making it real

I’ve been enrolled in the Bardic grade course offered by the Order of Bards, Ovates, & Druids (OBOD) since May this year.

It has been tricky. Partly because I have been a bit lost after spending the past ten years of my life obtaining several university degrees whilst working and raising my brood of three. It has taken all year to find a new rhythm.

However, the Celtic nature of the course doesn’t speak to me. It has taken all this time for the dust to settle and for me to discover that I can take the core concepts and lessons of the course and make them real for me. The introductory materials of the course told me that I could do this, but I haven’t been in the right frame of mind to make it work for me.

All of my life I have been seeking a something to belong to. A something that will provide me with a spiritual practice, a something that offers meaning, ritual, and community. Up until now nothing has resonated with me.

I understand that this is coming from a position of privilege. People who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or who are in chronic pain, don’t have the luxury of time and effort to have an existential crisis.

The past few months, I have been frequenting a Steiner/Waldorf internet community. It’s been nice, very nice. I like the language they use. I like how they weave story, song, celebration, and inner work into their  everyday lives. They have shown me the way.

From the Zen analogy – teachings can be likened to a finger pointing at the moon. The finger can point to the moon’s location, but to truly look at the moon, it is necessary to look past the finger.

Image source: H. Kopp-Delaney

If a man does not keep pace with his companions,
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him step to the music he hears,
however measured or far away.

Henry David Thoreau

The Steiner community talks about establishing a daily rhythm, and from there a weekly rhythm, and from there a yearly rhythm. The daily rhythm consists of expansive and contractive activities, and these must be in balance. We must also take time to include mindful breathing in our daily rhythm. The weekly rhythm includes those activities in the week that may not be done on a daily basis, but add meaning and value to one’s life. The yearly rhythm maps out the festivals and celebrations that one observes throughout the year.

The OBOD Bardic grade is one of accessing the Arts – story, poetry, music, painting, dance, sculpture. Through these activities the individual is relating to his/her spiritual self through engaging the intellect, developing inner abilities through practical means, and evoking the will and imagination. This is what the Steiner community calls experiencing spiritual truth and achieving balance and rhythm through the heart, head, and hands – feeling, thinking, and doing.

And so, I return to my childhood days – one of revelling in nature, tending the garden and growing food, and drawing, reading poetry, and dancing to home-made music. Why has it taken so long to return home?

No traitor, the salmon.
He returns to his home.
When you’re tired of searching there,
you’ll find the answer here.

4th century Welsh

 The soul doesn’t evolve or grow, it cycles and twists, repeats and reprises, echoing ancient themes common to all human beings. It is always circling home.

Thomas Moore



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