I love to create jewelry for those learning about Druidry, and often that begins with exploring the path of the Bard. Many of the Orders that we can study with put their learning in the form of grades, with the Bardic grade being the first. This is not always the case, and it can be considered a "role" rather than a grade if we are not with an order, or in addition to our study in an order. The reason they do so, however, is because the role of the Bard is so very important to Druidry and to the various cultures of the British Isles and beyond.
The Bard is the storyteller, the wisdom keeper, historian, genealogist and entertainer. Traditionally, before text-based record keeping, they would learn hundred of stories, poems and songs by heart, taking many years to do so. These stories told about the heroes of the past, their interactions with the spirit realms and otherworlds, the battles fought, alliances made, romances, and challenges to moral choice. There were also stories of transformation and wonder. And these stories continue to be told today, in ways that make them relevant to us, as the Bards craft and shape them into the present.
Bards seek inspiration as "Awen" in the Welsh language, and "Imbas" in Irish. Inspiration helps them to find confidence in performance, ideas and creative insight for creating new stories, and access to the inner worlds, where stories are seen, interpreted, and remembered. Finding the flow of inspiration in us is a path for every Bard to discover in their own way: uncovering the song of their heart; their unique art to share with the world; and the voice of the "higher" or we might even say "deeper" self that is in connection with Awen. The old poetry of Taliesin sings, "The Awen I sing, from the deep I bring it". The journey of the Bard is an invitation to seek out your song and how you would like to bring it into the world.
Bardic arts are most commonly associated with those of the voice: storytelling, poetry, and song, but there are other artforms through which we can tell stories. Arts and crafts are potent ways of speaking the song of our hearts and finding what makes us sing from within. There is also dance, music, acting, and other performances. Art is personal. What is magical about Awen is that it turns action into art.
When I create jewelry for those on the Bardic path, I choose stones that reflect the energy of the Bards and what learning they are bringing into their lives. I use many blue stones as blue is the colour of the Bards, and is also associated with the throat, voice, and self-expression in the colour theory of crystals. Stones that are a deep blue encourage inspiration, insight, wisdom, the inner vision, communication, eloquence, and the voice of the higher/deeper self. Paler and more green-toned blues have more of a heart connection, bringing in empathy, compassionate communication, and heartfelt expression.
I also often use stones with a yellow or golden colour, as these are associated with courage, will power, creativity, intellect, new ideas, mental clarity, and manifestation: all concepts useful to those taking to the stage or presenting their art to the world with vulnerability and bravery. Sharing our art takes great courage.
In addition to these I might choose labradorite, which is a great stone for moments of initiation, awakening and insight. When we are initiated into the role or grade of the Bards, it can be a significant moment in our lives, and many people are drawn to labradorite at this time. Green aventurine is another stone I often include in Bardic pieces, usually as a small accent. It is a stone of nature connection, peace, meditation and presence, which are all a part of the practice of the Bards, and indeed, all the roles and grades of Druidry. It reminds us of the importance of the natural world in our studies.
The symbols I use in these pieces often include the Awen symbol with the three rays which represent the standing stone circles and the three stations of the sun through the year and seasonal cycles. The three drops are the drops of Awen received by Gwion Bach in the story of his transformation into the great Bard Taliesin. I also use triskeles, triple spirals and triquetras which represent the realms of Land, Sea and Sky from which our inspiration comes, as well as the three roles of Bard, Ovate and Druid that the Bards are a part of.
Different pieces that work with this theme of Bardic Wisdom come and go in my store as I create them and they find their homes. I am always creating more as I love to share this journey with others.
If you are interested in learning more about Druidry and the path of the Bard, I would suggest reading my book, Australian Druidry: Connecting with the Sacred Landscape in addition to working with the crystal energies of the Bards.