As the WotY points out, ADF is a neo-pagan organisation and is not ancient or re-constructionist; I agree with this. The modern pagan community has eight High Days, and in this modern world, where we mostly are urban (or suburban) and desperately need to reconnect to nature, this really is a necessity. It tends to help focus on the change of season, and make one aware of the differences between our stated intentions and the performance of generic ritual based on the seasonal cycle of other places and times. This means I OPEN MY EYES and SEE the change of seasons as expressed through my LOCAL PLACE and TIME, and live in the now, as well as be cognizant of the past. My spiritual path is MINE, not some other group of people living in the past in a different place. My needs are different than theirs, and just because it was done in the past, doesn’t mean it’s better or more legitimate. The definition of ‘antiquity’ does not contain ‘superiority’.
This encompasses, not just the seasonal cycle I see in my physical environment, but also, for me, the idea of scientific understanding of the WHY of the seasons; the tilt of the Earth’s axis, the physical properties of this event, and how the motion of the Earth in its orbit creates these seasons; this is all important for me to connect with the Cosmos, not just the Microcosm here on Earth. As it has been pointed out to me in my family, when I was a child, one of my first words was ‘WHY’ – and a favorite refrain of childhood. I have never ceased wanting to know, actually. It’s a double-edged sword.
This makes the Solstices and Equinoxes, for me, every bit as important as ‘cross-quarter’ days. As an urban solitary, and somewhat alienated from my cultures, both ancestrally and otherwise, I don’t connect well with the agrarian and social aspects of my Path. I tend to dislike the ‘cross-quarter’ celebrations as performed by the larger Pagan communities of the area. For example, Beltane seems to be a valentine’s day for Pagans, and although this High Day is associated in the Gaelic culture for love during the day, there are other aspects that could potentially be addressed. I also don’t resonate with the ‘Lord and Lady’ and I don’t resonate with calling ‘Watchtowers’. I am not knocking their Path – most of the Wiccans and Pagans I know are deeply spiritual – and their is value and strength in their approach, and I have learned much from it. Some of their rituals are powerful, moving, and spiritually intense.
The problem here is that I need my own way; I need my ritual to MEET my NEEDS and reflect my own Hearth culture, study and convictions, not just worshiping generically. Hence, this study and joining this organisation.