Join the Order & Train in Druidry

Druidry is a vital and dynamic nature spirituality that the world needs now, more than ever before. Begin an exciting journey of spiritual inspiration and deeper connection to all of nature

A message from the current Chief of the Order

Greetings!
When you join the Order, a wonderful adventure lies ahead of you! You will receive great teachings and insights, and a wide range of resources to support and inspire you.
When I joined the Order in 2003, little did I know what an amazing journey I would be taking – of magic, learning, community, friendship and so much more! I very much look forward to welcoming you!

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat (May the road rise with you)!

Míle Beannachtaí (Many Blessings),

Your Druid Journey Begins Here

Exploring Druidry helps your life flourish and blossom – it helps your Soul express itself fully in the world. In following the training, you discover the sources of your creative power, and learn how its gifts can start to flow more fully in your life.

When you join the worldwide Druid community and take this course that has been inspired by the ancient Druids, these teachings will help you:

• Develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Natural World

• Open to your inner creativity

• Connect to your source of inner wisdom

Spiral triskelion (formed from mathematical Archimedean spirals), occasionally used as a Christian Trinitarian symbol

Why choose Druidry?

You might be looking for a course that reflects the teachings of the ancient Druids, you might be searching for a way to develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Spirits of the Land and your ancestors. How about a driving need to open up your inner creativity – to learn to see the world through the eyes of a poet? Or are you being pulled to learn the arts of seership or divination?

The OBOD course takes its inspiration from the ancient Druids, but for it to be of value to us today, Druidry cannot simply be a re-enactment. We need to allow ourselves to look at how the ancient teachings can help us grow and become more at one with the Natural World in our modern age.

Druidry is not a ‘revealed’ religion, and therefore has no dogmatic “thou shalt nots” – instead it is a living, breathing, thriving spirituality that the world needs now, more than ever before.

Learn more about the three grades

The Order’s teachings are conveyed in three grades that correspond with the three traditional schools of the Bards, Ovates and Druids. Each one teaches different skills in a journey of spiritual discovery that starts with the school of the Bards. Because the course is experiential rather than academic, members from a wide range of educational backgrounds find the course helpful, and inspiring.

Grade Progression

Bardic Grade

The Bardic grade takes you on a journey through the cycle of the year, and introduces all the key concepts of Druidry – showing you how it is a living Way that can be practised in the modern world, bringing a greater sense of connection with all of nature, and with the ancient heritage of the Druid wisdom-tradition.

The Bards were the sacred poets, storytellers, the keepers of the Mysteries, and much of the knowledge we have about the ancient Druids comes from the old Bardic tales. One of these tales is the story of Taliesin, the Primary Bard of Britain. The Bardic grade invites you to take the same journey as Taliesin, and through the experiences of the story, you will gain insight into the wisdom of the Bards, and access your own wellsprings of creativity.

You will also learn thirteen rituals in addition to the eight Druid seasonal ceremonies. These rituals help to attune you to the natural world, to the rhythms of the earth and moon, the sun and stars. And as they do this, they help you to access your Deep Self, your Soul – that part of you which feels at one with all of life.

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Ovate Grade

The Bardic grade opens you to the wonders of the Natural World and your own creativity. Then the Ovate grade takes your hand, and leads you into the deep forest. The Druids and trees are inextricably linked, and it is here, in the Ovate grade, that the work with trees and herbs begins. The Ovates were the Druidic Seers, so it is within the forest that you begin to work with the skills of divination, healing, and the magic of the Earth: exploring your relationship with your ancestors of blood, and of spirit, stepping into the dark Grove of Yews, to commune with them, and learn the wisdom of the night, and of the Moon.

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Druid Grade

After the re-enchantment of the Bardic grade, and the deep discovery of the Ovate grade, the Druid grade takes you out into the light once more, to work with the stones, the Gods, and the Dragon. It will have taken at least two years to reach this point, and you will have journeyed to many places. Your experiences will have taught you much, and it is here, within the Druid grade, that you might be inspired to step into some kind of service to the Druidic tradition. This could take many forms, from celebrancy to facilitating a Druid Grove, to teaching workshops or planting trees, or you might like to just pause and reflect on the journey, and simply ‘be’.

The Bardic Course

The course begins with an initial year of study in the Bardic grade which is presented in the form of Gwersi – a Welsh word meaning lessons. Use the arrows to see more about the course and membership benefits.

Available in Print or Online

During the course of the year (or longer if you choose), you progress through 51 Gwersi – each one consisting of seed-thoughts, exercises, poetry and teaching material, all designed to help you to truly walk the path of Druidry, rather than simply read about it.

