Thursday, 28 July 2011

Review of the OBOD Bardic Course

butterflies are the harbinger of spiritual
(a small tortoiseshell)

I have now reached the end of the Bardic Course and have been meditating on the changes it has made to my spiritual path.

My favourite parts of the Course were the Practicum and the Eisteddfod. I liked the meditations and visualisations, and found some familiar from my own practice and was able to slip them into my healing and mediation sessions readily and easily. One of these was the light body meditation it is similar to one I already use, therefore, I was able to assimilate it very quickly.

The Eisteddfods re- kindled my love of poetry and literature. I enjoyed hearing the stories, poems, music and songs. I became reacquainted with William Blake, Teilhard de Chardin, Goethe as well as other writer whose books had lain untouched on my bookshelves for some time. I also found others writer and musicians who were new to me. One of favourite poems of the Eisteddfod section is Dark Lake by Claire Hamilton. It reminds me of my one of favourite walks at Selbourne, Hampshire, and the deep dark lake in the valley.

I have written three pieces for the Hazel Tree Story Tellers Group during this year. I have called them Tall Stories because they are re-imaginings of old tales or myths and are fiction not factual. Although I do research details before I write the story
The Three Stories are:

Gog and Magog - A tall story (February)

The woman I was - another tall story - a re-imagining of the calling of the Fianna by Fiona Davidson Gwersi 8 (April)

The Essence of Spring - in Jane Austin's House Chawton (March)

I was I was intrigued by the Story of Talesin and fascinated by how the course has unfolded layer upon layer of the meaning of the tale. This tale has inspired me to write another Tall Story about part of this iconic story

The teaching on the creation of a scared space and a retreat were informative and I was able to assimilate that into my practice and make it part of my Reiki and meditation sessions both for me as an individual and in Reiki shares and meditation groups.

What has Changed with a group? First we smudge each other to clear away any negative energy we may have brought with us. Next we clear and bless the space by smudging it and placing Reiki symbols and/or the Awen symbol around the room. Formerly I followed the Directions of Feng Shui starting in the North but now start from the east and working clockwise round all the directions of the space. I follow the ritual of drawing the circle before entering the sacred space from the west and moving to the East. We start with a chant including the Awen. I love the Awen as it open us up to our creative energy. When we have finished a Reiki share we always symbolically collect the symbols that each of us has used and now we include uncasting the circle at the end of group. These symbolic movements ground and prepare the members to return to their daily lives after the joining together in the nurturing and healing light of Reiki, Awen, and meditation.
Each Gwersi of the OBOD Bardic Course contain a section called the Triads. These are  wise rhetorical statements. The first statement points to the link bewtween three images, ideas or intent:
Three great melodies of Creation:
The wind in the Trees
The stream at snowmelt
The cry of a new babe.
I found them intrigue, thought provoking, with poetic resonance that lingered in my mind. I copied them onto cards and dip into them.  Sometimes to gain some insight to a question I am pondering, or just to enjoy the images and thoughts they conjure.

The circle has always contained a symbolic significance for me. My practice of Chi Kung with Master LamKam Cheun has taught my about the circles of life and the earth. I have always followed the circle of the year the Equinox and Solstice as the sun moves round our earth  with celebration and ceremonies but have not paid so much to attention to the agricultural or The Celtic Fire Festivals. The exception was Imbloc which I knew as Candlemass, in early February and Samhuinn, All Sinners and Saints, in November. Beltane I knew as a name only, and Lughnasadh was a new celebration to me completely.

The Ceremonies of the OBOD were welcomed and have expanded my consciousness of the seasons and my place in the cycles. I like the framework and formality of the ceremony, the structure that includes a familiar opening which is grounding and then moves onto the ritual of the time. Finally to the closure and uncasting the “spell” and a return to everyday life. The year I have been studying the Bardic Course has been waymarked about every six weeks by these festivals, which has been a wonderful experience.

As part of my celebrations of Lugnasadh in August I am joining with people from all around the globe to share distance healing. Even though we will be spread far and wide in the world we are going to link together in time and space. We will send healing at a set time in our own time zone. The healing for Peace and the Earth will ripple round the world.

The course included the study of the Four elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire. These were familiar to me through Tia Chi and Chi Kung but again a new way of looking has enhanced my way of seeing and feeling. I am posting  a blog with web weaving thoughts about the elements (see August posts)

During the OBOD course my connection to the earth and the other elements has become deeper. I have had my allotment for a number of years. Now it has become even more of a special place where I take care of plants, trees and all the living creature that live on it or visit.
I discovered that the bee is sacred to Druids and their connection to the sun and their sun dance which shows the way to nectar rich plants creates solar bee’s honey. For a long while after being near blinded when a swarm of bees landed on my face I was afraid of bees but gradually I learnt to respect their value and their gifts of honey, bees wax polish, and their crucial part in pollinating plants and trees. But I kept my distance from them. My plot has always been full of bees as has my garden, where myrtle and buddleia create wonderful food sources for bees, butterflies, moths. hoverflies and other bugs.

This year, in my allotment and garden, however, I have paid closer attention to creating areas with plants that benefit all these creatures as well as the birds. My connection to the earth is much deeper and is more profound. Now my meditation space at the plot is surrounded by the buzzing of bumble bees, solitary bees, honey bees and by butterflies and moths flitting by. I welcome and bless their presence.
When I plant or harvest vegetables I am aware of touching the earth and being grateful for its bounty.
Has the Bardic course changed me? Yes in subtle but profound ways, many of these changes I am still discovering.

Achillia loved by bees and hover flies
and heals wounds - spiritual and physical

You might like to read Approaching the Gateway of the Ovates

With Reiki blessings
Merry B 

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