The White River Grove was born out of a desire to have a vibrant pagan community that could celebrate life together.
Alena Jones, founder of White River Grove, joined ADF in 2013 on the recommendation of a Unitarian Universalist pastor. She was drawn to ADF because of its focus on scholarship and shared practice without the mandating of shared belief. Shortly after joining ADF, she reached out to local members, and along with another member, Victoria, began to think about the possibility of starting a protogrove in Indianapolis. Victoria suggested that any local group should be named after the city’s most prominent natural feature - the White River. Although Victoria left ADF shortly after, Alena remained, and pursued launching a protogrove in Indianapolis. In August 2014 White River Protogrove received its charter from ADF.
The grove’s first public ritual was conducted at Indianapolis Pagan Pride Day 2014 by Alena, and it was there that she met several of the grove’s founding members. Over the first year of the protogrove’s existence, eight members joined the group, and developed close friendships through weekly study groups, monthly business meetings, and regular social events. As the community grew closer, our shared practice also grew. Because we are named for the White River, we have worked to develop a relationship with her. Because of that relationship, all members now honor her at each ritual with offerings of bread and flowers. The grove also maintains several smaller portable shrines and objects of reverence that you may see floating around at ritual - most notably, Sally the Skull (a gift from a friend of the grove), who is part of the grove’s Samhain storytelling ritual traditions.
As the protogrove matured and sought grove status, it experienced growing pains and several periods of intense conflict between members. Ultimately, this resulted in one of the founding members being asked to leave the grove. Though difficult, this period of conflict taught the grove valuable lessons about conflict, relationship, and community. White River Grove became a fully chartered grove of ADF in 2017.
Today, White River Grove is 13 members strong, and has numerous regular attendees for each high day. Whether we are running rituals, facilitating open discussions, interacting with the community at monthly meetups, or hanging out with each other during social and community service events, it is always our goal to be known for our focus on community, hospitality, and openness to any who come.
Written by Alena Jones (White River Grove Founder and Senior Druid)
The White River Grove, ADF blog is written and maintained by individual members of the White River Grove. Any opinion expressed does not represent the ADF international or it's subsidiaries.