Tag Archives: Order of Bards Ovates and Druids

Why perform ritual? 

“Do you perform it for their glory, or for yours?” Was the question that popped into my head as I poured the water from Monday’s ceremony into the kitchen plant. 

    A slight rewording from the question posed to Dr. Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but an effective one nonetheless. 

    That previous night had me perform a personal meditation in order to find an answer to something I was thinking through.  Well, more accurately, the meditation was the middle bit of my ceremony (to my fellow members of the Grove who wanted to know how it is I can recall the words by rote….. This is how).  And to perform the meditations and visualisations I use without the ceremonial bits feels…. Naked.

    This is how I do it: 

    1. Peace to the quarters.
    2. Cast the circle.
    3. Bless the circle with fire and water.
    4. Prayer to deity or deities.
    5. Awens.
    6. Middle bit.
    7. ‘Hour of recall….’
    8. Thanks to Deity.
    9. Uncast the circle.
    10. Declaration of the end of ceremony. 

        It’s mainly based on the general OBOD ceremonies, but I have found the form that works for me.  No flowers though.  Can’t be doing with taking from the plant realm for the sake of aesthetics!

          The Order encourages members to try things out and see how things work for them, even saying to stop something if it doesn’t work for you.  I have kept the above as it works for me.  Some of the wording is different and the words I say to deity are my own. 

        The ritual water I give to the household plants, a way of giving back and not wasting what was taken.

        There was a time I would perform this every day, and even though it did calm my being, I became stifled with the repetition.  So now, I like to do it with meaning, the ritual bringing calm and satisfaction to myself as well as honour and communication to those that are listening.  

        Do I do it for their glory?  Not really, as I have other personal rituals for giving thanks and honour.

        Do I do it for my glory?  Perhaps.  But when I perform the ceremony it isn’t for glory, it is a series of repetitious actions that allow me to enter a certain level of consciousness that allows me to find a stillness.  This stillness can be used to calm my fiery temperament, to gain insight or inspiration.  

        And even if there is no one in the ether, the ceremony still serves it’s purpose. 

        “There are FOUR lights!” Pic by Locksley2010.

        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.

        ‘Into Darkness’…

        wpid-img_20140730_205721_931.jpg

         

        Yep, I pretty much stole that title from the Star Trek movie.  Because its appropriate, Kirk and crew face their darkest mission, yet it’s about the beginning of exploring the great dark of space.

        In my last post here, I wrote of how I interpreted a visual sight (not to mention all the cawing of those crows) as being a message from The Morrigan… I just didn’t know what it meant.

        My good friend, Cristina, interpreted it as a message of ‘Transformation and regeneration… usually after a time of pain.  And War-Goddesses are also Goddesses of healing‘.

        Today, I figured out the message!

        On the OBOD Bardic course, I’ve been on Gwers #45 since April.  I tried out the Practicum in it when I was in Cyprus, but I more often than not kept falling asleep.  Today, I felt the urge to read it and do it again.  I answered the questions suggested with different answers to what I got the first time.  The exercise (no spoilers for my Bardic friends who will be reading this!) this time was a lot more productive.  I think the chunk of limestone on my diaphragm helped me NOT fall asleep this time.

        My thoughts gave way to nothing…. and then the answer revealed itself like a statue being uncovered in the sea as the surf gives way to reveal a secret hidden in plain sight:

        All of my life I’ve tried to force my hand to make things happen.  Tried to make my life into something to go my way.  In ways, it did and in ways it didn’t.  I mean it’s good to have a goal, but…. BUT… what about letting life give the opportunity?  What about letting life happen and when it presents you with an opportunity you then take it?  There’s a choice there: Stay on your present course and things will work out more or less as you expected.  Or take the opportunity and dare to let life take you somewhere new, somewhere unexpected.  Even if it doesn’t work out… you tried.

        And so… this bit as I wrote it in my Bardic Journal, I KNEW was the answer to what the message was:

        “In life we make our own way, we must take action.  But let life show you how, where and what.”

        And as if to confirm my realisation as I wrote that down, there was a caw… then another… then a third! (I shit you not!) A young crow was on the roof as I was scribbling away out in the garden.  I laughed out to myself, to the crow, to the garden.  I got it!  To allow life to show you an opportunity, you need to take a moment of stillness, look into the dark (as in silence and withdrawal) and have faith.  It doesn’t matter if that faith is in yourself, faith in the Gods, or spirits or whatever… at least put your faith in Life.

        I was happy with that and I accepted it… and in accepting, my regeneration and transformation begins.

        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!”