Like much of ADF, we were shocked, angered, and saddened at the recent accusations regarding ADF’s founder, Isaac Bonewits.
Unequivocally, Three Cranes Grove, ADF, denounces the abuse outlined in the book. We stand with victims, always, in our work, and pray for healing by our fire for the author. The Wild Hunt’s article on this topic is worth a read (trigger warning: sexual abuse of minors) to obtain context on this topic.
The space we have built aims to be sacred and safe for all, and we will actively continue to work to make it so. We invite questions, and we will answer honestly and as fully as we can, given what we know at the time, if anyone has questions about ADF, our space, or our work.
Isaac has never attended a 3CG ritual or event. Most of our members have never met him. He originally left ADF in 1996 (3CG was founded in 2002), and he passed in 2010.
We take the accusations, as presented, extremely seriously; we have been working hard to be proactive on this front for some time. As an ADF Grove for over 15 years, we were unaware that this might lurk in our past, and everyone in the Grove learned of the accusations (at the earliest) only the night before The Wild Hunt ran their article on the topic.
Two years ago, we began training our priests in consent culture through Cherry Hill Seminary, and providing that training out to our members as well. We revisited how we deal with harassment and similar issues, and found new ways to respond to them. We wanted to deepen our commitment to creating safe spaces, and we think we’ve been successful at that.
Where This Leaves Us, and Where We Go:
Much of this has left us raw and questioning a lot of our foundational work. We want to address that foundation, and where we are today.
Our Grove, like much of ADF, was founded on a vision statement that Isaac outlined in 1983. It was idealistic, forward-looking, and it spoke to us in deep ways that led to a lot of joyful work and fellowship. It was the vision, not the man, who inspired us as a Grove.
We have, for some time, considered that founding vision to be primarily historical, a relic of where we were when we started: for a working group, it has always been too broad, and it was not updated over the past 30+ years. What has happened within our Grove (and others, I expect) is that the Vision of ADF that we work in is no longer a product of Isaac’s lonely vision, but instead a collective work that focuses strongly on being an open, safe space for ritual and service to the community.
ADF is founded on Isaac’s vision, and we cannot change that; but ADF’s Vision, and our Grove’s Vision, has become something bigger than any individual. Isaac doesn’t have a bearing on our future. In so many ways, we’ve grown beyond his vision.
Our Vision has become more collaborative and brighter without him, and we think it can get brighter still. One person doesn’t make or break our work. We are not, and have not been for a long time, “Isaac’s Org.” We’re very much a co-created Org with autonomous subgroups that do what we want to do, how we want to do it, benefitting the whole as we go along.
We hope that you will ask questions, and we hope you will still feel welcome with us. We’re prepared to show our community that we mean it when we say: our space is safe, our fire is good, and our arms are open.
Bright Blessings & Deep Healing to All,
-the Officers and Clergy of 3CG