The 16th Southern Hemisphere OBOD Assembly was a wonderful event held over 5 days at the Baden-Powell Scout Center in Pennant Hills NSW. The venue is situated on 36ha of bushland with an amazing stone amphitheater, open air stone chapel, stone pathways, huge trees, open fireplaces, and lots of wildlife. It was hosted by the Song of the Eastern Sea Seed Group from the Central Coast of NSW and had over 50 OBOD members attend.
The weekend began on the Friday afternoon where we all met in a hall where we watched a welcoming video that Philip Carr-Gomm was kind enough to record for us. This was followed by a video, including a song, that Damh the Bard recorded for us. What an inspiring way to start off the weekend. And we can’t thank Philip and Damh enough for taking the time to record the videos.
This was followed that evening by the Welcoming Ceremony where 4 of the host group dressed as four of the faces of Brigid. Choreographed by a drum beat and with very few words spoken, everyone who attended where given gifts relating to Fire, Poetry, Smith Craft and Healing.
The evening was topped off with music, stories and poetry around a fire.
Saturday morning began with a Chakradance movement meditation led by Christina and then after breakfast was the Opening Ceremony where an urn of soil gathered from the previous Assemblies was placed on the Altar, and a staff with a flame on top was lit and was left to burn until the Closing Ceremony on the Tuesday.
The Opening Ceremony was followed by a talk on the founder of OBOD, Ross Nichols, his friendship with Gerald Gardner and the Ancient Druid Order given by Chris. This was followed by a Creative Writing workshop held by Danuta.
In the afternoon we had Bardic Initiations which had to be split into 2 ceremonies as there were 12 new Initiates. The afternoon ended with a mask making craft session and then after dinner we all headed down to the amazing stone amphitheater for a masquerade Eisteddfod around a bonfire. The eisteddfod began with an amazing shadow puppet show put on by Valkyrie, the Eisteddfod facilitator, and some of the Macadamia Grove members. This was hilarious and got everyone into the mood for all of the wonderful performances that followed.
Sunday morning began with another Chakradance movement meditation and after breakfast we broke off into Men's and Women's Circles held by Rollick and Jenneth. This was followed by a short talk by Elkie where we were all invited to fill in a questionnaire to help with a project on the History of Druidry in Australia.
After this there was a Workshop on Ayurveda led by Danuta, followed by a Workshop "Farewell to a loved one" held by Charlene. In the afternoon the Ovates and Druids performed an Ovate Initiation while Jenneth held a Bardic Workshop where we created a soundscape as we worked through part of the story of Taliesin. This was followed by a Lecture on creating a Local Wheel of the Year given by Julie.
The Sunday evening began with a discussion on the future of OBOD Assemblies and ended with people playing music and telling stories and poetry around a fire.
One of the highlights of the weekend involved meeting at 5:20am Monday morning for a beautiful Imbolc Ceremony where we walked through a spiral of hundreds of candles, past Druids from the Past, and into a central circle where we gathered around a bubbling cauldron surrounded by flowering snowdrops. During the Ceremony flaming swords were used to light a flaming gateway to welcome Brigid into the circle. It was an amazing ceremony.
This was followed by a Lecture on the Origins, Attitudes, Observations, of the Art of the Bardic Storyteller by Michael. Following this was part 2 of Danuta's Creative Writing Workshop, and then a Workshop on Australian Druidry and Ritual Practices held by Julie.
In the afternoon the Druids held an Initiation while Bards and Ovates joined another Workshop on the Muse held by Jenneth. This was followed by an afternoon of Market Stalls where the talents of our members were put on display for all to purchase. At the same time it was a time of Divination where Pamela held a Workshop on the Wheel of Segais and others gave Tarot readings or offered Aromatherapy or Reflexology sessions.
Tuesday began with another wonderful Chakradance session, followed by the Closing Ceremony where the Urn of soil had local soil added to it, and it, the talking stick, Awen signs, and sacred candle were handed over to the Golden Wattle Seed Group who are hosting the 2018 Assembly in South Australia.
The hosts would like to thank all who came and made the Assembly a wonderful gathering.