The Druid Path
The Three Druid Grades
There are three
grades in the Druid Path, these being Bard, Ovate and Druid. Each had distinct functions
in the Celtic society. Though Druid gade took the longest to achieve, it did not diminish
the importance of the roles fulfilled by the other two grades. Each grade required
numerous years of study to master. Modern Druid organizations have variations on these
three grades, but each still remains in some form.
The keepers of the tradition, of the memory of the tribe -
they were the custodians of the sacredness of the Word
poet and musician, the
preserver of lore, the inspirer and entertainer.
Most people associate the term "Bard" with Shakespeare
and this term seems appropriate, since poetry and storytelling were the realm of the
bards. Satire, music and song were also important skills of bards. Often the bards would
specialize in one of these areas.
The traditional color of the Bard is blue, while the traditional tree for this
grade is the birch.
Those responsible for understanding the mysteries of death and rebirth, for
transcending time - for divining the future, for conversing with the Ancestors -
travelling beyond the grave to bring augury and counsel to those still living on
the doctor, detective, diviner and seer...
If magic was done by a druid, it was undoubtedly the realm of
the Ovate. Healing and divination and the other mystic arts are the Ovate's realm. Today's
druids often practice reiki for healing and use divination tools such as tarot, the Ogham,
or the Druid Animal Oracle.
The traditional color of the Ovate is green, while the traditional tree for this
grade is the yew.
His functions, simply stated, were to act as advisor to kings and rulers, as
judge, as teacher, and as an authority in matters of worship and ceremony
classical texts never refer to them as priests, but as philosophers.
One did not fully reach the status of Druid with a capital
"D" until many, many years of training. This is why the stereotypical picture of
an ancient Druid was an older man, white beard and all. Druids were respected because of
their vast knowledge acquired through their years of study. This is why they were often
the teachers, advisors, and spiritual leaders of the Celtic community.
The traditional color of the Druid is white, while the traditional tree for this
grade is the oak.
Quotes are from The Druid Tradition by Philip Carr-Gomm