Frequently Asked Questions

To join you must –

1) Be 18 years of age or older,and

2) Be free from the diagnosis of schizophrenia or a psychotic condition.

You also should accept the Order’s ‘Values Statement’-

“Membership of the Order is open to followers of all faiths and none, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or ethnic origin. This statement reflects the values we consider central to our philosophy: of tolerance and inclusiveness that completely rejects expressions of racism, fascism and homophobia.” (From OBOD’s ‘About the Order‘)

You also pay the fee to Oak Tree Press to take the Bardic Grade course. For info go to our ‘Joining’ info page and OBOD’s Courses page.

You receive your lessons (in print or CDs mailed from the UK), Touchstone magazine (mailed), and related materials over the first year of either the Bard, Ovate, or Druid grade self-study course. You can request access for a course mentor (required if you decide to complete a grade), and have access to a members-only online forum (which has limited use).

No. OBOD is not a college, technical school, or church. Upon completion of all three grades you will receive an attractive document suitable for framing that certifies that you have been “elected a full member in the Druid grade” of OBOD.

Many members prefer a print version with the tactile, non-screen based experience. Both the print and CD versions of the course are meant to encourage members to spend time, internalize what is being taught, and not dash though the lessons. (They are mailed out over a year for that reason.) Yes, this may be a waste of physical resources, and many people have thought of it and conveyed their concerns by contacting the OBOD office in the UK.

There is a Chosen Chief. In turn the Chief chooses their Pendragon and Sribe (who both help to administer the course). They jointly coordinate the work of the two part time office staff and about 8 known OBOD HQ (those who work directly on behalf of the main office) volunteers. The Order also has a Patroness who helps to raise funds for special projects, and a past Chief (unofficial).

There is no voting for officers in OBOD. The previous Chief Philip Carr-Gomm, chose our current Chief Eimear Burke who took over in 2020. The title ‘Chosen Chief’ came from our parent Ancient Druid Order, where the Senior Grade of the order had an election to chose a Chief, who then chose his Pendragon, and Scribe. Philip Carr-Gomm was asked by a few remaining members to revive OBOD thirteen years after our founder Ross Nichols died. OBOD’s senior Druid Grade council was subsequently disbanded decades ago.

Our past Chief Philip Carr-Gomm described OBOD as organic and without the strictures of modern organization. Besides the three ‘officers’ there are 2 paid part-time office staff, and a small group of volunteers who help with OBOD HQs group listings, mentors, the print Touchstone Magazine, discussion forum, and press. Our Pendragon also creates the monthly Druidcast podcast. Other Order related activities such as local Seed Groups and Groves, gatherings, workshops, celebrancy, and nation-based websites are completely autonomous without any direction or support from OBOD.

Here is a very approximate ‘organizational’ description of OBOD at this point in time.

OBOD HQ LEADERSHIP & STAFF
Chosen Chief: Eimear Burke (IE)
Pendragon: Dave Smith (UK)
Scribe: Stephanie Carr-Gomm (UK)

Office staff: Annie & Kate (UK)

Also deeply involved in the life of the order: ‘Past Chief’ (unofficial): Philip Carr-Gomm (UK) & Patroness: Dwina Murphy-Gibb (UK)

HQ ‘CORE’ VOLUNTEERS:
Press & Media Inquiries: Adrian Rooke (volunteer, UK)
‘Druidcast’ Podcast: Dave Smith/Damh the Bard (UK)
Touchstone Magazine: Penny Billington (volunteer, UK)- editor
OBOD Discussion Forum: Kathleen Harrington (volunteer, US)
OBOD Groups: Paul Corcoran and Pat Booker (volunteers, UK)
English Language Mentor coordinators:
Mentor Coordinator: Steve Hounsome (volunteer, UK)
Assistant Coordinators: Mike Williams (volunteer, UK) and Gayle Gray (volunteer, US)
Course Administration and Support in Other Languages:
French, Dutch, German, Italian and Portuguese is undertaken by groups of OBOD members in other countries. (Each with their own administration and mentoring teams.)

VOLUNTEERS WORKING WITH HQ ‘CORE’ VOLUNTEERS:
Discussion forums:  gatekeeper, and about 6 moderators at last count
English language mentors team: about 50 Druid grade members

LOCAL ACTIVITY VOLUNTEERS:
These are provided by independent and autonomous volunteers: Gatherings, workshops, Seed Groups & Groves, national member & personal websites, social media groups, celebrants, books, art, etc.

OBOD ORDER MEMBERS:
Members have access to the discussion forums, and unofficial social media groups. For the first year in any of the three courses they receive Touchstone Magazine and general Order information. After this period, members can pay to continue the magazine and information mailings. Otherwise, once done with their course members will not be contacted by the Order. Old information was that there were about 2,000 members receiving their years worth of lessons at any one time (maybe just the English language course). (Most of these were Bards.) The total number of people joining OBOD and starting the Bard course is listed as 22,000 to 25,000 (which includes our deceased members).

OBOD provides a 3 part course, and fosters growth in a spiritual order. OBOD does value and empower the work of individual members in a casual way.

Important Note: It is helpful to realize that the features of ‘membership’ organizations in the US and North America are not a part of OBOD: there are no advisory groups, referendums, elections/voting, representation, sharing of member information to other members, financial reports, or dues.

With approximately 10,000-12,000 members in the US there are currently about 85 groups. While this represents over 40% of all OBOD groups across the world, this means our groups tend to be spread out here and most members are solitary. Go here for more information on groups.

More and more. Go to our Celebrancy page (which also includes sample ceremonies), and/or contact any local group.

We celebrate and bond with our lands and peoples. Members of all grades are celebrants, group leaders, artists, storytellers, teachers, activists, and more.

Let us help answer them! Drop us a line on our contact form, and see the OBOD HQ FAQs.