Gwersi in Print or Online

You can choose the format that works best for you: the course can be mailed to you every month as a set of printed booklets, or you can access it online on your computer, tablet or phone, including additional streamed audio and visual material. You can also choose to receive both versions.

 

You can start the course at any time and take as long as you like to complete it.

Your Personal Mentor

To provide a training that works on both the surface, and at a far deeper, inner level, members are offered the support of a personal mentor. You can request a mentor from a network of over 100 worldwide, who you can correspond with about your experiences with the course.

 

Some members consult their mentor often, others hardly at all. The mentors role is not to “teach” but to “walk the path” with the member as a mentor, and a friend.

Membership

Choosing to explore and experience the path of Druidry is not just about studying the course, it’s also your connection with our worldwide community – a Fellowship of Druids (Cairdeas Mor Shaoghal nan Druidh in Gaelic).  Over the years this fellowship has grown to include groups and individuals in fifty countries on all four continents.

 

Once you enrol, you immediately become part of this community, and upon completion of the course, you remain a member for life.

 

There are many opportunities to gather together for friendship, support and exchange with like-minded members who share the values of Druidry.

Groves & Seed-Groups

Since the first lessons were sent out by the Order in 1988, thousands of members have walked this path, creating a network of Druids with over 200 Groves and Seed Groups around the world, and providing the basis of a real Druidic community.

 

Any member may start a Seed Group, which in time may grow to become a Grove.

 

When you join, you’ll receive a full list of all the groups, and if you contact your local group you’ll be able to join their gatherings, either virtually or in person.

Festivals, Ceremonies & Rituals

During the first year you are taught thirteen rituals and eight Druid seasonal ceremonies. These rituals help to attune you to the natural world, to the rhythms of the earth and moon, the sun and stars. And as they do this, they help you to access your Deep Self, your Soul – that part of you which feels at one with all of life.

Touchstone Magazine

Every month, you will receive the Order’s magazine Touchstone – a beautiful compilation of stories, articles, art and poetry submitted by members from around the world. It also contains details of upcoming group meetings and gatherings.

About OBOD

The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids is a mystery school, a community around the world, who love nature and want to follow a magical, spiritual way that respects and protects the natural world in all its beauty. Members work with spiritual teachings that combine the inspiration of the ancient druids and the old stories with contemporary scholarship and insights into the relationship between human beings and the world of plants and animals, stars and stones.

 

The Order is open to followers of all faiths and none, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or ethnic origin.

Available in 6 Languages

The Bardic course is available in either print format or as an online learning version in English.

The course is also available in print format in the following languages:

Dutch: druiderij.nl
French: obod.fr
German: druidry.info
Italian: druidry.it
Portuguese: obod.com.pt

What our students say about the course

For the renewed presence in my life of this sense of spiritual, magical intimacy with the world of matter, I am deeply grateful. It takes me back to my roots in more way than one; it connects me deeply to the earth of my nourishment, to the magical realm of the living world. I have also learned so much about myself, about choice and about freedom. S.H. from London
This magnificent and highly inspiring journey through the Bardic, Ovate and Druid training is mind-blowing, poetic and life-changing all at the same time - a new and yet so old perspective on life and spirituality and a piece of art in itself. T.S. from Zurich
The greatest value of the OBOD postal course is this: it exists. It is available. Precious insights are being passed along. The mysteries are being shared. Thanks to all who have made this course possible! V.C. from Oregon
The last five months have been ones of tremendous growth and change. I have realised at least two life ambitions; my intellect along with my creativity has become sharper and clearer and more productive than ever before, and I feel more at peace with myself as my mind has become more balanced with my emotions. L.N. from Reading
How is it that every time a question is in my mind, I turn the page of the Gwers and the answer is before me? It is as if whoever compiled these teachings anticipates the logical mind and then also its inner workings. I am nearing the end of the Bardic grade, and I can honestly say that never in my life have I needed such guidance as in the last few months. I feel there is hope for us all if we continue to strive for harmony with Mother Earth. P.B. from Sussex
What the training seems to do is invite the inclusion of the whole personality onto the path, as opposed to remaking the personality to conform to a specific model destined to make you transcend the world in a burst of enlightenment. Each personality is a unique gift, and thus we arrive at a garden of diverse Druids. The diversity is strength, not confusion: not one answer, but a multitude of pathways grounded in a renewed sense of wonder and friendship with the world. G.W. from New York
I love all the different resources the Order provides like Touchstone, a beautiful and informative website, Druidcast (the monthly podcast), Tea with A Druid (weekly Facebook Live video meetings), the Discussion Forums, international gatherings, and of course the mentoring system and a perfectly well organised office sending the right gwersi at the right time! G.B. from Zurich
Many of the changes in me I believe are due to a sense of peace and of purpose given to me by working through the studies of the Bardic grade. These inner changes have in turn provoked more visible external changes. This course has most definitely answered a call which has been with me for as long as I can remember. D.L. from Manchester

