Eine OBOD Seedgroup besteht aus mindestens 2 OBOD Barden
Ein OBOD Grove besteht aus mindestens 2 OBOD Druiden
Hier nun der Text aus dem englischen Forum von Kernos, der jetzt Stück für Stück übersetzt wird:
Die Kostbarkeiten des Stammes - Ein Leitfaden für OBOD Seed Groups -
von Kernos am Donnerstag, den 28. August 2003
“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The Oak sleeps in the Acorn. The Bird waits in the Egg. And in the highest vision of a soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”
Dear Seed Group Members,
This booklet is intended as a guide for all OBOD Members who would like to start a Seed Group. The first part has been put together as a series of questions — the most commonly asked questions from people who have chosen to start a group. The answers and the guidance come from the experience of those who have already worked within an OBOD group for some years. That doesn’t mean that they necessarily have all the answers, but it is hoped that the advice contained within these pages will be of practical help and answer some questions of your own.
The Treasures of the Tribe and Ancestors
First of all, congratulations on your decision to become a Seed Group. In a sense you have become a tribe, and the treasures you bring to it are your individual and unique experiences and journeys. Whilst those will continue there is now another journey or level on which you will work, the Path you will walk together as a group. As you build your group experiences and combine your separate energies, in discussion, meditation and ceremony, in sadness and in laughter, you will be creating your own tribal treasures, group customs and preferences, your own Group Soul and those treasures will be passed on to and influenced by all who come to your group. If any of your decide to leave your group for whatever reason, do not think that you will no longer be a part of it, because in a sense you will then become one of the Ancestors, your influence and energy will have helped shape what it is and what it will become.
What is a Seed Group?
As Druids, we use the analogy of Seed Groups and Groves to indicate our connection with nature. The idea is that when two or more members of the Order decide to meet together on a regular basis — whether just for festivals or at other times too - they can call themselves a Seed Group.
In becoming a group, or using the analogy above, a tribe, you will also want a name for yourselves. You can adopt whatever name you choose, so long as it isn’t already in use, and a look down the existing list of groups and groves will give you an idea of the diversity of names which groups adopt for themselves. Some choose names connected with their location, or align themselves to a particular deity, tree or animal. It can take quite a long time to choose a name, and whatever you first decide upon, you may discover after a year or so that your group energy has changed in such a way that another name is more appropriate.
Whatever you choose, it is a reflection of your unique group spirit, and as an acorn in time becomes a strong oak tree, so can your group grow and flourish and strengthen as you walk your druid path together.
How often do we meet?
After making contact, most people will initially arrange to meet just for the festivals and contact each other by phone or letter a few days beforehand to check out venues and practical matters. Celebrating the festivals together is a good way to begin to meeting using the eisteddfod as an opportunity to shed the more formal aspects of the ceremony for a while, to exchange stories, songs, music and poetry. Of course in the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, sitting out on the ‘iron hard ground’ is not so inviting and a hasty retreat to the pub or someone’s hearth is a much better idea and a good time to get to know one another.
But you will probably find as you get to know one another that you prefer to meet more frequently than just for the festivals, and it’s usually a good idea to meet at least once in between to discuss ideas for the next one and then build up to once a month or once a fortnight.
Various methods of when to meet have been tried. Meeting at the full moon can be a good idea but difficult to arrange as the Moon is not keen to wax to fullness conveniently on every third Tuesday of the month for instance! As she always goes through her phases on different days each month you all need to make quite sure you know the exact day of the full moon and also whether you are meeting the night before etc.
Most groups find after some experimenting that it is best to pick a day convenient to everyone and stick to it — so every second Tuesday or say the first and third Wednesday in the Month. Keep the arrangement constant and simple so that no-one gets left out. But don’t allow the meeting day to become writ in tablets of stone, of course it can be changed and remember too that days are ruled by planets and you might like to experiment to see which one suits your group best.
Monday Moon Nurturing, intuition, clairvoyance, family Tuesday Mars Vibrant energy, leadership, the warrior Wednesday Mercury Communications at all levels, learning & knowledge Thursday Jupiter Expansion, higher understanding, learning & wisdom Friday Venus Love, values, harmony, beauty Saturday Saturn Consolidating, learning from experience, perseverance Sunday Sun Creative expression, recreation
What happens at Group Meetings?
