19th Mount Haemus Lecture

Dr. Dana Driscoll, Associate Professor of English, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (US) has long explored how people learn to write and develop as writers over time. In this study, she applies learning theory to explore bardic (creative) practices in the modern druid revival movement. Through a survey of 266 druids and in-depth interviews with 14 bardic practitioners, the research explores how people taking up the path of the bard develop expertise, seek community, reap spiritual benefits, and embrace the flow of Awen (inspiration). A key finding is the role of the Eisteddfod (bardic circle) in the development of the bardic arts. Also considered are the challenges new bards face including overcoming the myth of talent and addressing cultural conditioning. Through the lens of learning theory, the study concludes by considering how the druid community can help individuals overcome barriers to taking up the path of the bard and continue to promote and cultivate the bardic arts for individuals, groves, and gatherings.

by Dana Lynn Driscoll

Abstract

This study applies learning theory to explore bardic practices in the modern druid revival movement. Through a survey of 266 druids and follow-up interviews with 14 druids practicing the bardic arts, the research explores how people taking up the path of the bard develop expertise, overcome cultural challenges, seek community, and embrace the flow of Awen (inspiration). Through the lens of learning theory, the study concludes by considering how the druid community can help individuals overcome barriers to taking up the path of the bard and continue to promote and cultivate the bardic arts for individuals, groves, and gatherings.

Read the Lecture

This lecture will be published in printed form in 2024 in The Mount Haemus Lectures – Volume Three  available through our bookshop.

About the Author

Dr. Dana Driscoll is an Associate Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the United States where she teaches doctoral courses in writing pedagogy, research methods, learning theory, and writing centers. As a learning researcher, Dana’s scholarly research has long explored how people learn, “transfer” that knowledge to new contexts, and develop long term expertise as writers. Dana is a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids and is a Druid Adept in the Ancient Order of Druids in America, where she also serves as the Archdruid of Water. Dana is a dedicated bard, practicing many arts including watercolor painting, leatherworking, pyrography, writing, and panflute. She is the artist and author of the Tarot of Trees, a bardic project integrating watercolor painting, writing, and divination. Her writings on druidry, nature, and permaculture can be found at the Druid’s Garden Blog.