Having exposed ADF to the outsider/outlaw warrior the feedback has been interesting and slightly frustrating. The basic concepts are all covered in the article Outlaws/Outsiders Part I – Fénidecht but misunderstandings still exist. They don’t understand how anyone would be drawn to such a status, how such a person would be involved in ADF or why ADF should even bother caring about such people. The last is most problematic for me but I hope I can address each of these in turn.
People wonder “Why would anyone want to be an outsider?” and the answer is simple, in most instances no one asked for it. Personal experiences have driven us to the outskirts of our chosen communities. Be it negative experiences with the community-at-large or experiences unrelated to the community that makes us more unable or unwilling to take part in certain types of community rituals. Sometimes, it is a foolish oath made in youth that forces us to be non-participator in certain situations.
The second question is of involvement. Just as we may prefer to remain on the periphery in rituals, we also serve our communities from the periphery. In a ritual context we may prefer to function outside of community rituals as guides and watchers, looking for safety issues, helping people find their way etc. Some groups have incorporated us into the ritual structure by allowing us to stand just beyond, in the liminal area between the ritual space and ‘mundane’ space. Socially and politically we tend to be very active in our communities, to include running for leadership positions.
This last one is problematic for me because it came from an ADF leader. Mind you, these are not exact words but after several statements made this is the impression being given. ADF is no place for people who ‘want to stand apart’. The fact is we don’t always want to ‘stand apart’ and we don’t always have to do so and we are always looking for a community to which we can belong. One that understands we won’t always fit in, or be part of the festivities and accepts us for what we are. In return we would find ways to serve that community in ways that make sense to that community.
Being one who identifies as the ‘outsider warrior’ does not mean we will always stand apart. That is the paradox of being an ‘outsider’ in the 21st century. Sometimes we are very much the insider. I myself am a Grove Organizer and so by default within the context of my grove I am the leader of a community and not on the periphery. Yet, when I go to my next pan-Neopagan festival I will be taking all those things that identify me as a féinnid and function as such in relation to the tribe that will be brought together. It is a fluid state of spiritual being in which I live and am comfortable.
Dear reader, you know people who fit this profile. Please open your communities to them and come to understand them. Like the wolves, once we become part of your pack we are loyal and fierce.