- April 23, 2020 at 5:06 pm #10291GreywolfKeymaster
In these curious times and strange, misinformation may prove as dangerous as the virus itself, so there is an even greater need than usual to be careful what we put out into the world. Science will come up with viable solutions before long, but what can the rest of us do in the meantime? Having been calling myself a Druid for 46 years, my area of expertise is Druidry. Among many things discovered over the last 14 years of editing, researching and writing our courses were a number relating to healing derived from the medieval literature of Britain and Ireland. Having gone into lockdown a little before the rest of the country because one of my sons had what I’m pretty sure was just an ordinary cold, I decided to use some of my time recording a few of these pieces.
The first was a possibly 8th century ‘Prayer for Long Life and a Good Old Age.’ At my age, and because the effects of the virus seem to be worse the older you are, this seemed an appropriate one to start with. Because of its early date, the accompaniment is played on my Iron Age chrotta (Celtic lyre). This was probably the instrument played by Irish bards before it was replaced by the harp in the 10th century. I first read this prayer in translation years ago and was immediately struck by how pagan it is. It’s in one of the healing booklets in our ovate course and is exactly what the title says, a prayer.
Next was a ‘Chant for Healing and Protection,’ also from our ovate course. This is based on a poem that’s part of an early Irish story in which the healer god, Dian Cecht, saves Ireland from a plague by destroying the Serpent that embodies it, burning its body to ashes and casting them into a river. Under other circumstances I might have recorded it with a group of people in our roundhouse. As it is, I multi-tracked all the drums and vocals at home. The original recording runs for 9 and a half minutes. I then made a longer version running for an hour and 7 minutes, a better running time to really immerse yourself in it and maybe drum and chant along. Drumming is a good way to open channels into Otherworlds beyond the physical, easing communication with spirit helpers, allies and the old gods.
The third piece is a recording of Cad Goddeu, the Battle of the Trees, probably the most famous poem from the early 14th century Book of Taliesin. This benefits greatly from the excellent new translation made for our bardic course by former archaeologist, Celtic scholar and BDO student, Derwydd Newydd. It probably dates from the 12th century, by which time the harp had replaced the lyre as the preferred instrument of the bard, so the improvised accompaniment is played on my 25-string bardic harp. The harp is another Otherworldly instrument, capable of shifting consciousness. It was while preparing to perform this poem with my harp in a May Day ceremony in our roundhouse a couple of years ago that I finally realised, after 40 years, what it’s about. The bard speaks as a healer, invoking his working tools, various powers of nature, and his spirit allies, including 35 species of healing plant. He also invokes the young god of light, Lleu Llaw Gyffes, and his bride, the goddess made from flowers, Blodeuwedd, the healer and magician god, Gwydion, and the creator god, Math. All to bring about healing which, at the end of the poem, he triumphantly does. I use the word invoking in its original sense of ‘calling in,’ because the bard actually becomes many of these beings during the course of his healing work. Working with this poem, I was struck by how similar it is to the Anglo-Saxon ‘Nine Herbs Charm’ and to rhymed charms used by Central Asian shamans while they work healing.
I’m not, of course, offering these pieces as an alternative to medical treatment. They are intended to be used as an adjunct to medicine, not a substitute for it. Recording them and listening to them back has certainly helped me keep focused and reasonably cheerful in lockdown. If they can bring a smile to my face, with my lifelong history of depression, they have a fair chance of at least doing the same for others.
I put the videos together using a free, open source software package called OpenShot. I’m particularly pleased with the Battle of the Trees, which I think shows that I’m starting to get the hang of the software!
All four videos are included in a BDO YouTube playlist you can find here:
Feel free to add your own responses to the coronavirus outbreak below. We’d love to hear from you.
Stay safe, keep well,
blessings to all,
Greywolf /|\April 23, 2020 at 8:18 pm #10293
Thank you for this Greywolf.
I love all music and instruments, but I really love the harp – it’s just so otherworldly and relaxing and it certainly does have a calming effect. When I hear a harp, I’m walking in a sunlit forest somewhere. I’ve never tried to play, but it’s on my list. I’d have to find something simpler and affordable however.
