Questions about OBOD's course

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Arachne
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Questions about OBOD's course

Postby Arachne » 17 Apr 2005, 13:34

Hi Everyone,

Quick introduction: I have recently "discovered" Druidry and feel a connection with it as it seems quite similar to my own philosophy. In the past I have considered Wicca, but it didn't feel quite "right" in some parts for me. I have been learning Tarot for the last year and it is through the wonderful Druidcraft deck that I discovered this site.

Anyway... :wink: I am considering taking the OBOD course but I have a few questions and it would be extremely helpful if anyone could answer them for me.

Okay, here goes:
The course information on the OBOD site explains that in the first year you learn 13 rituals in addition to 8 seasonal celebrations. This sounds great but also quite a lot. So my question is, in general, how much time does the course require you dedicate to it, per week for example?

The course is described as experiential rather than academic. However, it doesn't explain much about what is required of the student. Do you get marked? Do you write essays? Is it possible to fail? Do you end up with a grade? I'm suspecting this isn't the case as it doesn't sound like that sort of course, but if someone could enlighten me that would be great.

The course description also says : “The first course at the bardic level is self-directed” Does this mean at higher grades you need to work more to a pre-determined plan/schedule laid out by OBOD?

Can you call yourself a druid without taking this course? I suspect yes, although I understand there would be quite a stiff learning curve to gain the same knowledge.

Would it be useful to read a book (for example, "Druidcraft") before embarking on the course or would this duplicate some of the content of the course? I am worried that reading a book and then taking the course might mean I get bored with the course if it covers the same ground.

That's it :)

Any information anyone could give me along these lines would be very much appreciated...

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Postby Lily » 17 Apr 2005, 14:49

Hi Arachne,

I experienced the course as interesting and in no way strenuous. The rituals are based on a set of basic techniques which you learn early in the course and they are not "difficult" per se, and they are handy to work with later.

If you like reading in the evening, you will be gladly spending an hour or so on some weeknights, reading the gwersi and doing the exercises - however, if you are very busy, the course might go slower. I took about 18 months to finish and some take longer. You can choose your own pace. Actually the pace is one aspect I liked in the course. At the end of the year, you will have roughly 500 pages of information. If you just went out and bought a 500 page book, and gobble it all up in a couple weeks, you would not get a fraction out of it.

No, you don't "pass or fail". You and your tutor determine when you have "finished" the grade. Your tutor may suggest that you work with some material again if they feel it is necessary and beneficial for you. I can't repeat often enough that the tutor can be the best part of the package :)

I can't really comment on whether the other grades are less "self-directed", perhaps a druid grade member can help us out here. On calling yourself a druid, that is up to you - do you consider "druidry" a religion, or do you consider "druid" a title? I would not call myself a druid even if I had completed 19 years of training, but that is a personal decision.
If you are a voracious reader you will probably read books on the side, so there may be some duplicate information. You won't get bored with the course, I would guess, unless you are extremely demanding :)
Check out the reading room for book reviews!

Perhaps you have seen that you can try the introductory package first, to get a feel for it, before embarking on the full course. You can also keep hanging out here and see what some of the members "are like" and how "we do it" - so welcome on board!
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


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Arachne
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Postby Arachne » 17 Apr 2005, 16:38

Hi Lily,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. That was exactly the information I was looking for and it was really helpful. I read all the time so it doesn't sound like it will be too strenuous and I'm glad to hear that you took 18 months and some take longer - I feel free to take my time (if I go ahead!)

I will probably now send off for the introductory package and take a look. I will also check out the reading room. I don't know why I was hesitating...I have a tendency to rush into courses (I have a thing for them!) so didn't want this to be the same!

Thanks again!

Arachne

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Postby Donata » 17 Apr 2005, 16:41

Dear Arachne,

As Lily said, the course is self-directed, and this is so for all three Grades. ..I tutor mostly Bards, and a few Ovates..... This is especially true if the person only asks for a tutor near the end or at the end of the Grade. It's easier if you ask early on, so your tutor has a sense of your progress and growth thru the Grade. Also, this makes it easier for you to ask questions, discuss, etc. So please don't wait - ask for a tutor to be assigned early on.

As far as the rituals go, if you learn the basic framework you're set. If you don't you can still do the ceremonies, by reading all of it each time. It's not complicated to learn the framework, and then you are in a position to create spontaneous ceremony for yourself if you wish.

Good luck! go at your own pace and enjoy the work!

BB
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Postby Arachne » 17 Apr 2005, 19:28

Thanks for your reply Donata. I must admit, the rituals/ceremonies are a little bit daunting to me. I have some knowledge of Wicca so I know what to expect in terms of casting the circle etc. and I've worked with elements through the Tarot, but I haven't actually ever done a ritual as such (casting the circle etc.) I'm not sure how that would go in my living room, with my dog trying to join in! I guess though I don't know until I try...

I have ordered the introductory package now so I'm looking forward to it arriving and I'll have a good thorough read through when I get it.

If I go ahead with the course, I will be sure to ask for a tutor early on...thanks for the tip!

