The Seer Poet

The Seer Poet

For many, the modern Druid tradition is made up of three ‘grades’ or schools. The Bard, the Ovate and the Druid. Sometimes it can feel like a linear structure – we begin as Bards, then move on to Ovate, the finally to Druid. Kind of like the three degree structure of some Wiccan traditions. As you begin the next, you leave the last behind, but that isn’t how it works in practice at all. The Bardic tradition is the foundation upon which the Ovate and Druid Journeys are built. And when the Ovate begins the Druid work they don’t stop being Bards and Ovates, they are all three. It has always bugged me when the Bard is viewed as an ‘entry-level’ Druid. I’m not sure Taliesin, Amergin, or Merlin would agree… and I don’t agree either.

Each ‘grade’ also works with different skills and techniques that help those on the Druid path to connect on a deeper level with the Natural Worlds, both seen and unseen. And there are also no distinct edges to those schools or grades – I tend to see them as three circles with each one overlapping, with the centre being the place where all three combine.

My Path has always existed in the overlap between the Bardic and Ovate circles. It was the Bardic tradition that first attracted me to Druidry. I have been a life-long lover of music, myth, story, legend, and sacred poetry. When I received my OBOD introduction leaflet in the post and read about the Bards, that was it, I was home. Then I read the ancient Celtic myths of Britain and Ireland and was overwhelmed by the magic in those stories. The Tain, Y Mabinogi, the tales of Ossian, of Cu Chulainn, introduced me to the wonders of the Path. The Bardic/Ovate Path then taught me how to traverse those borders between the worlds with the use of music, voice and drum. I met some of those Spirits, and they walked with me.

My Path has also always, in essence, been Animistic. I have always seen the world of the physical and the world of Spirit as intertwined. Inseparable. I heard it said many times that if you hear the music of the Otherworld, if you follow it, and then step in, you can become trapped. A Bard once suggested to me that is not because you are physically trapped there, no, it is because once you have seen it, your life can never be the same again. It’s impossible to go back to how life was before. That is how it has been for me. Once the doors were opened hearing and reading those old tales, I could never go back.

The Sacred has always found expression in music, song and poetry, and those songs have been the Paths we have walked, led by musical notes and words, for millennia. This has always been the Path of the Bard, the Skald, and the Scop, and I think it is as important now, maybe even more so, than ever before. We are not taken out of our ‘reality’, we are shown Other realities exist. We are shown the magic that’s is all around us in every leaf, in birdsong, in the sound of the sea-waves, in the rising of the Sun and Moon.

And that, to me, is Bardic magic.

16 responses to “The Seer Poet”

  1. Your words ring true. Having no pretense to artistic ability I am often dismayed by any project that asks me to produce “art” but maybe it’s my definition of art that needs to broaden. The birds singing so beautifully this morning are busy being birds, they have no interest in adorning my morning with song and yet they do!

  2. “We are not taken out of our ‘reality’, we are shown Other realities exist.”

    Yes! To me, listening to an inspired performer is a reminder of the magic and of the other realities. We need those reminders and the connections they help create.

    Thank you for your shows and many blessings! <3

  3. Yes, like all “models” or modalities it is a cycle, each intertwined. Three schools of thought and practice. But each contained within the other. A Holy Trinity of sorts. You have a beautiful way of expressing it.

  4. I agree, like the Goddess we are all three, sometimes one is in the for front more than others – this may last a short time or a life time…

  5. Thank you so much for these inspiring thoughts. Over here in the U.S. (I’m in San Francisco) we are greatly in need of hope and vision. This will help me look at the day in new and different ways, beyond Time into the Eternal verities. My first novel, The Spoils of Avalon, was filled with the Forest and mountain spirits, and the old gods of hill and stream; I need to steep myself in those waters again.

  6. Hi Damh, yes I agree. As a recent OBOD Druid Graduate, I found all three grades came to fruition in the Druid Grade. Ovate was difficult for me. I’m a musician, an artist, and a teacher, so Bard and Druid levels were my favourite. But each grade can stand alone, but they all intertwine in the end. ❤️/|\

  7. I totally agree. For me, it has always been bothersome that we call the 3rd degree, Druid. As if you’re not a Druid when you’re in the Bard or Ovate grade. I’m still in the Ovate grade, but I consider myself a Druid. I’d really like to see the 3rd grade called something else.

  8. How lovely!! Thank you for this post.

    My path didn’t lead through a specific tradition but it does seem like we see the world similarly. Maybe that’s why your music resonates so well for me.

  9. Thank you Dave. Your words really resonate with me.Perhaps especially so as last night I had one of those magical dreams that have been strewn through my bardic and ovate grades – overlapping and intertwining, with deep messages which link the two.My dream book is scattered with these wonders, which can surely only be through stepping into the Otherworld. Thank you as always for sharing your experiences.

  10. I loved reading this – very insightful and really makes sense. I think whatever path you walk through your time on Earth and beyond depending on your beliefs you can never “go back” to what you experienced before. I look at everything with an artist eye, even though this is a hobby for me, and think how would our ancestors have viewed this. Keep bringing us you wonderful insight and music. BB rutiej (Ruth)

  11. Such lovely words to an open mind , a bit like a
    soothing music in an empty space, enlightening , fulfilling and in a lighter sense of the word , educational , Thank you for sharing.

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