Speakers & Workshop Leaders
The training programme of the Order has been in place for nearly twenty-five years, and during this time a number of members have gained considerable experience in facilitating workshops and giving talks on Druidry and related subjects. Some of these members are featured here, in their own words, and you can find more information on the work they offer from their websites. If you are planning an event and are looking for speakers or workshop leaders, you might also be interested in our listings of venues and celebrants. Please note that although all the teachers listed are Druid grade members, and we believe that their work is excellent, the Order is worldwide and we cannot monitor their services. If you want to send any feedback on their services please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Damh the Bard - is a modern-day Bard whose spirituality and love of folk tradition is expressed through his music, storytelling and poetry. Drawing on the Bardic tradition, his performances are both entertaining and educational, speaking directly to the heart, and never without a good splash of humour.
With six outstanding CD collections, and singing and speaking engagements all over the world, Damh has become one of the most popular contemporary pagan musicians - a musical storyteller who works within the world of myth: where the Faerie really do dance on Midsummer's Eve, where the trees talk, and the Hollow Hills take you into the realms of Annwn, where the Goddess rides her horse, guiding you to magic, and the Horned God of old calls to you from the shadows of the Greenwood.
Damh came to Druidry in search of a deeper contact with the land and all of Nature after studying ceremonial magic in the Golden Dawn tradition within a magical lodge. He is now Pendragon of the Order and host of the Order’s Druidcast, a podcast which reaches over 6,000 listeners every month. He is also a trained practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a qualified stress consultant, and a teacher of bushcraft and wilderness survival skills. In addition to playing his music and singing, Damh has given talks, run workshops and participated in panel discussions at conferences and camps in the UK, Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA, with his favourite topics including Druidry, Awen and the creative quest, magick, treelore, and Arthurian lore. Website blog
Dr Renata Bartoli – is a lecturer and academic writer with many books and articles to her credit. She has taught for the large part of her life in colleges and universities in Italy, England and China. She specialised in Medieval French Literature and in particular in Arthurian Studies. For her doctorate she studied the journeys to the other world (Pagan and Christian) and in particular the original Navigatio Sancti Brendani and its ten medieval Neo-Latin versions. She studied Celtic traditions in depth, proving that the Latin text was still mainly pagan as far as its symbolic structure and the adventures it narrates are concerned. Through a comparatistic analysis she then studied the changes of perspective the story underwent in the Neo-Latin versions. Renata has always been interested in symbolism and history of religions. She has also studied astrological language through the centuries.
Having had memories of a past life (untimely ended in WW2) since she was born, she has investigated spiritual subjects all her life and has always been interested in hypnotic regression which she actively started to practice in the ‘90s with some friends. In 2008 she qualified as a professional advanced hypnotherapist and also studied with Dr Brian Weiss (who published part of her story in his book Miracles Happen). Renata runs her own private practice in London and she also holds regular workshops on Past Life Regression, Interlife Explorations, Future Life Progressions, Psychic Abilities and other spiritual subjects. She has been a member of OBOD since 2002 and has completed the entire training. For more details see Website 1 for PLR and other spiritual techniques, and Website 2 for more conventional hypnotherapy. Renata can be contacted here.
Penny Billington - a Druid teacher, author and celebrant who has edited the Order magazine, Touchstone, for twelve years. She now runs OBOD’s Ritual and Meditation Workshop weekends with Matt McCabe. Experiences within the Order over many years have included: responsibility for the British Lughnasadh camp programme; facilitating Druid marriages/baby namings; rituals for camps, seedgroups and Interfaith groups and weekend/one-day themed workshops. She regularly gives talks and workshops on all aspects of Druidry and is employed by the Isle of Avalon Foundation to lecture to the students of Bath Spa University. She has spoken at the Dion Fortune Conference in Glastonbury and at the OBOD East Coast Gathering in the USA. Her Druidic take on life is that of 'living lightly', in the spiritual as well as ecological sense, allowing spiritual awareness to spring from joy in the moment, and celebration to become a vital way of honouring life. She delights in exploring the reality of Druidic magic. She is the author of the Gwion Dubh druid detective novels, and her most recent book, The Path of Druidry; Walking the Ancient Green Way is published by Llewellyn Worldwide. Website blog
Eimear Burke - lives in Kilkenny, Ireland, joined OBOD in 2004. She holds an MSc. in Counselling Psychology from Trinity College, Dublin. She founded the Kilkenny Druidry College with her husband Howard Campbell in 2010. They run residential and day workshops on druidry, healing herbs, wild food for the soul, bread making, labyrinth walking and various other topics.
