Thursday, June 05, 2008


Well, it's been almost two weeks since a very satisfying time at Wellspring. I'm saddened that more people can't make it to festivals on a regular basis; the amount of energy and information you can glean is truly remarkable. Not to mention the sparkling conversation and intellectual stimulation you get from people you know and the people you newly meet.

Like getting Guild Chiefs off their butts and doing their job!

Ya ya ya. It's true. I've been quiet and not overly involved in the Guild (some might say I've been a petulant child sulking in my room alone and they'd not be far wrong) but due to the heroic efforts of Beth S. and Jeremy M. I've been stoked to a simmer. We talked a lot over the weekend, along with my own Grove- and our wonderfully engaging camp-mates from Sassafras Grove. We also pitched some new ideas to various "elders" on the MG and COL and everyone pretty much liked what they heard. Generally, though, the response was "put a proposal together!" so that's what's been occupying my thoughts recently. (That and an amazing start to a deepening relationship with Odin and Norse culture for me and my Grove - see my LJ at for more on that.)

I thought it best to begin the process of including the rest of the Guild and other interested parties to join in the conversation. (Beth and Jeremy, if there are other points I'm forgetting, please speak up and don't fear to correct me.) Some of my thoughts are still in the formative stage, but there are a couple of assumptions that I am working from.

First and foremost, I see our Guild as being a bit different from other Guilds. Whereas other Guilds represent a chosen "job" or "path" within ADF (and even one's life) I believe that pretty much everyone in ADF is a scholar of some sort. So on the one hand we have something to give to every member (and interested member) that lies at the very core of their interest in ADF. On the other hand, if we're so pervasive in the organization, why have members (or even a Guild!) at all? What makes membership in our Guild unique vs. (let's say) a member of the Warrior Guild doing research about ancient Parthian military formations (or lack thereof)? This question is at the core of our Guild and its purpose and has had different answers at different times. Our Guild was there at the beginning of the Guild system, and has (frankly) struggled since. I hope to end the challenge of "why/what/how the ADF Scholars Guild" for at least a little while by putting together the definitions of and requirements for what I believe it is to be a member of the ADF Scholars Guild: an ADF Scholar.

I follow up that notion with the belief that a member of the Guild (who I refer to as an ADF Scholar versus a scholar in ADF) is distinguished by doing versus being. That is, I feel very strongly that you cannot rest on your laurels (for long) but need to be constantly striving, growing and creating. Although it is usual in ADF to award a title after work done, it is odd to me that (generally) there is no ongoing requirement for continuing that work. Granted, this is very similar to other Pagan religions in their granting of rank, but there is another model in the mundane scholarly community affectionately called "Publish or Perish." I realize this is normally for titled positions at Universities and that you forever retain your Ph. D. or other post-grad degree, but the notion that you need to continue to work and present it is very strong in that milieu and something that I would like to encourage as a defining feature of the ADF Scholars Guild culture.

Finally, I feel that much of our scholarly effort, both formal and informal, is not being plumbed to its fullest extent. I even fear that some of our history and research has already been lost, or at the very least, laying forlorn and forgotten in various corners of the Internet and in members (and ex-members) homes. I believe very strongly that a significant portion of the mission of our Guild is to find, consolidate and make available the riches that scholars of ADF (guilded or otherwise) have already created. In addition, I feel we need to have a place where the results of study and creativity can live and interweave with older works, and be capable of being integrated into our current work and provide the basis for further and deeper study. With such a platform available to us, all members of the ADF scholarly community (from Scholars to Warriors to Artisans) can push forward to new heights of achievement.

In my musings, I call this body of work the Corpus of ADF. It would be the mission of the ADF Scholars Guild to build, enrich and maintain the Corpus, either directly interacting with it or helping others use it and the wealth of knowledge it represents. The preliminary efforts of our Guild Archivist AEthon Tobar with D.R.U.I.D. is a first step but I have a grander vision of a mini-internet of sites (modeled after Wikipedia, LibraryThing, Lexus/Nexus and others), where information is easily available for instruction, research or (vetted) modification.

Hopefully I have been able to articulate the guiding principles of my vision in an understandable way, and I am more than willing to engage with anyone on these topics. Feel free to respond here, email me privately, or even call me at home if the mood so strikes. In the coming weeks, I hope to flesh out these ideas and incorporate them into our Guild structure and direction and look forward to engaging with all of you (along with others who will be excited by these ideas) to make those dreams a reality.

I am excited by the possibilities of our people and our Guild, along with the wealth that we can share with all of ADF.

Yours in the Mother,

Chris Sherbak
Guild Chief
Scholars Guild, ADF

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