Rev. Michael J Dangler
How long have you been involved in ADF?I've been involved with Ár nDraíocht Féin since before I could pronounce it (i.e. about ten years as of this writing). I've been Neopagan Druid for 17 years now, but it took me a long time to start with ADF.
I started with The 6th Night Grove, ADF, in Dayton, OH, in April of 2000, where I was commuting more than an hour to rituals and business meetings. I did this for about two years before I finally had the experience (and guts) to start my own Protogrove in Columbus, Ohio. In our first year, we jumped quite high in membership, getting seven new members in one month. I finished my Dedicant Program in May of 2003, and am currently working on the ADF Clergy Training Program, which I finished the first circle of in August 2006.
What else have you done with your life?
Aside from be a good-for-nothing rogue with a winning smile? Not too much. I work for The Ohio State University in the IT department's customer experience area. I was on the varsity fencing squad at Ohio State for four years (I fenced sabre), and graduated from OSU with a degree in Military History. I'm currently working toward my master's degree in Comparative Religious Studies. I have also spent seven years working with The Ohio State University's Pagan Student Association. I'm an Eagle Scout and I still work with a local Boy Scout troop.
What do you do in ADF?
I'm currently a Grove Priest of Three Cranes Grove, ADF, and I'm also the Clergy Council Preceptor. In August 2010, I was elevated as a Senior Priest in ADF. I also help update the ADF website, occasionally answer mail sent to the ADF office, and work as a mentor for the Dedicant Program. I'm a member of the Liturgist's Guild and the scribe of the Dance Guild. I give workshops at some ADF festivals (just ask and I'll probably be able to do one for you, too), and worked out the Buffett Ritual for the Summerland Gathering. I've worked on the Grove Organizer's Handbook, submitted essays for inclusion in the Dedicant Program materials, and submitted for publishing in Oak Leaves. In all, ADF keeps me pretty busy. I take on responsibilities in ADF because I enjoy them and nothing ever becomes boring here.
Tell us a bit about your personal religion.
Well, I'm a Druid and a Discordian, a rare combination if there ever was one. Druidism is, however, my preferred path, but I keep in mind that one of the highest strengths of this pairing of religions is the consistent sense of seriousness it conveys, tempered by the severe humour that keeps me on my toes.
My personal patrons are Eris (Greco-Roman deity/personification of chaos and strife) and Esus (a Gaulish deity with representations as a woodcutter), and my relationship with each is far too complicated to explain in such a limited space. Beyond this, I also have a budding relationship with Usas, a Vedic goddess who is the dawn. Really, the best thing to do (if you really want to know about me) is to go to my webpage (Chronarchy.Com) or visit my LiveJournal.
This does kind of lead me to one of my favourite things about ADF, though: you aren't forced into a paradigm that you don't want to be in. I can be a Druid and a Discordian, if I wish, or I can just be a Druid, or just a Discordian. I love to see the different types of people we have in ADF, who all come from various different religions, and that's a great thing. We have Wiccans, Asatru, Hellens, and Vedics, and we all get along pretty well. It's a wonderful thing.
What is your personal vision for ADF?
I love ADF as it is, really, but that doesn't mean we lack things that can improve. I'd like to be able to meet more people (which is why I've started traveling to some of the festivals that are outside Ohio). I want to see more of our scholars publishing. I want to see the Study Programs eventually become accredited. I want ADF to hold the respect that I feel it really deserves. Most importantly, though, I intend to be a part of these things when they do occur. I don't see myself as separate from ADF anymore.
What is your personal vision for Three Cranes Grove, ADF?
My personal vision for Three Cranes is that this Grove will always provide public worship in central Ohio, that we will always provide public service to the greater community (for both Pagans and non-Pagans alike), and that we will always seek excellence in our rituals. I want to see us training members in ADF's study programs, and educating the general community in the ways of Our Druidry. I want very much to see us develop a real sense of community here in central Ohio, and to maintain solid, positive relationships with the other groups and all the solitaries who may be in the area.
In the coming years, I would like to see us add at least one ritual per year beyond our required eight, eventually working up to one ritual per week at least. I hope to see us investing in land ownership in or very near Columbus, OH, and offering as many resources as possible to the community at large.
When we planted this Grove in the twilight hours of September 22, 2002, at our first ritual, we spoke very clearly of what we wanted: creativity, leadership, and faith. These, really, are the founding principles of Three Cranes Grove, ADF.
The creativity we sought was one where new ideas were always valued, where the group as a whole was given a voice in the running of the Grove, and where the opinions of even our newest members mattered to even our oldest. It was this creativity that would provide the waters that could sustain our Grove, that would eternally well from below to nurture us.
We envisioned the leadership of the Grove tending the Grove, encouraging it, and always keeping a loving, watchful eye over the entire Grove. We knew that our Grove was not going to be a community of followers, but one where each person would choose their own path, and that while these paths would be entwined with our own, they would not be tied down by the rest of the Grove. The concept of "Grove leadership" has always been one of each of us acting as dedicated gardeners, aiding the others within the Grove in any way that we could, and maintaining the Grove with the work of our own hands.
Finally, we felt that faith was a vital piece of the puzzle. As mentioned above, each of us helps guide the Grove, but we knew that we would in turn be guided by the Kindreds who would shine down upon us. As each of us helps nurture the others, the Kindreds have always been the sunlight that has nurtured us from above. They are the gardeners who help us grow.
When we spoke our inception statement so many years ago, our last words were these: "We must not fail it, for it will never fail us." The thing that we have always sought to show is that no matter what paths we may take in life, no matter what goes on in our lives, the Grove will always be there for us when we need them. All we need do is ask.
And the thing I am most proud of, that I find most important, is that we have always lived up to these founding ideals. I have been truly blessed to have worked with such fine people as my fellow Grove members, and I believe we have built something very, very special in central Ohio. Thank you, as well, to all who have supported us through the years.
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