Arachne

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Postby forestmonk3966 » 17 Apr 2005, 19:52

Hi Arachne,


Take as much time as you see fit to compleat the course,there is no set rule, work at your own pace.
Pet's and children are free to move in and out of a circle( as it is seen by most that I know of) so no worrie's other then being cautious of open flame's,that is.

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Postby Arachne » 18 Apr 2005, 07:45

Pet's and children are free to move in and out of a circle( as it is seen by most that I know of) so no worrie's other then being cautious of open flame's,that is.
Ah, that's good to hear...my dog hates to be left out of things and probably won't be content with watching from the sofa!

Thanks :)

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Postby Beadmouse » 18 Apr 2005, 09:15

I have just begun the course and am finding it both fascinating and stimulating. I think that being self directed is a good thing...some times I read and work every day, other times there is a gap as life things take over. As for pets, my cats join in everything including meditations. (Its not always easy to concentrate when Pru sits on my shoulder and nibbles my ear, lol!)

Good luck ~smile~

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Postby Dair Ciúin » 18 Apr 2005, 09:51

Greetings!

I started the bardic course at the beginning of this year, and am working through at a relaxed but thorough pace. I expect to complete it within the next two years, though most people would only require one. The good thing is that the course has no time limit, so you can take as long as you like. Applying for a tutor is highly recommended.

Although completing the third course does make you a druid in the OBOD sense, I believe that you need many years of personal study to truly feel like a trained druid. That is why I am a member of ADF as well as OBOD. I also supplment my studies, but that is a personal choice and certainly not a requirement. It all depends how far you want to go. Many prefer to remain as bards or ovates.

Yes, reading books on druidry is very useful and I encourage it! Be wary, though, as some are known to be misleading. A few I own are the World of The Druids by Miranda J. Green (a good illustrative guide), Druid Magic by Maya Magee Sutton and Nicholas R. Mann, Celtic Gods Celtic Goddesses by R.J. Stewart, and The Druids: Celtic Priests of Nature by Jean Markale.

I believe that the OBOD courses have very little information about deities, due to the fact that it accomodates those of all religions and pantheons. Please correct me if I'm wrong, folks!

Boy, I think this has been my longest post yet!

Blessings,
Ally of The Ents

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Postby Unikorn » 18 Apr 2005, 10:50

Greetings!

It all depends how far you want to go. Many prefer to remain as bards or ovates.

I believe that the OBOD courses have very little information about deities, due to the fact that it accomodates those of all religions and pantheons. Please correct me if I'm wrong, folks!

Blessings,
Ally of The Ents
Hi - there is no heirarchical relationship between the grades - people call themselves what they are - Bard, Ovate or Druid - in OBOD all of these are important and celebrated! Many people complete the OBOD course and remain 'Bard' as that is their calling, just as Ovate is a calling for others.

I wouldn't personally say we have 'very little information' about deities at all! We explore many of the mythologies and sources available to us from historical and also oral tradition, of a 'Celtic' theme, including mythology around how the 'world' is structured. Certainly we explore and are invited to experience the deities of the 'Celtic' world, as we know them.
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Postby Kernos » 18 Apr 2005, 15:31

I would like to underscore what Unikorn just said about the grades NOT being hierarchical. I think of them as a circle or round table.

But, humans have a genetic need to create hierarchies - just like chickens (I have 25, 10 day old chicks in my living room and already they are creating a pecking order). One of the effects of taking the course will be to gain some tools to help you resist this beastly need for hierarchy in yourself.

One of my most difficult jobs on this board is trying to balance this need for hierarchy with the OBOD way and to resist the call for what is called 'order'.

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Postby DJ Droood » 18 Apr 2005, 15:38

The Disorder of Bards Ovates and Druids? (Doh! BOD?)
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Postby Arachne » 18 Apr 2005, 17:47

Thank you for all the replies everyone - it's especially helpful to hear from people who are currently taking the course as not too long ago you were probably in my position! I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your studies...

I didn't realise that the grades weren't hierarchical...I naturally assumed that they were and that you progressed onto the "higher" levels as your studies progressed. So now I'm wondering what the difference is between bards, ovates and druids. If anyone cares to answer that would be great, but I suspect I may find the answer on OBOD's website so I'm heading there now!

All this talk makes me want to get started...I'm itching for the introductory package to arrive already!

Thanks!

Arachne

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Postby Selene » 18 Apr 2005, 18:14

Arachne,
I think the order of the grades probably derives from the type of material contained in each. The Bardic grade is dedicated to developing and nurturing an individual's creativity, one's relationship with the elements, and a sense of self-discovery. This serves as the foundation for all else.

The Ovate does not cease to be a Bard, but adds the studies of divination and healing to the insight gained in the Bardic course. Druids are considered to be the philosophers and teachers of the Order, but they do not stop being Bards and Ovates just because their studies have taken them in a new direction.

That said, many people who have completed all three grades find their home to be in either Bards or Ovates, because they connect more strongly with the aspects of study that those grades emphasize. It is not uncommon for a Druid Graduate to consider himself or herself first and foremost a Bard, for example. And some people who complete the Bardic or Ovate courses have no desire to take on another set of studies and remain where they are, active in the area that suits them the best.

