What the Didgeridoo told me!

What the Didgeridoo told me!

Damh and myself have recently returned from another wonderful trip to Australia where we have had the complete pleasure of sharing our view of the world with other like minded people who follow and similar pagan path. We felt so at home and welcome in the community that it was hard to leave. The music and magic that is the combination of people following not only the call of their European heritage, but also responding to the call of the land and doing full honour to it in all its infinate diversity and uniqueness.

And there is the root of my pondering today, there seems to be, amongst the world wide pagan community, a rising interest in modern druidry at the moment. Whilst over the past few years at home in Albion and in some parts of the American pagan scene there have been great, heated debates and even out right verbal wars on whether anyone can call themselves a druid or not.

The debates often centred on what the druids of old did or didn’t do according to one “expert” or another and the sometimes unpleasant toing and froing of the need to be of “Celtic” genealogy in order to be eligible to call yourself a druid. People seemed to me to have lost sight in all the mental warfare of the fact that Druidry was always the magic of land, sky and sea and all that lay contained therein. Every story speaks of “shamanic” practises and a deep seated knowledge of the land and it’s people wherever the druid lived and worked.

This seems to me to be the pertinent point of druidry, ancient or modern. The wit and knowledge to explore the connection between yourself and the land you live on, the water which flows through it, and then to contemplate the universe above, to push beyond normal perception, this is what defines a druid to me, regardless of academic knowledge or genealogy.

To sit with yourself and find a still point within, to feel your heart beating and the rhythmic movement of your lungs pulling in and then releasing the life giving air. When the still point is found you can reach out beyond the self and feel a connection to all life breathing and pulsing all around you. Reaching out  and catching that connection, that is the stuff of my druidry. It is the thing that everyday makes me feel supported and nurtured, I am never alone I have the whole world to comfort me, all I have to do is tune in and feel it.

Whether you believe in the Gods or not makes no difference to me, whether you believe that all life is a great cosmic coincidence is of no interest either, my druidry is based in the now, it is inspired by the ancestors and exploring all that they have left us, but it is really based on my experience and my willingness to be open to anything and anyone that might expand my world view and bring me to a greater understanding of the wonderful mystery that is life.

It is like listening to the digeridoo player in the market in Brisbane. For the first time I truly understood the power and magic of that ancient instrument – as he played he was the voice of the land itself. The song of the kookaburra made me weep uncontrollably as the realisation hit me. To truly understand the magic of the instrument you must hear it played on the land it belongs to. I have known some amazing didge players over the years, but none has touched me as deeply as the Samoan man who was not technically good, but he understood the magic, and on that market street corner so did I. And this is another example of the basics of druidry to me.

In the same way I understand the poems of Taliesin and Amergin when they speak of being the stag or a wave on the ocean, it is a deep communion and true feeling of belonging that enables them to bring into words the magic of true belonging and connection and these are the songs of our lands, words are our instruments – story, poetry and song are our didgeridoos.

The rise of modern Druidry today is about allowing the song of the land, wherever that land may be, to sing through loud and clear. In my opinion it is time to put aside old ideas of some mythical, idealistic concept of a “golden age of the druids” or prejudiced ideas of DNA making a druid, and to ask politely that all the negative voices just for a moment take time to sink into that still point and allow themselves the joy of peace and calm reflection.

Instead of shouting about what it cannot be, let us take druidry today back to the fundamental principles of connection and make it a vibrant, relevant and magical path based on the knowledge and inspirations of the past, but with a full and engaging understanding of the here and now.

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  1. Deb June 5, 2012 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for you very wise words Cerri. They were a great confirmation to me of how I have felt for a very long time. I am 5th generation wihite Australian but Druidry has always been my calling. I have met head on some very difficult and inflexible opinions on the suitablity and validty of being a Druid in this very different. But all tradition must adapt if they are to valid within the movements of environments and population. BUT the connectivity and continuity with the land – our only souce, will always be the basis and should always be the tradition that connects us all. I am simply a practicing earth pagan but the didgeridoo has always been my most favourite musical instrument. A very real spiritual pulling to this land. Thanks you again fo ryou lovely words.

  2. RavenFire June 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Wonderful and thought provoking as always,as you well may know Albion is the home of my ancsters and I feel the closes to them in dartmoor,but here in Ga,USA,The feel of the land is very different and it is all about the conection with the magic of the land in which we live. P.S. Never said I could spell… BB

  3. Adrienne June 6, 2012 at 7:22 am - Reply

    Awesome Cerri and thank you for this stunning blog, BB Adrienne xxx

  4. Diane Payne June 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    ahh.. Cerri..this is so true. To sit out here in the bush on my land in Tasmania is one of my greatest pleasures and hearing the didgeridoo is perhaps an other. Thank you for a great concert in South Australia last month and I enjoyed meeting both you and Damh.. look forward to seeing you both again. BB DianeXXX

  5. Jon August 6, 2012 at 10:30 am - Reply

    There’s a lot of confusion about what a ‘Druid’ is.. Ceasar’s description probably contains some accurate information (but was undoubtedly modified for political reasons). Then there are the old ways, prior to the Celtish times. The chances are that the old ways probably had a very large influence on the Druids of Ceasar’s time in the same way that some of the traditions described by Ceasar (and some others) appear to be reflected in modern Druidry.

    But is it necessary for Druidry to be magical? Magic is often seen to be about the unknowable rather than knowledge of our world: Once a magical event is understood, it usually becomes science, but can still be made to appear to be magic if the knowledge is not shared.

    If the very old ways, the songs of the land, could be shown to be about the understanding and sharing of magical knowledge (in other words making magic into what we would call science today) how would that resonate with modern Druidry?

    • admin November 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      Modern Druids have to determine and come to some consensus as to what they believe to be Druidry or even Druid magic for the modern age. I truly believe that what ever the ancients called their beliefs they did not keep them written in stone (apart from stone circles and even they were subject to change) and then in a labeled box on a shelf never to be touched or challenged. Druidry has always, it seems to me, to have been fluid and utterly inspired by the observation of nature’s patterns and movements over the millennia, we have taken all of her clues and in understanding them we now have knowledge and the ability to manipulate every resource she has to offer, for good or ill, that to me is one form of magic that has now the label of science.
      I also feel that there is more beyond the perceived world, the physical realm and that we can connect with and at times work with those things to affect manipulation of energy, emotional, physical and in many other ways, that to me seems to be the realm of the generally accepted understanding of magic.
      We really are at the beginning of the modern age of Druid, Witch and pagan understanding, it is a different world in so many ways from the times of the ancient writings of Caesar and the like about druids and it is time to refind the ability to connect with this Great Mother of ours, to find how we need to move forward into a better way of working with her, for the sake of all life here. For that we need a new way of seeing an old magic and that comes from going back to basics in my view.

  6. Jon November 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    Thanks Ceri, much appreciated.

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