Initiation

Birch, traditionally associated with beginnings. Image by me.

Birch, traditionally associated with beginnings. Image by me.

This weekend, I did the initiation ceremony for the Bardic Grade of OBOD, which is the formal announcement of my intention to work through the course and also a sign that I am part of the wider community of the Order. Now, OBOD works with the traditional framework of a “mystery school”, so the details of their initiations and training are kept members-only so I can’t go into detail about the ceremony (I have my own feelings about this, but that’s another post). However, I will say that I was reassured that there were no oaths to swear, no promises to make,  and nothing to commit me to OBOD, the course, or Druidry itself for any longer than I want to explore it.

I’ve done this initiation before, when I first did the Bardic course years ago (although I never fully finished), but re-doing it was for me a sign that I intend to see it through this time. Initiation is a funny thing, because of course the ceremony/ritual itself confers no magic powers, and certainly doesn’t make you a Druid (or a Bard, which let’s face it, is a title I’m even less comfortable with – I have no musical ability and my poetry is rubbish).

John Michael Greer, ever my go-to-guy for sensible down to earth advice on Druidry, writes in The Druidry Handbook*:

“Too many people forget that the word ‘initiation’ simply means ‘beginning’. They mistakenly assume that the simple act of passing through an initiation ceremony by itself makes them Druids. Records of ancient Druid schools, where some students spent twenty years mastering the Druid curriculum, provide a useful corrective to this sort of thinking.”

Becoming a Druid is a lifelong journey, and all the courses, Orders, Fellowships and books in the world are only paths through the forest, or vehicles along the path, not the whole sum of Druidry itself. Having said that, I am excited to fully start a new chapter in my personal exploration of the Druid way.

*By the way, if you don’t fancy joining a group or can’t afford a course like the OBOD one, I highly recommend The Druidry Handbook as an excellent place to start exploring Druidry.

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