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The Didgeridoo

or Didjeridu or Yidaki

Ok, first of all, why do I have pictures of Kokopele all over a page about the didgeridoo? Well, because the symbolism is the same. The man I met who played the didgeridoo was like kokopele to me, or at least when I heard of kokopele it reminded me of him. So I associate kokopele with the didgeridoo. And now you must as well. :)

The didgeridoo is an Australian Aboriginal instrument, claimed to be the oldest instrument on earth besides clapping sticks. This is questionable antropologically because instruments at the time were made out of wood and don't fossilize, so there could have been older instruments that we just don't know of. But the Aborigines claim that it's the oldest, so that is how it goes.

Didgeridoos were originally made of bamboo or eucalyptus (hollowed out by white ants, or termites). To play one is simple. You put the mouthpiece over your mouth to make a seal and blow out of your lips like a 'rasberry' making your lips vibrate against each other. Variations are made by moving your tongue around in your mouth, changing the size and shape of your mouth and singing and talking and manipulating your vocal chords. There is an infinite variation of different sounds you can make. While I was learning to play, at one point I thought "i've tried every possible combination of movements....my mouth can't DO any more!!" But once you get past that point you realize that there are so many combinations that you'll never be able to remember them all.

more kokopele!!
One thing a lot of non-Aboriniges don't know about the didgeridoo is that it is a healing instrument. People who play it will notice that they are healing themselves while playing it. It promotes healthy breathing and playing it is like meditation. Plus your vibrating your chakras with it. Better yet is to be played BY the didgeridoo. The player or the listener can be played by the didgeridoo. You will know this has happened when the didge just takes over and the sound seems to play you. A player can play other people by moving the end of the instrument over a persons energy body. For example, have them lay down comfortably on their back. When you start playing, keep the end of the didge a couple inches away from their body, starting over the genitals, or the first chakra. (Refer to Chakra page for more information about the chakras) The vibration from the didge will enter the persons body and if they are ready to recieve the healing, their chakras with resonate with the sound.

However, not EVERYONE is meant to use the didgeridoo to heal. see my comments below, in the personal accounts, concerning healing.

The sound of the didgeridoo is a primal sound. It is the sound of the cosmic engine. The sound of the heart beat of the earth. It unlocks cellular memory, and in certain people it will resonate to such a high degree that they may have a transcendental, or unifying experience. Depending on which of their chakras are opening, thus their experience will be governed by this.

even more kokopele!!!

The didgeridoo could be likened to a cosmic vacuum machine, because it stimulates the chakras and will literally vibrate out any 'negetive' energies, or blockages. It is not a "magic wand" but when played with heart, with intention, with spirit, it can be immensely healing.

following are some dialogues and monologues concerning playing the didge and being played by the didge that were cut and pasted from elsewhere:

shiva's first experience being didged:

i must preface this by saying that bar none, this was THE MOST amazing experience of my life. it tops EVERYTHING, including any sex, drug, or other feeling i've ever had in my life, it was the most transcendant, and yet integrated event that has ever transpired in my life.

