"... properly bardic." Andy Letcher (singer-songwriter with Telling the Bees, author of Shroom)
Our aim throughout this series of courses, beginning with the Bardic, is to draw on archaeology, classical writings, the medieval literature of Britain and Ireland, folk lore and folk custom, and on centuries of Druid scholarship and practice in order to re-create a form of Druidry that honours tradition deeply while remaining relevant to life in the 21st century. Our Bardic course encourages creativity through accessing the inspiring spirit we call awen. Through this creativity, the aim is to inspire others, thus maintaining the flow of awen through the ages. The rock upon which our courses rest, and on which we seek to build, is the body of work left to us by bards, ovates and Druids of generations past. Our Bardic course lays essential foundations for the Ovate and Druid courses that follow. Whilst covering a number of basics of benefit to beginners, the depth of the course material means that students with decades of experience in the tradition still find plenty to inspire them. Though drawing on the same body of material for inspiration, our Bardic course differs significantly from any other on offer. There would be no point in simply replicating what others already do. Students of our courses and those of the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids have found that they complement each other extremely well. OBOD chief, Philip Carr-Gomm, and our own Greywolf (Philip Shallcrass) have been friends for decades, so it was always planned that the two sets of courses should complement each other.
The Bardic course comes in six packages of four booklets each, available every two months as downloadable pdf files. Each full-colour, illustrated booklet contains an average of 36 pages, the course totalling approximately 250,000 words in length. Students may take as much time as they need to complete each package and the course as a whole. Booklets contain active links to additional sources of information, online suppliers, etc. Tutorial support is available via a dedicated e-mail address or via surface mail. Click here to open a free sample of the Bardic Course in pdf format. To sign up for the full course, follow the links in the menu at the right of the page. Payment is via PayPal, but you do not need to have an active PayPal account, just a valid credit or debit card.
Bardic Course Outline
Package 1: Introduction to Druidry; Sources of Inspiration; Awen; Story-telling; The Story of Taliesin; Ritual; The Sacred Circle; Meditation; Robe-Making; The Crane Bag; The Universal Druid Prayer; Bards in ancient Law Codes; Bardic 'grades' in Irish tradition; the 13 Treasures of Britain.
Package 2: In-depth look at Awen in theory and practice; the Cauldron of Ceridwen; Gods and Fair Folk; Awen women; weaving the sacred into daily life; the sacred power of Poetry; the 24 Traditional Bardic Metres; the Songs of Taliesin, including 'The Battle of the Trees' and 'The Chair of Ceridwen.'
Package 3: Self-knowledge; who we are and where we come from; how background and beliefs, thoughts and consequent actions shape our lives and understanding; Taking responsibility; Honouring our Ancestors of Blood and Spirit; Respect and Reburial; Genealogy; Healing our past; the Mabinogi of Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed.
Package 4: Making music; the magic of sound; Bardic instruments; the Three Noble Strains; the Three Cauldrons, a native British system of yoga; Devotion and Deity; the Mabinogi of Branwen, Daughter of Llyr.
Package 5: The Wheel of the Year; Seasonal celebrations; the Gorsedd of Bards; Ritual texts; a Bardic history of Druidry; Pagan pilgrimage; Tomb-shrines; 'Sitting out'; Circles and standing stones; the Mabinogi of Manawyddan, Son of Llyr.
Package 6: Druidry from the Bronze Age to the 21st century; Tree planting; Water offerings; The Bardic Tradition and the Song of the Land; the Mabinogi of Math, Son of Mathonwy; The Cell of Song, incubating art using traditional techniques of sensory deprivation; The Bardic Project: creating a work of art to exhibit before the tribe
BDO Bardic Course Sampler Click to open a 786 kB PDF file containing sample texts and graphics from our Bardic Course.