A Hundred Thousand Welcomes!
The Grove of Dana was created for the purpose of providing a free course of learning in the subject of Druidic spirituality and the primal Earth-honoring Celtic traditions. Although much of the readings and work will focus on the traditions of Ireland, we welcome those who are interested in or practicing other traditions. Where possible, information will be expanded to include these traditions.
Dana (sometimes Danu) is the name of the primal Irish mother goddess, and its roots can be found stretching back all the way to the source of Indo-European cultures. Dana can also be expressed and experienced as an energy as well, as it is sometimes worked with by native Irish practitioners. This energy is similar to the Tao or Chi of Chinese culture. Thirdly it can be expressed as spirits, much like the kami of the Japanese Shinto. The material you will find throughout the courses at the Grove of Dana will be based on an understanding that Dana is simultaneously all three of these things, and that like the knotwork so famous in Celtic culture, it weaves and wraps each of these concepts around each other.
The Grove works towards the goal of fostering a true understanding of the self and the universe in which we all live, by exploring the trinity of knowledge, experience, and wisdom. Many educational programs merely require the student to learn by examining things as if they are outside objects, without allowing the student to feel their inherent connection to their studies. Knowledge is the area of the mind and the intellect, and is important to any educational endeavor, however knowledge alone will get us nowhere. As well as offering intellectual readings and assignments, our courses will also require the student to gain experience through certain exercises and meditations. Only through experience can we come to understand the knowledge we have, and thus gain the third part of our triad: wisdom. Wisdom is the product of experience and knowledge, just as mist is the product of water and air.
The college is set up in three different "grades" based on those outlined by literary sources: bard, or fili; ovate, or fáith; and druid, or draoi. These titles were never intended to be "grades" in any sense of progression, but rather distinct professions among the intellectual class of Celtic people. However, in order to make our courses more comprehensible, we have adopted these titles for our courses, which do serve to denote progression. Our aim is to take people through a study in Celtic and Druidic spirituality, not to train people to serve these roles, as that takes many more years of study, practice, and experience than we can offer here. We want to give people a firm grasp on the subject, and where they decide to take their studies and pursuits from there, is a matter of their own sovereignty. That being said, we have used the inspiration gained from each of these professions to serve as the basis of our "grades". When one is a member of the bardic grade they will learn appropriate knowledge and skills that are firmly rooted in the spirit of the bard. The same goes for the ovates and druids. After completion of these three grades, the student may decide whether or not they want to specialize in a certain area. These may include "Celtic shamanism", mythology, history, healing, poetry, seership, ritual, a combination of these things, or a self chosen study. The purpose of this is to guide the student in an independent research of their particular field of interest. This means that it will require a lot more work and research on the student's part.
The standard college courses of Bard, Ovate and Druid are entirely free of cost (aside from any additional materials you choose to purchase), and open to all people with an interest. Specialisation courses are available to upgraded members for only 29.93 € / year. All courses are self-paced so you can work on them on your own time, without having to worry about deadlines for assignments, or it getting in the way of your job or schooling.