The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids was created in the 1960's OBOD has had several names and several title people participating, such famous people as Winston Churchill * were members and this fact is celebrated by the order. It was created by Ross Nichols, who was a famous poet, artist and historian. He was the head of the Ancient Druid Order which traced itself back to Apple Tree Tavern in Covent Garden, London, in 1717, the same year as freemasonry started. In 1988 Philip Carr-Gomm was asked to lead the Order and he accepted, he leads the Order to this day. Its likely that his replacement will be voted in by other members when he retires but no one is certain of how this vote will take place. Since Phillip is still apparently of good health its not likely to be a concern soon.
The teachings of OBOD are associated to the ancient druids of the British and Irish isles and those of the celtic europe. The teachings are given in three grades, that of Bard, Ovate and Druid. The course allows the member to stop at any time and its completely open ended. These grades are referenced to how the ancient druids taught new druids. The order sends it teachings in mail out to those that pay for the cost of the course. Although it has been critiqued for this form of teaching. In addition to the mail order course, the order provides a forum, seed groups, groves and camps that provide a social aspect to the way the course is taught. Experience in these groups are designed to help a solitary druid in there studies and spiritual life.
Most pagans are neutral towards OBOD members, however more reconstructionist pagans tend to consider OBOD's lack of a "course test" to be either ethically wrong or unstable. Some pagans are not certain if druids are pagans or not, however there is a ongoing debate about what is and is not a pagan and no one ever gets to the end of it.
OBOD is open to other religions more than most as the order has members who are also Wiccan, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist and thats just naming a few, the order allows anyone who is willing to pay for the course. This allows the order to keep good relations with other religions that most other pagan groups tend to get a bit testy with. The order has many members who do not consider themselves to be pagans and because of this other pagans are not sure what to call them.
The main issue that OBOD is quoted as to having is its pay for material nature. Although the material is not easy and each grade has a final exam like test that is given by the tutor of the student, the order still can let though people who have been convicted of crimes. This some people say is ethically wrong, however the order states it always has the ability to disown members and even criminals are allowed to have a spiritual life.
Other pagans don't like the fact that OBOD requires payment for its course, however its material is vast, and very informative with good references and reading guides. The course is given a review every few years and all material is look over by various councils. This all costs money and the order has no choice but to charge for it.
- Witchvox - The Witches Voice:, "Traditions", accessed 21 Nov 2006, Witches Voice
- Wikipedia, "OBOD", accessed 21 Nov 2006, OBOD
- OBOD, "Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, Information", accessed 21 Nov 2006, OBOD