10th Mount Haemus Lecture: What is a Bard?


It may seem strange to be asking a roomful of Druids, ‘what is a Bard?’, for they of all people ought to know. Bardism – the quest for poetic or artistic inspiration – forms the foundation of the modern druidic path to self-knowledge and spiritual wisdom. That today’s Druids centralise bardism is evident in my original brief for this paper, an invitation by Philip Carr-Gomm to compare and contrast some bardic methods offered by Druid authors around the world. So why the question? Well, implicit in the invitation is an understanding that bardism may be done differently. If those differences are substantial then how are we to chose between them? Which method makes the better Bard? Or are the differences merely semantic, of style and not substance?

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

About The Author

Andy Letcher is a writer, lecturer, musician and bard. He is Associate Lecturer in the Study of Religion and Culture at Oxford Brookes University, having completed his PhD on ‘The Role of the Bard in Contemporary Paganism’ in 2001, under the supervision of Dr Graham Harvey. He is the author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, fronts weirdlore band Telling the Bees, and plays English bagpipes in Wod, a trio for Brythonic dancing. A solitary pagan, his personal quest to unriddle the universe has led him through Witchcraft, Druidry, Tai Chi, Neo-Platonism, psychedelia, philosophy, cultural theory and English magic. The universe remains delightfully unriddled.


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