It’s official. I’m (re)starting the Bardic studies through OBOD.
The materials have been in my possession since 2009. I’ve had them stored on a number of different shelves, loaded onto a variety of audio devices (some of which are now outdated), and they’ve survived two local and one cross country move. In short, this “storehouse of wisdom” has been right beside me, untouched, for long enough. It’s time to do the work.
And I’m not going to be doing it alone. That’s perhaps the most exciting aspect of this new course of study. I’ve made a friend here in Portland, a person I met through OBOD’s private social network, and he and I are going to be synchronously working our way through the Bardic grade.
This is a big change for me. I’m used to my spiritual work being done in relative isolation, but I’m not sure that was ever the best approach for me. I’m a social person; an extrovert. While I value the work that can be done in solitude, and I believe wholeheartedly that one must engage deeply with that solitude in order to make the best of it (I wouldn’t have pushed so hard to create the Solitary Druid Fellowship if didn’t), I know now that I need to establish a meaningful social connection to support my spiritual work.
My friend and I will be relying quite extensively on a tool called Evernote to do this shared work. I don’t normally write about technology on Bishop in the Grove, but I thought it may be useful to those of you who are seeking to do collaborative work, either through OBOD, ADF, or some other Druidic study program, to learn about this service.
Here’s the skinny from Wikipedia:
Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for note-taking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook.
I’ve been using Evernote for a little over a year. I write songs in it. I capture images of things I’ve scribbled down on scraps of paper. I draft blog posts and emails in it. I record audio notes in it. Evernote, more so than any other cloud-based service I’ve tried, has become a kind of “catch all” for the myriad of things I want to remember.
But Evernote goes beyond being a simple note-taking service, because Evernote allows for your notebooks to be shared with other Evernote users. My friend and I will be able to write about our reflections on the Gwers (Welsh for lessons), upload any artistic creations that have been inspired by our bardic study work, and create notes that serve to inspire and encourage one another along the journey. We’ll still be doing the work independently from one another, but Evernote will allow us to check in with each other’s work online. From time to time — maybe once a week when I’m in Portland — we’ll get together in person to touch base about our studies.
This is also a change for me. I’m quite used to fostering relationship around my spiritual work almost exclusively online, and I’m a bit out of practice at doing this in the on-ground world. After having spent so much of the past few years forging relationships and building structures online I think it’s time for me to invest myself in a Druidry that connects me to my community and to the place where I live.
Ironically, I’ll be using an internet-based tool to help me do that!
I’m a big Evernote fan. There are bunch of ways that this tool is useful. I’ve barely scratched the surface in this post. I’m sharing this information with you because I think that collaborative, organizational tools like this can really help people who have a lot of different projects to manage and who find it challenging to keep track of them all — especially when one of those projects is the work of their own spiritual development.
It’s been an amazing tool for me. Perhaps it could come in handy for you, too.
Give it a try. Let me know what you think.