Joining OBOD & Starting the Distance Learning Course.
OBOD provides an experience-based self-study 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. (Note: ‘membership’ includes access to a mentor, and a member’s only forum, but not formal member participation concerning the workings of the order.)
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, and with others in a Grove.) The course is completed at your speed, and most students take 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’. (Note: 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 Bardic grade coursework will arrive in the USPS mail, or online, or mail/online as sets of lessons over about 12 months. Supplementary material, and the Order’s English language digital magazine Touchstone are also included during this period. The Ovate and Druid courses are available in printed format and are mailed out monthly.
Mentors (called tutors in the past) are volunteers that are available via email and postal mail. They agree to reply to correspondence with students within one month of receipt.
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 ‘All About Membership and the Course‘)
Be free from the diagnosis of schizophrenia or a psychotic condition
Is the course suitable if I have had mental health issues?
“…you should not enrol on the course if you have been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia or a psychotic condition.” For more information see the full answer in the course FAQs in OBOD’s ‘Join the Order & Train in Druidry‘, in the FAQs near the end of the page.) Contact the OBOD Office for more information.
Agree with 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‘)
Course Formats & Cost
OBOD COURSE PRICE INCREASES
September 2020- after 14 years of not changing the cost of the training, OBOD was forced to raise the course prices. This was due in particular by massive increases in postal costs to the USA.
By August 2021- the Bard text or online course further increased from £215 in full (or ~$295), to £240 in full (or ~$327) for students in the US.
Cost is £7 (or ~$9.50 depending on exchange rate). The Introductory Pack contains material from the full course, which includes the first two course lessons, and two booklets – Wild Wisdom and The Sacred Grove – and a mini-poster.
As of early February 2021, the Bardic course is now available in these versions:
text – £240 in full (or ~$327 depending on exchange rate )
online – from £240 in full (or ~$327 depending on exchange rate )
text and online versions – from £340 in full (or ~$463 depending on exchange rate )
Payment options include in full, and monthly (at a slightly higher cost for installments).
Note: The audio version of the course has been discontinued in favor of the online version.
OVATE & DRUID
Currently, Ovate & Druid courses are available in text format mailed monthly and delivered by the USPS.
SHARING THE COURSE
A friend or family member at the same address (a change for 2020) may share your course materials with you for a one-time registration fee as a “course companion”. This option is also available for Ovate and Druid grade course materials. Your edition of the course must be the current edition in use.
For an existing member to register and setup a course companion, please follow the link contained within your Welcome email or contact the office directly. No additional course material is sent out to the course companion, including individual extra materials (e.g. Ceremony booklets etc). The companion will have access to purchase these materials (at additional cost), but if the preference is to have their own full set, then it is recommended that a student fully enroll separately. If the existing member is studying through the online version of the Bardic grade, a separate individual login will be provided for your companion.
Our additional suggestions for sharing a course:
The existing member checks with the OBOD office to see if their edition of the course is still current.
Notes: For Bard a digital eidition of the Order’s monthly magazine Touchstone will be provided (for the ‘year’ of study). In the past, various mailings or notices were not included when the course is shared with an OBOD member. Course companions can not go on to register and share the course with others.
If you find that even with the easier payment methods you still cannot afford the fees, please write to OBOD HQ to discuss 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.
This OBOD Course Info page was originally published on May 6, 2017. It is regularly updated.
11-2018- Added ‘Your Questions’ and ‘Course Requirements’ sections
9-1-2020 – Added course notes and cost revisions
August 21, 2021- updated cost and other info to match revisions to Druidry.org