We have had moderate success holding a regular study group this year. It was much better before the summer slammed into us and then suddenly everyone wanted to go outside and enjoy the warm weather and stuff. Who could ever imagine!?! So now that the seasons are beginning to turn, schools are back in session and society is turning towards inside productivity, let us join in and get the band back together.
When we had the calendar committee meeting back at the beginning of the summer, we had scheduled the first Thursday night of each month to be Study Group meetings. Since that meeting, however, we haven't had one single meetup. There has also been a dynamic of tension between members can only attend if it is on the weekend and members who can only attend during the week. Not fisticuffs level of tension, but a scheduling tension nonetheless. This is part and parcel for New York, with all the various activities on the schedule every week, along with the necessities of work, there is a certain degree of difficulty.
What to do? What to do!
We have a number of options which can be explored. First of all, we do have a very active group on Facebook which holds space for discussion of topics. Generally, this gets run over with many threads of discussion which can make it difficult to focus any topics which pertain to The Dedicant's Path, or other more advanced ADF studies. Also, this is not the same experience as a face to face discussion. Secondly, this website has the technology enabled to hold discussions in our Forums. I just now started a forum called "Study Group" which at the moment it open and public, but if we wish to use this option and prefer it be private and closed that can definitely be arranged. To use this forum, you only need to open an account here. Special Bonus Note: Grove members can and should be able to write posts for this website that address specific aspects of Druidry. But again the downside of this option is once again, it is online. Granted it is a place where we control the data and the parameters of the experience, but it is still an online property and is certainly not as pleasant as sitting in Delphi's living room or around my table. Third, we can elect someone to take a more proactive role in leading the Study Group
and demand that they make us all show up to negotiate the scheduling of time and place for study group. Fourth, we can find some helpful medium between all these possibilities.
Personally, I am keen on a combination of options 2 & 3. I will note that if someone gets the idea that they are going to nominate me to lead the Study Group, then I'm gonna lazily suggest that all meetings take place around my table! Ha! But seriously, I do think that using our own website & forums for rapid exchange of ideas combined with a monthly meeting would be ideal. The forums, I believe, will email you when there is a response to a topic you are involved in and you can quite possibly reply by email.
Now onto the scheduling of the monthly meeting of the Study Group. Perhaps this is a bit much to throw into the basket, but maybe we can use this as a moment in time for us to welcome new people to the group. I realize it is a bit much to try to assimilate all the information that gets thrown at you when you first show up at a ritual, and I am in no means discouraging people from doing so. It might be helpful if we invite those who are curious about what they just witnessed, or want to know more about how things work, then we could invite them to the Study Group.
How would this new conceptualization of the Study Group work?
In my imagination, we could spend sometime each meeting to discussion the Core Order of Ritual. This will be especially valuable for any newcomers as it will explain the way we practice. It will also help those who are on Dedicant's or higher paths of study deepen their knowledge of this important aspect of our druidry. In my experience, teaching newly learned material to others is one of the best ways to learn something. Then we could have additional discussions involving one of the Nine Virtues which ADF suggests as part of our studies. Here's another hint from the Scribe, these could lead to postings on this website, either in the voice of an individual or group consensus. Finally, the timing of these meetings can be chosen as the same day of the week all the time, or (my favorite) in conjunction with a particular phase of the Moon.
In summation, there is plenty to discuss about the nature of our Study Group. There are any number of paths which can be taken in order to continue making progress together as a grove, ultimately by way of our actions. I look forward to hearing/reading thoughts from you all knowing that you are all have interesting lives and as a result, interesting things to say.