i was on two hits of acid at a concert/festival called the hope farm. i actually heard later that someone from novelty list named brett was there, but i didn't learn that in time to try to find him. everyone camped out and listened to bands and played around campfires all night. this is how it all went down....I was called over to meet a man and hear an instrument. I had heard the instrument before and I had met men before. This didn't sound like anything special and I felt shy for some reason. Plus I felt that it was being made into too big of a deal--I was being dragged over to this average looking guy holding a large stick and if he were some sort of guru. I realize now I underestimated the whole situation. The meeting was forced and I stood in front of the man--John. He had long brown hair and was dressed in a billowing green shirt and jeans and a shell necklace. My Australian friend Kaiz advised me to lie down for the performance. I assumed him I would be fine standing. John remained silent. Everyone else bustled about clearing a space for me on a blanket on the dirt ground beside the fire. Finally I relented figuring, what the hell? If this was the best way then why not get the full experience? Once I was settled on the ground John stood behind my head and raised his instrument in the air. What I am about to explain is beyond words. I can spend my entire life writing volumes about what happened. I believe the human race has devoted its existance to feeling what I was about to feel. When the sound began, everything else went away--the concert music, the light, the dark. Nothing remained but the sound, my body, and a few faces--dreamlike--peering down at me, including my mother. Now, I have heard the sound of the didjeridu in music before, but that had never prepared me for what happened next. The end of the didge started above my lowest chakra and moved up steadily to my stomach and when the sound came out something STIRRED inside my body. It was energy, it was peace, it was heavan. It was the beating of the heart of atman, or brahma, or both. It was the only sound-feeling (the two became one) that I have ever been searching for. When I try to meditate usually I feel as if I am trying to remember a sense of peace or love that I've never really felt in the first place. I may have caught a glimpse of it during a previous trip when I felt as if I touched that sacred place where all music comes from. If *that* experience had been a grain of sand, hearing and feeling the didge was the Sahara Desert. The music I was hearing was coming out of me. Or the music was somehow directly touching my non physical body or energy body and interacting with it. Although intensely blissful, this was scary. Something was happening to me that I had no control of and the outside world was disappearing fast. I have no history of seizures, but at that moment, I was afraid I might go into one, the experience was so intense, I thought I might be overloaded. I reached for my mother's hand and held it tightly. If anything strange were to start happening she would surely stop it. As the sound continued one this was always the same--amazing, indescribable bliss. But as he moved the didge over my body from my head to my hips the sound-feeling morphed from pleasure to love to....when it came to my lungs I burst into the purest most joyful laughter I have ever felt. Around my head I felt everything on the brink of destruction--thinking maybe the end of the didge would merge with my head and become a black hole right in the middle of camp. John was not only playing the instrument, he was playing my soul. The whole thing lasted 10 min, maybe, although my sense of time was completely out the window. The first thing I could think of when it was over, was to give John a huge hug. He had just given me the greatest gift of my life. The one thing I had been searching for. The one state I had been trying to attain, or at least verify the existence of. I thanked him profusely and we talked a little about the didge. I explained to him that the sound actually came OUT of me, wondering if this was common, or what. He told me that this was the oldest instrument on earth and what I had heart was the sound of the cosmic engine, the heart beat of the earth.....

shiva's ruminations:

i am using bamboo, although i believe eucalyptus could work just as well, if it is a bit heavier, i believe it could still be navigated properly. *i* am certainly not "doing it." i am a facilitator for what is happening already. or maybe it's like a megaphone or something. the didge is something very special, and i figure it out little by little, healing by healing, person by person. if you're wondering the what i'm actually DOING, well, the person lays on the ground on their back and i play the didge over their bodies, i prefer to work over the chakras, as close to the body as i can get. sometimes its hard to tell, because my perspective is shot, looking right down the barrel of that thing, but i know after a minute or so if i'm close enough. i play up along the length of their spine all the way to their head. sometimes they lay on their stomach if they have back problems and this will sonically loosen the back muscles along with stimulating the chakras. it's pretty freeform in that the didge responds to the person's energy right then. i have no plan as to what i'm going to play. the didge is playing me and the person. however, my 'method' is to put intent of healing and transformation into the session. before putting the didge to my lips, i take a breath and set that intention. and then i let the multiverse flow.

if you are supposed to use the didgeridoo to heal, you will know it. i doubt anyone will want to use it in the manner i use it, unless they have had that experience of being healed by it. if you are called to heal with it, without ever having the experience of being healed, that call must be very strong indeed. and i would advise against healing with it without having had that experience. when you are healed by the didgeridoo it reawakens something inside you. and that is what the didgeridoo uses in you to play itself on other people. i think. playing on people otherwise, would be like having sex or rather, sexually stimulating someone without ever having been stimulated yourself by anyone ever. you would have no idea why you were doing it. you wouldn't understand the nature of the arousal.

also i notice that didges played for music and didges played on people sound totally different.

