The Three Grades of Druidry: 1. The Bard
If an aspirant is ready to commit to the Druid Path – initially for a year and a day – he will undergo an initiation ceremony that symbolizes his birth into a new life of magic, transformation, empowerment and service. The first grade he enters is that of the Bard, and here the work starts! He enters an established magical community, and undertakes practices and techniques designed to open his heart through interacting with others in trust and loving awareness. He learns to reveal himself, warts and all, in a process whose intent is immersion and integration in the One Circle of Life.
The Bard can be understood as a child starting to journey along the magical path of adventure towards healing and eventual wholeness. In Tarot symbolism he is the Fool, setting out on his adventures with little experience, yet with trust and courage. He breaks through the confines of his former, habitual behavior by leaving the familiar life he knows well, and by stepping out into the Unknown. The consequences of this action is to unite both the physical and the spiritual worlds.
Bards are taught the rules of magical adventures, the magical tools needed on such a quest, and are led to the magical gateway that opens up to their unique individual adventure. The Bard concentrates on the first stage of the Druid’s Path, discovering and liberating his own inner magical child, and unlocking the creativity that is bursting to be expressed. Any excuse to play!
Students learn to interact in a group, exploring themselves and the others through practicing non-violent communication, sharing, making music and telling stories together, by performing ceremony, and by learning to interact deeply and meaningfully with nature. In this manner the Bard is introduced to the Druid view of the world, a very different world than the one we were introduced to as children!
Students will also be encouraged to let go of their stiff and stuffy adult personalities, loosening up, and enter the spontaneity of the present moment. Here they will explore their inner magical child who trusts, is still connected to Spirit, is outrageously spontaneous and dances innocently yet courageously through life.
Bards are introduced to the Druid’s way of interacting with Nature and the world. Our souls evolve as we participate in life; learning to perceive Nature in a wholesome way facilitates our unfolding as human beings. Bards are taught from the first weekend how to communicate with trees, rocks and all the kingdoms of Nature, and are encouraged build a deeper and increasingly profound relationship with the great Earth Goddess sometimes called Gaia. The first space travelers were shown an awesome cosmic truth as they sailed through space: that all beings and all objects on and in the Earth are truly One. Druids strive to make that vision a reality in their lifetime.
Bards consciously develop their creative skills in order to initiate transformation, and to create sacred space. By studying the power of the Word, a Bard, through practice, will learn to transport his audience into alternate realities in which healing and expansion of consciousness occur. The ancient Bards – Taliesin, and Merlin, for example – had this ability and they were in great demand to perform for their king or people of power and influence. In the days of yore, Bards and poets were greatly honored, were given protection wherever they traveled, and were given free passage through the land, even in times of war and strife.
An archetypal Bardic situation is to sit around a fire in the dark with a group of other creative people, watching the sparks whistle and wriggle upwards to dance with the stars, singing and making music both as a group, and individually. Sharing our own creations such as a poem, a story, a song or some music is an exquisite experience and makes our souls sing… what is life for, if not for this?
Bardic Training includes:
- *The background and history of Druidry
- *The Elements
- *The Conscious Breath Exercise (Concentration Exercise)
- *The Energy-Body Exercise (Meditation)
- *Geomancy#1 (the art of interacting with the Spirit of the Land)
- *The magic of trees and stones
- *The Mastery of Awareness#1
- *Training to develop the Intuition
- *Pilgrimage to sacred sites
- *Ritual and Ceremony
- *Shamanic Journeying#1
- *Sacred Dance
- *The Power of the Word
- *Developing the creativity within (Music, Poetry, Storytelling, Dance, etc)
- *The Power of the Circle
- *Principles of Healing
- *Non-Violent Communication
- *An Introduction to Magic
- *Becoming the hero or heroine of your own Magical Adventure