Eimear works in private practice as a counselling psychologist, Reiki & Seichem master, Shamanic therapist & herbalist. She is also a celebrant and a teacher. She has diverse experience ranging from individual person centred client work to guest lecturing on human development for a development studies course in Dublin and Tanzania. On her annual visits to Tanzania she has worked with several groups of traditional healers, taking part in ceremonies and sharing druidic ways with indigenous Tanzanian ways and discovering much in common. The transcultural experiences Eimear has had in Tanzania, Kenya, Lesoto and in Ireland helping women who have been trafficked into the sex trade has led her to know how similar we all are at the deeper levels of soul and spirit.
Eimear is an experienced educational and therapeutic group facilitator in a wide variety of contexts. She has experience of bridging the differences between indigenous and modern world views with 3rd level students and in the field with peoples who maintain a traditional lifestyle. She can be contacted here. Her website can be found here.
Philip Carr-Gomm - studied with the Order's founder Ross Nichols, and holds a degree in psychology from University College London. He trained in psychotherapy for adults at The Institute of Psychosynthesis, and in play therapy for children and Montessori education. In 1988 he was asked to lead the Order, and since that time has combined this role with writing, and giving talks and workshops. In addition to developing the course-work for the Order's distance-learning programme, Philip has authored a number of books on Druidry, including Druid Mysteries, Druidcraft, and The Druid Way, and co-authored with Stephanie Carr-Gomm The DruidCraft Tarot, The Druid Animal Oracle, and The Druid Plant Oracle, all illustrated by Will Worthington. A full list of the retreats and workshops he has facilitated, together with excerpts from his published books and audio meditations, can be found on his Website.
Dr Kennan Elkman Taylor - Kennan is a retired medical practitioner and holistic physician, now working as a consultant, psychotherapist and teacher in various health and spiritual disciplines, as well as being a published author and continuing research and a PhD in academia. He trained in Oxford and London universities before emigrating to Australia, where he now lives. An ordained minister, long-time member of OBOD and former Jungian analyst, Kennan's interests now focus on Anglo-Celtic magic, medicine and spirituality; the challenges these present to modern life, and specifically to the emerging Australian culture.
Kennan is a person of wide knowledge, extensive life experience and an author with controversial views on modern medicine, sexuality and the need for spiritual inclusiveness. As well as various works around medicine, his books include Just Add Blood on the Anglo-Saxon runes, and Dancing with Freya explores the relationship between sexuality and the paranormal. These varied interests extend to counselling, teaching and mentorship to individuals, groups and online, collectively under the Anglo-Celtic Shamanism banner, as expressed in Blue Fire Health.
Kennan has founded Ganieda Sanctuary on the south coast of Western Australia, as a retreat centre based around this interests for individuals and groups. Ganieda has a stone circle for rituals and ceremonies, an underground sweatlodge, and is set in natural bushland close to the great southern ocean. Kennan can be contacted here.
Henk J.Eggink - I have been involved in pagan spirituality and shamanism for almost 20 years and joined the Order more than 15 years ago. I'm tutor-coordinator for the Dutch Ovate Course and mentor on the Bardic forum. Next to OBOD, I'm training as a teacher within the Diamond Approach by AH Almaas, which focuses on the connection with True Nature. In my daily life, I'm a father, husband and work as a management trainer focused on personal development and professional communications.
