Since discovering the path of Druidry two years ago, I have felt blessed by the wisdom, guidance and inspiration of many teachers. In this particular case, mind you, I'm not referring to those with four legs, wings, compound eyes, leaves, branches or petals. This time I'm talking about those of my own species, particularly some who have taken time to write books, essays, poems and music to ponder, absorb and ultimately live by. Three individuals, in particular, stand out as my main sources of information and inspiration so far. They are, Philip Carr-Gomm, John Michael Greer, and Damh the Bard.
If you follow the path of Druidry yourself, I'm sure these names will be of little surprise to you. Philip Carr-Gomm is currently the Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD). He is the author of many articles, essays, podcasts and books, including The Druid Mysteries and The Druid Way, and is co-author of the Druid Animal Oracle and editor of The Rebirth of Druidry and The Book of Druidry.
John Michael Greer hails from this side of the pond and is currently the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). He has also authored many books, articles, essays and more. Most particularly relating to Druidry are his excellent resources entitled The Druidry Handbook and The Druid Magic Handbook. He also keeps an active blog entitled The Archdruid Report.
When it comes to pure inspiration, beauty and foot-tapping rhythms, however, neither Philip nor John Michael can hold a candle to Damh the Bard. On his website, www.paganmusic.co.uk, Damh (pronounced Dave), describes himself as follows:
Damh is a modern-day Bard whose spirituality, and love of folk tradition, is expressed through his music, storytelling and poetry. Drawing on the Bardic traditions his performances are both entertaining and educational, weaving a tapestry of myth, peace, and anthems that speak directly to the heart, but never without a good splash of humour. Damh is a musical storyteller who works within the world of myth that cannot be proved; where the Faerie really do dance on Midsummer's Eve, where the trees talk, and the Hollow Hills take you into the realms of Annwn. Where the Goddess rides her horse, guiding you to magic, and the Horned God of old calls us from the shadows of the Greenwood. So relax, and let the music take you there.
Simply put, Damh's music has touched my soul as few other musicians or poets ever have. A true storyteller, he weaves a spell upon the listener, transporting us back to ancient times or simply to a new perspective in the modern day. He also currently serves as Pendragon of OBOD and keeps busy with a variety of performances and projects, such as The Spirit of Albion - the movie, which is currently being produced based on his music.
But alas, this folk musician lives on the "wrong side" of the pond and I accepted the fact it would be highly unlikely (if not impossible) for me to ever catch his act live in person. But yesterday, when browsing Facebook, I was amazed to discover he would be performing at the Michigan Pagan Festival that evening! A quick look and I discovered that the Fest was just two hours from my home and I swiftly made plans to drive down and see the show.
I'm happy to report that Damh the Bard delivered an amazing performance, even surpassing my already high hopes for the evening. In a pole barn at a county fairgrounds, with driving rain pounding on the sheet metal roof, the spirit and energy of the Gods and Goddesses, Mother Earth and the Blessed Community of Humanity filled that room to the point of overflowing. We cheered and sang along, clapped our hands, stomped our feet, got up to dance and even howled like animals in the night. And when the last song was sung, we all stood together, arms around each other, singing and swaying to the music. It was a blessed experience I'll remember and cherish always.
Thank you so much, Damh, for making a stop in the Great Lakes State and sharing so much with us. Your gifts of story and music truly make a positive difference for many of us throughout this crazy world of ours. I'll cherish your CDs and signatures, smiles, kind words and (sweaty) hugs and look forward until the time when we shall meet again. Blessed Be.
Kyle (Skybranch) /|\