Joining OBOD & Starting the Distance Learning Course
OBOD provides an experience-based distance learning course which has been in place for over 25 years. Rather than presenting Druidry as a religion, the course offers a journey of spiritual and psychological exploration inspired by Druidry. The course includes membership in OBOD.
The course is divided into three stages or grades that correspond to the three traditional divisions of the Druids: the Bards, Ovates and Druids. Each grade has its own coursework, fee, and initiation. (Initiations can be performed alone at home, or with others in a Grove.)
The course is completed at your speed, with most students taking longer than 1 year to complete each grade. If all grades are completed OBOD will issue a certificate as a “full member in the Druid grade” from OBOD- which is known as being a ‘Druid Companion’. (OBOD is not a church nor an institution of higher learning- the certificate is provided for personal use.)
The Druid Grade opens you to your inner Wise Person, the Sage who is Philosopher and Counselor.
Lessons: the grade coursework will arrive in the USPS mail as sets of lessons over about 12 months. Supplementary material, and the Order’s English language print magazine Touchstone are also included during this period.
Mentors (called tutors in the past) are available via email and postal mail. You should be asked about your preferred method of contact and personal interests so you can be matched with a mentor. Mentor re-assignment is also an option.
To join the Order and take the course you must be at least 18 years of age. Enrollments from students who are 16 or 17 requires written permission from a parent or guardian – contact the OBOD Office. The Order has found that the material presented simply cannot be assimilated by those under 16. (From OBOD’s ‘Frequently Asked Questions About the Course‘)
Be free from the diagnosis of schizophrenia or a psychotic condition
You should not enroll in the course if you have been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia or a psychotic condition. The course does offer meditations, visualizations and rituals which are designed to ‘open people up’ to their unconscious states and potentially other levels of perception. For those who haven’t suffered from schizophrenia or a psychotic condition this process can be helpful, but if you have, these exercises have the potential to be counter-productive. Contact the OBOD Office for more information. (From OBOD’s ‘Frequently Asked Questions About the Course‘)
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‘)
Cost is £18, or ~$25, and contains a CD (with pronunciation guide and Lightbody Exercise), 2 introductory lessons, 2 booklets – Wild Wisdom and The Sacred Grove, a mini-poster, and an invitation to join the Order. This is offered on an optional, trial basis- you can send the materials back for a refund.
The Bardic course is available in several versions:
text (£215 , or ~$300)
audio (£240 , or ~$335)
text and audio versions (£349 , or ~$475)
Payment options include in-full, quarterly, or monthly.
Sharing the Course
“Any Bard who has the current edition of the Bardic course can register up to 3 study partners. This gives them membership of the Order as well as access to the Bardic grade gwersi and a mentor.”
The best way complete the process to share a course is:
the current member informs the OBOD office of the person that will be joining,
then the current member emails the OBOD office verifying registration and payment before sharing the course.
[Note: no additional course material will be sent out, but a member can share theirs with a study partner. The current addition of the Bardic grade is from 2001. This option is also available for Ovate and Druid grade course materials.]
If you find that even with the easier payment methods you still cannot afford the fees, please write to OBOD HQ explaining your circumstances.
NOTE: OBOD offers a spiritual path, and is not a religion per se – it provides a non-post secondary, distance learning course through the Oak Tree Press in East Sussex, UK. OBOD additionally has no ‘official’ status outside of the UK; all activities outside of the UK are undertaken by autonomous volunteers that are independent of OBOD HQ, including this website.
Can I write off my course fees as a church tax donation on my taxes? Since OBOD is not a religious organization it seems unlikely course fees (a service provided to you) would be considered a church donation. We are also not aware of any status (non-profit or other) for OBOD here.
Can I recieve official credit for OBOD courses? Upon completion of all three grades/courses there are no UK post-secondary credits, degree, ordination, or credential issued. (A US college was going to give OBOD ‘graduates’ credits, but they closed decades ago.)
Please contact the OBOD office for more information on the above questions.
11-2018- Added ‘Your Questions’ and ‘Course Requirements’ sections