Choose Your Course Format

Print

Receive the original full version of the Bardic course in physical printed booklets (including the Introductory Pack for free) mailed monthly to you. By the end of the year you will have received:

+ 51 Gwersi Booklets
+ The Sacred Grove Booklet
+ The Bardic Companion
+ The Book of Ritual
+ 8 Festival Ritual Booklets
+ A Meditation and Pronunciation Guide CD

Online

Access the full Bardic training course online with full audio-visual content, in incremental modules over 12 months containing:

+ All 51 Gwersi in modules
+ Access to resources online

Including:

+ The Sacred Grove Booklet
+ The Bardic Companion
+ The Book of Ritual
+ 8 Festival Ritual Booklets
+ A Meditation and Pronunciation Guide

 

Available in monthly installment payments

 

Online & Print

Enjoy the benefit of both online access to rich audio-visual content, and physical copies of the material for easy ongoing future reference:

+ All Gwersi in online modules & booklets

All online resources and physical copies of:

+ The Sacred Grove Booklet
+ The Bardic Companion
+ The Book of Ritual
+ 8 Festival Ritual Booklets
+ A Meditation and Pronunciation Guide

Want to sample the materials first?

Explore everything the Order offers before making the commitment to take the full course.

The Introductory Pack contains material from the full course, which includes the first two course lessons, and the Wild Wisdom booklet, plus a mini-poster. If you find this introduction answers an inner call, then you will be welcome to enrol on the full course.

INTRODUCTORY PACK PRICE – £10.00 GBP
(approx. US $13.75 / CA $17.00 / AU $18.50 / NZ $19.60)

The online version of the course has audio contributions of music, storytelling and song from many contributors, including Loreena McKennitt, Robin Williamson, and Damh the Bard.

Come let us build the ship of the future in an ancient pattern that journeys far.

Robin Williamson, ‘Seasons They Change’

Learn more about the course and membership

Do I have to take the course in the sequence of Bard to Ovate to Druid?

Yes! You start with the foundations of Druid practice at the Bardic level, then progress on to studying at the Ovate level, and then finally the Druid level. Training in each of these involves 12 monthly mailings or online modules, but you can take as long as you like to complete each one. The cost of the Ovate and Druid courses are roughly the same as the cost of the Bardic course.

Do I have to complete the Bardic course in a year?

Not at all. Many members find a year is sufficient time for them to follow the course, but many also take longer – 18 months to two years or more. There is no pressure to complete the course, and each student is encouraged to follow the course at their own pace.

Is there a lot of course work - will I be able to manage?

Although we do send you quite a lot of material, we believe you will find it easy to work with. Over the years we have received hundreds of emails and letters from members saying the course feels like ‘coming home’ and has changed their lives. They find the Gwersi simple and yet at the same time profound and inspiring. Even with a busy life, most people find the time to work with all the material we send them. What’s more, your mentor is always available to help you. You do not need to write essays to follow the course – it is not a conventional ‘correspondence course’.

How can I become a Druid in such a short time when the classical authors said it took nearly twenty years to become a Druid?

In ancient times it took nineteen years to become a Druid, but that way of training included many subjects that we learn today at school. Nineteen years is also a symbolic length of time: it represents a Metonic cycle: a calculation of the time between two almost identical eclipses, and a calculation which also succeeded in uniting the solar and lunar calendars. And so, nineteen years symbolises the time it might take for someone to unite the sun and moon, the Masculine and the Feminine, within their being.

 

Today it still takes a long time to achieve this union in the depths of our souls, and the study of Druidry is a lifetime pursuit for many. But we no longer need to train for nineteen years before we can call ourselves a Druid. In fact, the term Druid has now come to denote, for many, the type of spirituality they follow. And as for training, we have found that most members taking the course reach the Druid level of training in about three years, although it is possible to achieve this in just over two years.

Where do the teachings that make up the course come from?

Many people believe that the teachings of the Druids were lost with the coming of Christianity, and that we couldn’t possibly be teaching authentic Druid wisdom. But we believe that we are. The teachings given in the course are derived from five strands:

 

The first, and most important, comes – surprisingly to many – from very far back in time, and almost certainly to the teachings of the Druids before the coming of Christianity. We believe these teachings were entrusted to future generations by being encoded in certain ancient stories. Within these stories we can find embedded entire programmes of Druidic training, which form the core of the teachings that we present in the training of the Order. In addition to this material, we draw on the wisdom of the Druidic triads, which were recorded by Christian clerics but which reflect much of the wisdom of their pre-Christian ancestors.

