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General Bardic Studies 1, Requirement 5

Role of the Modern Bard: Describe the role of the modern-day, Neopagan bard in the context of ritual (100 words), Ar nDraiocht Fein (100 words) and the greater Neopagan community (100 words).

I dislike speaking of the "role" of the modern bard. I prefer to see it as the "responsibility" of the modern bard.

The Modern Bard in Ritual:

The bard's job, centrally, is to take the chaos of inspiration, order it within his mind, and provide that order via his tongue to the world at large, thus ordering the world by his words. It is by his words that the world is re-formed and sanctioned in ritual, and through him that the other ritual participants are able to locate their own sense of order. He calls on inspiration for the group, and through his own ordering of the words, provides a template for the entire ritual. Also, through this ordering there is a function of protection and strength that is provided, as the initial ordering of these chaotic and fertile thoughts can provide a filter for unordered thoughts to come through.

The Modern Bard in ADF:

The primary role of the bard in ADF is to take this chaos and re-order it for those around him. This is done both within ritual (in the ways stated above) and also outside of ritual, helping to teach new and less experienced ADF members how to use their inspiration and voices in a constructive way. The gentle and constructive criticism provided can often steer wild inspiration into an ordered path.

The bard is also one of the primary faces of ADF to the greater Neo-Pagan community. An excellent example are the number of ritual chants written by ADF members that are now used commonly within the greater Neo-Pagan community.

The Modern Bard in the Greater Community:

Within the greater Neo-Pagan community, the bard is responsible for providing the community with songs, chants, drumming, music, and information on pacing and blocking in ritual. The bard is the soul of ritual, the thing that animates it and keeps it moving, and in the greater community, it is the responsibility of the bard to provide this information so that it is readily available to those who need it most (namely, the non-bardically-inclined members of that community).

The bard is not responsible for judging or satirizing other members of the community, but they are responsible for ensuring that the community is aware of the actions of others, particularly when those actions have been spectacularly good or bad. It is curious that more bards are not involved in the production of newsletters, or that when they are, they are more interested in publishing their poetry or stories. The aspect of informing the community is one responsibility that is rather neglected in the bardic world.


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