Aren’t we all simply seekers on the path?
Every Monday at 8pm GMT I chat live on the OBOD Facebook page. Here is a recording, and some relevant comments below:
In the Order I help to lead, training in Druidry is carried out in three distinct ‘schools’ or ‘grades’, hence the name: The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids. But isn’t the division of Druid training into three grades limiting or artificial – after all, aren’t we all simply seekers on the path, so why create divisions or separate groupings?
Certainly we make a mistake if we consider one grade superior, or even totally separate from the others, but there is a profound value in having these separations, which are more accurately described as specialisations.
Each of the grades awakens or resonates with a particular aspect of the soul, which is quite unique and distinct. The Bardic grade is designed to help us awaken to our inherent creativity – to stimulate those aspects of our soul that long to express themselves in the world. You could say that the purpose of the Bardic grade is to help us sing the song of our soul. This is to be taken in its widest sense; for some of us it may literally help us to sing out, while for others it may help us to express ourselves creatively in other ways.
The Ovate grade’s purpose and design is to help us awaken to the inner ‘Wild Person’ – to ignite the ‘green fire’ in our souls that feels at one with the spirit of all Nature. This inner ‘wild person’ can be seen as the ‘inner shaman’ or ‘inner healer’ too, who is able to unite instinct with intuition.
The Druid grade’s purpose and design is to help us awaken to the inner Sage – that wise person who exists in each of us – who is sometimes only heard as a ‘still small voice’ offering counsel, but is often not heard or heeded at all.
By understanding the grades in this way, we can see how the Bardic grade is opening us to our hearts, to our feelings, upon which our creativity depends; the Ovate grade is awakening us to our bodies and our instincts (which is why we work with our ancestry and with healing in this grade); and the Druid grade is awakening us to the deeper powers of our mind.
Just as the body, heart and mind form a triad which makes up the human being, so the Bardic, Ovate and Druid grades form a triad which makes up the path or spiritual way of Druidry.
It is often useful to separate work on the human being into these three parts, to focus specifically on the body, the emotions or the intellect, but in reality the human being is one. Likewise with Druidry and with membership in the Order: it is helpful to work within these three schools of learning, but in essence we are all simply followers of the Druid Way, coming together within the fellowship of the Order to learn, and to love.
I am wondering about the Ovate grade, as it sounds like that is the grade I have most be “studying” this past year, with the Bardic grade mostly introducing me to the link between those inner studies with the story of Taliesin. My exploration this last year has very much included the Wild within, and how She is expressed physically. Although I did not think the Druid grade was where I would belong, as I am listening to your explanations of the different levels, I am finding that the final phase of Druid might be what I am most seeking.
Maybe Rebecca! 🙂
Hi Rebecca. I hope you are OK with me replying to your post, but the “WILD WITHIN” you mentioned struck a chord with me. I to have been attempting to listen to the primal, natural aspect of myself. I find it extremelly difficult to connect with this in the humdrum, often frantis pace of 21 century “living??” And the only thing that works for me is to go deeper into nature, where there are less distractions – just a suggestion really, hope it helps.
It’s like learning to swim is the nearest I can put it, you learn the basics how to breath, move your body, think about what it is your doing, get stronger, progress from pool to ocean & learn again with its ebb, flow currents & changing ways learn when & when not to swim. Also the Mann rune comes to mind, of finding your place within it all, the ego may want to be a great shaman, leader of magnificent rituals, healing etc through the journey though we may find our true calling to be of service to the greater good of all without ego & sometimes when times are hard rest then to put one foot in front of the other & carry on the journey with its ever changing landscapes & seasons ☺
Nice analogy Ade! 🙂
Going from Bardic to Ovate is scary! Its like what if the gatekeeper doesnt like you, you will never advance! Less anziety for a phd. Lol
The mentors are there o help Meri! 🙂
Nancy West New York, NY
Thankyou for your insights and wisdom. I undertook the Bardic course and learnt so much. Part of that learning was (simply put for sake of brevity) that I am a Bard. So I took the decision not to go further as there was so much more I need to understand and explore as a bard. It’s a beutiful journey and so many wonderful helpers come forward to assist and inform.
Good to hear Eamonn.Far better to deepen where one is, I rekon, than to keep cantering on in the hope of elusive greener pastures!
Yes! We hear you here in a snowstorm in Eastern Canada (Valcourt, Québec). Thanks for doing these broadcasts_ very helpful!
Having awoken from the deep sleep of materialism, and the dream that wealth, position and belongings were what made you happy, I have spent the past 15 years attempting to connect with the real me. My love of both reading and writing poetry that I have discovered in that time addresses and explains the Bard within me (as a Welshman, that figures!) and I am now only really at peace, and feel a true connection with the world when I am immersed in Nature. Life is a beautiful Journey, and like every journey, it has it’s ups and downs, but it’s beautiful.
Really good to hear Paul. Life does indeed seem a magnificent journey (if exceedingly hard at times!). All the very best!