“There are among them composers of verses whom they call Bards; these singing to instruments similar to a lyre, applaud some, while they vituperate others. They have philosophers and theologians who are held in much honour and are called Druids; they have soothsayers too of great renown. It is a custom of the Gauls that no one performs a sacrifice without the assistance of a philosopher, for they say that offerings to the gods ought only to be made through the mediation of these men, who are learned in the divine nature and, so to speak, familiar with it, and it is through their agency that the blessings of the gods should properly be sought.”
Diodorus Siculus, Histories, V, 31, 1st century BCE
From Strabo, a close contemporary of Diodorus Siculus, we learn that the soothsayers were called Ovates. Modern Druidry still honours this threefold division. Bards are storytellers, poets, musicians, historians, artists and performers. Ovates are prophets, diviners and philosophers, studying natural cycles. They also study healing and herblore. Druids are ritualists, teachers, counsellors and walkers between worlds.
If you wish to become a 21st century bard, ovate or Druid, please visit our BDO Courses page.