More Information About the Course
The course is presented in the form of Gwersi - a Welsh word meaning lessons. Each month you receive four Gwersi, together with a copy of the monthly magazine Touchstone, and supplementary material. The Gwersi can be sent to you in an audio version on CD, in a printed version as booklets, or you can choose to receive both the CDs and the printed texts.
To see if the course is right for you, you can request just the introductory package to begin with. In this you will find two booklets: Wild Wisdom - An Introduction to The Order and The Sacred Grove. In addition you receive the first two Gwersi of the course - to give you a feel for what they are like. They combine seed-thoughts, exercises, poetry and teaching material, which are designed to help you to truly walk the path of Druidry, rather than simply read about it. We send you the printed Gwersi and the CD recording of them, so that you can then decide which version you want to receive, or whether you would like both to arrive each month.
If you feel the course is for you, and you decide to take it, then you can order the rest of the Bardic course, which begins with an initiation ceremony. You then start to follow a path laid down, initially probably thousands of years ago, and which has been encoded in an old story about a young child who becomes the finest Bard in the land.
To help you on this journey you are offered a tutor (mentor) who you can consult whenever you wish, by mail or email. Some members consult their tutor often, others hardly at all. You are also sent a full index, the Book of Ritual, the eight seasonal ceremonies, and the Bardic Companion, a resource book for the course, and a CD to help you with pronunciation and meditation. Supplementary Gwersi deal with such topics as the Art of Story-Telling, and the Relationship of Druidry to Wicca, Shamanism and Magic.
Because the course is experiential rather than academic, members from a wide range of educational backgrounds find the course helpful and inspiring. If you are under eighteen years of age, you must send us a letter of permission to follow the course from your parent/s or guardian when you enrol. You cannot join if you are under 16.
You can start the course at any time and take as long as you like to complete it. The course is available in seven launguage versions.
The course is self-directed, and at any time you may suspend your studies, either completely or for a time. At the beginning of the course you are offered a tutor/mentor to whom you can write or not as appropriate. Some tutors/mentors are on e-mail.
Online Forums & Groups
There are many online forums in which you can discuss Druidry, the course and related subjects. Most are in English, but there are other language groups too. Membership allows you access to the members-only social networking website where you can post your bio and interests, view and post photos and articles, and connect with members around the world.
To join the Order you need to enrol on the course. Once you enrol you become a member of a worldwide community - a Fellowship of Druids (Cairdeas Mor Shaoghal nan Druidh in Gaelic) and over the years this fellowship has grown to include groups and individuals in fifty countries on all four continents. How you choose to relate to this community is entirely up to you. Many members say that they are not the 'joining type' - they don't belong to clubs or associations, and prefer studying on their own. But if they do come to a meeting - a camp or workshop for example - they are often amazed to find themselves amongst a group of people who feel the same way as they do, and who are relaxed and friendly, and interested in the same things.
Groves and Seed-Groups
There are over a hundred groves and seed-groups around the world that meet to celebrate the festivals, and at other times, and a list of these is sent with the first course package. You can start a seed-group whenever you like and a booklet tells you how to do this.
Gatherings, Retreats and Workshops
In Britain we hold a Gathering twice a year at Glastonbury. We meet together and hold separate grove meetings and ceremonies for each of the grades. We hold a colourful ceremony atop the Tor, and have a big supper party and Eisteddfod on the Saturday evening. For the Winter Solstice we hold a ritual in Chalice Well garden, for the Summer Solstice we travel the next morning to Stonehenge to hold a ritual amongst the stones.
In Holland gatherings are organised regularly - with rituals, workshops, meditations, feasting and Eisteddfod. Members come from all over Holland and Belgium to take part. Since 2010 Dutch members have also organised OBOD's international camp with members participating from all over Europe.
In Australia each spring we hold an Assembly too, which moves every year around this vast continent. So far we have had Assemblies in New South Wales, South and Western Australia.
As the books and the course are translated into other languages, and as the membership grows, there will probably be gatherings held in other countries. They are organised with the initiative of local members, and any member can offer to organise one.
In addition to grove and seed-group meetings and gatherings, retreats have been held in Snowdonia in Wales, at Chalice Well in Glastonbury and on Iona (Isla na Druidneach - the Isle of the Druids) in Scotland, and workshops and other events are offered by members and announced in the Events section of the website and Touchstone.
To help members get the best out of the course, we have also developed a number of one-day workshops, on subjects such as Ritual and Meditation, which are held in different locations. Members of the Druid Grade can learn how to give these workshops, to offer them in their locality.
The Healing Network and Druid College of Healing
There is a Healing Network which any member can join, which acts as a forum for members interested in healing. The Network has its own section on the Order's website, and members of The Druid College of Healing can offer training programmes and Healing Retreats.
The Order's Internet Community
The Order also offers an Internet community with a private web site. Biographies, photos, archives and more is available to assist and support members, and many different discussion groups offer the opportunity to communicate with others.
Harpists & Storytellers
Members have formed a Harpists group, which has an online forum and has held meetings in Austria and in the forest of Broceliande in Brittany. And other members hope to form a Storytellers groups to support each other and share in their passions and experiences.
Over the years Druid camps have become an exciting and vital part of the Order - giving us an opportunity to truly live the teachings and the philosophy of Druidry out in Nature. Some Groves arrange weekend camps for their members, and there have been longer camps held in California, upstate New York, Germany and New Zealand.
In Britain, we hold up to four camps a year, usually near the White Horse of Uffington in Oxfordshire. We have our own yurts, benders and equipment - including a hot shower, sauna, and giant 'mega-bender' - and an enthusiastic crew who help to make each camp a magical experience for everyone.Young and old, single people and families all contribute to make the camps a success. We put on plays, have storytelling and music-making around the fire, hold ceremonies and create magical adventures. We've developed a way of exploring and 'entering into' the old stories and myths, so that they become exciting and educational games that take place across two fields and in the woods. We hold Druid sweathouse rituals and initiations, and big communal ceremonies under the stars. (see the OBOD Camps website).
Which Version of the Course Should You Take?
The course is presented in either a text or audio format, or you can receive both versions at the same time.
The most effective way to learn is to get the text+audio combination, so you can listen to the audio recordings and have the text available to refer to and ponder over.
But we appreciate you may need to save money or one version may be unnecessary for you. In which case, if you learn best by reading, choose the text version. If you learn best through listening, choose the audio version.
If you want to enrol on the course (or request an introductory package) online, by paying with a credit card through a secure server, click on the Join button on the right-hand side of this page.
If you want to do this but would like to mail a cheque or Money Order, etc., please email Annie at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to do this.
If you would like to know more about the course and how it works have a look at the FAQs in this secton of the site.