Fruit of a Decade...


With hushed crunch of frost underfoot, a circle of curiously-clad, winter-bitten strangers slowly gathers under the brooding, stalwart presence of the stones on Salisbury plain. Out of silence, into circle a Druid priestess charges all present to witness the wheel of the year turning. Yearning hearts - some broken call unspoken into darkness; cloaked in mystery - eternal dance of light and night. Prayers offered, with home-baked bread, brewed mead is shared with words of hope and fellowship: "May you never thirst." Voices raised in song melt back into reverence and stillness. Time enough passes to feel Earth gliding gently along. Those seeking initiation onto the path are called upon. I step forward out of time and beside myself. I forget what is said, but always remember the intention to hold dear the mystery of life, honouring it with heart, word and body. Little else is remembered - there is a cafe, a journey and ten years later, I am here, writing this blog.

Ten years ago at Stonehenge, some few others along with myself were initiated as Bards on the path of Druidry by Emma Restall-Orr and the Gorsedd of Cor Gawr. The journey towards becoming a Bard really began before my memory begins when my mother sang to me as a baby, through an early apprenticeship of the six-string harp at the age of nine, through school, college and twelve years or so as a professional voice coach and performance artist to the here and now when earlier this year, I came to the end of the Bardic grade in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids - a distance learning course in Druidry.

Since that initiation ten years ago, I have been blessed to witness performance and teaching from many great contemporary bards. Andy Letcher, Claire Hamilton, Fionn Tulach, Damh the Bard, Jake Poplar, Barry Patterson, Liv Torc, Robin WIlliamson, the list goes on...

I've always stood somewhat in awe of folks like these - like they had access to a special knowledge I don't have. Even though I've been following the path of Druidry for ten years, I still feel like I'm at the beginning of the journey.

Having completed a study of the art of being a Bard feels like a graduation - though I've been performing for many years, I feel like I'm looking for my first job - like I know what I'm really supposed to be doing now, but still haven't really started - yes there's been some promising moments, but I've yet to really do anything significant bardically speaking.  

The last couple of years has seen me beginning to settle down in my local area and do less travelling. I have made more friends who live near me and have begun to feel like I am part of a community here in Sheffield. Being a bard is very much about serving a community for me - in many ways like a shaman or witch doctor would serve their community, but instead of rattle and bones, I use music and spoken word.

I'm absolutely thrilled with the prospect of starting this new phase of my vocation as a Bard in the real world.

Thank you for your involvement.

PN.

Pic by Jeffrey Pfau, via Wikimedia Commons.


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