Nine Virtues of Grove Organization

As I work to get my Dedicant Path (DP) documentation ready to submit, it occurs to me that it might be interesting to give brief thoughts on each of ADF’s Nine Virtues as they apply to being a Grove Organizer (GO, the title for the person officially running the Protogrove). I’ve reordered them a bit to closer match the flow of their relevance to group formation. Note that I’m actually skipping other obvious meanings; there is a lot to be said, for example, for how one’s virtues — or their lack — reflect on the organization as a whole.


The very act of forming a group requires a vision of what that group will be.


There is a reason that some writings on the ADF site refer to “planting” a Grove — it is very much a creative endeavor.


There are many fears one will face when organizing a group. Fear of harassment or ridicule, fear of performing a rite badly, fear of being unable to produce a viable group, and even fear of success. These fears must be faced.


The actions of a Grove Organizer will help shape what the group becomes. When one acts as a leader, actions gain greater consequence, and must be considered well.


Do what you’ll say and say what you’ll do. Don’t break promises of what your group will be doing. All too many Pagans have horror stories about group leaders abusing their power.


The obligations of running a group must be kept in balance, neither starved for lack of effort nor devouring the rest of one’s life.


You will be welcoming both other people and the Kindreds, and should be hospitable to both.


A group does not form overnight. Even when starting with a group of interested people, there is no guarantee a group will coalesce immediately. A setback is not the end, but a cue to press on.


It may be obvious to say, but the idea of a Protogrove is to grow into a group that holds regular, public celebrations of the High Days.

(Note: Lest anyone get the wrong idea, analysis of the above virtues rather than agreement with them is what is required for DP documentation.)


4 thoughts on “Nine Virtues of Grove Organization

  1. Hi Art,

    I am wondering… did you form the PG on your own. I mean did you have any other ADF peeps around you?

    I am asking because I am attempting to form a study group out my way (Akron, Ohio) and I hope it leads to a protogrove. I am not sure however if the others who have contacted me about the study group are hoping the same thing.

    I can totally see your point about courage, I think I would be a little nervous to start a group with “just me”.

  2. Dubhlainn, I have no other local ADF peeps at the moment, though there are a few folks locally with some interest in joining.

    Forming a study group is often the way to go; the biggest reason I jumped right to being a Protogrove is that I had been holding open rites following the ADF Core Order of Ritual for a while already, and felt the best way to find people with more ADF-specific interest was to take it to the next level — which has helped.

    The advantage of a study group is it gives you time to feel comfortable performing rites and with other aspects — you aren’t setting yourself up immediately as someone who knows about ADF. The disadvantage is it might not be clear how much people are invested in the group, or what they really want.

    In Akron you should have some of the advantages of location I have had, in that there are a number of groves within day-trip distance. I don’t know your level of ADF experience, but it’s useful to see others’ rites to me even now.

  3. The good news for me anyways is that I am pretty experienced at leading worship and ritual, even though it is not ADF specific. For me the nervousness would be from being the sole person there to represent ADF.

    I visited Stone Creed for Samhain and plan to get down to Three Cranes this spring sometime and back to Stone Creed again over the summer. Hmmm.. State College is about 4 hours away from here but you never know, I might come to visit you as well!

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