Hedge Druidry | Quests

Cornwall Winter 8 – The Bardic Chair and The Blood Ring

January 26, 2014

On one of the wet days in the middle of my week in Cornwall I decided to do some sightseeing in Truro. As you may be aware by now – if you’re ready my recent Cornwall series – I had been given indications that I might find the third of my ancestral artefacts – the so-called Blood Ring – in this town. In my mind this meant I needed to visit every museum and jewellery shop that I could find. The weather was atrocious, so I didn’t relish the hunt, but I might not have another opportunity for a long time, and the whole day stretched out before me.

Before I got too engrossed in the quest I had a slight diversion that I wanted to see. It was the Bardic Chair – the chair used for the Cornish Gorsedds. For some reason I decided I needed  to see it. So my first stop was its reputed location – Truro Cathedral.

Bardic Chair in Truro Cathedral

The cathedral is indeed an impressive size. I always think about how much money has been ploughed into making the building so impressive, and as I was thinking this I heard someone repeating one of the facts about the construction, which was that the architect wanted to make it so impressive that ordinary people would bow down in submission to the Church. Well, more fool them, I say.

Ariel shot of Truro Cathedral

The chair was not immediately visible from a tour of the ground floor, so I peeked into a half-open door and sequestered the location from a stooped employee. They had hidden it away in a little alcove with a wooden door so that it didn’t get visited too often and arouse suspicion in the minds of the lay populous. I mean, why would a Pagan artefact be housed in a Christian space? Actually, I’m sure there was a great deal of crossover and co-operation between the higher echelons of the organisations on both sides.

Sitting in the bardic chair

I took a few photos, including the much-touted “selfie” and then dowsed its energies. It had strong energies related to creativity – perhaps not surprising considering those who had sat in it?

Bardic Chair, Truro, Cornwall - Winter Solstice 2013 (1)

I sat down. I had the small wooden enclosure to myself, so didn’t feel too conspicuous doing this, and anyway – I kind of felt like this was made for druids anyway, so why not? I could feel and see the energies swirling around as I sat there. I began to absorb some of it, like a tea bag’s flavour infuses into the hot medium of water. After a few minutes I was feeling the inspiration energy in me. It smelt of mushrooms and old books. That could have been the upholstery.

The Blood Ring quest

Now, I like questing, but there’s a difference between questing and a Fool’s Errand. I spent the rest of the day (apart from a few hours in the museum) looking around Truro for the Blood Ring – in and out of all the jewellery shops and antique shops, the junk shops, anywhere that might conceivably have it. Nothing. Some similar rings, but not the same. I thought I had found it at one point, but on closer inspection it wasn’t the right one. I knew what I was looking for – something ancient that spoke to me.

I returned without the ring, but laden with Christmas presents for friends and family. It wasn’t all a wasted journey. Now I was in search of more information, more specific information, about where the Blood Ring was. Perhaps my next sacred site might reveal it?

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  1. From the website to which you linked:

    “The Gorsedd of Cornwall, or to give its Cornish language title, Gorsedh Kernow, is an organisation dedicated to the preservation of Cornwall’s unique Celtic spirit, through literature, language, music and the arts, and the recognition of all forms of important service to Cornwall and its people.

    It is neither political nor religious, although some of its members are active in Cornish politics and church services in Cornish are held on special occasions throughout the year. It is allied to the Gorsedds of Wales and Brittany and has strong links with both these Celtic countries. It cannot be stressed too strongly that it has no connection whatsoever with Druidism nor with any pagan practice.”

    http://www.gorsethkernow.org.uk/english/history.htm

    The Welsh Gorsedd bards are not real druids either. The central concern revolves around poetry (and Welsh culture generally), hence the central ceremony of the crowning and chairing of the bard at the annual National Eisteddfod in Wales. The standards are very high and some years the prize is withheld if the standard of the competition is not deemed to be high enough.

    Search on Iolo Morganwg – the guy who started off the modern Welsh bardic movement, also a book of his called “Barddas”.

    Not everyone in the Gorsedd is a bard. E.g. the Welsh opera singer Bryn Terfel is a member.

    1. I’m not really interested in the composition of their organisation, whether some be “bards” in the modern sense, or in the sense which Morganwg would have wished. When I use that term I’m using it in the sense in which OBOD define it:

      Bard – in ancient times, a poet and storyteller who trained in a Bardic college. In modern times, one who sees their creativity as an innate spiritual ability, and who chooses to nurture that ability partly or wholly with Druidism.

      (see OBOD’s Glossary)

      Who amongst us can say that they are a ‘real’ druid? Well, me actually, but outside of this blog it’s a much-debated topic. Rather than the structure or mission-statement of any organisation that they may be a member of, I would ask Bards from does their inspiration derive.

      As you may have realised, being a hedge druid implicitly means that I distance myself from any such organisation. Especially one so comical, high-minded, and near-sighted as the Cornish Gorsedd.

      Someone with a spiritual sense, and a bardic connection in the terms defined above, had sat in that chair. That much I discovered. How many pompous asses had followed I don’t know. Mine, surely, was the last?

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