Bring on the bards – activities to encourage the bardic voice
The word bard is said to have its roots in an Indo-European language where it means to raise the voice, to praise. In the British Isles Bards were those who sang of heroic deeds, told poems of gallant knights and strummed lutes from smoky galleries as kings feasted. They were also often, crucially, the keepers of community laws and wisdom.
Shakespeare has become synonymous with the word ‘Bard’. If we are to believe the particle physicists we all have some elementary particles inside our bodies that were once a part of the great bard’s own body! (eeuw!) We all therefore have a little bardic voice within us that can be encouraged to speak clearly, sing a song, bang a drum or tell a story round a camp fire. Some say a good draught of fine ale will loosen a person’s tongue, however often all that is needed is a few props to get the story going!
Chris Holland re-telling a story- shhh! the village is sleeping!
Magic can occur when a tale is told with a personal combination of acting out, prop making and choice of setting. Stories seem to come from the land like flowers. People who may clam up in formal situations are moved to freely spin tales about a character they have just created from the mud beneath their feet. People gather and listen as a song flows or join together in the pulse and beat of dancing feet and a clapping of hands. According to Jay Griffiths, in her book about time, Pip Pip, the communities of England had a great number of stories and music, coming together in the form of festivals, that celebrated the land, its features and its cycles. Since the enclosures, 200 years or so ago they have all but died out. Something within the spirit of the community died when the land became fenced off from the commoner.
So let’s get out there and make up stories, sing songs, dance and have little festivals whenever we can!