I haven’t been blogging much over the past six months because I have been very busy with life and studies. I want to use this post therefore to look back over the past year, and to look forward to this one.
Last year was a very up and down time for me. Between January and May, I had 4 different jobs, lived in two different cities, almost moved across the world again and went through a period of depression. I had felt aimless and lost after I returned from my travels abroad. But in May things turned around when I got a new job, moved in with my brother and started focusing on my new career path – training to be an accountant. Since then, things have got much better – I got out of my depression, found renewed goals in life, lost a lot of weight and have become a vegan again.
At the beginning of 2017, I began the OBOD Bardic grade course. I stopped in May for a while and then began again from the beginning in August. In August I also decided to go through the Bardic grade of the British Druid Order again too. Doing them alongside each other made for some interesting contrasts. While I was initially skeptical about the OBOD course, when I came to do the review at the end of the year, I realised that it had actually had quite a profound effect on me. They do request that we don’t share a lot about what’s in the course so I can’t go into too much detail, but I can explain some of the effects and experiences I had. I feel I connected with the elements – earth, air, fire, water in significant ways, in fact, I was even inspired to join the navy reserves while I was learning about the water element (and having pulled a confirmatory rune of “Ing” which talks about going across the sea in a boat). I did a visualisation exercise where I met a small bird which I have interpreted as a kind of representation of my soul or possibly a spirit animal. The two courses together inspired me to take up Poetry, so I bought a book by Stephen Fry called “The Ode Less Traveled” (a book I highly recommend for anyone interested in learning poetry) and I learned how to write poetry…something I was unable to do before. In fact, doing the Cell of Song activity at the end of the BDO course, I managed to write a 60 line poem, inspired by the Awen I believe. And there was much more. Things that stood out to me from the BDO course in particular was the mention of the historical evidence for things like Saining (smudging) with Mugwort and the use of Sweat Lodges in Britain. The BDO is explicitly more “shamanic” and “animistic” in focus and I can see that element growing within my spirituality going forward.
I recently submitted the courses, and this week I was told that I passed both OBOD and BDO Bardic courses, and am now moving on to this years challenge – the Ovate grade courses. I am looking forward to going deeper into myself, connecting closer with nature and the spirits of nature, and developing new skills in areas like divination and herbalism. The creative side of things doesn’t really interest me much but I had to undertake the Bardic courses to access my real interest – the Ovate stuff. (That said, I got so much out of the bardic grade and it helped open up the creative side of me). Today the BDO Ovate course first module became available and I am beginning to work through it. The journey begins, I’m jumping in with both feet, excited at what is to come and how my spirituality will develop this year.