For the Order, I facilitate the OBOD workshop 'Meditation & Ritual' within the Netherlands together with Marjoree, and the focus in this workshop is on offering practical techniques about inner journeying and the art of ritual that can be used by members to enhance their confidence and awareness and their own work with the Gwersi. This 2 day workshop is designed as an introduction on the essential techniques of meditation and journeying. On the second day we experience the profound way in which ritual reconnects us with the seasons, ourselves and the wheel of the year. If you are interested in this workshop and other activities, contact me by email or look at the agenda on the Dutch OBOD site.
Sarah Fuhro - is a graduate of the Astrology Institute’s certificate programs in Astrology and Astrological Counseling. She has combined her background as an astrologer with her training as a certified Flower Essence practitioner to work with clients in a unique combination, which she calls, Star-Flower Alchemy. Sarah has been a member of the teaching Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids since 1990, and has contributed to the course-work of the Order. She is involved in the training of other Druids and is an active member of the Boston Grove. Her love of the natural world and her Druid training enable her to hear the messages of the flowers she offers her clients. Sarah is also a professional Tarot reader and teacher. She offers her students a deep knowledge of the Western Mystery Tradition which she has studied since 1976. She offers classes in Druidry, Tarot and Astrology. Website
Steve Gladwin, (Ardan) - Writer, Teacher, Workshop Leader, Performer, Storyteller, Musician and Confidence Builder. Steve is an OBOD druid grade member of 16 years and a teacher of 25 years plus experience, as well as an honorary bard. He describes himself as “an Image Poet”.
“Image poet suits me very well because everything I do is about taking an image and giving it significance, or weaving together a series to make a story -perhaps even encouraging someone with low self-worth to use an image of themselves that may not be a familiar one.
Images can be used not just through the familiar route of art and theatre, but in actively helping people to change their own story and self-image for the better.”
He believes there is sometimes more power to be found in comedy than in tragedy: “Helping people laugh is the most important thing of all. It can and does make a difference. It is the great ice-breaker, and the great comforter in one.”
Between 2002-2008 Steve ran bardic training courses for OBOD based on the three births of Gwion/Taliesin in Sussex and Shropshire, and a special Taliesin and Merlin retreat at Cae Mabon in Snowdonia. He released his CD performance of John Matthews “Song of Taliesin” in 2009.
He currently runs drama and confidence workshops in Mid Wales. He is also half of “The Last of the Red Hot Bards”. “If you like the sound of any of the work above or would just like a more informal chat, please contact me by email.
Steve Hounsome - Steve has over 30 years’ experience of work in the psychic, holistic and pagan fields. He began just giving Tarot readings and this evolved into a full-blown practice and Steve now has 6 books under his belt as well as a number of acclaimed meditation and development recordings. Steve has qualifications in Psychic Studies, Healing and many other related subjects. He is an approved Tarot reader with the British Astrologers and Psychics Society, Tarot Professionals and the Tarot Association of the British Isles. His work focusses in the main on ‘Tarot Therapy’. This approach sees the cards as energies and his consultations and courses utilise this to empower clients to be the best they can be and achieve their objectives and desires. Steve offers Introduction, Certificate and Diploma level courses in Tarot Therapy as well as his new ‘Sacred Living’ course, which meets at the festivals, exploring these turning points in the wheel of the natural world and how we can adjust to and utilise their energies and power to best effect – living as we were meant to. Steve works as a mentor for those following the OBOD training programme and is currently working on a Tarot deck ‘The Wheel of Tarot’, to further develop the ‘Tarot Therapy’ approach. email and website
Greg Humphries - A member of OBOD and various magical groups for over 20 years I am passionate about re-discovering the skills and knowledge of our ancestors. Through my travels in the Amazon, the Arctic and the Middle East I have listened and learned from the indigenous people who live in those places and bring the essence of that to my teaching. I practice bushcraft, am a qualified coppicer and member of the Association of Green Woodworkers & Pole Lathe Turners; seeing these skills as essential native ancestral wisdom worthy of preserving. I founded Future Tracks in 2010 with the aim of sharing this knowledge we all need for living in harmony with the natural world. As a teacher I am PGCE and Emergency First Aid qualified and have been a Specialist Educator with the Tate Gallery for over 10 years specialising in Environmental Art.
