The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids is a worldwide group of over twenty thousand members in fifty countries, dedicated to practising, teaching, and developing Druidry as a valuable and inspiring spirituality.
The Order was founded in Britain over 50 years ago by the historian and poet Ross Nichols, aided by the writer and founder of the Tolkien Society Vera Chapman, and fellow members of the Ancient Druid Order, which developed during the early years of the last century out of the Druid Revival which began about three hundred years ago.
The Order is essentially a Mystery School and community, and the term ‘order’ is derived from the tradition of magical orders rather than from the tradition of religious orders. Neither the Order nor Druidry is a cult. A cult revolves around a personality, a charismatic leader, or a particular deity or saint. The Order and Druidry have none of these characteristics.
The Feminine principle is considered as important as the Masculine principle, as are principles that transcend gender, and all are celebrated and represented in the Order’s teachings and membership. The Order is not patriarchal or biased in favour of men – many women are in leadership roles and over half the membership is female.
Membership of the Order is open to followers of all faiths and none, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or ethnic origin. This statement reflects the values we consider central to our philosophy: of tolerance and inclusiveness that completely rejects expressions of racism, sexism, fascism and homophobia. The Order has always stood for and continues to stand for equality and freedom for all, and so stands shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with those seeking equal civil rights for all. The Druid’s Prayer inspires the knowledge & love of justice and the love of all existences, and the Order is a community, a mystery school, that celebrates life in all its beauty and diversity, that seeks to protect and preserve the Earth, and that focusses on teaching Druid spirituality for the times we live in – emphasizing the virtues of compassion and respect for all of life.
Although most members practise Druidry on their own, there are over 200 groups around the world that offer the opportunity for members to meet and celebrate together. In addition, individual members and groups organise gatherings, retreats, camps, conferences and workshops. See the Get Involved section on this website for more information.
The Order offers comprehensive training in Druidry in six languages through its distance learning course, which includes a personal mentorship programme, camps and gatherings in many countries, a monthly magazine, and members’ internet forums. In addition, the Order promotes a Sacred Grove Planting Programme and a Campaign for Ecological Responsibility, and supports three tree-planting charities: Trees for Life, Tree Aid, and The Woodland Trust.
The Order also offers training in celebrancy (the art of leading weddings and funerals and other rites of passage), and educational materials in the form of books, audios, retreats and workshops to people who are interested in the Druid tradition and would like to incorporate some of its ideas into their lives, as well as to those who would like to follow a training programme in Druidry.