Formal training, or no formal training? That is the question I read on a friend’s Facebook status just a couple of days ago, and of course it got my Geminian air-head mind thinking.

A have had formal training, both from a Hermatic Ceremonial Magic Temple, and then later with the Order of Bards. Ovates and Druids. For me I found there were so many books, so many paths and teachers, that my head began to spin. I read everything I could lay my hands on, and spoke to everyone I could find, philosophising often until the early hours of the morning. But that approach for me felt out of focus, like a scatter gun I was spreading my attention too widely. My wish was to find a path that was wide enough to not feel restricted, but focussed enough to feel that I was actually on a path at all, and for me the course run by the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) was the perfect choice. It was not an academic course that demanded learning vast amounts of ancient history, yet somehow the path that led me though the forest had enough tributaries and smaller byways that I found myself often stepping from the main path of the course and spending that time exploring archaeology and history books that then built on the experiences I was having with the course. The material in the Gwersi was enough to keep me focussed, yet not so restrictive that I felt tied down.

So I followed the course. It took me 9 years to complete the Gwersi from Bard, through Ovate, and then Druid, and the irony was that, when it was finished, my personal path took its own life, held by the foundation of my experiences both as a student of Druidry and a studying Magician. So even though I finished the course in 2003 I still feel that focus, and regularly meet others who are walking in the same forest, on those same paths.

So when I saw that post on Facebook I realised that it was now impossible for me to says whether formal training was necessary, because having gone through it, I find it hard to imagine where I would be if I hadn’t. I’m sure I would have been fine, I would have found my own way with time, but whether I would be the same person I am now, I somehow doubt that. An interesting thought to ponder…