What does it mean to be a Bard in the 21st Century? What values and qualities does the Bard represent? Where is the Bard in me?
These are some of the questions the Bardic course asks me to explore.
The Bardic grade is about going back to the wisdom of the ancestors, back in time to consider our own lives and how the story of our ancestors can lead us to the source of our own personal history and spiritual heritage. Like the Salmon.
The Bards are one of the three grades of Druidry – the Brds, Ovates and Druids. Bards, in their training learned the rules of composition, poetry, ancient stories and traditions. They were masters of the word.
There were different kinds of Bard – entertainers who would compose new songs, poets, teachers. The training was intense, up to 12 years where people would learn hundreds of stories by heart. Bards knew old songs and stories but also the technicalities of composition and where to find inspiration from the Goddess.
Bards would use techniques such as sensory deprivation to focus the mind and seek inspiration. The Irish Druids termed the inspiration they received Imbas and the Welsh Druids Awen which roughly translate as ‘flowing spirit’ or ‘blessings of the gods’.
The Bardic tradition remained strong through the centuries, in Ireland Bardic schools survived until the 17th century. Recently, it has become possible with the likes of the OBOD course to train as a Bard. The course I am doing with them will look at the old methods of rhythm and rhyme and connect with the Divine for inspiration and wisdom.
I look forward to sharing some of my journey on here and being able to answer fully the questions posed in the first paragraph.