B's experience being played by the didgeridoo:

there's a point where it actually starts to cool off and Shiva brings out The Didgereedoo. Now, I myself have been playing didge for a month or two, and although I think I know the power of the didge I know it from a still-learning-to-circular-breathe position. (also only from the perspective of being player vs playee) I watch Shiva play a few different people before its my turn (and prepare myself with sweet whispers from Mary J)......finally i take my place on my back under the tarp, hands interlocked behind my head, concentrating on breathing deeply and steadily as I relax and close my eyes......just open and being there. The didge begins to play me.....my breath falls into synchronization with the eternal vibration and i flow inward to my mind's singularity of being......the feeling begins to condense in to an imaginal vortex of power within my chest. slooooooowly at first aaaannnndddddd ttthhheeeennnnn OHHHhMMmmmYYYyyy GGOooodddd............... i have broken through in to the actuality of true being......i am electricity personified.......i am the existant manifestation of light and vibration melding together in vibrant unity......i am the soul of god and the representative of the exigency of life itself to the human race.............. But i am not alone here by any means.....guiding me are alien cataclysms of SOUND......unimaginable and incomprehensibly ineffable materializations of language.........fleeting visual frequencies of retrogressive color dart at me and through me and around me, aversive to my forward stare but hovering and buzzing within the regions of my peripheral vision..........curiosity overwhelms me and i test myself to see if i am indeed within my own imagination or not: i attempt to visualize the first thought in my mind, which just BECOMES a blue rose right in front of me...... I begin my return to the singularity.....back to the black veil which i had so quickly expanded through in to the other side.....i feel the vibration of the didge at my chest stealthily sneak away from me......but the vibration which has manifest inside me responds by turning up full-volume......now my entire body is literally humming in resonance........i am still very far away, but nearing home at a rapid pace as i begin to integrate the experience in to my consciousness......the fluidity and magnanimity with which Shiva has led me through the trip has left a very deep impression upon my soul, and a wave of emotion washes over me like the first wave of high tide upon a desolate island shore......i lay still and appropriate each of my senses one at a time until i have located the source of reception of each and have allowed the resonance to spread in to each region.......now i am consciously rising from where i lay, senses on absolute overdrive and auto-pilot simultaneously......i have brought not just a fragment, but the entire spectrum of the experience home with my body........I stand and resonate the essence of true Being out in to the ocean of energy that is now available to me as it has always so inconspicuously been............i am truly more alive than i have ever been in my whole life........ ......................when i can finally speak a word other than 'wow' I tell Shiva that 'that was absolutely beautiful'.....still a relatively pale response which just proves the limitations of language

a different B's experience of the didge:

Shiva asks if anyone would like to be "played by the didge" (I thought *she* was supposed to play the didge, but it turns out she used the correct euphemism) and I immediately volunteer, as I feel so drawn to experiencing it for some reason, and I didn't even know what to expect. She asked me to lie down, and so I did. I closed my eyes to assist in creating a meditation-type atmosphere, and I just waited for it to begin... Soon, I heard it, or rather felt it. The instrument has a consciousness of its own, and It was only using Shiva as the tool through which It comes alive. It sniffed around my face, and scanned along my body, stirring up energy in all my chakras. As it approached my body, I felt a very distinct sense of "Shiva-ness" being radiated upon me. It was as if the instrument was basically taking Shiva's energy and then pouring it all over me, and I felt "her" as I felt the music. But that's not all!! It got SOOO much better than that!! Soon, these "energy transfers" (or whatever) started making my body tremble with forceful energy! I couldn't control it, I just knew that suddenly I was trembling, and my teeth were shivering. I immediately recognized this feeling as being in the middle of an intense orgasm that is going on for eternity. All of the energies that I've been feeling are now being registered as very sensual, and very erotic. I suddenly feel like I am in the middle of having sex, only it is the purest, most orgasmic sex I've ever had! But then I open my eyes and rememebr that I am just on the floor, being didged by Shiva, and everyone has their clothes on. ;)

