Ethics Statement for All Members
The AODA as an order values inclusivity, understanding, integrity, tolerance, and a respect for all beings. AODA is a religious non-profit organization holding 501.c.3. status and is incorporated in the state of Connecticut. Thus, the resources of our organization are leveraged to benefit our members and support protecting and honoring the living earth.
Membership is open to adults of all religious, cultural, national, and ethnic backgrounds. We welcome those of any sexual identity, gender, and gender identity, including transgender, non-binary, and agender individuals. Membership is also open to those of any belief system; we have members who practice druidry along with many other faiths and perspectives, including but not limited to Buddhism, Christianity, Paganism, Animism, Shinto, and Atheism. We welcome those who are differently-abled or neurodiverse and are happy to adapt our curriculum to meet the needs of our members (see: http://aoda.org/aoda-membership/adapting/). Our goal is to be an organization where every person, inclusive of identity, background, and belief, can find a home.
AODA recognizes and honors that each person who joins AODA has a unique path and unique expressions of that path. In keeping with the traditions of Revival Druidry, the AODA encourages its members to pursue their own spiritual directions within a broad common framework, and our approach to spirituality is personal and experiential rather than dogmatic. Creativity and the quest for personal Awen – the inner light of inspiration – are among the AODA’s central values. Our common framework includes a daily protective practice, the Sphere of Protection, which members adapt to fit their own beliefs and ecosystems. We also share a core set of practices including our grove opening and closing rituals, initiation rituals, and celebration of the four traditional Druid holy days: the solstices and equinoxes. Our curriculum is designed to be flexible and focus on allowing each druid to explore and adapt their druidry to their own ecosystem and path, honoring the diverse paths and identities that each individual brings to our order.
In line with our Masonic roots, AODA as an organization respects the separation of church and state and maintains political neutrality. That is, while members are welcome to hold any political beliefs, we ask all of our members to refrain from discussing politics of any kind in our AODA-sponsored spaces (Forums, Facebook group, and Discord server). We create safe spaces for individuals of all identities, beliefs, and walks of life by maintaining a politically neutral space.
Those who perpetrate hate crimes or belong to hate groups, who commit unnecessary violent acts (e.g., acts not in defense of self or others) toward humans or the natural world, or who have been convicted of crimes that demonstrate a disregard for the well-being of others (human or non-human) do not align with the overall ethics of the organization. The Grand Grove reserves the right to review and revoke the membership of people falling into the above categories.
Our commitment to integrity and truth encompasses the transcendent and the earthly. Falsification of information upon application for membership or degree completion, as well as failing to maintain the secrecy of initiations and the inner work of the order, are grounds for dismissal/termination of membership per Grand Grove review and decision. This includes any sort of deception, including plagiarism (failing to give proper credit to or passing off the writing or ideas of others as your own).
AODA Volunteer Ethics
AODA volunteers, including all members of the Grand Grove, are expected to abide by the above ethics for AODA’s organization. Additionally, AODA volunteers should work to maintain a welcoming atmosphere for all members; promote AODA’s practices, curriculum, and work to members; and work for the betterment of our organization. AODA volunteers should recognize that they are one of the public faces of the organization. As such, their actions and words hold a higher weight with members and should be in line with promoting peaceful and meaningful interactions. Volunteers not abiding by these ethical standards will be removed from their positions.
As leaders in the organization, Archdruids are held to the highest ethical standards in AODA. Archdruids are members of AODA who have mastered our practices and have made AODA a core part of their spiritual life. Archdruids are expected to continue to maintain our regular practices (Sphere of Protection, Holy Day celebrations, etc) as role models to our community and also be willing and able to teach these practices to our members. As Archdruids and leaders of our organization, Archdruids are expected to treat all members with respect and care, work to facilitate peaceful interactions among members, address difficulty or challenge with a calm and thoughtful presence, and work to promote the AODA and its practices both within and beyond our community. Archdruids should also recognize that there is a confidentiality and discretion that comes with spiritual leadership. Archdruids commit to keeping in confidence spiritual experiences or conversations shared by AODA members, sharing only with that member’s explicit permission.
Archdruids should recognize that they are one of the most visible and public faces of the organization and that their actions reflect upon the organization. Thus, we ask Archdruids to ever conduct themselves with discretion and wisdom. Archdruids should be aware that their status as an Archdruid reflects not only in AODA-sponsored spaces but also in any other public-facing activities (public rituals, gatherings, social media, writings) and work to reflect and embody the above ethical standards.
If any Archdruid is not meeting these standards, they can be removed by a unanimous vote by the other Archdruids, as per our bylaws.