I will say I worship nothing, and yet I love a lot more. Love is very simple. There is a process of affinity. A natural sense of connectedness to life and those we encounter. It varies a lot and we can deliberately engage it.
Bards were perhaps the most feared and respected of the Druid order. The Druids themselves lived as hermits when they weren’t officiating ceremonies, even practicing asceticism much like a Buddhist monk.
You could call a news anchor a Bard perhaps? Yes, you could. But the old Bards had more integrity and wielded their influence much more responsibly. They weren’t about coin. In fact, they didn’t actually have to earn much coin, as the villages they visited would feed them as a matter of course.
The Ovates were also strange, but besides having strange fits and visions and telling the village people where their sheep got off to, they still didn’t alter peoples day to day lives very much. Now the Bards… They were the people watchers and the story tellers. Much like Gypsies, they were thought to see more deeply into human nature than was naturally possible, and if a Bard spoke of your actions negatively, it was seen as having an impact much more powerful than the Gypsies evil eye.
And is human nature where they draw their magic from? Actually, they draw their magick from the universal song. In their lore, every song that has ever been sung, by element, animal, or humanity, still lingers. It has an immortal spirit of its own, and in early times Bard musical instruments were basically sacred relics. Their horns taken from the sacred bull, the leather also, and passed down from mentor to apprentice bearing the sacred ogham script in the woodwork.
Bards among other mysteries were able to read, but they would never have thought to publish books like we do. Even the written word had power and was treated as sacred. So yes, their musical instruments were selected to capture the song of the beast, the song of the wind, the song of the heart, to empower the sacred chants, and from their wanderings they would have inspirations for new songs.
Their tradition was Gnostic to use the Greek term. The traditional songs were to be preserved, but a new song was considered no less powerful. This is why when the age of kings came to pass, the Bard was expected to come to the kings court. If the Bard sung well of the king it was considered a blessing, and that king was seen to be destined to prosper. If the Bard was inspired to sing of the kings foolishness though, that king was seen as destined to fail. It was considered so certain that the kings warriors would often abandon them upon that very event.
What if the Bard couldn’t sing very well? It wasn’t the sound of the Bards singing that mattered. It was the words and the spirit with which all Bards were empowered.
Would the Bard be killed over a bad review? No, the king would
Now there would come a time later when the Bards song would not be heeded. Where originally it would lead to the chieftain/king being challenged for leadership, it later would be considered nothing more than an attempt to incite peasant uprising and the Bard would be killed or forced to flee. Late in their era, they were killed often enough to drive their order underground. But even if the Bard left town and nobody died immediately, it would come to be known that those kingdoms would suffer anyway, as the Bard would through observation and insight, both natural and supernatural, speak of the way of the spirit as it lingered over that community. It was for a similar reason that Gypsies would come to be thought of as devil worshipers, though their actual spiritual background was pagan then later on catholic. They kept their traditions of intuitive training without prejudice.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.