Bard for Life

Starting from the beginning


Hello my fellow travellers

I want to spend some time now talking about the stages of my journey. In my previous musings I have mentioned the three stages of the Druid, the Bard, the Ovate and the Druid, although these are all druids in their own right each stage leads on to the next.

Once I had discovered that my path led me towards Druidry, my journey began. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I met a Druid/Buddhist while out dancing at a wassail one chilly January night and spoke to him for a while and later joined his virtual Grove on Facebook. I was not aware initially where to begin my actual learning of the path of the Druid so as with all things these days I turned to that all knowing fountain of knowledge, Google. I picked up some interesting information and started reading and researching and I came across my first book on the subject. Pagan Portals - The Hedge Druid's Craft by Joanna van der Hoeven. I picked this book after reading the introduction as it was based around solitary practice which is the way I have always worked, I didn't follow it to the letter as she based her information on her own practice and it incorporated into it Wicca and Witchcraft as well as Druidry hence Druid Craft, it did, however, give me insights into the path of the Druid and that it can be a done as a solitary practitioner.

From what I learnt in this book and my ongoing love for nature I basically knew I was on the right path. The more I read, the more I began to delve deeper into what was to become my new way of life, or my old way of life revamped. Working as a Hedge Druid really suited me as it was solo practice, I chatted to people on social media, walked through woods and meditated. This was good for starting but I wanted to make sure that my practice was right so I once again hit my old friend Google and she led me to the British Druid Order. My formal training was now underway.

I was a Bard, wow Shakespeare eat your heart out. The path of the Bard was, to me, a perfect way for me to realise I was where I should be, I had come home. I have always been a bit of a storyteller, a poet and to some extent a musician (well I played bass in a group when I was at college). Has Druidry always been in my blood? Well the more my practice moved on the more this seemed to be the case. My love for writing was rekindled as was my love for storytelling. I started working my way through the course and it was as if I had been reborn, everything I looked at, everything I felt everything I heard all had a new and invigorating impact on me. A walk through the woods, as I have said before, was an amazing and refreshing experience, I no longer sat amongst the trees I now sat with friends and family, I learnt to appreciate silence even more, although I rarely, these days, have silence. I used to sit in the woods or in the garden and relish this silence, now I sit in the same places and this silence although the same as it always was is now the voices of my family, the trees, as they blow in the wind give me inspiration, the small bee people as they drone while going about their business make me feel apart of their world, I hear the birds with more clarity and actually talk back to these wonderful beings, yes some may consider this madness, I think those people are the mad ones as they miss so much that happens every day.

The journey of a Bard never stops, there are always stories to be told, always songs to be sung and music to be played, I learnt that as you move from one path to another the overlap is constant, as an Ovate I would still gain inspiration for a story or a poem, never think that you leave one behind and move on to the next as this is not the case. We all have a story inside us and we should all tell it. My blog is my story and it will keep going as it is the way things go, we learn every day of our lives and each new day brings a new story and without the knowledge of the Bard they would go unheard.

For me the Bardic path was something I had always known, it had made me who I am without me even realising at times. I would sit on a campsite with friends and even strangers and tell stories, some true, some almost true, and some well lets just say in parts they were true, but it didnt matter. The sheer pleasure of looking at peoples faces, hearing them react to the story whether laughing or sighing made things feel better. To me the Bard is the part of the journey where you can make changes in the here and now, in the way people see, feel, or understand things. Talking to people, sharing experiences is a real ice breaker, I used to use this as a defence when I was at school to avoid being bullied, believe me I learnt to talk my way out of most things. The Bard is the giver and sharer of knowledge and they have so many tools they can use to do this. It has been said the pen is mightier than the sword, and yes it is and so is the power of speech.

And so the Ovate path begins................................

Thank you again for continuing to follow me and read my many musings, I hope you are still enjoying them, today in light of the fact that I have been talking about my journey as a Bard, a storyteller, I would like to leave you with another short story I wrote, again this was inspired by one of my poems and it seemed to good an opportunity to not turn it into a short story. It is called "The Gypsy and the Traveller"

The Gypsy and the Traveller

The night was lit by a large full moon as the traveller made his way through the woods, trees were casting shadows on the ground in an eerie twisted pattern. The woods were silent but for the occasional hoot of a lonely owl hunting its prey. The traveller had been journeying for several days before he came to the woods, passing but a few people on his way, he was growing weary and looked for a place where he could rest his head for the night. Carrying a small pack with just a few personal possessions he had no fear of attack, his only treasure he had close to him within his shirt hung around his neck. The traveller was a man of stocky build, wearing honest clothes with an outward appearance of someone with little if at all no wealth, around his shoulders lay a robe of woollen cloth which kept him warm on cold nights, of which this wasn’t particularly one. His face was rugged and bore the scars of a life spent outdoors, his hands, though large, were nimble, in one he held a staff born from the old oak tree in the other a few seeds which he would eat as he walked along.

He journeyed on for several more minutes until ahead of him he saw a light coming through the trees, he was not expecting to meet another person on his travels this night so stopped and quietly took cover behind a tree. He stared at the clearing in front of him trying to make out the occupants of what he discovered to be a fire, he, although comfortable with his ability to defend himself against would be robbers, wanted to make sure the danger was not too much for him to deal with. He stared motionless for a few short moments when at last he saw movement from a solitary figure. He cautiously moved silently closer, keeping with him the cover of the surrounding trees. Once more he crouched, now as close to the clearing as possible without letting the owner of the fire know he was there. He looked around the makeshift camp and clearly made out a wooden caravan with a curved roof halted beneath a large tree, to its left was a dark horse tethered to a branch where there also hung a bag of feed from which it ate, as he continued to look about he saw a log which was next to the warming fire over which, hung by a metal stake was a pot with steam coming from it, upon the log he could see a figure sitting motionless but for the movement of their hair as it danced about in the gentle evening breeze, the light of the fire forming a halo of orange as it lit up the silhouette of the stranger. 