I immediately have to start laughing. It was the most innocent laughter I've ever felt, a Cosmic laughter of sorts. It makes Shiva start laughing as well, and she has to quit playing for a second, until we are both able to compose ourselves. She starts the didge up again, and this time I'm able to remember where I am. I look up at her the whole time, while my body trembles in orgasmic excitement, and I realize that the didge is basically just a way of exchanging energies. It is a healing instrument. And what was occurring between Shiva and me was that our energies apparently seemed to be communicating with each other, and it made us keep spontaneously cracking up in laughter every few seconds! it was the most unobstructed sense of joy I've ever felt. Millions of years later, the experience was over, and Shiva had taken the didge away from her lips, although I was still feeling the resonance inside my heart chakra. I couldn't get up right away. I would have fallen over instantly. I felt much higher than any acid has ever made me feel. Shiva sat down on a chair next to her, and all I can do is look up at her in awe and think "What just happened there?!" And she psychically responds to me with "I'm not sure myself!" Nonetheless, we both understood that something had occurred.

So anyway, the others get their try at experiencing it, while I just laid on the couch feeling like I had just gotten laid, and trying to make sense of that feeling. All I could do is look at Shiva across the room and think "What an amazing talent she's been blessed with!" Everyone seems to enjoy the experience, but for some reason I can't help but think that not everyone was as affected by it as I was. Needless to say, this set the tone nicely for the remainder of the trip that night.

a player's experience (shiva): i wanted to didge B first, i was just drawn to do that. so he layed on the floor and i began to play over him, and....how to explain this? i am so speechless. the energy is palpable. but it is different from being played because the local at which the energy is "changing hands" so to speak, the vortex, is actually inside B, or near the end of the didge, so i'm not feeling that sensation, but i sort of am. i'm not quite sure yet, haven't really figured it out. but somehow i guess it's like i become a channel for the didge or something, i'm the instrument of the didge because it needs my lips and my breath, but it has totally taken control and it's like the didge is pulling me around and i am just along for the ride as well.

his reaction is immediate, i can feel his bliss. but for me the experience is strange because i know exactly how he is feeling, and it's coming out of the sound i'm creating. it was like finally being able to give back the infinity that the didge has given me. to know that i was able to help create this experience for someone else was so relieving. it's like i've been ranting and raving to everyone about how this feels and here i was transmitting the experience wordlessly and perfectly. it was so beautiful. and as the didgeridoo moves up his body he starts laughing, and i have to laugh too! so the sound of the didgeridoo stops and that's no good, but we're both just laughing, for me it was the most pure joyful laughter, and it was also such a catharsis to feel like someone has finally understood so perfectly. so finally when i can get a straight face, which is so hard to do when you're so joyful, i can play the didge again and i finish. and the look on B's face the whole time he's being played is worth everything in world to me. completely priceless

an interview with John Dumas, the man who introduced Shiva to the didgeridoo.

"While living in Sedona, Arizona, John Dumas was guided by Spirit to create and play the didgeridoo an instrument used in sacred ceremonies by the aboriges of Australia for over 50,000 years. The didgeridoo produces a unique vibratory resonance that mimics the sounds of nature awakening our primordial essence. When played over the body, it is capable of unlocking cellular memory and balancing the rhythmic flow of the chakras."

How would you define a shaman?