A tried and tested format is to have a time when everyone arrives and exchanges news and ideas; a time for discussion and debate on a chosen subject; a time for meditation or quiet; a time for tea and biscuits! Or wine and beer if you prefer (and many druids do) but don’t pour it down someone who is driving! Some members are happy and confident to present subjects of their choice and invite discussion. Others will prefer to remain quiet and there are some who feel far too shy to say very much at all for a few meetings. The shyer ones should be gently encouraged but never forced to take part, some people are talkers and some are listeners, and it does not mean that the listeners are not as essential a part of the group as the noisier ones! Often it is their quiet strength which will help hold the group together. But take care that there is no-one sitting in the corner feeling left out. It’s important for whoever has taken responsibility for the meeting to ensure that each person feels comfortable, especially newcomers who may be feeling bewildered particularly if they have never attended an esoteric group before. Just a quiet word or a little chat in the corner over tea is all that is needed, with some gentle encouragement so that they feel included.
As to subjects, well it could be an evening with crystals, a storytelling, a talk about alternative medicine, a study of trees and treelore. And of course you don’t have to meet in a house, you could go for walks together and identify trees and flowers and birds, go to a local ancient monument and compare your experiences, or, as is quite common, spend the whole evening laughing together. Druidry is fun too! It’s good to have practical evenings or even weekends. Some groups go tree planting together for instance, or hold candle making sessions so that the candles can be in their ceremonies.
Should we use the Gwersu in meetings?
Some groups try this but it is very difficult unless you are all following the course at exactly the same pace — and because of the uniqueness of the journey for each individual that is well nigh impossible. As you work through the Gwersu you will realise how very subjective the experiences can be, and also that the course is carefully structured so that the experience of each Gwers leads to the next or subtly suggests what is to happen in a few Gwersu’s time. It would be a shame to spoil another’s journey by working with a Gwers that they have not yet reached, and it could also change their experience of the meditation or practicum because they have pre-conceived ideas of what will happen. How would you like to be told the end of the film you are watching or the book you are reading? In any event it would be the teller’s perception (which can be incredibly selective) of the end that you would hear which can be very different from your own. The magic of the exercises and meditations in the Gwersu is that they act spontaneously upon the subconscious and trigger responses from the person’s own inner world or psyche, as a continuing and ever developing journey.
In any event there are so many wonderful subjects to choose from that there is no need to treat meetings as ‘Gwers Reading and Study Groups’.
Do we have to have a leader and if so what is his or her role?
There is usually one person or a couple of people who take responsibility for organising meetings and doing all the really exciting things like making the tea, making sure there’s enough candles, incense and so on. That does not necessarily make them the leader and it is important too to share these roles out so that one member of the group does not begin to feel unnecessarily burdened. What often happens is that one of the people who first began the group will hold meetings at their house and find themselves responsible for everything else as well. They may quite enjoy it for a while and everyone gets used to their doing all the work. But that can build up friction. So ensure early on that the tasks are shared out, and once you have established a base, you can move around to each other’s houses from time to time to give your host or hostess a rest. It sometimes is a good idea to have a group fund, say 50p each time, so that the host/ess can buy tea and milk, etc. Do discuss finances openly — I say this particularly to we British who find it so difficult to talk about money!
Invariably on or two people will begin to emerge who are willing and able to take on the organisation and focussing of the Group and provide a home or forum in which the rest of the group can meet. If you are that person then do be aware of the responsibility you carry to tread a fine line between holding the group together without putting yourself in a position of control. Don’t let the power go to your head in other words! Remember that as Druids we work with humility! Try not to impose your own views above everyone else’s. Each person in the Group has a right to an opinion even if it is not your own, and ‘wrong’ opinions are as useful as ‘right’’ ones. Otherwise how would we know they were right!?
Meditations - who leads them and what should we do?
It can be a good idea just to stay with the Bardic Light Body meditation first. Then as people become more confident in meditation you could try using a simple one that you have learned in a workshop or read from a book. Don’t use anything too long or too complicated in a group of people with mixed experience of meditation. Beginners could be either so bewildered that they simply cut out, or become confused or upset. Try a simple and short journey from the Bardic Grove to a forest stream or a tree, or use the image of the rising sun over water, or stand under a waterfall to feel healed and refreshed. Simple is best especially when the group begins to take in newcomers who may be very inexperienced. Also be aware that not everyone may wish to follow the whole inner journey and it should be made clear at the various ‘cross roads’ that anyone who does not wish to follow can stop where they are or return. Use words like ‘if you feel it is right for you’ at appropriate moments like entering a forest, a cave, a pool, etc.
