As I was completing my first term as an officer of Denton CUUPS, I came to the realization that I needed some formal training. I had already learned much on my own and even more from working with others in CUUPS, but I needed structure and guidance to help develop a deeper, more effective spiritual practice.
By that point I knew that Druidry was my path. Unfortunately, there were no Druid groves in the DFW area at the time (an ADF Protogrove was started in Arlington in 2008; there are still no OBOD groves in Texas). I did some research into the correspondence courses of both Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids, and I ran into two people who had started both courses (but neither had finished either).
OBOD looked somewhat more attractive to me, so in September 2004 I began their Bardic studies. It took 15 months for me to complete them. I began Ovate studies in January 2006 – that grade took over two years. I began the Druid grade in April 2008, and shortly after the Spring Equinox this year I completed the formal studies and the final review. Earlier this week I received this certificate proclaiming me “a full member in the Druid grade.”
What does it mean? In a literal sense, not much. It carries no power, no special privileges, no fancy titles. I’ve learned a few secrets I’m honor-bound to keep, but nothing I couldn’t have learned on my own had I been so inclined (psssstttt: there are no “occult” secrets… though there are ineffable mysteries).
In another sense, though, it means more than I can say. It represents persistence and commitment to my spiritual path. The OBOD training is nominally a three year course, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s finished it that quickly – I was no exception. I promised myself at the beginning that I would give each lesson the time it needed and I wouldn’t skim over anything. I kept that promise – even in the Bardic grade, where much of the material was not new to me – and I’m glad I did. Much of the training I received was provided by Life, but OBOD helped me to better understand it, accept it, and keep it in a spiritual context.
As I was getting ready to frame and hang my certificate, Cathy asked me “what now?”
Now I practice.