Many of us in the Bardic Guild, particularly those of us who serve in Grove or other local venues, know that there is more to the role of a Bard than merely a strong voice to lead the folk, though it is a good start.
The work of the Bard begins well before the ritual starts in the writing phases, when the season, audience, pantheon and even location of the liturgy must be considered carefully. The Bard begins with the insertion of works such as poems, stories and songs to tie together the various pieces of the rite and maintain the focus of the work at hand.
Just before the rite begins, the Bard rallies the folk with songs and engages them in the music and the words to begin the transformation from existence in mundane time and space to the dissociative state we know as liminal space, that space outside of space and time. As the rite progresses, further songs are sung to maintain the momentum and the energy that has been built, and further works are performed to explain and to give the folk a means to better recall the lessons and lore of the work at hand when their mind returns from this other time.
On the hinge of the rite, it is not uncommon for the Bard to interact with the Priest in sending the final sacrifice to the Kindred through the fire, and then as the energy is harnessed upon its return to be given to the folk in the form of Blessings from the Kindred, the Bard is called to perform yet again to buoy that energy as it falls, stretch it out and make it last through to the working where the magic of Our Druidry will happen in our rite.
And even when the rite is complete, the Bard has yet one final piece of work to do, that of returning the folk to their mundane mindset while leaving them with a final gift of music to seal the day’s work into their hearts and minds.
Being a Bard is about more than writing. It is about more than reciting or singing or speaking. Being a Bard has a magical element that is easily taken for granted. The work of the Order of Bardic Magic is to teach you, the Bards of ADF, how to do all of this and more with ease and professionalism. Being a Bard is the first step. Becoming a Bardic Magician is the ultimate goal of our work.