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.