Where did ADF come from?
ADF started in 1983 as a network of independent scholars interested in legitimate research about
the ancient Druids and their Indo-European colleagues. It quickly grew into a new Neo-pagan tradition (or denomination), complete
with personal and group worship rituals, artistic endeavors, jokes, songs and chants, and a genuine sense of family. In many
ways it was an outgrowth of the Reformed Druids of North America, an anarchistic movement begun by college students in the
mid-1960's, modified by the experiences of the Neopagan community since (refer to Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon
for details). Today, ADF is the largest Neopagan Druid organization in the English-speaking world. While there are other
Neopagan Druid organizations in existence, by far the largest, best organized, most widely spread, and most active is ADF.
Are you real?
Organizationally, we're as real as any other religious group. We are registered in the
state of Delaware as a Nonprofit Corporation and have received recognition of our tax-exempt status from the IRS. We have
42 chartered local congregations (“groves” or “protogroves”) with more on the way in the U.S. and
Canada. Appropriate legal and tax status in Canada, Australia and other nations will be obtained as needed. Historically,
there are no "real" Druids left. The Paleopagan Druids were wiped out centuries ago and only fragments of their traditions
survived. Spiritually, we believe that we are following the paths once trod by our namesakes and that no other name is nobler
or more suited to our modern intentions -- and that makes us real as far as we're concerned!
What about other Druid groups?
ADF maintains friendly relations with the fraternal (Mesopagan" or mixed Christian/ Pagan) Druid
orders in England and elsewhere, as well as with the handful of other Neopagan Druid groups. We encourage our members to investigate
these other organizations and to learn as much as they can about alternate paths of Druidism. We are, however, quick to expose
groups and individuals we believe to be fraudulent or dangerous, even though such vigilance may be controversial.
Are you a "cult"?
Not at all. The only dogma promulgated so far has been the Doctrine of Archdruidic Fallibility
-- requiring the members to accept that everyone in ADF, even the Archdruid, makes mistakes. Members are encouraged to (politely)
argue with the leadership, to form their own opinions and special interest groups, and to communicate as much as possible
with both "insiders" and "outsiders.” People without a sense of humor and proportion are discouraged from seeking leadership
positions. Nepotism is forbidden, financial records are open, everyone is accountable to everyone else, and the members of
the Mother Grove are not getting rich. So what more do you want?
But what if I'm not Irish?
You don't have to be. Despite the Irish name for our organization and the use of the Celtic
term for clergy ("druids"), our members come from a wide variety of ancestries, including European, Asian, Native American,
and African. We have no time or sympathy for racist nonsense or cultural bigotry. Our members honor Celtic, Germanic, Lithuanian,
Polish, Greek, Roman, and other Indo-European deities, ancestors and nature spirits. If you're sincerely interested in any
of the old I-E cultures and their metaphysics, arts, and customs, then you're welcome in our ranks.
Is ADF Wiccan?
The Wiccan ("Neopagan Witchcraft") movement includes the large majority of the 750,000 to 1,000,000
people involved in Neopaganism in North America. Many in our membership are or have been followers of Wicca, including a sizable
number of Wiccan priests and priestesses who are using our Study Program to improve their clergy skills. The primary differences
between Druidism and Wicca are these: Druidism is polytheistic, large-group oriented, and public. Wicca in the main is duotheistic,
small group oriented, and private. Nonetheless, the two religions have far more in common than they have separating them (refer
to "What Do Neopagan Druids Believe?" for details). Wiccan covens can (and do) function as special interest groups within larger ADF groves, along with bardic,
healing, ecological, divinatory, and other groups.
Are Druids all men?
Despite the stereotypes of the ancient Druids as having been long-bearded patriarchs, you didn't
have to be a man to be a Druid back then and you don't need to be male now. Half of the membership of ADF is female and women
hold half of the positions of power in the organization. We have deliberately chosen to make gender and affectional preferences
irrelevant to participation in ADF. As worshippers of the Earth Mother, we can do no less. In fact, one of our primary religious
symbols, "the Druid Sigil," represents Her.
Didn't the ancient Druids do human sacrifice?
Yes, it's true. But then, so did the clergy of almost every other religion in human history,
including the monotheistic ones. Neopagan Druids are forbidden to practice human or animal sacrifice in our rituals. Instead
we offer the Goddesses and Gods flowers, fruits, wine, incense, music, song, drama, prayer, and -- most important of all --
our love. The deities seem to find it more than sufficient.
What are the Druid holidays?
We celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year by observing eight "High Days" -- the solstices
and the equinoxes, as well as the halfway points between which were originally the great fire festivals of our European predecessors).
Due to our calendrical research, we often celebrate the Major High Days a few days after other Neopagans do. Some groves also
celebrate the various phases of the moon, or the beginnings and endings of various hunting, fishing, and agricultural seasons.
What exactly is an ADF grove?
An ADF grove is any group of three or more voting members of ADF over the age of 18, who live
in the same general geographical area, who gather together at least twice a month to study and practice Druidism within the
context of Ár nDraíocht Féin, and who are chartered by the Mother Grove (the Board of Directors) of ADF as a local congregation.
An ADF grove provides open worship ceremonies for all eight High Days, study groups for various
Druidic arts and sciences, fellowship, hard work, and lots of fun. Almost any member of ADF can plant a "protogrove" just
by asking. All groves and protogroves are listed in our publications on a regular basis, making it easy for other members
to contact you. See 'The ADF Grove Organizers Handbook' for more details, or contact the Office at the further information