Who’s Who and What’s What

AODA Member Designations

The AODA has four kinds of members, with designations representing how far a person has worked through the Order’s curriculum. In addition, the Order uses several honorary titles to designate its various leadership roles:

Candidates are members of the AODA who are currently working on their first degree studies or members who have chosen to join the AODA but not to pursue formal study of the AODA curriculum.

Apprentices  have completed the first degree curriculum within the AODA and have thereby earned the degree of Apprentice.

Apprentices can perform initiations for candidates and are also welcomed into our Mentoring program to support candidates.

Companions have completed at least two additional years of study within the AODA, and have completed the second degree curriculum requirements, and have thereby earned the degree of Companion.

Companions can hold an AODA Study Group charter, and perform initiations for Candidates and Apprentices.

Adepts (Druid, Bard, or Ovate) have completed at least six years of dedicated study within the AODA, and have designed and completed an original third degree project in a bardic, ovate, or druid path (earning them the title Bard Adept, Ovate Adept, or Druid Adept).  They have embraced the core of AODA’s practices as a substantial part of their spiritual path.

Adepts can hold an AODA Grove Charter, and perform initiations for Candidates, Apprentices, and Companions.

Ollaves are Adepts who have completed separate, third-degree projects in all three branches of study (Druid, Bard, and Ovate).

Archdruids are Adepts who have been selected to lead the AODA as members of the AODA Grand Grove.  “Archdruid” is an honorary title reserved for our leadership; it cannot be earned through curriculum study.

The AODA Grand Grove

The AODA Grand Grove provides leadership, and financial and administrative oversight for the Order. Its members charter Study Groups and Groves, manage the curriculum and preserve the teachings and traditions of the order. It consists of four Archdruids and three or more Appointed Officers whose roles and responsibilities are further described here.

The Gnostic Celtic Church

The AODA offers an ordination program through the Gnostic Celtic Church (GCC), which is a branch of the AODA. The GCC functions as the center of the religious dimension of the AODA tradition and is responsible for the education and ordination of Druid clergy in AODA, through which it offers a separate curriculum. The GCC also houses the Gnostic Celtic Church Monastery (GCCM), which offers clergy who have reached at least the level of Deacon an opportunity to travel a deeply contemplative path as a “monk in the world”. The GCC clergy program is available to all AODA members at the Candidate degree or higher. 

The Gnostic Celtic Church Monastery

The GCC Monastic Path is designed for clergy members who have discerned a “call” to solitude and contemplation. Some have said this path may be what the original GCC Hermitage of the Heart referred to. However, the Monastic Path differs in structure and intent. Those who choose the Monastic Path make a commitment to a contemplative, “vowed”, spiritual life, rather than simply a solitary practice or a practice of active service.

AODA Groves, Study Groups & Home Circles

Many AODA members prefer to work in a solitary form, while others prefer the companionship of other druids. The AODA offers three kinds of groups for its members: AODA Groves, AODA Study Groups, and  AODA Home CirclesA complete listing of current Groves, Study Groups, and Home Circles can be found here.

Financial Organization of the AODA

AODA is registered as a 501(c)(3) religious nonprofit in the United States of America, and the Grand Grove Archdruids serve as its board of directors. The AODA is an all-volunteer order—those who serve in any leadership capacity have no financial compensation or financial stake in the AODA.  We do have two part-time paid positions: secretarial/new member processing and bookkeeping/taxes.

AODA makes a number of regular contributions to nonprofit organizations that help preserve and protect the earth: The United Plant Savers, The Xerces Society, and The Land Institute, among others.