Tag Archives: Bard

Realignment

June.  That was the last month I wrote something in depth. I have managed to write something every month or so, albeit in the form of a poem, a saying, or even a prayer. 

Actually, I don’t feel the need to write anything in depth.  No examinations of what those legends may actually mean, no breaking down of Pagan concepts (Classical or Modern), no questioning of the values or ethics around us.  In fact there are so many people reeling from the political victory of Brexit and Donald Trump, there are plenty already questioning the world around them…. 

 Whereas my investigative flair has faded to nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Diddley-Squat.  

During August, I feared I might have severed the link between myself and my spirituality.  Since the end of June, I dedicated myself to learning my lines for a theatrical performance.  In August, I did the same with another, both of them are now finished and performed.  Having embraced my acting self as my Bardic self, I have sought to regain and discover new skills for being the actor I want to be.  As well as discovering the actor I am turning into.  

It would be wrong of me to say I ‘put my life on hold’ because of the two plays.  Sure, I became less socially active and my days off were dedicated to line learning as were my evenings after work and then there were rehearsals.  

Performance is a discipline. It is hours of line learning, practicing the mannerisms of another person, working with the energy levels of your colleagues so the show does not lag.  Remembering where to be in the right place at the right time, thinking within a split second of a replacement word if you end up forgetting the correct one and doing all of this with a huge adrenaline rush once you are doing it.  To do that and more requires focus and discipline in yourself. 

And so, I threw myself into this creative path.  To me, it feels so right to do so.  It has stoked my inner fires and is my main focus. Where I may not be performing my Bardic Rituals everyday (the last was before I moved house in June) I have come to understand this, at the moment, is not what I need in my life right now.  

I still light my candles to my deities, ancestors and the spirits around me.  I still honour the seasons that pass and celebrate them; I still give offerings and have even done a little research into Japanese Fox spirits.  I have discovered my spirituality is in who I am, not just what I do.  This has also allowed me to view my spirituality, my beliefs and my self objectively.  And in this I have learned much, including belief in myself. 

But for the time being, I will post when I can with what I can give.  

After all, if one’s spirituality is only defined by one’s work with ritual, then what is ritual if not a performance? 

Photo by Locksley2010
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A discussion on Bardistry

Here’s a discussion that turned into an interview.  Normally, for a talk I’m much better prepared and eloquent, but this was ad hoc and I apologise for a lot of ‘errrmmm’s and mumbling- the latter due to me being sat on the sofa and Kristian being sat on his chair… we wanted to try out his new phone as a recording device and here is the result:

You can also check out Kristian’s podcasts on the YouTube channels.

The Bard Within

I’ve finally got around to forging a tool! Not in the literal sense of molten metal and hammers, but in the metaphorical sense.

I’ve made myself a Facebook page!  The idea being that I can advertise myself as an actor and storyteller and that folks can see me (under my stage name) in action.  Then said folks can contact me to hire or have me perform for them.  Shameless link!

I made the page a bit post-haste as I needed something quick for a gig I’d been asked to this month.  One of my Druid friends has very kindly offered to help me make my own website, so watch this space!

Remember what I wrote in my last blog about taking advantage of offers Life presents?  Well, the week after I wrote that, I was contacted by a friend of mine who I’ve performed for previously and wondered if I’d be up for a spot at Nottingham’s SOBAR (a nonalcoholic bar, the whole weekend festival was for a charity for people recovering from alcoholism).  So I took it up immediately!

Last week, I headed a night of storytelling for my Druid Grove, which you can read here (it’s all about the links today!). It was a good night and it felt right.  I’m not naive or stupid enough to believe that after one night of MCing a story night with some friends of mine, that I can go around doing it professionally.  Truth is I’ve fought this.
Normally, I tell a story to my Grove a little unprofessionally, stumbling here and there.  But at last weeks meeting, it was the first time I did it properly, calmly and not without humour.

I spent seven years in a theatrical tourist attraction telling stories of the Horrible History kind, all in costume and make up.  I gave that up when I moved to Nottingham and lost a part of myself doing it.  It was only when I was challenged (the Best way to get me to do anything) to do a Halloween themed story piece that I realised I missed this!

So I made more! And there is more to come and more to develop on.  I even tend to tell stories when I do ceremony and ritual work with either my Grove or the Moot I co-run.  Its intrinsic to my sense of being, spiritually, holistically.  Even when using the Druid Animal Oracle there is one card I have difficulty remembering the meaning of, but the story behind it… that’s where the meaning comes out (its the Seal, card btw). So when that card comes out, I remember two of the three catchword and tell the story of the Selkie because its more in depth than the card meaning in the booklet.