Each Winter, near my home in West Cornwall, I run the “The Roots Run Deep: Natural Tree Magic” course exclusively for OBOD members interested in deepening their relationship with trees. During this 3 day workshop participants have the opportunity to work on a practical, spiritual, magical and intellectual level with 3 trees indigenous to the British Isles: willow, ash and hazel. Through working with these trees I hope to equip you with the techniques and tools to deepen your relationship with all trees, and give you the confidence to create your own set of Ogham. Working with qualified coppicers participants will spend each morning working in the woods with the trees; selecting, cutting and extracting material in a respectful, sustainable way which they will use in the afternoon to create their own beautiful craft objects. In the evenings we will sit around the fire and discuss the Ogham and its deeper meanings before working with the trees in a magical/ritual way. Spaces are limited to 9 people per year, so if you are interested in further details please contact Greg direct: email Website Blog with Course Programmes
Caitlín Matthews is a writer and teacher whose ground-breaking work has introduced many to the riches of our western spiritual heritage. She met the founder of the Order, Ross Nichols, and her account of this can be found elsewhere on this site. She has been joint Presider of the Order, and has contributed to the course-work of the Order and is acknowledged as an authority on the ancestral traditions of Britain and Europe. She has written over 60 books, including Celtic Visions, Mabon and the Guardians of Celtic Britain and The Arthurian Tarot (with John Matthews.) She is co-founder of FíOS, the Foundation for Inspirational and Oracular Studies, dedicated to the living sacred traditions; FíOS invites exemplars of the sacred arts such as R.J.Stewart, to teach regularly.
Courses with Caitlín & John Matthews include a shamanic training programme based on the ancestral and Celtic traditions as well as courses on divination, myth and the Western Mysteries. Caitlín sees clients for spiritual healing and tuition in her shamanic practice in Oxford. She teaches all over the world, to universities, institutions, courses centres and smaller groups. Website
John Matthews - is a historian, folklorist and children’s author. He has been a full time writer since 1980 and has produced over 100 books on myth, faery, the Arthurian Legends and Grail Studies. He has devoted much of the past forty years to the study of Arthurian Traditions and myth in general. His best known and most widely read works are The Grail, Quest for Eternal Life, The Winter Solstice, which won the Benjamin Franklin Award for that year, and The Wildwood Tarot (with Mark Ryan). John was the historical advisor to the Jerry Bruckheimer movie ‘King Arthur’. He shared a BAFTA award for his work on the Educational DVD made to accompany the film.
Much in demand as a teacher both in Europe and the USA, he has taught at (among others) the Temenos Academy in London, St Hilda's College, Oxford, and at the University of Seattle in Washington. He teaches Shamanism, Myth and the Tarot, focussing on the Arthurian legends and the Grail, Celtic lore and Dark Age history. His groundbreaking series of classes on Celtic Shamanism have reached some 1000 students over the past 20 years. He was a co-presider of OBOD, with Caitlin Matthews, from 1988 to 1992, and has contributed to the course-work of the Order. Website
Has been an active member of OBOD since 1996 and a member of the Dobunni Grove. He developed and facilitated the OBOD cross-quarter Camps with Julie Britton over a period of four years. He was resident gnome in the bottom of Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm’s garden for a year. He works intimately with Earth energies and is a practitioner of the ancient art of Geomancy. He is a designer and builder of stone circles and, to date, has erected twenty-three full-sized stone temples in various countries around the world.
