Last night, under the light of the Moon, my husband and I formed our hearth, The Wren’s Nest, with fire and song. We’ve been practicing our paganism together for sixteen years, and this small formal step joins our hearth with those of other Hearth Keepers in ADF around the world. [We should have done this rite on Monday night, with the other Hearth Keepers, at the first crescent, but I was sick in bed.]
What is the Hearth Keepers’ Way? It’s the newest form of practice within Ár nDraíocht Féin. Developed over the spring and summer by Rev. Jan Avende, Rev. Sara Blackwelder, Rev. Kirk Thomas, and myself, we strove to create a method of practice that would encourage others to dive right into Druidry, learning and growing while doing. An amazing group of testers from all over the world helped refine the practice, and the ADF Mother Grove approved and released it to the membership last month. It is not a study program, and does not need to be followed to the letter; it is a guide along one path, which can be followed, or not.
To become a Hearth Keeper is to devote yourself to the basic work of druidry – to welcome the gods and spirits to your hearthfire, to keep the holy days simply, and to integrate paganism into your daily life.The Hearth Keepers Way: An ADF Hearth Keepers Guide, page 7
Hearth Keepers are required to observe the first crescent of light in a shared meal rite with the gods and spirits, and spiritually with all of the other Hearths. Reinforcing our connection to each other and to ADF, this shared practice helps to bring us together even over vast distances, and differences in practice.
… [A]t its core the Hearth is expected to observe the cycles and seasons of the earth in a way that resonates with the members of the Hearth, maintain a consistent practice that fits the needs of your Hearth, [and] maintain a connection to the hearthfire of ADF .The Hearth Keepers Way: An ADF Hearth Keepers Guide, page 18
There’s a beauty and a frustration in belonging to a pan-Indo-European church where most everyone is an independent thinker with their own preferences, beliefs, and methods of practice. I like the diversity and variety, but I also like the physical connection that comes with knowing that others in different places say the same words, perform the same actions, give the same offerings as myself here in this space. I joined this project to try to create something that might meet this need for myself and others. I hope we’ve done that here for those who seek that (and for those who don’t, I hope we’ve provided a nice outline for you to modify as suits you).