Hedgerow School &
Grove of the ADO Founder

Apprenticeships
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Traditional
Training
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Guided
Practice

          Hedgerow Schools evolved out of necessity at a time when the study and practice of Druidry were outlawed by the new Christian establishment on pain of death.  It simply wasn't possible to train people as we had for millennia, but if the Tradition was to survive, another way had to be found.  Fences of living, edible shrubs called "hedgerows" have been used to mark boundaries and contain livestock from time out of mind; roses, sloes, and brambles predominate in these plantings, with occasional, dense stands of hazel, elder, and apple, interwoven throughout them. The branches of hedgerows are 'laid' (literally interwoven as they grow) to form an impenetrable barrier; a living boundary which also fed communities when other crops failed.  It was to this source of nourishment that the ancestral Tribes and Druids turned to preserve their ancient traditions.

          Students would meet wandering Druids at predesignated locations along the inside of these thorny hedges, opposite the road.  In exchange for teachings, students brought their mentors news, and vital supplies.  Shielded by thorns, lessons could be taught in safety.  Hedgerows are too tall and too dense to penetrate either physically or visually, and by the time the authorities could get round them, the Druids were already headed to their next location.  The lessons the they taught were then explored and handed down by their students in the privacy of their own homes.  The scheme was so successful that English and Church authorities eventually ordered the Irish to destroy their hedgerows. It was a mandate which, with the onset of the potato famine, would prove disastrous.  The ensuing loss of life prompted subsequent governments to re-plant many hedgrows, and their ancient uses have been reinstated along with them.

          This history seems to us very relevant to our own time.  Once again, the world is entering a period of extreme intolerance, in which people of minority faiths are routinely harrassed and persecuted, and mainstream faiths are employing violence to reassert their waning authority.  People generally seem eager to rush to judgement, and keen to punish those they deem to be 'different' from themselves. In this increasingly hostile worldview, tolerance for diversity has become synonymous with treachery. Such a climate makes the Hedgerow School as essential as ever to preserving our Druid Way.

          Thus, whatever services the Order may provide, the Tradition abides with each of us, and we take it on the road with us, wherever we may go.  This is true of all ADO Elders and Core Members, but it is especially true for us, as the ADO Founders. There are, of course, customary ways of coordinating places and times for meetings, and our hedgerow may as easily be a park bench or café table as a thorny barrier in a field

          Traditionally, this information was left in coded messages; as Coelbren or Ogham riddles, inscribed on sticks and stones along a path, whose deciphering relied upon a knoweldge of the Sacred Lore and Landscape. Such precautions may again prove necessary, but for now you can check our Events page and Member Forum for clues.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!
          Rhosyn Ddraig Grove is the Grove of the ADO Founder (Morgaine), and her life partner (Myrddin); Founders, respectively, of the Order's Sister (AONS) and Brotherhoods (DBoI).  As the ADO's primary Mentors, our Grove is also a Regional Centre and Training Hub for the Order.  Working at the most advanced level of attainment, and providing most of the ADO's services, limits our available time and energy, making training new members difficult.

          As mentors, we expect you to do your best, and to strive always for excellence and Truth; necessary aspects of Druid character, which are also necessary for full participation in the work of our Grove.  You must also be prepared to do your own research/verification; we can show you the Way, but we cannot walk it for you. New members to our Learning Circle and/or Grove must be self-motivated, and accept being excluded from many Grove activities until you reach at least an intermediate level of attainment within the Order.  W hile we expect a great deal from you, you will have greater opportunities for rapid advancement here than you might elsewhere, precisely because of our Grove's extra obligations.

           At present, ours is the Order's only Chartered Grove.  The other Groves recently dissolved when members left or relocated, leaving them short of the minimum membership requirement set by the ADO Bylaws (a requirement from which Rhosyn Ddraig is exempt, in consideration of our greater burden of responsibility).  However, t wo Elders and former Grove members are now available to start Learning Circles in Florida and Pennsylvania (USA), and one new member is preparing to start a Learning Circle in Nova Scotia (Canada).  You might also consider starting your own Learning Circle or Grove. Please see our Groves  page for more information.

          Those living in the Mid-Atlantic who prefer to join an established Grove will be best served by contacting us. Rhosyn Ddraig Grove focuses mainly on deepening the Order's understanding of intermediate and advanced Tradition teachings and practices through intensive research, study, and practice.  The core of this work is defined by our Sacred Story Lore, Landscape, Star Lore, and Cycle (or Healing) work.  Even if you have extensive experience in these subject areas through membership in other groups, our perspective and approach are sufficiently different to oblige you to start your studies again from scratch.

          Rhosyn Ddraig Grove Lifetime Members generally spend about twenty hours each week in research, study, practice, and service to the Order (and more, as Druid Novices).  We are Druids first and foremost because we hold our particular strand of Tradition lineage, and because we serve an Avalonian spiritual community.  To those with a true Calling, this is a delightful prospect, and we gladly find ways to manifest the time and opportunities we need.  If you are ready, able, and eager to meet these challenges, then we would love to have you join us!  Just include a request to join our Learning Circle with your paid Application/Enrolment for the Aspirant Home Study.  We  look forward to hearing from you!