Ivan is the founder of the Green Mountain Druid Order, a mystery school based in Vermont, USA, offering 3-year trainings in Druidry and a Home-Study course. He is also the founder of the Megalithic Order of Druids. He is an experienced workshop leader dedicated to initiations and experiential rites of passage – focusing on the ‘wild’ as well as the ‘wise’ druidic attributes. He leads firewalks, sweat lodges, ceremonies and workshops in the Druid Mysteries. He is also a practitioner and teacher of Toltec shamanism, as taught by Carlos Castaneda. Ivan is an ordained priest in the Universal Life Church and conducts legal marriages, handfastings, unions, baby namings, rites of passing and all types of rites of passage for children and adults. He also conducts opening ceremonies for large events: for example, the INATS International New Age Trade Show, and the Strummerville Music Festival 2012. He is a DJ and facilitator of ecstatic dance, has been practicing Vipassana meditation for over thirty years, and is author of an autobiographical book called The Crystal Journey. He lives in the foothills of the Green Mountains on 70 acres of paradise called Dreamland, in Vermont, USA, with his wife Fearn and Petie the cat. They built their own round cordwood house together, with a grass roof on which is a beehive (to protect it from the bears). Website
Matthew McCabe - joined OBOD in 1990, and has worked ritually with the Northumbrian Grove and the London Grove. Matt was the Media Coordinator for OBOD until 2004, as well as one of the first Ovate Tutors. In 2000 he was involved in the rewriting of the Bardic Grade ceremonies, and is now part of the team that delivers OBOD’s Ritual Workshops.
Matthew’s brand of community Druidry has seen him lead a number of award-winning environmental projects in London, and more recently in Somerset. He and his family live near Bath, where he owns a heritage apple orchard. email
JJ Middleway - Teacher, focaliser & facilitator, healing, massage, singing, drumming: experience in delivering a wide variety of workshops and of focalising and facilitating gatherings in the UK, Holland and Italy, across a broad spectrum – Druid, Buddhist, Other. “The meditations, the talking-stick, the chants, the rituals the massages, everything just very naturally and logically seemed to lead from one thing to another. It was a warm, wonderful inspiring weekend. And it has fed me spiritually. It feels a bit like it changes my DNA in a very subtle way, I don't know yet how much it will change but I can feel it shifting. But the best thing of this weekend is the feeling that it will not be an isolated experience, I can take it home into my everyday life”. Jet, Holland
“JJ works with intuition, compassion and grace. I felt deeply honoured, cared for and nurtured during his session. This feeling stayed with me for a long time. I love the way JJ combines bodywork with singing and drumming.” Satu. Contact JJ by email
Chris Park - Chris is a teacher, artist, performer, organic architect, celebrant, facilitator, healer and skep beekeeper within the Sacred Grove of the Bee. "The spirit of druidry grows through my life, my heart and hands, words and wonderings, arts and amusements. When we give ourselves fully to a tradition, it starts to speak through us, we become it, and give it vital force. In turn it can give us voice, expression, connection, creative strategy or deeper purpose. Through ensouling druidry, we can become an ingredient and give depth and character to the cauldron and service of the universal bond of druids. The all becomes the one. We share inspiration - one of the keys to a marvellous existence."
Chris' work and life has been inspired greatly by druidry and other native wisdom traditions of Britain and Europe. Visit his website to see a myriad of arts and crafts, ancient technologies, ancestral skills and folklore on offer. As a teacher he gives talks and workshops, facilitates and co-creates meditations, healings and holdings, blessings, community festivals, peace prayers and pilgrimages. As a celebrant he conducts weddings, namings, funerals and other ceremonies. As a bittersweet Bard, an oracular Ovate or an erudite Druid priest, the three rays flow through him like bees to the blossom, moths to the flame, love to the beloved. Website
Marjoree Pennings - is trained as a psychologist, body-mind therapist and more recently as a certified mindfulness trainer. As an independent organizational psychologist it is her passion to help people find their talents and true nature in relation to career-development. With her counseling she helps clients find more meaning, inspiration and ‘spirit’ in their work.
