Bards And Celtic Insights Into Music

Two  meetings this week had synchronicity.  Our old friend Godfrey Butland has to give a lecture about Celtic hymnody etc. He asked me about sources.  I pointed him to the Introduction to my Celtic Hymnbook, to Kenney's mammoth encycopedia of Celtic sources with hundreds of short entries including a hymn or poem or antiphonary, and to the Worship section of our Celtic Christian Library on Lindisfarne.

Another Aidan and Hildas Community member came for spiritual direction, and our shared talking journey led us on to the role of bards then and now.  Bards were a prominent part of early Celtic pagan society. The Celtic Christians continued this tradition.  The bard might sing or recite a short poem or song. But quite often the bard carried depths of communal memory and recited a story of an inspired leader, a saintly little-known person, or an invovking of a great array of heavenly forces (as in St. Patrick's Breastplate).

We discussed whether bards could be appropriately appointed today.  I felt it is sbetter if they just emerge naturally.  A bard probably has music or poetry in their soul, empathy with the community s/he is among, familiarity with the five senses ('the five-stringed harp'), love, joy and peace - and some may have prophetic challenge.

Have you any insights to post?

Posted at 11:14am on 18th April 2024
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