A shaman to me is a person that creates change and that's achieved with a shape shift. A shaman is an agent of change that produces change in any situation through shape-shifting, OK? And to give an example of that would be: to go to a shaman and receive a healing the shaman is gonna facilitate the shape-shift in the person and it's going to look like a healing, in other words if it's a physical pain or a physical or a spiritual or emotional pain, the shaman can go in and work through the energies causing that and together sharing their dream their vision and what that looks like they can shape-shift the energy to make it free to make it flow to unblock any blockages. So a shaman, a medicine man, a brujo, a witch doctor, they go by many names, but a shaman to me is someone who produces change. And what I do with through the instruments which are my tools create change in people. So people yes do call me shaman.

Have you ever been to Australia?

No. That's a trip Iím planning to make in about a year because where the instrument has been such a part of my life and the information is coming through the dreamtime. The dreamtime is really calling me to go and actually live with the aborigines so I have a feeling that within a year Iíll probably be able to go there and really look and search and find off out, out in the outback to find and really live with some tribesman and I feel that's something I will be doing.

Do you know if there's still many tribes that are living the way they did originally?

Absolutely, the aborigines are the oldest civilization on the planet that's still a culture. there is talk that they're becoming extinct. In a sense they're mingling, they're mixing. But there are still tribes that are living the old ways.

Have you ever met anyAustralian aborigines?


Have you studied the aborigines and their original use of the didgeridoo?

I have studied from books and from, a lot of the knowledge Iíve received has been from other people that have actually gone and lived with them. So Iím kinda like second hand knowledge of the aborigines. I just feel very connect with the aborigines, in the past, ya know, it's a resonance in my being. people see aboriginal elders around me, the energy when I play a lot. So there are grandfathers with me. There are elders with me.

When you first came upon the didgeridoo, was it played over your body as a healing instrument?

Yes. The uh, I guess, well, actually not the first time, but the first real time that I resonated with the instrument. the first time I saw one, I heard one on a recording and I was just interested in what it was and then I actually saw one being played, but the person playing it wasn't very good and it was a PVC one, so it really didn't excite me. But when I moved to Sedona and I went to visit Taca at one of his healing ceremonies very similar to what Iím doing, he spent time with the aborigines and used it as a healing tool and he played over my body with it and it was amazing. And when that experience happened that's when I knew that I would be doing that and that it was a part of me.

When Iím reading about the Australian aborigines, they very rarely if at all mention the didgeridoo. But since it seems to be such a healing instrument, it seems like it should be a big part of their lives. Do you have any idea why this discrepancy would be?

I know what you're saying. There isn't much written about the instrument, only because their society is very secretive, their culture, so they've kept the didgeridoo, because it is such a powerful knowledge and wisdom and it does a lot, so it's just now recently been making itself available to people around the world. It's very new. It's been there with a select few, but now it's becoming very accessible and the aborigines are allowing that to happen, they're part of it, they're making them to ship and share around the world.

So they're for it?

They're for it. It's time, it's time to share in the knowledge, but yes, it hasn't been talked about a lot.

So you think the aborigines used it for the same thing?

Yes. According to Taca (sp?) who was the man in Sedona that I first received the healing from, he said that he got that from them, using it as a healing tool, and it's something that even if you didn't know, by feeling it, you feel it. It's something that you just know.

A musical therapist that uses the didgeridoo plays it for people, but he won't play over their heads because he says it is strictly a body instrument and causes too much chaos in the head. [laughs] Can you comment on that?

Yeah, I disagree with that. Iíve also had people say that women shouldn't play it. Iíve had people say that you shouldn't do animal calls over people, so Iíve heard just about everything on what not to do and what I do is what people seem to be not doing. And that's only because I do what my heart tells me to do and what spirit tells me to do. And maybe there are people that shouldn't be playing over peoples heads and shouldn't be doing animal calls with it, that may be a good idea. But for myself and the way people respond and the feedback that I receive is positive, that it's just what they need. And I feel that the instrument is such an intuitive based instrument that when played from the heart, whatever comes out is beautiful, perfect, spirit.

So when you mean playing intuitively, just whatever you think of next to play, you just play it?

