires for this use- mostly in that none seem to have enough pages. I've been feeling for a while like I should be keeping some sort of track of my regular religious activity- daily, weekly, etc. and I got some more motivation this morning when I was reading over some thigns on the ADF website and found that a log of no less than four months' time was required for just this sort of thing.

I figure this one should last me a decent part of the year. Writing about this sort of thing on a mostly daily basis should take up, in most instances, less than a side of a page at a time. Though I haven't really talked about it, I have for a while now been working on daily religious practice. I've got the weekly thing down quite well by now I think :-P

On a different topic, I decided a while back that I was interested in learning about the Iberian Celts. There's something about obscure cultures that fascinates me. I was just talking to Jon a little while ago, he's going to send me a list of source information that he's got. He's a history snob, so I think I'm safe there. The only thing that I've managed to find myself was a single issue of a single academic journal online.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'm going down to Caryn's place with [livejournal.com profile] jackgreen60 to talk about the ritual upcoming at Four Quarters Farm in two weeks. I'm really on the fringes of this one, and I'm ok with that. Yeah, I have the day off work tomorrow. It's Presidents Day and I work exclusively with schools so no work for me. Oh, and I had volunteered to work on MLK day. So there you are.

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