So ends another day at OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering camp. And it certainly was a lot of fun. Today was one of my favorite times in camp: Bardic initiations. Now, if you’re looking for a description of what takes place in a Bardic initiation, you won’t find it here. If you are wondering about the experience of a Bardic initiation, I would invite you to take some serious consideration to having one done at an OBOD camp – if you are inclined to start down a path with OBOD.
The reason I love Bardic initiations is because I get to see the wide-eyed experience that I had play out on the face of an individual taking their first steps into a wider world. It is an experience I will cherish and treasure for the rest of my life, as I am sure all the other new initiates will as well. Plus, new members on the Bardic path means new members in OBOD which means growth – as I said in yesterday’s post. Plus it reminds me of where I have come from to be where I am now on my Ovate grade path. Yeah, I get all warm and fuzzy when I think about stuff like that. 🙂
But that was only part of the camp experience. The day started off with a session on bio-regional animism, which led to some wonderful discussion concerning the living aspect of all things around us. Plants, animals, rocks, and all manner of existence was discussed in terms of living relationships and towards the end, we crafted a ritual using an OBOD framework that utilized local animals and plants for the elemental aspects of the directions. I was in the group to the west, and we eventually picked the wild boar – and no, I didn’t twist anyone’s arms into choosing this because of the Screen Door Boar saga.
Once we had finished that, it was time for lunch, followed by a discussion led by Philip Carr-Gomm. Originally, the segment was to be the future of Druidry, but Philip had talked about that around the fire the previous night – so he discussed how to work with visualization in your meditative work. He had us working on our own flying carpets in our minds, and considering where the energy that moved the carpet was located (hint – it was three inches underneath the carpet). This was quite an interesting concept to consider, and he even touched on how to be in your Inner Grove, and within the Physical realm at the same time – and the sensation associated with this. He even worked with all of us as a group to give this a try…and to be honest its not as difficult as you might think. And it is quite the sensation to experience.
A second trip to the Seven Sisters Oak had been planned, and I decided to go along. I had seen the Seven Sisters Oak during my first year, and didn’t go on the field trips in the second and third years. However, having not seen it in a while, I wanted to refresh my memories of the location. Arriving at the private home where the Oak resides, I remembered a tree in a further corner of the property that had drawn me to it on my first visit. Sure enough it was still there, and still as magnificent as I remembered it being. Seven Sisters Oak is estimated to be 1700 years old and has a spread base of around 139 feet according to its Wikipedia page. To say it is an astounding sigh to behold is an understatement.
Upon our return to camp, we had dinner, and the initial setup of folks for Bardic grade initiations were eventually underway. and as I noted the ceremony was beautiful and moving (for me) as it always is. After the initiations were complete, many of us gathered around the camp fire for some story-telling, jokes, limericks (which eventually reached the dirty level after the youngsters were off to bed), and music from Bran, which is always a magickal treat. Soon though, folks began to reach their limit and the camp started to reach the end of the evening, and I eventually made my way back to the hotel, where I am typing this to you.
As I mentioned before, lots of conversations happen. Today was no exception to that rule. Camp is always a special time where old friends connect, and new friends get welcomed into the fold. And for me, these conversations are always the special treasures of being here. No one has asked for a long walk to talk (yet), but the weather is a touch warm – so I am not sure folks want to take the charge to go get too sweaty. And the special topping to all of that? The massive, loving hugs you get – even from new folks – as we all continue to bond anew every year. I have said it before – these folks are my family, and this yearly gathering is my home. And not because of the location – its the people that make it a home to me. I cannot thank the Gods and Goddesses enough for bringing me into the orbit of these people. My life is continually enriched by all of them.