In short, no grade is "better" than another. They're all good!

Blessings,
Selene
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Postby WildChild » 18 Apr 2005, 18:52

I do greatly appreciate Arachne for bringing this topic up and posting it, as well as the replies it has recieved. Many of the questions I have/had are addressed here towards learning the druid way through the OBOD course that is offered. I did much reading of the main OBOD site before becomming a member of this board. I liked very much of what I read. I became a member of this board so that I might interact with the members here and learn even more, which I have. I realise that the more I read here the less I feel I know. I am almost overwhelmed with the vastness of information available on this board.
I too have been contemplating taking the OBOD course on Druidry. I am not concerned with levels or titles but merely the information to be gained for I am a seeker of knowledge. I have learned that once one has gained knowledge of a subject, time and experience tends to lead towards wisdom. I do not consider myself to be wise as I always feel there is more to learn on any given subject. My father has spent well over fifty years in medicine, retired eight years ago, and still he studies many books and journals on medicine. From watching my father I realise that one can never stop learning new things even if it is an area that one may have great knowledge about already. I feel and believe that the same applies towards Druidry and all that it encompasses.
I too think that I may send for the Introductary Pack that has been mentioned here in this thread. I believe it would give me a better sense of what is offered and if this path is indeed the path I choose to take. Although, I already feel as if I am a couple steps in that direction. I also like the idea of requesting and recieving a tutor early on in the course, this makes good sense to me. If anyone has any further suggestions, ideas, or comments, I would gladly welcome them and be most appreciative. Thanks!

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Postby Arachne » 18 Apr 2005, 18:52

Thanks Selene, that's a very clear explanation. I found a little bit on the OBOD website about it also. I'm pleased the course starts with Bardic training - the whole creativity/expression thing sounds like a lot of fun!

Arachne

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Postby Selene » 18 Apr 2005, 18:59

the whole creativity/expression thing sounds like a lot of fun!
It is!

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Postby Amethyst » 20 Apr 2005, 14:59

Hi Arachne,

As everyone has already mentioned, there are no time limits - I took almost 8 years! - but the intervening time was important for my learning as well. If you choose to take the course, you'll find it unfolds in the precise way it is meant to for your particular journey.

I read everything I could find on druidry before embarking on the grade, and let me tell ya, there sure is a lot more of it around now than in '97!!

I've found that books on the topic are from a decidedly different perspective, as one looking at the forest. Whereas the course shows you to look at the trees. One is not a substitute for the other, but as complements.

As Donata mentioned, applying for a tutor early on is a great idea. I did within the first few months, and he gave me some great advice. So much so, that I took almost 6 years to digest it and get back to him about it! We started corresponding again in 2003 and IMO we have become very good friends. There are a lot of similarities between us that we never knew were there at the start. Good job Susan!

He has travelled with me through many questions and issues, not providing clear-cut answers (riddles are more like it) mind you, rather the perspective of one who has already gone through those same times.

Wishing you many blessings and bright rays,
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Postby Trillian » 23 Apr 2005, 20:12

I'm certainly glad someone brought up these questions, as I've had a few of my own. Though I've been a student of religions, spirituality, lore, literature, music, nature and life itself for what seems to be a time longer than my current incarnation, I'm not officially considered a Druid (yet). I suppose, what with my interests, I'd be best suited a Bard or, later, a teacher... but that, I have yet to discover. It is true that I have never felt more connected and more a part of any belief system as I do with Druidry as a whole. I "know" enough about it through readings, discussions, considerations and personal meditations and practices to consider myself just slightly beyond a true beginner in these arts, but I am by no means expert, and know little aside from what my intuitions tell me.

I am keen on beginning this course, but I am also enrolling in Alferian's Avalon College. My question is this: is the course of study offered through the College an equivalent of the OBOD course, or are they separate, equally beneficial paths of study? I believe I will end up taking both, but not at the same time.

"One is not a substitute for the other..." -- I would imagine that same truth applies... the two complement each other.

Does anyone have a suggestion about when, if beginning one course of study in the very near future, I might want to consider starting the other?

Blessings.
Trillian

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Postby Ailim » 23 Apr 2005, 22:10

Hi Arachne,

What everyone else has already said is excellent guidance. Once you start learning the basic ceremonial outlines, you'll soon realise that they are very simple indeed. There is a beginning (i.e. casting the circle, blessing and quarters), then the middle bit is generally open for whatever you are doing - so a LOT of creativity allowed here, and the closing stage (i.e. thanking the guardians, closing the quarters, uncasting the circle etc.) So just think in terms of 3 when doing any ritual - Opening - Creativity - Closing.

Asking for a tutor is very important. This is the link in your course with OBOD itself. Especially if you don't have a local grove to attend. At the end of your course, your tutor will advise whether you are ready to move on to the next level. You might find yourself writing to your tutor once a month, or you might decide to write every couple of months. It is entirely up to you. No one will chase you for coursework - it is a personal journey that each of us makes in our own time.

There is no time limit for the OBOD course, some people can do the work in a year, others may take literally years to do each level.

Good luck and enjoy your journeys :)

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