I know what you mean about the drum too, it’s not quite the same thing but I find a similar effect with my bass, and when I’m messing around on it (which can be as much percussion in a sense) I do find it takes me on journeys elsewhere. I also have a small African drum which is great for letting off steam! My neighbours are very understanding 😀
/|\April 23, 2020 at 8:42 pm #10297Dave TheDruid-3X3Participant
Awens to All:
I have much knowledge in Healing Herbs and just make sure to put lots of Garlic & Ginger into your Cooking and Drink loads of Peppermint Herbal Tea. Also Drinking Echinacea is good for strengthening the Immune System.
I just finished picking some Mint from my Garden and am now drying out the Mint for use as a Herbal Tea.
Dave TheDruid-3X3April 23, 2020 at 8:46 pm #10299
That sounds delicious David, I think you have a very useful skill there. I thought Vitamin C was best for the immune system, certain berries for example? I thought Echinea was for cold/flu symptoms?April 23, 2020 at 10:14 pm #10309
Hi David. Echinacea is a good herbal boost for the immune system. Elderberry syrup is also a good old-fashioned remedy for colds, and many common garden herbs, basil, sage, oregano, garlic and rosemary are antivirals. As with all things however, you need to be careful and follow expert advice as some herbs can interact badly with others, with medications or with people who might have a particular condition or ailment – I remember my mum warning my pregnant cousin to stay away from parsley.
/|\April 24, 2020 at 4:58 am #10312
Thank you Dowrgi, your advice is very good. Thank you Greywolf, I love your interpretation of the Cad Goddeu and the healing chant. This chant is very good for listening to, and very relaxing as well, I feel an increased state of well being when I listen to things like this. It is a kind of meditation which I think Dowrgi is reaching for when he talks about drumming. The harp in your videos has the same effect, albeit at a different vibrational level than a drum. Sound is a form of energy, the difference between a drum and a harp and a chant makes that clear. It helps if your surrounding environment is tranquil and free from distractions. I imagine that that must take a lot of effort to achieve. In Dowrgi’s case this sounds almost impossible without causing disruption. In your case Greywolf I imagine it must be much easier.April 24, 2020 at 10:48 am #10321
In Dowrgi’s case this sounds almost impossible without causing disruption.
I didn’t think I played that badly! 😀
Joking apart, I’m lucky that my neighbours are pretty cool and there are never “music conflicts”.
/|\April 24, 2020 at 11:18 am #10323
Prayer and ritual of course are also important vibrations which create a kind of magic, hence the importance of knowing what you are doing. Results will always come out of something like this.April 24, 2020 at 12:00 pm #10330
All completely subjective and down to the individual, but the bass and the drums, the deeper notes in particular, have something very “primordial” about them, I find they sing out to the listener in your head, not the voice or the mind that’s thinking or playing. The harp is much more of a head and eyes instrument for me, as I said, when I hear the harp it’s airy, relaxing, it’s walking through a beautiful forest with dappled light coming through the trees. Irish whistles and flutes take you other places too, soft, slow, fast, happy or sad and again, very much mind’s eye instruments for me. The violin is what I’d call a heart instrument, it really hits you in the chest (in a good way) and a guitar is all about the ears. I don’t know if any of that makes sense, but it’s how I “feel” the music and of course, it all depends on what mood I’m in and where I am as well.
/|\April 24, 2020 at 1:34 pm #10334DalerParticipant
As a very new member, may i thank you for this post as it is very enlightening and enthralling for me to hear and learn. This has been the best response i have heard to the Corvid19 disaster that is currently affecting our lives around the world. I hope that i may learn more from the existing members and finally start putting everything i do learn into practice. Once again, Thank you and i hope you all be safe and well.April 24, 2020 at 2:46 pm #10336
Welcome David I hope that you stay safe and well too. Cead mile failte.April 24, 2020 at 3:09 pm #10338DalerParticipant
I shall try. Thank you for your greeting.April 24, 2020 at 6:41 pm #10367
Dynnargh dhis! Welcome David!
/|\April 24, 2020 at 10:43 pm #10369Dave TheDruid-3X3Participant
“many common garden herbs, basil, sage, oregano, garlic and rosemary are antivirals. ”
A lot of those Herbs are used in Italian Cooking.
So dose your Italian Cooking with loads of Italian Seasoning.
Also, Cayenne Pepper increases the efficiency of the Circulatory System and thus helps getting around the Anti-Viral Effects of the Herbs that Dowrgi has Posted.
3X3April 25, 2020 at 6:54 am #10371
That sounds like great advice, might be worth a try. Thank you.
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