It was eighteenth years ago when I first joined a Pagan group, at that time I was in my first year at the Social Sciences Graduation, and I knew a girl of the same course that told me about coven that she was part of, inviting me to join. I had never known anyone that really practiced Paganism until that, although I had been interested about the theme for many years before. That coven was a branch of Brazilian Golden Dawn, which the training was something like a mixture between Wicca and Shamanism, but I did not stay too much longer there, for I felt it was not my path.
For some years, I studied and practiced with some friends or alone, and at some point I reencountered an old member of that coven that had organized his own group with a different focus. This was a Traditional Paganism group, and despite of having that same Wicca mixture with Shamanism, was a little bit closer to what I was for and I had the liberty to choose a preferred culture. I stayed with them for three years, but my path and visions always took me to Celtic symbols and Deities, so I emphasised my studies in the Celtic path, it was at this point that I learned of ADF, twelve years ago.
I had been at that group for one year when I asked to do a special rite to devote myself to Manannán Mac Lir. On that day, I chosen the ritual name I use until today, Énbarr MacManannán. For that rite, I had to choose two godparents, and I chose an old friend and an Anthropology teacher of mine that was also a Strega witch and a lovely friend, but something happened at the day of the ritual. The sun was beautiful on that morning, but two hours before the rite, a wild storm hit and my teacher that lived in a croft was stuck at home. For me that storm was a sign of Manannán saying he wanted to be my godfather, and so I asked the Priest if it was possible and he said that it could. Only now, I understand that what I did that day was a Fosterage rite between Manannán Mac Lir and me.
From that day my link with Manannán Mac Lir and with a Celtic based religion only grew, as well as my interest in ADF and in Celtic Reconstructionism. It was in that group also that I met my husband, who was a History student at the local University at that time and connected with the Celtic path as well. As we began to date, we supported and helped each other to know and research Celtic culture and Druidism. It is not difficult to imagine that we as an Anthropologist and a Historian would easily find our thoughts to be very close of those of Celtic Reconstructionism, for we were used to looking at the past and at cultures with a critical eye and scientific methodology.
With time, we were getting distant from the path of that Traditional Paganism group, for they were still focused on Wicca and Shamanism, and we were then Celtic Polytheists, already finding our path on Irish ground. It was then that we left the group, and began our path alone, studying history, archaeology and myth. We do not recognize ourselves as Celtic Reconstructionists, but we were recognized as it by the one person that knew us. However, we were always more like ADF, because we understand the need of a Religion to be practiced and complete. We study a lot and we are really annoyed with the need of evidences, but we know that something must be created, all based in what would fit in Irish Celtic culture, of course, but still must be creating something new to have a full devotional religion.
In 2006, we created our own group, the Fine Na Dairbre, but it was an idea more than a real group, for we did not have other members. We were still studying and creating things, so our group of two stayed secret until 2011, when we decided to open it to new members. To organize a group is a mixture of delight and frustration, delight for we met amazing people and frustration because of the “pagan scene” we have around us, full of people who hate us because we study, it seems that scholarship is a bad practice in some groups around here, and this bothered me for a long time. Nevertheless, I think I got used to it. In addition, our group grew a lot this last year and now I am more focused on our members than in what the rest of Brazilian Druidic groups think of us. It is also a little sad to live so far from others ADFers and to see the amazing things that happen at ADF in the United States, like festivals and retreats, only from distance.
I have been at ADF since 2009, although I knew it several years before, and I think I am more an ADFer than a Celtic Reconstructionist now, especially after the official connection of our group to ADF. Since I became a Protogrove organizer, I started to see me as an effective member of ADF, despite of the distance. In addition, as the group grows and I can see that what I studied and create of knowledge and practice is working and growing I feel that finally I found my place, with people who share the same path of me.