Spiritual Kindred

Reclaiming Authentic Community

     Authentic community is based on authentic identity: our relationships with family, friends, allies, the ancestors, and the land itself.  For most of human history, communities have been extended families actively collaborating to survive, thrive, and maintain their shared way of life.  Their members are mutually supportive, care about each other, actively promote each other's success, and extend themselves to help each other, because they know they will receive help in return.  Real communities are places of nurture, which inspire real pride.  But these qualities could not be further removed from the Wasteland of 'corporate municipalities' being passed off as 'communities' today.  Having effectively been 'warehoused', naturally people feel cynical and alienated.

     But we are not obliged to live in this dystopia.  If we have the will, then we have the power to change our world.  The ancestors placed an equal or higher value on foster kin than blood kin; why should we not do the same with our kindred of choice?  Avalonians in the Isles are already reclaiming authentic community by choosing to behave as if society has already attained it. Where they are able to establish 'intentional communities', they choose social systems which correspond to the metaphysics and practices of their particular Avalonian Ages and Archetypes.   Ours is the Age of the Mothers; the pre-Celtic, egalitarian, 'Braithion' Age and Archetype, whose spiritual kin-groups are organised as Groves (and in future, settlements), and where resources are shared equally in exchange for equal shares of labour towards community upkeep and goals.  Here we teach the Tradition to new generations of members:
"Midsummer Sunset" by Alan McKenzie
The Three Wisdom Circles
The Structure of Community:
Sisterhood, Brotherhood & The Nine Tribes

          ADO community and spiritual practice derive from a template established by Avalon's First Ancestors; the pre-Celtic peoples we call "the Braithion".  Braithion tribal society closely mirrored the patterns observed in the cycles of Nature, which express through the body of the land, the stars, and the lives of human beings; lives lived in community through the interaction of Three Circles:

  • Women's Mysteries;
  • Men's Mysteries; and
  • Mysteries of Union.

Here, each generation learns their common worldview, history, shared culture, and the skills necessary for survival and spiritual evolution.  It is only natural, then, that formal Druid Circles should evolve from these working groups.  We know these Circles as:

  • Hearth (the 'Sisterhood');
  • Henge (the 'Brotherhood'); and
  • Grove (the place where the two unite).
These Three Wisdom Circles extend the teachings and practices of the community's working groups deeper into the realms of metaphysics; realms defined and regulated by the Laws of Nature, and interpreted through the lens of worldview.
"My Fair Lady" (1922) by Edmund Blair Leighton  {{ PD-1923 }}
          Worldview defines the assumptions underlying a culture's shared reality, and their individual and collective relationships with the world around them.  The ancestral worldview preserves a way to rediscover one's authentic personal and group identity.  It allows us to understand ancestral stories, teachings, and lore, as the ancestors intended them to be understood, rather than simply re-interpret or reinvent them to suit modern, mainstream beliefs, assumptions, tastes, or convenience.  It is our ancestral roots which make our Druid Way authentic and powerful, and it is through them that the Tradition endures.  For this reason, every ADO member is first and foremost a Tribes member; we become Druids through our service to the Tribes (i.e. the membership community), and not by serving ourselves.

          The ancestors believed (as we believe) that to remain prosperous and harmonious, the structure of human society must mirror that of the Great Pattern of Being which serves as a blueprint for reality.  It is a belief common to most native peoples.  In Druid natural philosophy, reality manifests through the interplay of Three Realms (Land, Sea, and Sky), each of which expresses through three Elemental Forces. In Braithon and Celtic Sacred Stories, these Realms are embodied in Three Royal (or 'Noble') Houses, while their respective Elements are embodied in the Nine Tribes of First Ancestors; making the FIrst Ancestors forces of Nature, whose 'lineages' of creatures and plants offer clues to their underlying natures and correspondences. These are the Mighty Ancestors whose powers surpass our own, but who remain responsive to our thought. Thus, the ancestral concept of 'kindred' revolves not around human beings, but around our common origins and relationships as consciously aware, ensouled emanations of the Sacred Wellspring or Source.  Our 'Sacred Wood' is the Order (our members and spiritual ancestors), and even today, no Avalonian Order is considered complete until all Three Houses and Nine Tribes are represented within it.

