Review of the OBOD Ovate Course

A few years ago I shared a video that I did reviewing the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids Bard Course. When I had been first contemplating the course, I was frustrated that there was very little online describing the course. I wanted to know if it was right for me. I need to see with my own eyes what the course material looked like. I wanted to hear from someone who wasn’t a leader in the Order what the course was like. Apparently I wasn’t alone in this desire because many people have since started conversations on that video in their own process of deciding if the course is for them.

After completing the Bard Course, I jumped into the Ovate Course. This grade is in many ways similar to the Bard course and in other much deeper and intense. I’d like to share a bit more about my experience in hopes that, again, it might help others who are thinking about whether to continue their studies with OBOD through Ovate.

First, a note about the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. You are in no way require to complete all the courses. They make it very clear that those who continue are in no way better than those who don’t. The courses serve different purposes and thus won’t serve all members. It’s very open ended. At no time during the process did I feel coerced into taking the Ovate course. I so appreciate this space to make the decision that was right for me. I know of some members who do the Bard course and then wait YEARS before they ever decide to pursue the Ovate course. So, no pressure!

After you complete your Bardic Review your tutor will send your information off the the OBOD office. They will then send you the introductory packet to help you decide whether you’d like to pursue the course or not. The Ovate course does have a fee associated with it. Depending on whether you would like the Text version, Audio version, or both the cost will change. Pricing is very similar to the Bard course. At the time that I signed up it was about 40 Euros less than the Bard course.

Roughly once a month you receive a packet from the OBOD office. Each packet will have four green Gwersi, that month’s Touchstone magazine (thankfully, looking nicer these days), and any supplemental materials. I chose to receive the course in just the text version this year. I loved reading a Gwersi each week and exploring all the new topics. Each Gwersi starts with a letter from Philip Carr-Gomm, the Chief Druid of OBOD. Then you get the bulk of the lesson. The lesson varies in format depending on the section of the course you are in. Some lessons will have meditations or rituals. Other lessons will have projects or other prompts for personal exploration. Topics like Ogham, Herbs, Sacred Sites, Nwyfre, Time, Healing, Magic, and more are all covered. Each Gwersi still ends with an Eisteddfod. I’m sure folks could “finish” this grade in one year but it took me a solid two years.

What I loved about the Ovate grade was the breadth of topics covered. It is expected that the greater part of your work in this grade will happen outside of the Gwersi. You take the foundation of seasonal ritual, personal practice, and pagan basics into the Ovate so that you may grow and follow your own deepening path with eyes and heart wide open. You will encounter yourself in a new way and explore paths not written about in books. If you are looking for the mysteries of the path, you will find it in the Ovate. I struggle with mystery. Still I appreciated the meat and mud that the Ovate grade brought to my practice.

Will I be headed to the Druid grade? Nope, not right now. I’m going to spiral inwards through the Ovate and see what lies in store for me next. I think my next steps are going to push me in uncomfortable ways. I’m ready for the change and mystery that lays a head. We’ll see when the call for Druid grade studies are awakened.



14 thoughts on “Review of the OBOD Ovate Course

  1. I loved the Ovate grade and it’s still my main alignment on the OBOD path. I definitely echo all you have said here… I found the Bardic grade very clear and linear – a case or working in an experiential way through the gwersi. The Ovate grade was totally non-linear for me and a wild trek, merrily lost, in the mystery of the forest. 🙂


  2. I’ve been merrily and not so merrily lost in the Ovate forest for two years and counting. Impossible to work through it as I did with Bard level. It’s certainly a mystery though and I’m looking forward to seeing where it is it all takes me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m in the Bard course. I love a lot about it. I recently fell off track due to travel, and having to move out, then totally clean and move back into the clinic my husband and I have (acupuncture/hypnotherapy) as the rugs were removed, and the floors redone. I’ve been having a time getting back to it! I lost my groove, as I’ve been busy, so will do my best to get going again. I wasn’t sure if I’d jump into Ovate when done, so I’m glad to have found your review and the comments. it sounds quite different than Bard grade. I enjoy the thought of learning more deeply the Ogham, and always loved working w/ herbs, flower essences, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s quite wonderful how people find their way into and out of a more intense study of the bard course (and ovate & druid!). It shows how versatile the course is and how each person integrates the ideas and wisdom in different ways. I completely understand how travel and moving can change your study habits. Our move last year def affected my own!


      2. I worked through Bard at around 1 Gwers a week on average, with Ovate I have been on Gwers 11 for around a year. I have stepped away completely which according to my mentor is normal. There is a lot happening which I suspect is connected with Ovate but it’s not me working on the course if that makes sense. The course work is calling to me now and so I feel I will be coming back to it soon but I can now understand why I have been away. I have always worked shamanically so was surprised that I haven’t been immersed in it all the time but in many ways it makes sense as there is less personal development in the course so this needs to happen elsewhere even though it is connected. Hope that helps. Stay in touch, its nice to have someone to touch base with sometimes 🙂


  3. Hi Danni! Thank you for your wonderful blog posts and videos. Do you know anything about the Green Mountain Druid correspondence trainings?


  4. Danni:

    Thank you so much for writing this. Between this and your YouTube video there is some great info!

    I was interested in the Bardic course and had a quick question about the audio version. In your reviews plus the OBOD website they mention it is on CDs. Do you know if there are ways to receive it in other formats, such as downloadable audio files? Haven’t had access to a CD player in quite some time and I’m guessing there’s others in a similar position.

    Thanks again!


    1. I’m not sure. You’d have to email the OBOD office to find out. I would suggest that you might be able to go to your public library and convert the CDs to a .mp3 file on their computers.


  5. Having been a Wicca follower for more than 35 years, I found many of the topics in the Ovate course to be elementary, skimming the surface of many profound esoteric topics. If one subject in particular pulls you, perhaps its calling you to ‘specialize’ in that area. Other topics may be less than entertaining or simply you already have advanced knowledge. It really depends on your life experience.
    Many Ovates, I know, are simply bored with the course because it is too basic and can’t be bothered with repeating material and having it reviewed by a tutor with less experience.
    But if you are a newbie, enjoy the ride.


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