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General Bardic Studies 1, Requirement 6

Practical Bardry: Compose or find a bardic piece (of any appropriate genre or form) suitable for ADF ritual. Describe the process you used for discovery and/or composition of the piece and how it was (or could be) used effectively in a ritual context. (100 words [text of piece not to be included in word count])

This is a processional, and it's meant to be sung in a call response manner. It's meant to be slowly intoned, as seriously as possible.

Leader: "Are we there yet?"
Followers: (sharply) "NO!"
Leader: "Are we there yet?"
Followers: (sharply) "NO!"
Leader: "Are we there yet?"
Followers: (sharply) "NO!"
Leader: "Are we there yet?"
Followers: (sharply) "NO!"
Upon finally coming to the sacred space, it follows as this:
Leader: "Are we there yet?"
Followers: (sharply) "YES!"
The purpose of a procession (feel free to correct me if I am mistaken) is to bring the group into a single mind-set: to focus their thoughts toward ritual.

The idea for a call and response format came from Cei's book of Pagan Prayer. I wanted to find a sort of middle ground between the litany and the mantra, something that could run through the minds of the tribe, and draw them into the idea of traveling to someplace "other." A friend (not an ADF member, so I'm not just calling him that to protect his identity) once recalled the dirges that usually accompany ADF rites, and solemnly intoned: "Are we there yet?" That was the inspiration of this particular chant.

Now, look at it this way: every man, woman, and child in the United States can connect the statement "Are we there yet" with going someplace "other." It's a place that isn't home, that usually isn't familiar, and that we certainly aren't used to being. What the chant works toward is a serious attempt to take years (if not decades) of media exposure to this particular phrase and to create a simple, yet strikingly efficient phrase that can be chanted like a mantra and that every person identifies with.

The leader, in this version, is also turning over some authority to the group, as well. The group suddenly determines when they have arrived, not the leader, not a Grove Bard, not a single authoritarian figure. From this perspective it helps to equalize the group. On top of this, we have the sudden release of joy when the sacred space is arrived at, which builds the enthusiasm and the energy in the Grove. Is it possible for a person to shout the word, "Yes!" and not be enthusiastic?

I wrote this chant two years ago, and I got in a heap of trouble for suggesting that writing chants doesn't have to be hard work, it just has to get the job done. In a course such as this, with no training involved to show a student how to write a chant, I'm pretty proud to present this one. I still think it's quite good.


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