5 Spirit: Awakening to Bardic Awareness
What in me is dark,
Illumine; what is low,
Raise and support
Milton’s Invocation to the Muse from Paradise Lost
5.1 The Nature of a Bard: Past and Present
The term Bard immediately conjures William Shakespeare to the mind. His talent and skill as a playwright and poet is well-renowned however he learned and honed his art treading the boards as an actor.
In the past a Bard could enchant with his performance, with his voice. His audience fed off his energy like a blessing or healing. The Bard was like a spiritual shaman.
The word Bard is Welsh. The classic imagery of the Cymric Bard is of a dark and deep-voiced man beneath robes whilst rallying against the tyranny of English royalty.
On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o’er old Conway’s foaming flood,
Robed in the sable garb of woe,
With haggard eyes the poet stood;
(Loose his beard and hoary hair
Streamed, like a meteor, to the troubled air)
And with a master’s hand and prophet’s fire,
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre.
Thomas Gray, The Bard
The Celtic Bards were walking libraries carrying the stories and history of their clans and tribes.
In the modern age Bardic skills are more relevant to our time. They hone our presentation skills so we can convey our message effectively, expressing our beliefs as ambassadors of our path and the world around us.
© Gwion chan Beithe