Always remember the golden rule, return by the way you came on any inner plane journey. Whoever is leading the meditation must be aware of this, and carefully talk the group back into the Bardic Grove where they are then gently reminded that they are within their own special group in this Time and Place. It is very important that everyone has fully returned before there are any loud noises. Meditation leaves us in a highly sensitised and vulnerable state. Some people may then wish to share their experiences so don’t break the circle too early. Sharing is a good idea although not everyone feels confident enough to do so, but once they hear what others saw and felt during their inner journey they usually feel a lot more confident of their own. Remember there is no right or wrong way to experience a meditation. Some people visualise vividly whilst others ‘see’ nothing but can sense the surroundings, scents and sounds very keenly. Just because one person can see things in their head in great detail, does not mean they are spiritually more evolved than those who cannot. Don’t try to analyse anyone’s experience or take it to pieces, it is often the case that the images or words that emerged for that person will reveal their meaning for them at another time. Once the sharing is over it is a good idea to put the kettle on and let everyone stretch and walk around. Or first you may like to end a meditation with everyone holding hands in a circle and saying the Uniting Prayer together (‘We swear by peace, etc’).
As to who should lead meditations — often this lot falls to one or two people in the group but do share this task with all who would like to try so as to avoid inflation.
The Magic of Music
Meditating to a piece of music without anyone ‘leading’ is also a good way to begin working together. There are some excellent pieces of ‘new age’ music around now (and some awful ones too) but don’t forget there are some beautiful classical pieces too and some wonderful music by artists such as Clannad and Enya. Try for instance Barber —Adagio for Strings; Chopin — Berceuse; Clannad — Theme from Harry’s Game; Pachelbel — Canon; Beethoven — Fur Elise; Faure — ‘Jesu Pie’ from Requiem; Beethoven slow movement from ‘Moonlight’ sonata; Peter Gabriel — Last Temptation of Christ (whole soundtrack).
You could even have an evening trying out bits of music to see how you respond to them as a group and select some for future use. A gentle and calming piece of music can also be used as an introduction to meditation, giving an opportunity for everyone to settle down and centre themselves, before fading it out and the person leading the meditation beginning to speak.
Try not to use the meditations in the Gwersu unless it is one you have all done already as part of the Course so as not to spoil it for others.
Do we have to do all the Festivals?
No of course not but you will probably discover that if you miss one it will feel like a hole in the head — or a spoke out of the wheel. Journeying together around the wheel of the year is a wonderful experience, building up your group rapport from one festival to the next, and then finding that suddenly you have done a whole year’s worth and are stepping out onto the second spiral of another round together. It’s great being able to compare the Imbolc you have just enjoyed together with the one the year before, and the year before that and...
Do we have to follow the ceremonies in the Gwersu?
No but they are very useful as a basis from which to work, and you can then experiment by changing the wording or adding or omitting here and there. What is important is that you observe the Spirit of the ceremony rather than the letter and the word. It is best to keep to the general format of creating sacred space, giving peace to and opening the quarters, reciting the Druids Prayer and declaring the festival open. The actual observance of the festival can be changed to suit your group’s preferences, before closing, with the closing of the quarters, the uniting prayer (We swear by peace, etc.) and the AWEN. Always remember to unwind the circle (that might seem obvious but its surprising how often it is forgotten). Most groups find that they develop their festivals together, refining and re-working them from year to year, so that they never become static but grow as the group grows in experience and wisdom.
Where should we perform ceremonies?
Outside is the best place to be, but if the weather is really bad then a suitable space indoors can be found. Everywhere is sacred, so although it is the most wonderful experience to work together in an ancient circle, a simple back yard is just as good. If you live near a wood or forest then there will be bound to be a grove of trees suitably hidden from the public. If you are working on private land then ensure you have the owner’s permission to prevent misunderstandings (and in the UK, possible arrest under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act). Even if you are working somewhere like a public park where permission is automatic, it is best to be discreet, and do obey by-laws and regulations about the lighting of fires.
Some people are fortunate enough to have a secluded garden or understanding neighbours but often working outside means a trek into the forest or up into the hills before your ceremony can begin. But the journey together, which may begin with a car ride and then a silent walk across windswept moorland or cracking twigs and bracken carpeting a forest floor, is as much a part of the ceremony as the circle itself. One group of members decided to park a little way from their favourite birch grove, and trek across the public footpath over the fields to reach it. It was a dark cloudless and moonless night in February as they made their way to their favourite Imbolc venue, but they had not taken into account the torrential rain that had fallen for days previously. The fields over which the path led were completely covered in several inches of water. But being ever prepared as all good Druids are (!) they had their wellies on. Wading silently together through fields covered in water, the stars of Orion, Sirius, the Pleiades and the Plough shining both from above in the black still sky, and dancing in reflection upon the waters at the their feet, was a time of sheer joy.
