The Bard In Us

At our St. Hilda's-tide retreat at Saint Oswald's Pastoral Centre, near Whitby we had sessions on Holy Learning, Holy Laughter and Bards. I was urged to disseminate some of this, so here are a few of the thoughts about Bards.

Ancient communities had bards. Modern communities need them. There is a Bard in each of us. You are God's poem - a work of art still in progress writes the apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:10.

The Bard in us gathers the memory - the stories, the values, the meaning - of a people that otherwise would be lost. The Bard lets these gestate, makes them her own, expresses them in pictures and words that linger long in the hearers.

The Bard in us follows a river to its source, a tree to its roots, a people to its soul, and the planet to its heart. The Bard in us needs to ask: What sources and values do I need to connect with? Where is the Bard in me? What do I need to reveal to the world of what I am discovering? How may I best do this?

The journey we begin as we answer the call is long, and filled with all that we have been and all that we will become.

The Journey of each person to become the Bard that they are might take us through the cycle of the year, bringing a greater sense of connection with all of nature, and with the ancient heritage of the wisdom tradition.

The aim of this journey is to help us express the Bard in us more fully in the world. It may do this by helping us to: discover the sources of our creative power, so that our gifts may flow more fully. Teaching us awareness of sacred space, the elements, the circle, the use of ritual - rituals that help us attune to the natural world, to the rhythms of the earth and moon, the sun and stars in a way that brings access to the deeps of our soul- - that part of us which feels at one with all life.

For the Christian, Christ - not the neutered Christ confined to bell, book and candle - but the Christ of the Gospels and of the End of all Things, the Christ of every day and every way, is the heart and sum of all wisdom.

And no one is too simple or too isolated, too young or too old to be part of this holy stream of wisdom. In his book on Discovering the Welsh Tradition, Praise Above All, A M (Donald) Allchin introduces us to the poems of a little educated, but Christ-centred, tenant farmer's daughter named Ann Griffiths from the foothills of mid-Wales who died in relative obscurity in 1805, aged 29, leaving just over 70 stanzas in the Welsh language which contain some of the great Christian poetry of Europe. When Donald became aware of these poems through an English translation, he marvelled that Ann seemed to carry and express a whole tradition - a living sense of the presence of the past and the nearness of eternity, earthed in the practice of praise. Somehow, those poems connected with the ancient Celtic monks' nature poetry and the recent rousing Methodist hymns and so much in between.

Posted at 02:14am on 23rd November 2009
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