A meeting in a bookstore between two individuals sharing a common interest in Druidry would lay the ground work for the formation of the first Druid Proto-Grove in Erie, Pennsylvania. In a short time from this initial meeting, our Grove would find its name and identity on the shores of the very lake on which it was formed.
On a late summer evening while walking the beaches of Lake Erie, a young man, who was an organizing member of the Grove, came upon an old man sitting along the shore. The old man was watching the waves and the boats upon the lake. The old man told the younger man that if he only listened you could hear the lake whisper. It was from this conversation that the Whispering Lake Proto-Grove was born.
Whispering Lake Grove, ADF was founded as an official Proto-Grove of Ár nDraiocht Féin, Inc. (ADF) by Sharon Smith in November of 2002. Sharon Smith would become not only the Grove Organizer, but also the Grove’s first Senior Druid.
Whispering Lake Proto-Grove held its first official meeting on November 17, 2002 with seven members in attendance. Early meetings of WLG were held in the homes of its members.
In March of 2003 the Grove began renting space for meetings, workshops, and worship at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Erie, Pennsylvania. Whispering Lake Grove held its first public ritual in celebration of Beltaine in May of 2003 and has regularly held open-to-the-public rituals since that time.
That same year we contracted with Pennsylvania’s Adopt-a-Highway program to clean up one of Erie County’s hilliest sections of road, a necessary community service that has resulted in some of our more interesting anecdotes!
Whispering Lake Grove became a provisionally Chartered Grove of Ár nDraiocht Féin in February of 2004. The Grove held its first Annual Meeting and Officer Elections were held in July of that year with new officers taking their Oath of Office during our Samhain ritual. Rev. Raven Mann would become the second Senior Druid of the Grove. He would continue holding this office until 2010 when Rev. Christopher Temple would become the Grove’s third Senior Druid.
Members of Whispering Lake Grove would be instrumental in founding the United Neopagans Council of Lake Erie (U-N-C-L-E) and in facilitating Erie’s first Pagan Pride Day event in 2005. Whispering Lake Grove would actively participate in the hosting of this event and in U-N-C-L-E until the organization and the event were disbanded in 2010.
During the Wellspring Festival of 2006, the Grove called upon Manannan mac Lir to stand as our Grove Patron, as he has done since that time.
In August of 2008 at Summerland Festival, Whispering Lake Grove would see the ordination of its first two ADF priests in the Grove, the Rev. Raven Mann and Rev. Carrion Mann. A third ADF priest would follow in April of 2011 with the addition of Rev. Christopher Temple.
Members of Whispering Lake Grove began a relationship with the members of 6th Night Grove, ADF running the kitchen at Summerland Festival at Camp Clifton, OH for a four year period that would turn into a co-hosting partnership in 2011. Whispering Lake Grove continue to co-host Summerland Festival to this day.
In 2012 nearing the 10th anniversary of WLG’s original charter, the Grove applied for and received recognition as a fully chartered grove within ADF. Rev. Carrion Mann would become the fourth Senior Druid of the Grove in October 2012 followed by the current Senior Druid, Rev. Christopher Temple.
On January 2, 2013 Whispering Lake Grove experienced a profound loss with the death of their first Senior Druid, Grove Seer, and Preceptor, Rev. Raven Mann. Raven, our family, friend, teacher, and priest, was instrumental in the shaping of Whispering Lake grove into its present form and would become the first Grove Ancestor.
In 2014 Rev. Carrion Mann became the first recognized female Senior Priest of ADF, and in the Summer of 2015 Rev. Christopher Temple joined the ranks of Senior Priests.
In May of 2016 the Rev. Carrion Mann was elected by the membership of ADF as the Vice Arch Druid of the organization.
On August 28, 2016 Whispering Lake Grove would experience a second loss with the death of founding member of the Grove and long time Secretary, Cindy Aldrich. Cindy, our family and dearest friend, and also instrumental in the shaping of Whispering Lake grove and the author or our recessional chant, For All Time. Cindy would be honored and elevated to the status of Grove Ancestor in the fall of 2016.
The members of Whispering Lake Grove resurrected Erie’s Pagan Pride event in September of 2016 with the event known as Common Ground Festival “Be Pagan Once Again”. We plan to continue an annual event aimed at fostering Pagan Pride in Erie, Pennsylvania and the surrounding area.
This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long and fruitful journey!
What is ADF?
by Isaac Bonewits, Founder of ADF
The Irish words, Ár nDraiocht Féin, pronounced “arn ree-ocht fane”, mean “Our Own Druidisn” and that’s just what ADF is – a completely independent tradition of Neopagan Druidism. Like our sisters and brothers in the other Neopagan movements, we are polytheistic Nature worships, attempting to revive the best aspects of the Paleopagan faiths of our ancestors within a modern scientific, artistic, ecological, and wholistic context. Like our predecessors and namesakes the Druids, we are people who believe in excellent – physically, intellectually, artistically, and spiritually.
We are researching and expanding sound modern scholarship about the ancient Celts and other Indo-European peoples, in order to reconstruct what the Old Religions of Europe really were. We are working on the development of genuine artistic skills in composition and presentation. We are designing and performing competent magical and religious ceremonies to change ourselves and the world we live in. We are adapting the polytheologies and customs of both the Indo-European Paleopagans and the Neopagan traditions that have been created over the last fifty years. We are creating a nonsexist, nonracist, organized, and open religion to practice as a way of life and to hand on to our grandchildren. We are integrating ecological awareness, alternative healing arts, and psychic development into our daily activities. Together, we are sparking the next major phase in the evolution of Neopaganism and planting seeds for generations to come.
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Whispering Lake Grove, ADF exists as a chartered subsidiary, branch, and/or division of Ár nDraiocht Féin, A Druid Fellowship, Inc. Whispering Lake Grove, ADF shall not be responsible for any errors or omissions contained at this website. All information provided on this website as “AS IS”. Whispering Lake Grove, ADF reserves the right to make changes without notice and shall not be liable for any damages, whatsoever, arising out of or related to the Whispering Lake Grove website or information contained within it.
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Whispering Lake Grove, ADF
19492 Grange Center Road
Saegertown, PA 16433