Results from a gentle foray into Pagan personality science

When I posted my initial link to the questionnaire, I said I had a hypothesis, but not what it was. I actually had two hypotheses:

  1. Pagans score lower on Compliance than average. (This was the ‘stereotype hypothesis’ in my mind.)
  2. Pagans score lower on Steadiness than average. (This hypothesis was supposed based on my experience resolving disputes as ADF’s Member’s Advocate.)

So, what were my results for these two hyoptheses? Statistically insignificant, and not corroborated, respectively. Only one person out of my 90 useable responses self-identified as a non-ADF member; their data actually pushed against my hypotheses but did not produce a singificant difference. Here’s the statistics, on which I’ve left far too many significant digits:

Dominance Influence Steadiness Compliance
Average 24.6 22.6 29.9 23.0
Median 23 19 32 23
Stddev 16.3 13.3 10.8 13.8

For the first hypothesis regarding Compliance, the big picture here comes from the standard deviation. When used to construct a confidence interval, the null hypothesis that ADFers are much the same as “average”, which is to say a 25% split four ways, is not rejected. (This is even the case for 50% confidence, let alone the usual standard of 95%)

For my second hypothesis, what jumps out at me is that my average result for Steadiness was actually higher than 25%! This throws my second hypothesis out the window. I will note it isn’t a statistically significant deviation, though.

Some Issues Worth Pondering

If I was doing this again, I would likely use my own instrument to tally the data. Not only would it be easier, but there were about ten submissions I had to reject because folks had written, from the confusing results chart, percentages for A, B, C, and D, which were associated with the biggest, second biggest, etc. value. Additionally I’d get access to the numbers as-computed, rather than a percentage rounded to two digits. One of my checks on data entry was to add the values; there were a number that totalled to 99 or 101 rather than 100.

I did note a number of cases where D > I > S > C and wondered if it was cases of this — but even if so, they would have pushed things toward my hypotheses, not away. The high value for S also argues against that being a major issue.

Of course, I’d prefer to do such with a Big Five approach anyhow. An ADF member with experience sent me links to some instruments that would involve not too many questions if I decide to do this again.


A gentle foray into Pagan personality science

I’ve been wondering about the personality composition of ADFers in specific and Pagans in general. I’m a big fan of the idea that a personality test is one where you tell it about yourself and then it tells you what you told it. Even so, they can be tools to know oneself.

I have a hypothesis which I want to compare against actual data. To test it, I need the test results from other ADFers (and Pagans in general, though it’s not as important) for the DISC personality setup, a relatively simple two-axis sort. The test can be found at I know there are other DISC assessments, but I’d rather everyone take the same one. I know the DISC may not be the most scientific per studies; a “Big Five” test would be ideal, but involves more questions. For this initial foray, I wanted something quick.

So, please take the test; something will be learned, even if it’s just “My hypothesis was way off.” Please to comment here or on my FB posts with your results, and identify if you’re an ADF member, a general Pagan, or just someone who likes taking online tests. In the spirit of full disclosure, when I first took this test my results were D 28%, I 28%, S 34%, and C 10%. A retake shows some shuffling: D 39%, I 28%, S 25%, and C 9% — though it’s interesting that I and C were both about the same on this instrument.


Edit: If you haven’t commented here before, your comment will likely be held for moderation. If you’d prefer your comment not be public, do say so and I’ll leave it screened.

Update: See what the results were!

A ritual closing

On March 22nd, 2007, Hemlock Vales Protogrove, ADF came into existence.

Previously, Rev. Michael J Dangler suggested a ritual closing. In some behind the scenes discussion (due in part to being extremely slow at the time), he pointed out some possibilities and suggested it could be done as part of Spring Equinox.

That’s not what I did. Part of it was that the bandaid was already ripped off, so to speak. I didn’t want to drag my regulars — who were willing to join ADF solely if it would make me happy — through a funeral when I was the only one grieving. Another was timing. It struck me as auspicious to do it exactly three years later.

So, tonight I performed the rite, a full COoR rite. It generally followed Hemlock Vales’ ritual methodology, and so was fairly off the cuff; the invocations are firm in my mind.

However, here a few bits about what I did, should anyone else find themselves in the same situation or wish to critique.

I actually opened a double set of gates; one with my Home Shrine, and one with Hemlock Vales’ standard indoor ritual gear. The latter was closed during the Workings Section — along with a few words and the removal of Hemlock Vales’ website — no longer a “closed” page, but a “410 Gone” status code.

Statement of Purpose

I walk the path, but I walk it alone.

I  am in the hall, but the hall is empty.

I am here to formally close Hemlock Vales Protogrove, ADF and give thanks to the Kindreds for their support of it.

Prayer of Sacrifice

Shining, Noble, and Mighty Ones, I give to you these gifts. Hemlock Vales has been blessed by you, and so it is time for one final gift, as a Protogrove. Holy ones, accept these gifts, I pray. (repeat last line 3x)

Workings Section Preface

Now it is time to end the public face of Hemlock Vales Protogrove. This Protogrove may and can return, but it is time for it to fade from view — though the actions it has taken, learning it has done, and upholding of *ghosti- will never fade.

So, what was the Omen? I asked what message the Kindreds had for me, and received Gebo, gifts; Jera, year; Isa, ice. I saw this as about the cycle of gifts over a long period of time yet the recognition of stagnation that had occurred.

Lest anyone ask — I am okay. I saw this coming, and have accepted it.

Field of Dreams Syndrome

Protogroves in ADF have three years to apply for Provisionally Chartered Grove status, or go defunct. Extensions are available — and routinely granted. Hemlock Vales will reach that three year point around the Ides of March this year.

