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The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids or OBOD is a Neo-Druidic order based in England. It has grown to become a dynamic druid organisation, with members in all parts of the world.


Founding Edit

It was founded in 1964 by Ross Nichols, a poet, artist and historian who was Chairman of the Ancient Druid Order which traces its lineage to a meeting at the Apple Tree Tavern in Covent Garden, London, in 1717. This was the same year that modern Freemasonry was founded at the Goose and Gridiron Alehouse, also in London. Nichols was a friend of Gerald Gardner, and while Gardner worked to introduce Wicca to the modern world, Nichols worked to change the practice of modern Druidry. He introduced a concern for Celtic mythology and Bardcraft, and the celebration of the full eight seasonal ceremonies in addition to arranging the teachings into three grades, in accordance with classical accounts of the three divisions of the Druids.

In 1988 Philip Carr-Gomm was asked to lead the Order.


Dissemination Edit

The teachings were arranged in the form of a distance-learning course mailed to members around the world. There is a network of tutors, many using email, to support the students’ progress through the grades of Bard, Ovate and Druid. Members meet at camps, at workshops and assemblies in various parts of the world, and a network of groves and seedgroups also exists. There are a number of internet forums, a private members’ website in addition to OBOD’s public-access site, a monthly journal ‘Touchstone’ and quarterly journals in Dutch and for Australasia.


Teachings Edit

Over the years, OBOD has developed a way of teaching Druidry and Druidcraft that is experience-based, leading students through the course of a year on a journey through the old Bardic tales that leads to the gradual acquisition of magical skills and understanding. Although underpinned with historical, mythological and psychological material, the aim of the course and of the Order is to help individuals develop their creative and spiritual abilities through working with a tradition that holds the Earth and all of Nature as sacred.

While the course OBOD supplies can be undertaken and completed in a year, there is some argument that rushing through the course can lead to a misunderstanding of the teachings.


Participation Edit

The distance learning course is not the only way of participating in the OBOD. Smaller local groups can be formed by various permutations of OBOD members. The "Seedgroup" is formed when two or more members of any grade gather together for ritual, study, or socialising. Similarly, when two or more Druid grade members are in a group, then the group can be designated a "Grove". Seedgroups and Groves are fairly autonomous and there is a wide range of organisational structures operating. It is up to the individual Grove or Seedgroup whether group membership extends to people who are not members of the Order.

Whereas undertaking the OBOD experience-based course is primarily designed for the solitary Druid, a Grove offers a deep group spiritual journey where the craft is imparted in a more traditional way.

At camps, members enjoy storytelling and music-making around campfires, hold ceremonies and create magical adventures. A member says of the area of land that he practices in: “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." His group holds Druid sweathouse rituals and initiations, and large communal ceremonies under the stars.


Participation Edit

The distance learning course is not the only way of participating in the OBOD. Smaller local groups can be formed by various permutations of OBOD members. The "Seedgroup" is formed when two or more members of any grade gather together for ritual, study, or socialising. Similarly, when two or more Druid grade members are in a group, then the group can be designated a "Grove". Seedgroups and Groves are fairly autonomous and there is a wide range of organisational structures operating. It is up to the individual Grove or Seedgroup whether group membership extends to people who are not members of the Order.

Whereas undertaking the OBOD experience-based course is primarily designed for the solitary Druid, a Grove offers a deep group spiritual journey where the craft is imparted in a more traditional way.

At camps, members enjoy storytelling and music-making around campfires, hold ceremonies and create magical adventures. A member says of the area of land that he practices in: “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." His group holds Druid sweathouse rituals and initiations, and large communal ceremonies under the stars.

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