The what I did on Sunday, was use my Highwayman character, The Scarlet Blade.  I was in this very modern cafe dressed as though I was an 18th Century vagabond.  As soon as I saw the children enter I knew I had to tailor this.  The first time I performed the SB was in a bar filled with merry poets and every filthy joke and bawdy line was used… couldn’t do that here, so I chopped and changed it.  With five minutes left, I pulled a bit of a history lesson out of my tricorn hat and told what Dick Turn was really like.

Ok, so I didn’t have the bawdy, foul mouthed jeering from the first time, what I did have was a dad telling me that through my set, his very young son kept telling him “Dad! Dad! There’s a Pirate over there!” The child gleefully hid away when I pulled my plastic pistol out at him and the dad told me “He’ll remember that for the rest of his life…” That made my day!

It appears that embracing my performing self, the actor, the storyteller has all come about after admitting who and what my Bardic self is.  Its just that I had to forget in order to find myself again. 

Me as The Scarlet Blade on Sunday 17th August 2014.  Photo by Amy Hills.

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What makes a ‘Man’? Part 2

Its been just over a fortnight (when did we start saying biweekly?) since I put up my last post.

I seriously didn’t have any idea it would generate such a positive response- I just got shook up be a bad dream, which opened up a few anxieties I wanted to get off my chest.  That in itself was a good exorcism of those personal demons.

In my last post, I wrote about courage being essential about what makes a “man”.  By this I don’t mean fearlessness, that is something that (realistically) doesn’t exist.  I mean the courage to stand up and do what is right, the courage to actually dare to make our dreams a reality, the courage to stand by one’s beliefs, the courage to go forward instead of looking back.

Last time, I spoke about my feelings on how I perceive I have failed to utilise my potential, something I have decided to face and take on.

In the past two weeks I have made progress in writing my book (just about finished the last chapter, then I need to fully rewrite the conclusion, leave it a week and check for spelling errors and bad grammar as well as correcting sentences that don’t make sense), I have also been rehearsing the part of St. George for a traditional Mummers Play (being performed in Lady Bay and Beeston on the Solstice day! And I’m the only Pagan in the group…).  Tonight, I will be having my first rehearsal for an acting project created by a friend of mine.  The idea being that once its filmed, he shall upload it onto YouTube and see how it turns out.  I’m a little daunted by this, its the first straight acting piece I’ll be doing since 2007, after I sacrificed that world for a business venture and my marriage (courage was essential for both those adventures, the first evolved into something else and the latter is ongoing).  After a lot of soul searching and stopping from running away from myself, it turns out my performing side was still there all along and will always be a part of me.  It just that now I’m no longer denying it and am seeking to work with it once again.

On the OBOD Bardic course, we are encouraged to find our creative and expressive side.  I knew of mine all along, I just lied to myself saying that part of me was over.  What a fool I was!

Embracing the fire within has taught me that my Bardic self is my true self, something I only diluted with Morris Dancing alone.  Having the opportunities presented to me this year to pick up the rest of my performing side has taken the courage to do that what my spirit has been crying out for.

I have no idea where this project I’ll be rehearsing for is going to go, or even if it will be a success.  The important thing is I am stepping forward to do where I feel my potential lies.

I came upon the gorge that had ripped open the land like a wound.  Instead of anything like blood escaping or bone and muscle being revealed, this wound was dark, sucking in any hope and life into its depths. Looking around the land that was once whole and complete, the gorge stretched on for miles around, as far as the eye could see.  On the other side were pear trees, I could only just make out their vibrant green leaves and golden fruits.  The rest of that land was hidden by a fog, the hidden unknown of the future.
  I spent years looking for a way round, there was none.  I even spent those years thinking I was content with staying on this side, where I know the things I do and am familiar with all on this half of the gorge.  And yet. Yet… the calling from the other half was there, I tried to ignore it, hell even told myself I didn’t need to listen to it. 
  Then one day, I spied the pears of those trees and became hungry.  I knew that whatever lies in that fog is where I needed to go.  So I walked back towards the land I already knew, heading toward the trees and rocks I knew all the names of, and then I stopped.  I turned to face the gorge and breathed deeply, every intake as though they were my last.  So… I ran.  Running toward the gorge, the fire blazed within my chest, my breath as quick as I could take it, the strength in my legs burning as I headed closer and closer to the gaping precipice until my right foot touched its lip at which point I yelled only one thing as I leapt into the air above the darkness: “Geronimo!”