 

The second strand has its source in the much later period of the Druid Revival, which began over three hundred years ago, at the end of the seventeenth century. Our Order traces its lineage to this period, and from this source of teachings we have inherited certain ritual forms and teachings. Some of these we have discarded as inappropriate to the modern age, but others have been kept, not only for their beauty and relevance, but because they too might well derive from earlier sources, or draw their inspiration from them.

 

The third strand comes from a more recent time, about sixty years ago, when the previous Chief of the Order, Philip Ross Nichols, together with a group of fellow-druid members of the Ancient Druid Order, formed The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids, still honouring its connections through the Ancient Druid Order back to its founding in the time of the Druid Revival, but taking the decision to incorporate more study of Celtic source material, and to include a celebration of the four Celtic fire festivals. Ross Nichols was a friend of Gerald Gardner, the founder of the modern Wicca movement, and the evidence of the intellectual cross-fertilisation that occurred between them can now be seen in both Wiccan and Druid teachings. Nichols edited Gardner’s first book on Wicca, and contributed material to his second book.

 

The fourth strand comes from the contribution of the recent Chief of the Order, Philip Carr-Gomm, to the teachings. Having trained with Ross Nichols, and having trained in psychology and psychotherapy, (in particular Jungian analytical therapy and Psychosynthesis) Philip was asked to lead the Order in 1988. In June 2020 he handed on the role to Eimear Burke from Ireland.

 

The fifth strand comes from the contributions of many contemporary scholars and specialists in Druidry and Celtic spirituality, who have offered their insights and writings to the world, and in some cases specifically to the Order, to help build a body of teachings that are truly relevant and helpful to students of Druidry in the modern world. Their contributions are referenced in detail in the bibliographies and indexes provided at each stage in the Order’s training.

Is the course suitable for me if I have had mental health issues?

Many people go through difficult times in their life, and the course can be very helpful and supportive at such times. But you should not enrol on the course if you have been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia or a psychotic condition. The reason for this is that while much of the course material can be instructive and helpful to anyone, the course does offer meditations, visualisations and rituals that are designed to ‘open people up’ to their unconscious states and potentially other levels of perception. For those who haven’t suffered from such a condition this process can be helpful, but if you have, these exercises have the potential to be counter-productive. If the training was undertaken in a face-to-face situation the exercises could be paced and adjusted to suit the individual, but since the course is administered from a distance, such adjustment and monitoring just isn’t possible.

 

Although the distance learning programme is not suitable if you have had these challenges, Druidry can still be followed as a spiritual way/philosophy/religion by making use of the many resources available on the web and in books. It is important to note that this policy refers only and specifically to a diagnosis of schizophrenia or a psychotic condition. We have found that members who have received other diagnoses can benefit from the course. If you are thinking of enrolling for the course but are not sure if it is for you, just email us at office@druidry.org.

Can a friend or partner follow the course with me?

Yes – Adding a course companion is a cost-effective way to allow a friend or family member at the same address to share your course materials with you for a one-off registration fee.

Your registered companion will be a full member of the Order, will receive a digital edition of the monthly magazine Touchstone, is entitled to their own mentor, and will be able to progress through the Grades, provided they fulfil the criteria as laid out in the course.

 

If you are studying through the online version, a separate individual login will be provided for your companion.

To register & setup your course companion, please follow the link contained within the Welcome email for the principal enrolee, or contact us directly at: office@druidry.org

 

Studying the course remains individual and personal to each person, so whilst sharing use of the material (Gwersi) is permitted, please note that no additional course material is sent out.

As a course companion you will also have access to purchase (at additional cost) individual extra materials (e.g. Ceremony booklets etc.) should you choose, but if the preference is to have your own full set, then it is best to fully enrol separately.

Is there an age limit for the course?

To join the Order and take the course you must be at least 18 years of age. In exceptional circumstances we can accept enrolments from students who are 16 or 17, but their enrolment must be accompanied by a letter from a parent or guardian confirming that they are happy for them to be taking the course. We appreciate that many younger people would like to take the course, but over the years we have found that the material presented simply cannot be assimilated by those under 16.

How do I access the online course?

Once you have successfully enrolled in the online version of the course, you will be sent a confirmation email containing your log-in details. To access the online learning area on our website please visit: druidry.org/courses-login

 

The online course requires an internet connection and will work with all current Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh systems, as well as all current tablet devices. Some content is downloadable for offline access, whilst other resources such as audio is streamed.

How long do I have access to the online course?

If you choose to take the course online, and have fully paid, you will be entitled to unlimited lifetime access for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.

What if I am unhappy with the course?

If you feel the material isn’t right for you or if you are unsatisfied, please contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Any more questions?

We are happy to answer any further questions you may have – just email office@druidry.org