In just over a week’s time, Druid Camp kicks off in The Forest of Dean. I’ve been before as a day visitor, but this is my first go at doing the whole thing. The lovely organising folk invited me to come and do some stuff. Mostly at the moment the closest I get to holidays is going nice places for work purposes, so being able to work a ticket to Druid Camp means a lot to me. It also gives the boy a splendid few days of free ranging and experiencing, as he will no doubt be getting involved with the yoga and exploring his new enthusiasm for all things woolly.
Druid camp offers a huge breadth of experiences and opportunities. Dance, yoga, stav, arts, crafts, music, sweat lodge, rituals, talks, workshops, entertainment. Leading lights, such as Ronald Hutton, Kevan Manwaring and Kris Hughes will be there. All manner of people from the Druid community will also be sharing their thing. It’s a great opportunity to learn, connect and be inspired.
I shall be teaching two forms of subversive creativity. I’ve been in plenty of circles that feature chanting and/or drumming. Either it’s a brief process, rapidly burned out by boredom and self-consciousness, or it tends to be a lengthy opportunity for tediousness. Chanting and drumming tend towards the repetitive. Now, there is a theory that through repetition we clear the mind, entering trance-like and meditative states. This is fine if you’re a dedicated practitioner. However, if you’re just some regular soul who turned up at a circle, ennui is far more probable than enlightenment.
There are ways of taking chanting and drumming, and developing them creatively. These are the most basic forms of human music, (no drums required even, we can do improvised percussion). Keeping it basic makes it easy to get involved, but learning to play with it makes the process more interesting. Then, if you can really give yourself into the experience, really engaging with the music you make with the people around you, it can have a real effect. When we do these things creatively, opening to inspiration and awen, attentive to each other, amazing things can happen.
What we do in these workshops can be taken back into ritual. The percussive approach is especially good, because a ritual circle can be encouraged to go through their pockets for things to improvise with, try sticks, stones, their bodies, the person next to them…. Engaging with the space to find the means to make sound, is powerful all by itself.
The basis of subversive music making, is actually listening. Rather than banging away on our own drum, or belting out another round of ‘we all come from the goddess’, subversion begins when we undertake to really listen to each other, and the quite that holds the space we are in. There’s a lot more to drumming and chanting than just making noise.
Do come along and play with me next week, http://www.druidcamp.org.uk if you need more information. If you would like me to bring a little musical subversion to your circle, let me know. Also, if you’re doing a thing at Druid camp, do tout it in the comments.