The Ring of *Ghosti- was officially formed in 2020, but that is merely a milestone in the greater narrative. To understand the history of The Ring of *Ghosti-, it is important to know how the organization came to be founded.
In 1983, Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. (ADF) was founded as an independent tradition of neopagan druidism. ADF’s espoused vision is to utilize a combination of sound scholarship and living inspiration to create a modern pagan religion based on the beliefs and practices of the ancient Indo-Europeans. Individual ADF congregations begin as Protogroves and after fulfilling certain requirements become chartered as full Groves.
In 1999, a group in the Albany, NY area formed such a congregation, achieving full Grove status in 2010. The founding members chose the name “Tear of the Cloud Grove” in honor of Lake Tear of the Clouds, the highest water source of the Hudson Valley watershed.
As with many neo-pagan organizations, and indeed all churches, the composition of the group changed over the years as old members left and new members joined. However, the core ideals and values held by the members remained steadfast, and the sense of community deepened.
In 2016, Tear of the Cloud Grove established its own convention, *Ghosti-Con, with a strong focus on hospitality and community. The convention was open to all interested parties, and in its four-year run drew attendees from near and far. Some were affiliated with ADF or other pagan organizations, others were new to paganism, or simply open-minded souls interested in learning more about paganism in general and ADF in particular.
Over the years, members of Tear of the Cloud Grove (ToCG) had varying degrees of involvement with the larger ADF organization. But the primary focus of all members was the local community, and ToCG developed its own unique traditions and practices based on the knowledge, experiences and interests of its membership. There were moments when members of ToCG expressed concerns about the direction of ADF, but it was generally agreed upon that ADF had a lot to offer and that there were sufficient opportunities to generate positive change from within.
Unfortunately, the divide between the values held by the members of ToCG and the actions of ADF leadership grew significantly between 2016 and 2019, leading a majority of ToCG to question whether or not being affiliated with ADF was right for them. Most felt that the leadership of ADF had failed in their duties, both to the membership, and to society at large. ADF’s reluctant and lackluster statements in response to recent atrocities and crises, coupled with a disturbing lack of appropriate or timely action regarding allegations of abuses within the organization (including sexual abuses), led the members of ToCG to a very difficult decision.
Late in 2019, after much soul-searching and discussion, the members of ToCG agreed to break away from ADF and form a new organization that would reflect the group’s core values and create an opening and welcoming spiritual community.
Thus, in 2020, The Ring of *Ghosti- was founded.
The term *Ghosti- is a Proto-IndoEuropean invented root word for both host and guest; and serves as the summation of the values of hospitality and reciprocity. The Ring of *Ghosti- is a neo-pagan community where all should feel welcome and included. It is founded on the principles of hospitality, sharing, and compassion. It is a living, developing organization, committed to finding guidance in the wisdom found in the ancient pagan traditions to navigate the myriad of challenges of the modern world.