You don't think. You override that, you just are playing it. You're in a trance. When you play the instrument and you don't have to think about how to play it, because it's a cycle, because it's a continuous instrument, a drone, it just keeps coming in new waves, new waves, it just keeps changing and shifting and evolving. The instrument plays you. And when you get to that point, whateverís going to come out over somebody, when I play over people, it's different for every person, through the intuitive process. And sometimes it's gonna blast out an elephant call over the third eye, that's what's gonna happen and it's gonna release the energy there, maybe. Some people are afraid of quickenings, some people are hesitant to do kundalini meditation because it's too powerful, too sudden. But we're all in the quickening. Why wait? What works works, so that's what I do.

About being in a trance when you play. Did you know that would happen to you when you played it before you started playing?

When I saw people play the instrument, I could tell that they were out. They were just in an altered state, and what I felt in myself upon hearing it, was that altered state. And later found that it's actually theta that you travel into as a result of the vibrations and puts a person into theta.

Did you record that from biofeedback?

I heard that through other sources. I forget what those sources were. But that was, because I took a biofeedback course and Iím aware of the brainwaves and what they mean, my psychology training, I can relate to it. That, to me, makes sense, that it's theta because of the dreamtime. It's a correlation of western thought and science to the ancient knowledge of the aborigines they call the dreamtime. Well, in theta we're in a dream state, we're in REM theta, is when we dream when we're sleeping. So the dreamtime is a wide awake consciousness, a wide awake dream state. This is the altered state that's produced, but awake, awakened. And that's how we do journey work, that's the shamanic journey. The music is the guide. Instead of taking a drug such as peyote or ayuasca youíre taking music, you're taking vibrations. And the vibration is producing the altered state. So yeah, I knew that when I started playing that that would be a way for me to meditate a way for me to journey because I was a guitar player and I used to journey. I used to go into altered states. I used to go into theta playing the guitar, because it was such a ...the music when you're playing in the moment and you're just continuously playing, the music plays you. When you surrender to spirit and just play, from the heart, it could be one chord it, could be one note, to get so enraptured in that one sound. And it's the space between the notes, the space between the sound is just as much the music, just as much the power. Good questions.

Do you think this happens spontaneously? Do you think anyone who plays the didgeridoo that will naturally happen to, or do you think this has to be cultivated?

I think it's unique to everybody. However, the didgeridoo players that Iíve met, we kinda give each other that knowing look, cause when we meet and we ask each other "so how has it changed your life?" It's a life changing experience. OK? Playing this instrument in your life, when you play it, it's not something that sits in the corner for a month. It's something you play everyday, or close to it. It's something that changes your life. Period. Because you're healing yourself everyday. You're going into trance everyday. It's your meditation. It's your exercise. It's your yoga. It incorporates so many things into life. It's your workout. Every atom gets exercise, every cell gets exercise through the vibration. It's a chakra balancing.

You said that's it super-hyper oxygenates your body?

Yeah. When you're playing it's like a yogic fire breath, dragon breath. Quick inhales [demonstrates]. You just keep on pumping the body. That quick inhalation. You are exhaling [though]. What's going on is actually your diaphragm is pumping back and forth it's pumping in oxygen and it is releasing it, but the speed at which your doing it and the intensity at which your doing it super-oxygenates your body. Now that's that technique. Now you can play the didgeridoo and not do that. That would be a quick rhythm. That will do that. It fills your body. It also increases your body temperature by ten degrees, Iíve been told. So not only are you getting all this oxygen, but your temperature increases.

Ten degrees? That's high!

That's what I heard.

A more academic treatment of the didjeridu, complete with refernces: Paper

email me, i love to talk about the didgeridoo: shiva.kali@telebot.net

Didge Links

Dreamtime: A Didgeridoo Resource http://www.mills.edu/LIFE/CCM/DIDJERIDU/index.html
SACC: Kokopelli http://www.ccanthro.org/koko.htm
Didge Links http://www.eastman.com.au/didge/links.html