WHAT IS NEMOS OGNIOS?
Nemos Ognios is a protogrove of Ár nDraíocht Féin (arn-REE-okt-FANE, or ADF for short), which translates from Gaelic as "Our Own Druidry" from Gaelic. ADF It was founded in 1983 by Isaac Bonewits and is now the largest druidic organization in the country. Our name is Proto-Indo-European for "Grove of the Living Flame." Our grove was founded in June of 2000 and serves the spiritual needs and intellectual curiosity of those in the Southern New Hampshire – north of Boston area.
ADF is a pan-Indo-European organization, which means that its members might identify themselves with any of the Indo-European traditions, from the Celts, to the Norse, to the Romans, to the Greeks, to the Vedic Indians, and to a variety of the other ethnic traditions that are found from Ireland to India. Nemos Ognios has chosen to have as its ethnic foci those of whoever wants to join. We have in the past done rituals in the Roman, American, Proto-Indo-European, and Irish traditions, with the last three being our current emphases.
WHAT DO WE DO?
Nemos Ognios meets about twice each month.. Each meeting starts with a short ritual in which we ask the Deities, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits to bless us. As befits our name, we light a flame that burns throughout the meeting, and is extinguished in a closing ritual at the end of the meeting.
At our meetings, we can do just about anything related to the grove, ADF, Paganism, our ethnic foci, etc. Activities planned for grove meetings might include a discussion of patron deities, ritual theory, domestic religion, Pagan movie night, storytelling, nature walks, and anything else members want to do.
Nemos Ognios holds public rituals at least eight times a year, roughly on the solstices, equinoxes, and cross quarters. The style of our rituals reflects our members’ interests, and so are usually based on Celtic and Proto-Indo-European cultures. All of our rituals are open to the public. We welcome Pagans of every tradition and path to them, as well as those who just want to learn more about Druidry or Pagan ways in general.
WHAT DO WE BELIEVE?
First, we believe that belief isn't as important as practice. We believe that the divine beings are more concerned with what we do than with what we believe. They want to be worshiped, and they want to be worshiped in the manner to which they are accustomed. That said, what do we believe?
We believe that the Gods are real, that they are individual, existent, personal beings. They are not archetypes (although they resonate with the archetypes, otherwise we would not know who they are). They are not personification of aspects of our psychology (although they resonate with our psyche, otherwise we would not care that they exist). They are real, and they have their preferences and their powers. It is only right and advisable to recognize this, and them.
Our deities are as likely to be female as to be male, but we are polytheists, believing in a large number of these deities, rather than a God and Goddess of whom other deities are manifestations.
Many members of ADF view the Earth Mother as the most important of these deities. This is in keeping with the usual earth-centered nature of Neo-Paganism. As a result of our orientation towards the earth, we believe that living in a proper relationship with the planet is both good and necessary.
As well as the deities, we honor the Ancestors and the Spirits of the Land. The Ancestors are those who have gone before us and who have contributed to who we are, both our genetic ancestors and those who have founded or contributed greatly to our culture.
The Spirits of the Land are those beings that are tied closely to natural locations. Since we live in a land that was inhabited before the Europeans arrived, we look in part to the religion of the American Indians to tell us who these spirits are and how they wish to be treated. Failing such knowledge, we make offerings to those nameless ones who gather around us, and tentatively grope towards an understanding of them.
We wish to worship the Divine Beings in the ways that they wish to be worshiped. To this end, we engage in research into the way they have been worshiped in the past, assuming that they are accustomed to that, and will respond well to it. Our rituals, therefore, are based firmly in ancient practice, and are dedicated to the ancient ways. We are not interested in fantasies projected into the past, such as visions of matriarchy, or of Atlantis. We want to know what really was believed and done in the past, so we can believe it and do it today.
But we do not remain slavishly linked to the past either. Times have changed, and our religion must change with them. We are not a group that is trying to live in the past. We are instead trying to bring the best of the past into the present, allowing it to inspire us to make a better future. It is the tension between past and present that makes for the more interesting of our discussions and is a major strength of ADF.
HOW DO I JOIN?
Since its beginning, the ADF vision has included a commitment to serving the Pagan community. As part of this vision, our rituals and meetings are open to all who wish to attend, members or not. Joining us, however, will be joining the dream of creating an organization which provides a place for those who wish to worship the Shining Ones in ways that are beautiful, authentic, and pleasing to them. Joining the international organization of ADF will also allow you to participate in the training programs we offer, as well as having access to e-mail lists frequented by others studying the same material.
What ADF asks of its members in turn is a dedication to excellence and to our ideals, especially Study, Piety, and Virtue. We want people who are willing to make a commitment to finding out what there is to know about ancient Paganism and who want to bring it into today. We want people who are devoted to the Divine Beings, who make regular personal and public worship part of their lives. And we want people who are dedicated to being the best person they can be. If you are this sort of person, if you want to be part of a shared dream of making the old ways live again, then welcome aboard.
If what we do speaks to you, then, and if you want to become part of the dream and the fellowship that comes with being a member, we invite you to join. Simply contact us:
For samples of our rituals, see Ritual Practice