A training program for the Filidh: poets, musicians, storytellers, satirists
-fifth edition

by gwynne green

This training program is offered as a way to obtain specialized instruction in certain areas of Gaelic artistic endeavor. The intent of this system is to help you, as Bards, Poets, Storytellers, and Satirists, become more productive and knowledgeable through the use of a clear set of standards. This method is coupled with Ranks and Insignias that indicate what your capabilities and achievements are at that moment. By encouraging awareness of varied forms of music and literature, a higher level of diversity, inspiration, and understanding in your art should result.


The Three Branches of the Guild are: the Musicians (Bards) Branch, the Poets (Filidh) Branch, and the Storytellers (Seanchaís) Branch. Additional specialties in each area may be included as (Concentrations) as need dictates. The Satirists (Caintes) Concentration has already been added to the Poets' Branch.


Each Branch has 5 levels of Rank, each with its own name. We are not using a numbered system of rank to avoid confusion with the terminology already used by other existing programs. The names for the Ranks are Gaelic for 2 reasons: (1) we have a documented system of Poetic Grades, with their requirements for study, from 7th and 8th century texts and (2) the majority of the our community is practicing some sort of Celtic Paganism, so it seems to serve the general populace as it now exists. The Five Ranks are: Fochlóc, Doss, Cano, Ànrad, and Ollamh (with Ollamh being the highest level).


Upon the completion your Fochlóc Rank training, you can receive a Filedheacht Insignia. This is a silver branch with a bead suspended from it for each rank completed. It is made to be pinned to the your outer wear at the shoulder (especially during ritual functions). Each Branch has a particular kind of bead used only for them (the Bards have stone beads for their Ranks; the Filidh have faceted, glass beads; the Seanchaís have wooden beads {the Satirist's concentration have beads identical to the Filidh except for their first rank bead.} But each Rank's associated color is the same for all of the Branches.

The colors identify which Rank you have achieved. The material and/or shape of the bead identify which Branch of Filedheacht it signifies. The Faculty (Advisors) have a gold bead, attached below their highest Rank bead, as a badge of office. The Ard Ollamh has a larger gold bead, attached in the same way, as his or her emblem.

Materials of beads
Bard - Stone
Filid - Glass
Seanchaí- Wood

Rank Bead color
Fochlóc - light green
Doss - dark green
Cano - blue
Ànrad - black
Ollamh - clear or white

For more information on our program send an email to the link below.

Ard Ollamh Comhaltacht Draiocht