Greetings and Welcome to Geal-Darach Grove, the Grove of the White Oaks. We are a druid group in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis & St. Paul in the North Star State of Minnesota. Geal-Darach is a seed-group of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD), one of the largest modern Druid orders with its roots in England and its branches in many countries. Through its distance learning course, OBOD teaches a Druidry that balances love of ancient Celtic lore and the needs of the modern world. This web site is intended to provide information about our grove for local members of the Order and those who are interested in joining the Order.
As an OBOD seed-group, we are a resource for OBOD members in the area who want to get together in person with other members of the order. The order’s teaching program is conducted entirely via distance learning with the aid of specially trained tutors, so our seed-group is not a teaching group as such. OBOD’s study courses are elegant programs for personal transformation calling upon the ancient wisdom of the Druid tradition in Britain. Click on “Our Grove” at left for more about that.
What is Traditional British Druidry?
Traditional British Druidry, is not rigidly reconstructionist or Neopagan. It has no dogmas and individuals druids are free to pursue their own enlightenment and understanding. There is no central authority that dictates doctrine, nor is teaching oriented around charismatic leaders. In the world of modern druids there are three basic types — religioius druids, political druids, and philosophical druids. OBOD represents mostly the last approach, one of philosophy and way of life. Members are at liberty to practice any religion they wish or none at all. They may personify the Divine All or the nature spirits, commune with the Tuatha Dé Danann, or approach Nature from a purely scientific point of view. What unites traditional British Druidry is the devotion to Awen, symbolized by the three rays of light you see above at right. Awen means “inspiration.”
Seed Groups & Groves
As a seed group, we welcome members of other druid orders, such as ADF or AODA, as well as hedge druids and seekers who are not members of any order. What unites us as friends is our shared values. Principal among modern druid values are the love of nature, respect for all living things, and respect for the Earth. This also means respect for each other, so the one thing that we won’t tolerate are power struggles and head-butting within the grove. If you can’t get along with other people and respect their views compassionately, or if you believe that you have all the right answers, this won’t be the community for you.
In OBOD the term “Grove” has two meanings. One refers to a local group that has at least two members of Druid grade in the order. That is the main distinction between a seed group and a grove. The other meaning is a gathering of members in one of the three grades of the Order. Thus, for example, a Grove might hold a grove of bards or a grove of druids to do work with the meditations and content particular to that grade in OBOD. These grade-specific groves permit large groups or gatherings to break out into smaller groups and to focus on the work of their particular grade.
Religion, Philosophy, or What?
OBOD is not a religion, church, or a cult, nor does the order require you to renounce other faiths that form a part of your identity and heritage. Some OBOD members are Neopagan polytheists, some are Christian, some atheists preferring to see gods and goddesses as constructs of the mind and of culture. Some have dealings with Elves and the Sidhe folk, while others study and commune with Germanic gods and goddesses. OBOD Druidry has clear affinities with Buddhism and Taoism as well as other mystical and magical traditions throughout the world, and has certainly been influenced by the last two hundred years of interest in Eastern ideas and practices. However, the traditional British Druidry we practice finds its core inspiration in the past three hundred years of Western searching for an indigenous British and Celtic spirituality. In addition, OBOD has a distinctly psychological approach infused with the wisdom of contemporary depth psychology.
There are no clergy or laity in our Druidry, no priests or priestesses, only the three grades of Bard, Ovate, and Druid, which are three parts of a gradual study program that delves into the psyche, spirit, and myths of Celtic culture, ancient and modern. Belief in and engagement with nature spirits or the Good People (also called the Sidhe in Ireland) is left up to the conscience of the individual, but you will meet people who do talk about meeting “Faerie folk” and spirits. Similarly, the practice of magic is entirely left up to the interests of individual members. Some OBOD members are also witches or wizards who practice various magical methods, but collective spell-casting or raising cones of power are not a part of OBOD’s Druidry as such. The magic of Druidry has to do with self-expression, self-transformation, and creating relationships between one’s own soul and the Anima Mundi, the Soul of the World.
In short, Druidry is a philosophy or a religion or both, as you choose to see it. There are no dogmas and no authorities. Each druid decides if he or she wishes to self-define as a druid and each decides what he or she believes according to individual conscience. If you move on and decide not to call yourself a druid anymore, you will still be welcome in the grove and if you choose to go on to other things, that is perfectly normal. That is, after all, what a spiritual path is about: The metaphor of the path in the woods comes from hunting and we each seek our own White Hart in our own forest.
Links at the left will take you to more information about Geal-Darach Grove, about OBOD, and about our past and future gatherings. The link to our Yahoo group will take you to our calendar. Send a request to join that group, if you want to receive email notices of upcoming events. If you want to have tea, discuss OBOD, or inquire about visiting a grove meeting contact Alferian Gwydion Maclir, Chief Druid.
©2006 The Bardic Institute
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