Common problems encountered in ceremony
“I’m the only one who is nervous”
Ceremony is a precious thing, and it is very normal to feel nervous beforehand. One Druid Grade member once described it as PRT (Pre-Ritual Tension) so don’t think you are the odd one out because you feel terrified. It’s normal to feel tension even after years of working in ceremony — just realise that it is not something negative to feel ashamed about, it is the seed of your creativity which you will release into healing and power within the ceremony itself. To use the analogy of the theatre, it is said that all the best actors still get anxiety or even stage fright before they go on. Whilst a ceremony must never be viewed as a show or a play, it does have its similarities.
Loss of memory
Remember going into an exam and getting a complete block on the answer to a question you knew perfectly the night before? Well it can be a bit like that in ceremony. All of a sudden you can’t even remember where north is, start going round the circle the wrong way, read the wrong bit of text. It’s OK and it’s normal. If you realise that you are doing something ‘wrong’ then stop and take your time. Centre yourself, take a few deep breaths and then start again. One seasoned Grove Mother found herself solemnly drawing the circle counterclockwise. It was only when she got half way round that she realised her mistake. There was only one to do - laugh and start again. Don’t worry, you won’t have ruined the event. When it comes to getting your words wrong, well if you are calling on the Great Bear in the South then start again and pay your respects to the Stag instead, but if what you are saying at your moment in the ceremony is only a slight misreading or you forgot a line or two, just carry on in your own way. Don’t forget it’s the Spirit not the words that is important. Call it creative amnesia.
Take your time
Nervousness and feeling inhibited or embarrassed can make us rush. It is more important to feel connected to our part in the ceremony than to know the ‘service sheet’ word for word. What can often happen is that North who is feeling concerned about their part, stands resolutely rehearsing their two lines right up until his turn, than violently blurts their part out as fast as possible. ‘Phew, it’s over! Done my part’. Take your time. Never mind what other people might think. Give yourself some time when it gets to you, close your eyes if that feels better, feel the centre of your being, feel the connection with the quarter or part that you are about to represent, understand it to the best of your ability with your heart as well as your mind and visualise it in your own way. Then when you are ready, read the words slowly from your piece of paper, or if you really do have a good Bardic memory, say them in your own time.
Trying to memorize the whole ceremony
Again. of course it has been tried, but none of us having the Bardic memories we should have, it can become a somewhat mechanical exercise trying to carry out a ceremony purely from memory. Then it is not longer a sacred act but a memory test. So unless you do have a good memory, it is far better to read from pieces of paper. After all the Priest has his Bible and his Prayer Book, and there is no shame and a lot of advantage in having a copy of the ceremony in your hand to refer to. If you really would like to try without scripts, then, especially once you are all familiar with the standard openings and closings, you can have a ceremony where you create it as you go along. Beltaine is a really good one for this, it is so full of vibrancy and fertility that whatever you do will seem right. It can be huge fun in this way and the Spirit of Beltaine lends itself perfectly to creative festivity.
A few practical points
Appoint someone as fire keeper — always a good role for a newcomer or guest. It is so easy to let the fire die down because everyone is so intent on working the ceremony. A fire keeper will know that it is their job to add the logs and stop it from spreading if the surrounding grass is very dry.
Ensure that the fire is well and truly out before you leave — take some bottled water with you if there is no stream or pool nearby. Cover the remains with earth. Leave the grove or circle as you came, and more positively clear up any rubbish that others might have left before you.
If you have a newcomer, do give them something to do, whether a spoken part or consecrating with water or similar.
We all find we have a favourite quarter or element, and it’s easy to get accustomed to always taking the South for instance. But be open to giving up your favourite quarter and trying all the ‘parts’ as the festivals go by.
Once you have become accustomed to working together you will realise that the ‘mistakes’ are all part of the learning process, that the nights when the fire won’t burn, the candles blow out and the charcoal for the incense is damp, are there to teach you something, whether it be purely practical (like put the candles in jars next time) or at a more subtle level as an individual or group soul lesson.
There is beautiful magic in working together in ceremony. It doesn’t seem to matter what has been happening beforehand, what dynamics are going on between individual members or in their lives. Once you gather in sacred space and sacred time you are as if standing in another world, the spirits of the circle, the spirit of God and Goddess are celebrated by you and your work from within to breathe into the Land and into your individual lives.
