Steel scraping strange, precarious ground. Damp wool grasping. The tumbling descent into silence.

Helplessness, doubled. I am not sufficient.

Who are you and why are you here?

The circle. Ancestors, gods and the tribe.

Then forced onto my feet by the unrelenting land. We climbed to the Cailleach’s cauldron in gloomy candlelight.

A blazing, bountiful moon lit the path home.

*                                                      *                                                      *

I’ve found the OBOD Bardic Grade very challenging, in various ways. The same goes for belonging to a grove, only more so. So far, it’s been terrifying and wonderful in equal measure.

There’s a large part of me that would prefer the control and autonomy of only ever working alone. The gods and me, in comfortable, egotistical, ever-decreasing spirals. But for me, there’s no challenge there.

When I start spouting sociology, I usually go on about how we’re living in a society dominated by individualism. There is a positive side to that, of course. I don’t want to be shaped by someone else’s doctrine, and I want to walk my own path, as contradictory as it is. But through community I’m pushed to think about what I really believe, how I really live it, and why. For that, I’m grateful to this grove, with its talented, wise (and often deeply silly) Bards, Ovates and Druids. You challenge me to think, to learn, and to get out and walk when the path gets rough – and you’re there for me to lean on when I do. (The great quotes are just a bonus.)

I’m almost at the end of the Bardic Grade, and I’m considering my path and my next steps. I’m getting a bit lost in acronyms, a bit weighed down by the spectre of The Road Not Taken. In all this muddle, it’s good to have one thing I’m sure of.

Who are you, and why are you here?

May the Cailleach bless our beginnings and our transitions.

About Léithin Cluan

Léithin Cluan is a modern druid and Gaelic polytheist, disability rights activist, sociologist and curator of the stories of the unheard. She's an active member of the Druid Network. She is researching for a PhD in sociology of religion, currently writing her thesis on disability and religion. She lives in London, UK, where she does her urban druidry thing, with her spouse (thanks for 'almost equal' marriage, UK government...) and too many cats. Find her at .
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