The Seer Poet

depositphotos forest rays, Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids.

by Damh the Bard, reposted from Damh’s Blog

For many, the modern Druid tradition is made up of three ‘grades’ or schools. The Bard, the Ovate and the Druid. Sometimes it can feel like a linear structure – we begin as Bards, then move on to Ovate, the finally to Druid. Kind of like the three degree structure of some Wiccan traditions. As you begin the next, you leave the last behind, but that isn’t how it works in practice at all. The Bardic tradition is the foundation upon which the Ovate and Druid Journeys are built. And when the Ovate begins the Druid work they don’t stop being Bards and Ovates, they are all three. It has always bugged me when the Bard is viewed as an ‘entry-level’ Druid. I’m not sure Taliesin, Amergin, or Merlin would agree… and I don’t agree either.

Each ‘grade’ also works with different skills and techniques that help those on the Druid path to connect on a deeper level with the Natural Worlds, both seen and unseen. And there are also no distinct edges to those schools or grades – I tend to see them as three circles with each one overlapping, with the centre being the place where all three combine.

My Path has always existed in the overlap between the Bardic and Ovate circles. It was the Bardic tradition that first attracted me to Druidry. I have been a life-long lover of music, myth, story, legend, and sacred poetry. When I received my OBOD introduction leaflet in the post and read about the Bards, that was it, I was home. Then I read the ancient Celtic myths of Britain and Ireland and was overwhelmed by the magic in those stories. The Tain, Y Mabinogi, the tales of Ossian, of Cu Chulainn, introduced me to the wonders of the Path. The Bardic/Ovate Path then taught me how to traverse those borders between the worlds with the use of music, voice and drum. I met some of those Spirits, and they walked with me.
depositphotos drum, Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids.My Path has also always, in essence, been Animistic. I have always seen the world of the physical and the world of Spirit as intertwined. Inseparable. I heard it said many times that if you hear the music of the Otherworld, if you follow it, and then step in, you can become trapped. A Bard once suggested to me that is not because you are physically trapped there, no, it is because once you have seen it, your life can never be the same again. It’s impossible to go back to how life was before. That is how it has been for me. Once the doors were opened hearing and reading those old tales, I could never go back.

The Sacred has always found expression in music, song and poetry, and those songs have been the Paths we have walked, led by musical notes and words, for millennia. This has always been the Path of the Bard, the Skald, and the Scop, and I think it is as important now, maybe even more so, than ever before. We are not taken out of our ‘reality’, we are shown Other realities exist. We are shown the magic that’s is all around us in every leaf, in birdsong, in the sound of the sea-waves, in the rising of the Sun and Moon.

And that, to me, is Bardic magic.

harp beach sun adobe, Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids.


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