“Come sit with me, you have no need to fear my presence,” the voice was soft and distinctly female, the traveller remained still not wanting to let her know of his presence, at this moment he was still unsure that the words were directed at him and he waited to see if anyone else would appear.

“Please come sit with me, I know you are there watching me, it is warm by my fire, feel free to share it as the night will soon be giving a chill.”

The traveller again stayed crouched down, he was thinking it may be a trap and wanted to make sure that he had the opportunity to run should he need to. The figure slowly turned in his direction, and looking straight at where he was spoke once more to him, with a voice as soft as a cool summers breeze, “Please stranger, come sit by my side, I have nothing for you to fear, I offer the warmth of my fire and a bowl of my broth to a fellow traveller. Please sit with me.”

The traveller arose from behind the bush and carefully made his way towards the figure by the fire, as he approached he could now see the that the person was a lady with long dark wavy hair, of slim build, loosely drapped over her head was a shawl of fine black lace and upon her lap sat a cat of the blackest black with bright piercing eyes. He moved closer to her and she patted the log upon which she was sitting, beckoning him to sit along side her and take comfort by the fire. The traveller cautiously lowered himself until he was sitting on the log, she made him feel at ease as he laid his bag on the ground next to him and rested his staff across his lap.

“There,” she said as he sat down, “you have nothing to fear from me, I am a lonely gypsy woman taking shelter within these woods from my long journey, I welcome your company as it is a hard time for a woman to travel alone.” With that the gypsy woman offered the traveller a bowl of hot broth from the pot above the fire, he thanked the gypsy for her kindness, they sat and talked while they ate.

Several hours passed with the two talking of their quests and stories of days they had spent on the road, then the gypsy woman looked towards the traveller and said to him that she had had a dream that they were to meet that very night and that is why she knew of his presence as he approached the clearing, she offered him a drink before she was to retire for the evening to her bed, he happily accepted. The gypsy woman arose from where she was sitting and went to her caravan from where she pulled out a bottle of mead, she placed two cups upon the back step and began to pour each of them a drink, she carried them back to where the traveller was sitting and passed one to him. The gypsy woman placed the cup into his hand and as she did so gave to him a wink. He took a sip from the cup and tasted the finest mead he had ever had, he felt it warm him from deep within and smiled at her with pleasing satisfaction. The gypsy woman sat down beside him and took his hand in hers and she held it by her side, then looking deep into his eyes she spoke to him softly.

“Oh handsome traveller, three days will pass before you then on the forth you will feel a pain from deep within which will cause you to seek your bed, there you will lie down unable again to move as the life slowly eases from you body and you soul will depart you and fly to the angels that await you in the afterlife.”

“The curse I have placed upon you can be lifted but only once you have completed a task for me, and at that point your life will once again be yours.”

The traveller tried to jump up from the log but the gypsy woman kept hold of his hand and held him there next to her, she reached out with her other hand placed it upon his cheek and turned his face towards her where again she fixed a look into his eyes and spoke once more,

The traveller looking back into her eyes, asked what he need do to break this curse she had put on him.

“Three rings,” she said, “Three rings you must place in my hand, and once I have them we will both be free.”

The traveller looked back at her and asked from where he should seek these rings of which she spoke, he reminded her that he was a traveller and as such knew not well of these lands and to find the rings and return them to her all within three days would be a task of unprecedented impossibility. He asked if there was any help she could give him to seek out the rings and lift the curse that lay upon him, once again the gypsy woman spoke to him,

The traveller listened to the gypsy woman then asked that if she knew the whereabouts of the rings, why would she want to hold to ransom the life of a traveller instead of retrieving them herself, it appeared to him that there was more to this than she was telling him and he at once requested an answer to his question.

“The first ring is upon the finger of a maiden fair who lives in a small cottage alongside a stream, the second is upon the finger of a soldier brave who is in the heart of the maiden who lives by the stream, the third is on their sleeping child who sleeps soundly within his tiny bed.”

He asked her then of the small child that lay within its small bed

“Well my handsome traveller, the maiden fair was my dear sister who threw me from her house, the soldier brave that now lays with this maiden was once within my heart, where we were due to be betrothed, so you see I cannot get these myself as I would not be welcomed.”

The traveller smiled at the gypsy woman, a knowing smile and looked deeply now within her eyes, he took her hand in his, held it close and spoke in a soft, gentle tone.

“That my good sir is where you entered my dreams, you see the small child is now a weary traveller who has a curse placed upon his head. Now you must go as the days will soon pass and if you are to save your life you must journey on as quickly as you can.”

“Dear gypsy woman, this task you lay at my feet is the easiest I have ever had.” The gypsy woman looked at him with confusion in her eyes, the traveller continued,

“You see, the maiden fair and the soldier brave have now both been laid to rest, but before they closed their eyes for the last time and before they took their final breath, they handed me a purse of the finest silk which held within it the three rings of which you speak, then they turned and spoke these words to me.”

“Always on your person keep these rings of three and the purse within which they are held for one day they will give you protection from a curse placed upon you by a gypsy woman.”

“You see fair gypsy woman, they too had a dream and knew what you would try to do.”

With that the traveller withdrew his hand from the grasp of the gypsy woman, stood up with staff in hand, he placed his bag upon his back and as the sun started to rise in the morning sky, he once again thanked the gypsy woman for the broth and the mead he bade her farewell and with her sat with head in hands with tears cascading down her cheeks, set forth upon his journey.


The gypsy woman was never seen again. 

Blessed be my Friends /|\