Her involvement in Druidry and OBOD started in 2000. Since then, the wisdom of nature and the rhythm of the seasons form the source of inspiration in her workshops like ‘Labyrinth Ceremonies’ with Patries van Elsen and ‘Source and Sensuality’ a retreat Cairisthea Worthington she held in 2010.
In 2007, together with Henk J.Eggink, she was trained in Cornwall by Kate and Barry Reilly to facilitate the Ritual and Meditation workshop for OBOD Students in the Netherlands. Henk and Marjoree have facilitated several workshops and ceremonies together over the last years. Marjoree divides her time between working as career-counselor, facilitating workshops, volunteering in forestry conservation and pursuing her creative interests.
The focus in the Ritual & Meditation workshop is on offering practical techniques about inner journeying and the art of ritual that can be used by members to enhance their confidence and awareness and their own work with the Gwersi. This 2 day workshop is designed as an introduction on the essential techniques of meditation and journeying. On the second day we experience the profound way in which ritual reconnects us with the seasons, ourselves and the wheel of the year. If you are interested in the Ritual and Meditation Workshop and other activities, contact her by email or look at the agenda on the dutch OBOD site.
Adrian Rooke - I have been a member of the Order for 18 years, and during this time I have had the privilege to have been a tutor working closely with many individuals. I am currently the Order's press liaison officer, which has proved an interesting and sometimes challenging role. I have helped to facilitate and run camps and workshops across a variety of topics based around the Wheel of the Year, working with the masculine and feminine principles to bring the connection and joy we all seek. I have facilitated workshops in England, Italy, and the Netherlands, and I am also very blessed to have acted as celebrant at several handfastings, weddings and baby-namings, as well as ritually marking the passing-over of souls who have made the journey to the Summer Isles. I believe I bring a calm but strong energy, that of the spiritual warrior, to the work that I do. I have worked closely with JJ Middleway (listed above) on many projects and events, and we work well together using our contrasting energies to good effect. I am an accredited person-centred counsellor currently specialising and working in the field of addiction. I work holistically, having been trained in aromatherapy massage and spiritual healing. I have also completed 2 years training with William Bloom in endorphin release techniques, and am a member of the Spiritual Companions Network, and have diplomas in group work and family therapy. email
Caroline Williams - I am a trained and qualified counselor in New Zealand specializing in addiction, trauma, homicide and dual diagnosis. I weave the psychological underpinnings of my counseling career with the gentle wisdom of over 15 years experience of training with the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids to work with what I call ‘Druid Therapy’. I do this by leading workshops (‘Grail Questing’ and ‘The Handless Maiden- Journey into Wholeness’) and I also run a series of workshop's through the Auckland Women's Centre on ‘Positively Fabulous Women’. In addition I support individuals through one-on-one therapy sessions which weave animal oracle cards, myth, cups of tea and psychology together to create change and increase connection. I work with bringing the idea of the Druid Healer back into our culture, in an inclusive way, but still holding the gifts of modern learning to create a space of growth and safety. Website Blog email
Reinhard Winkler - a member of OBOD since 1999 and a student of shamanic paths for four decades, Reinhard is an artist and Feldenkrais teacher, trained in gestalt therapy, geomancy and dowsing. For over 38 years he has been exploring the ceremonial use of ritual, music and masks for the contemporary world. He is the founder of Wandlungskunst (the Art of Transformation), which is an initiation process for personal and spiritual development, to help you develop your inner king and queen and explore your sexuality.
He runs a studio in the Bavarian (Franken) region of Germany, where he offers classes, workshops, and Tarot counseling. He likes travelling and invitations to run workshops and talks outside Germany.
His work and teachings include inner journeys into the realities of the soul, teachings about female and male energy in partnership, de-armoring of the body, working with wisdom-wheels, personal vision quests and group pilgrimages to the hidden places of the Celtic world. Website email