Friday 25 March 2011

Oh to be a Bard

I come from a long line of story tellers, when I was younger, I would be left with my Great Grandmother, who always without fail even when we seemed to have ‘surprised’ her, (she was never surprised, can’t surprise a woman who has deeper connections than can be described) had candy in her pocket (just the one you loved too) and a story to tell. If she had stopped a story when you left she picked right back up as if no time had passed. My Great Grandmother's mother was a house slave who 'educated' the Masters children. Most of the Jamaican slaves are excellent storytellers as this was the way to pass on important information as well as keep the history of the family going.

My aunt is the family historian and can tell you without looking at anything the entire female line of her mothers side then do the same for her father's side of the family. She knows all the marriages, names and deaths of most of the family. I have been recently encouraging her to write them down. many of our family members are fourtunatley buried in the same church plot.  

When I used to go to my dad's farm in the country, he used to share many of the traditional Jamaican stories about Broda Nancy (Brother Anazi) which where tales passed down to him from his Grandmother.

Many of the traditional tales speak of morals, and explain how the sky became the sky, why cat's and dogs don't get along. And they all stem from this one little Spider named Anazi. It's only later in life that I learned that the beloved character was actually a God from the coast of West Africa (where most of the Jamaican slaves came from), this wonderful Spider God was a trickster God who taught many valuable lessons. 

My love of turning a great tale comes from those moments of sitting beside my Great Grandmother, or listening to my dad's baritone mimic the voices of the different characters in the story.

In all the Jamaican tales, we start & end the story with:

" a so mi pick it up as so mi puti down" 

Which basically means this is how you learned the story, you didn't change it, and you passed it on the same way you received it.  This is to make sure the true meaning of the tale gets passed on, and the whole story of Broda Nancy gets passed on and learned by a new generation.

Recently in my studies amd decision to continue on the Druid path, I subscribed to the lessons from the Order of Bards Ovate and Druids. they sent me package of tales to learn. I thought it very fitting considering Druids were required to learn over 1000 tales, and know the cures for 100s of diseases. 

In the most ordered lesson plans, one starts as a bard, learns all the lessons of creating poems, how to tell tales, and learn all the mythology of the people; the next step is the ovate, who knows all the herbs, and the lore behind each herb, then finally advances to druid where all the lessons culminate and allow you to be an excellent druid.
Each phase or stage lasts for seven years, which is light considering in the olden days one would start as a child and only reach druid in their elder years. There are even tales of druids planting their trees as children and gaining their first wand after the tree has matured a certain number of years.  

When I received the packet, I placed it aside for a while and recently came back to it and realized even though I love the Celtic mythology and already know most of it, there is still much I didn't know.  I want to learn it, but I also don't want to lose my heritage, so I am blending the two, both the Bard and the history of my people is an Oral history, a language of tales told from one to the other.  There is something grand about being the one who can turn a phrase and invocate a certain emotion as you tell a tale. 

I can't wait to be able to share with my own children and grandchildren the tales of my youth and the many various tales of the Celtic Gods of my ancestors.

Yes it will be grand to be a Bard.
Year one of seven begins
I will be sharing as many of the tales that I can with you, these will be on Thursday, so if you are looking for tales to share with your kids, that would be the day to stop by and check them out.

Of course if you have any tales to share please let me know and I will swing by your blog as well.

Be Blessed


  1. My brother is the Bard of the family. He can and will speak with ease to anyone. He is funny and really loves telling stories about the family, his friends and neighbors and everyone and everything he experiences. They are usually not very deep, but more like a stand up comedian type. Either way, who doesn't love a good story?

  2. Hi...i've been away from blogging for awhile but i used to follow you when i blogged blog was Over The Homespun Hedge. Anyway...i just started a new one and i'm glad i found you again...your blogs always make my day :)


I love my readers, and your comments help me to know how you feel, so please share.
Thank You and Goddess Bless.