          Tradition tells us that the first archetypal Avalonian Order was comprised of some 1,350 people per House or about 4,050 people altogether; a population which expanded as the climate and environment became more favourable. Hunter-Gatherers and Pastoralists follow the movements of the herds; the more people there are to feed, the more prey are hunted, and the greater the area needed to sustain the the whole system.  As populations grew, members of each Tribe 'hived off' from the original Order to start new settlements elsewhere; eventually establishing two new Avalonian Orders: one in Western Europe, and another in eastern North America.  Based upon the average size of ancestral settlements, these three ancient Orders would originally have totalled about 12,150 people. Nine being the 'number of completion' in Traditional Sacred Numerology, multiples of nine were seen as being fortuitous, and tended to define any population limits or goals set during a population explosion driven by improving conditions and the growing reputation of Avalon's Mystery Schools.  This population 'boom' peaks with the advent of farming, in the days before the coming of the Eastern warrior tribes.

          Taken together, these three original Avalonian Orders define a kind of 'Golden Age' of Avalonian Faery Druid spiritality, society, and culture.  Thriving in one Order or another for over twenty millennia (in astrological terms, nearly an entire Great Year), it is remembered in our Branch of Avalonian Tradition as 'the Age of the Mothers'. Taken together, these are the spiritual beliefs, customs, practices, and philosophies which inform the ADO's spiritual beliefs, teachings, and practices today.

The Hidden Ways into Avalon

          Anciently, there were three ways to 'join' an Avalonian Order:  by (1) Lineage; (2) 'Marriage'; or (3) Fosterage (the ancestral equivalent to 'adoption').  The former are based upon Bloodlines (inheritance), and the latter upon Avalon's Motherlines (teaching lineages).  Since for millennia only the Braithion Avalonian Age and Archetype existed, Tribes members shared exactly the same worldview, so there was no reason not to recognise housemates ('Marriage') and children (Lineage) as community members automatically.  Today, mainstream mindsets inform most people's attitudes, expectations, and behaviour, and since mainstream beliefs and values are often diametrically opposed to our own, immediate membership through Lineage and Marriage is now practically impossible.  Thus, Fosterage ('Aspirancy') has become the usual path to Lifetime Membership for adults, with your Tutor(s) 'sponsoring' or advocating for you at Council when you are ready to join.  A provisional Youth Membership is available for eligible children* of members, with the possibility of Lifetime Membership when they reach adulthood.

          As fosterlings of the Tribes, we are all spiritual kin; thus, membership is intended to be a mutual (reciprocal) lifetime commitment.  We commit to train and nurture you for as long as you remain a member in good standing, and you commit to demonstrably live your ADO spiritual practice as an active community member, to preserve and protect the Tradition as received from the ADO Founders, and to help 'grow' the community through educational outreach, events, tutoring, and Grove work.  Unlike many larger groups, and most 'cyber' groups, our members have direct access to all Core Members (senior members of the Order). There is no 'inner circle' from which most of the membership is excluded.  Advancement is based upon eligibility, and upon  demonstrable, Traditional knowledge, ability, and skill,  in areas including:  spiritual ablutions; Healing Cycle work; Sacred Story, Star, and Landscape lore; Dreaming and ritual practices; tutoring; and service/contribution to the community (i.e. participation).  Generally, the pace of your advancement will correspond to the amount of time and energy you regularly commit to study, practice, and active participation.

          Though we are, at present, but a handful of individuals, more than half of the ancestral Tribes are already represented within our community.  The Order continues to grow slowly, carefully, and mindfully, towards completion, walking in the footsteps of Avalon's far ancestors.  We are not looking for 'more' people; we are looking for the right people to complete our spiritual community; those who will be made happiest by living the Tradition as it has been handed down to us, within the context of modern, Traditional community. We invite you to contemplate the unique gifts you might bring to the Order, and whether it would serve your spiritual growth to join us and begin your journey as an Aspirant , today.


* YOUTH ELIGIBILITY:  The candidate's parents/legal guardians must be ADO Lifetime Members; and the candidate must demonstrate a genuine, personal interest in the Tradition, an affinity for our community environment, and the necessary focus, concentration, and self-discipline to learn and follow ADO teachings and practices within a Traditional community setting.  Current, signed consent(s) from all parents and/or legal guardians are also required for each candidate and Youth Member until they come of legal age.

DETERMINATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY & RESTRICTIONS: Youth Memberships are provisional (i.e. generally subject to the same restrictions and requirements as apply to paid Aspirants), and are approved by the ADO Elder Council or its chosen representative based upon spiritual guidance, direct observation, and community input.  Youth Membership determinations may be appealed once each year.

CAVEATS:  Lessons may include some adult material.  Therefore, as a condition for Youth Members to attend, parents/legal guardians agree to:  (1) Provide direct, personal supervision during each lesson; and (2) Use their own discretion with regard to which lessons are appropriate for their child(ren) to attend.  (Regrets, but we cannot tailor lessons to accommodate individual attendees.)