Some problems common to all groups
It’s a natural process for groups to grow and split and reform. At first you will all be very careful with one another, eager to ensure that the group works. Then as time goes by there will inevitably be little frustrations and problems. “J always gets the South”; “Why can’t we meet at my house next time”; “Why does J never seem to do anything”. And so on. It happens in all groups. It is best to share frustrations and work with them as a group. However, every now and again a real problem person may come along, with an outsize ego or as much tact as a gnat. Or they can turn out to be neurotic or even psychotic individuals who deeply upset the group’s energy. This presents especially difficult challenges. First, it is not appropriate to be judgmental, after all everyone has something to offer and none of us is perfect. Those who are just too noisy, boisterous or tactless, usually settle down after a few meetings, they are often just trying to get you to accept them. A gentle word pointing out the problems they may be creating albeit unawares will often help, but always stress to that person their positive points too. Finding a way of using that person’s positive points within the group is always possible and helps heal the breach. Or you can all discuss the problem openly with the individual, in a group session. It usually works out and in any event if a person is feeling so uncomfortable that they have to consciously or subconsciously upset the group energy, they will be feeling the upset too and after a while will realise that this group is not for them and move on.
But if there is anyone who continues to be a problem, then talk to someone in the Order who is more experienced than you about how to handle it. You could write to your tutor in the first instance, or contact the people at the OBOD Office.
The Vexed Problem of Vetting
Having experienced a troublesome or disruptive member, or having maybe just got too comfortable with one another and the nice cosy atmosphere that’s created, you may feel tempted to exclude outsiders. What we ask is that as an OBOD Seed Group you remain open to the challenge of new energies coming into the group. Any member of the Order should be made welcome as a guest either just ‘passing through’ or as a potentially permanent member of the Group (their decision). Whether you want to allow non-OBODies or non-druids into your meetings is up to you but there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t allow others to join you — often this can result in that person ultimately joining the Order, but leave that to them, don’t push it or use the ‘hard sell’ to recruit. Many members like to bring their partners who are interested and often very active participants in the group, but who do not wish to join the Order.
Likewise with festivals although understandably when you are making your first tentative steps together at group ritual it is just too unnerving to admit outsiders. It is better to leave more public or open ceremonies until you all feel comfortable with one another. Often you will get a request from a friend or relative of someone in the group to ‘come and watch’. A good idea is to suggest to these observers that they would feel much happier being part of the ceremony and standing in the circle. If they are open to the idea you could also give them something to do like carrying the incense around or appointing them fire-keeper. Or if they resist standing in the circle suggest that they sit just outside and then draw the circle right around them suggesting that they can stand up and join the circle of people at any time. If there are a lot of people because you are working more publicly then ask everyone to form a second circle around the Druids and draw the energy circle around them. Invariably including rather than excluding observers assists them in experiencing the ceremony at an energetic level, and also helps them to feel accepted.
The four solar festivals are public ceremonies although it is usually only the more seasoned Groups and Groves who feel equal to performing in full daylight before casual observers. Certainly never feel that you have to perform your festivals in front of the public gaze but do be open to the opportunity that invited guests can bring to your group. The four fire festivals can also be public, but in recent years have tended to be more intimate events (particularly Samhuin) with perhaps some invited guests. And remember also what you give to them in interconnectedness of life, and a much better understanding of Druids and Druidry than they probably had before. They will take the tale of their experience to friends, relatives, the pub and the workplace, and people who either knew nothing before or held erroneous views, will be touched in the telling of the tale, by the Spirit of Druidry and the Spirit of the Land.
The Spirit of the Journey
Whatever happens in or to the group and however you decide to structure your meeting know these things. You are not on your own
There are many other Seed Groups and Groves and if you come up against a problem you could try getting in touch with another Seed Group contact or Grove leader to sound them out. Exchanging growing pains together in very therapeutic - it’s comforting to know that yours is not the only group experiencing hiccups. It’s good to talk it through with someone who has had a similar experience, and you’ll get some advice on what has worked for them. Or you can write to any number of people who are involved in the organisation (or chaos) of the Order, they are all thoroughly approachable and they all made fools of themselves before you did! So drop them a line or call them up if you have their number. Any will be glad to give guidance or suggest the name of someone in the Order near you with whom you can meet. There is always someone there to help you.
Remember the three senses of Druidry
Commonsense, A sense of proportion, and a sense of humour. With them you have all you need to make your group successful.
The Joy of the Journey
Of course Druidry is a serious subject and of course one’s individual and group spiritual Path is of deep importance, but do remember that it can also be fun. There may be times of frustration and misunderstanding, of chaos and confusion, but there will be moments of pure joy together.
Experience the Joy of the Journey
May the Spirit of your Group and the Spirit of the Order guide and protect you!
Material Copyright (c) 2000
Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids
Last edited by Kernos on Sun Jul 11, 2004 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.