I am stuck. Really, really stuck.

I’ve spent over a year working through the OBOD Bardic Grade. I’ve had some interesting experiences during this time (not all as a result of the course, but many related to it). I’ve done some hard work and loved what I’ve discovered as a result. I’ve learnt that, while I’m not sure whether OBOD is entirely my ‘thing’, there’s some good stuff there and a whole lot to learn from it.

And now I’m attempting to write the final review for the Bardic Grade, and – well, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

I kept a detailed journal while I was following the course. I took pictures during my struggles forays rambles out into the land. My plan was to pair the pictures with written work based on  my journal, and add other creative responses that I was inspired to include. Easy…

A lot of academic types talk about ‘imposter syndrome’ – known in the less-pretentious world as an inferiority complex based on the impression that you’re an ignoramus among knowledgeable types. In short, you feel like you’re faking it. I know imposter syndrome well from my studies. I didn’t expect it in my Druidry. I’ve done the course, so why can’t I write about it?

Every word I write feels like I’m making it all up for effect. I’m far too focused on sounding like I’ve got enough out of the course, on sounding like I’ve had spiritual experiences. I did. Realistically, those experiences were nothing special, and I’m not sure I was much changed between the beginning and the end of the course. But I did experience at least some of what I was supposed to.  So why am I so desperate to prove it, primary school style? “What I Did On My Bardic Grade Course. This year I did the OBOD Bardic Grade course. It is a thing that you can do if you want to be a Druid. There are many parts to the Bardic Grade. There are some things to do with elements and some words to say and some stories about a boy who turned into a seed and got eaten…”

And you know what I think it’s (at least partly) about? That Word. Druidry. I resisted the term for ages, with its connotations of highly educated, deeply accomplished people, community leaders and judges and instruments of the gods. I’m still resisting it. I know that modern Druidry is not an attempt to reconstruct the roles of ancient Druids that we still keep around somewhere in our cultural memory – but I think I have to address the inheritance of those images, these concepts, in some way. I just have no idea where to start.

In the meantime, though, I should get back to the more immediate task. “Also on my Bardic Grade I went for some walks…”

6 thoughts on “Stymied

  1. Perhaps there’s a way to think of the writing as something altogether different from a traditional essay. Maybe you can be a bard about it. Tell your story. Make it a narrative. Make in 3rd person, even!

    Think out of the box.

    Be the bard, telling the story about the girl would be a Druid, but who had a hard time with that word.

    I’d read that story.

  2. If it would help, I can send you what I sent in and what their comments were? I think they were looking for something more like what ADF wants. I failed in the aspect that the gwers often say “do this, or not!” and I chose to do things my own way. I didn’t do the stuff that didn’t work for me. I think they thought I missed the mark because of this.

  3. This is exactly why I avoided joining any orders or taking any courses. Why bother when we’ve got rich books of myth, our gods and spirits of the land, vast expanses of earth, sea and sky to learn from. Spiritual experience shouldn’t be proved by the stamp of a tutor and a badge, but the experience of truth felt deep within our souls.

    • Lorna, I agree that you don’t need courses for spirituality, but I’m someone who finds structure and a bit of guidance useful. I don’t really need to send in the course review, as I don’t ‘need’ the stamp from my tutor for anything, but it would be nice to be able to say I completed the course. But yes, there are many other things out there to learn from, not least the natural world.

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