I do not plan to ask  for an extension.

Why? I have many reasons, but perhaps the foremost one is realizing I’m suffering from “Field of Dreams Syndrome.”

“If you build it, they will come” — mysterious voice in “Field of Dreams”

As I submitted my Grove Organizer’s Survey, I had met at least fifty local Pagans personally, and there were more on the county Pagan e-list I ran. There was a student group on Penn State’s campus, reasonably popular with the students and some post-students but without large townie involvement. With this base, I thought I could coax a few out to be part of the Protogrove.

Indeed, I had a few supportive regulars, but their interest was more in regularly held rites than in ADF rites. Some irregular visitors were put off by the structured ADF order of ritual, preferring to be able to do things as they were moved at any point. People would post excitedly to group e-list and then not show up. Many of the local Pagans I knew had outed themselves just to me and were unwilling to join an e-list or

Going back to “If you build it, they will come,” the “they” I sought were other ADF members willing to help not just with rites, but also with all the other aspects of running a Grove. To be Provisionally Chartered, a Grove needs to have three ADF members (among other requirements). I suspect most Provisionally Chartered Groves have more when they apply. I now suspect that waiting to start a Protogrove with two others is a good idea in an area with a small Pagan community, rather than starting a Protogrove in the hopes of finding others.

In hindsight, I should have looked to find interest in ADF first. My regulars, helpful as they have been, would have been fine with open Wiccan-esque circles; they had no attachment to ADF. I had already been running open rites, and being on ADF’s site was not the advertising coup I imagined.

I will continue to hold open rites after the Protogrove is no longer; it is important to me to make these rites available to others. I lose advertising via ADF’s site, the direct support of the GOC and GCC, and the need to file reports — not the ability to hold rites.

So, then, what of this blog? I anticipate writing a bit more about other mistakes — and perhaps taking it in a new direction.

Avoiding Shipkowski’s First Comment on Liturgical Innovation

For the first time in a number of years, I went to another Grove’s High Day Rite. I knew some members of Grove of the Seven Hills, and their Yule rite was on the way to a visit to relatives.

It was really exciting to visit another grove. There are ways, big and little, in which things are done differently. You get to learn new takes on the same old chants. You observe how they handle their pre-ritual briefings. You see a variation on Kirk Thomas’s gate opening that requires less sure-footedness while still keeping the effect. All these ideas help you see what you’re doing a little differently, spark your own ideas — and give you things to incorporate.

Still, it was the things that didn’t go as planned that made me the happiest. Let me explain by proposing what I’ll term “Shipkowski’s First Comment on Liturgical Innovation” (with apologies to the ironically-named Arthur of “Arthur’s Laws of Love”):

Shipkowski’s First Comment on Liturgical Innovation

Other people’s liturgical innovations seem novel and exciting.

Your own liturgical innovations seem foolish and clumsy.

There were no big problems at all — but it was the little things, like thire Yule Log’s candles going out in the wind — that reminded me that, no matter what, we’re all still  humans doing this, dealing with fact that things don’t go as planned. It’s very easy to see someone’s ideas and go “wow, I wish I could do that!” It’s another thing to know that innovation happens not in an environment without mistakes, but in the same universe in which you live.

Of course, if they think I’m not borrowing their change to the Portal Song, they are mistaken.

ADF’s Mottos

ADF as an organization has two mottos, one of which I feel gets more press than the other.

The one that I feel gets more press is “Why not excellence?” A noble sentiment, and one I admire, though I also feel is asserted too vehemently at times.

The other one seems very separate, but very related to the discerning eye: “As fast as a speeding oak tree!” We know where we want to go, but sometimes progress becomes glacial. It might even be the fault of the first model, per Voltaire’s comment that “The best is the enemy of the good.” Excellence as a target can cause inaction, even though, ironically, it may be necessary to make 49 bad attempts to make one good one.

This blog as a project, and to a much lesser degree the Protogrove, have both been hit with a bit of paralysis, and I found myself uncertain how best to restart. The Protogrove is still running — we did have a Lughnasadh rite, and there will be an Equinox rite — but I found myself unable to write a restart. So many things to cover — Lughnasadh, a workshop/simple rite for the local college group, etc.

The answer is to just start back up, and back-track as needed and relevant. Even if it is as fast as a speeding Oak tree. Now to set myself a schedule for updating regularly.

Publicity and preparation

I had been thinking there has been something I wanted to post about, but could never remember when I went to write here.

Yesterday morning, as I reviewed the interested emails regarding our Midsummer Eve rite last night, I remembered what it was — an article on the local Pagan community (warning: PDF; bottom of the page) in Voices, the local alternative newspaper. I come in part-way through, with a picture of me engaged in ritual. They asked to take a picture, and after contemplation I figured that a picture of me being a public Pagan was better than a photograph of Art, public Pagan.

The photography for Voices was done spur-of-the-moment to fit their publication deadlines, and involved me grabbing appropriate items (including my personal shrine’s oil candle in the hope it would stay lit better in a breeze than tea-lights) last-minute. Despite this, I arrived with everything I wanted in-hand and improvised my way through ADF’s Core Order of Ritual without a hitch. Doing rites during the week has a similarly frrantic feel to me. On the day of, even with advance preparation and my noticing that everything is going as-expected or better, I’m still anxious. The last weekday rite involved me wondering why I was so wound up when everything was already packed the night before.

Midsummer Eve last night was the same way — everything went just fine. Still, the feeling of stress remains. In the future, I think I’ll try to take the days of weekday rituals off, to give me more time for calmness — and allow the focus to sit on the High Day rite itself.

Or encourage more weekends, in the modern Pagan fashion.