Tools & Crafts

Page 13

(Main Links of the site are right at the bottom of the page)
The links for the 22 pages in this Tools & Crafts section are below.

Sacred Drum
By CinnamonMoon

Let me preface this article by saying I am not an official Drum Carrier/caretaker. I own two personal Drums, but do not use them in public ceremony, nor do I belong to a group. I do use my Drums for my own growth and enlightenment, and at times during prayer. However I have attended Pow-Wow's, Drumming Circles, and have my own experiences I can add to the information shared here. Basically I can only express my own experiences and the teachings as I understand them.

Please note that before any use of a Drum one should smudge thoroughly. Some prefer to add a sprig of White Sage and wear it behind their right ear to better hear the spirits speaking and assure that the words heard are true and clean.

The Drum as Women's Medicine:
The Drum is sacred, it reflects the heartbeat of Mother Earth, the hooves of the shamanic steed carrying the shaman/Medicine Person into the journey and through other realms of existence. It is between the beats of the Drum that we find the Silence that is the oneness with Spirit. It is the shifting focus into the Silence that allows us to shift worlds and move between them. The Drum will take us there. It's rhythm sets a pace for our own heartbeat for as we focus on it the heart begins to pace the rhythm. This is a deep centering process that allows us to enter into a sacred union. Drum Medicine is ancient, sacred, and it can change the destiny of people with the revelations it brings forth, the enlightenments one undergoes as they connect to the world, Mother Earth, and Spirit.

Drums belong to Women, they are the heartbeat of the Earth Mother, and produce a feminine energy. At one time Women were the caretakers of the Drum and the Drummers for they symbolize the womb...the renewal of all life and heartbeat at the Center of Life. Drums are round, a container that vibrates with life, a feminine form that has belonged to women since the beginning of time.

Women have gifted the Drum to men as well for use in their own growth and development, which includes not only ceremony, but Drumming for journey work, dreams, and visions.

Many pregnant mothers will Drum to their unborn child as the child in the womb can feel and hear the drum before birth.

Other uses of the drum will be discussed briefly, but please note that to fully understand them and the tribal uses to which they are applied, a study of the teachings of that tribe is essential. It's like trying to understand the masses of the Church without reading the Bible. You need to see why things are done and each tribe has similar but differentiated applications that vary. Some people do not carry this study deep enough, and they simply prefer to have a personal Drum to work with on their own and discover their relationship to it as they grow. There's nothing wrong with that, but in ceremonial use tradition and culture are vital to understanding the enactment of the rituals used. For this insight I advise that you explore tribal creation stories.

Shamanic Use of Drums:
Regular shamanic use of the Drum creates in the shamanic practitioner a conditioning wherein after a few minutes of steady rhythm they are easily able to produce the lighter states of trance conducent to their work. The longer the session goes the deeper into trance they delve, and they
have achieved a level of self-control there where they can determine just how deep they want to go through intent and focus. Through the Drum they are transported to the Above World or Below World where their journey will begin. It's been shown in laboratory experiments where Drumming produces a change or changes in the central nervous system and sensory as well as the motor areas of the brain being affected. Usually the shamanic practitioner preparing to journey has an assistant that does the Drumming for them so they are free to journey and do their work. The physical demands of Drumming can interfere with the focus of the journeywork and this is an ideal, but there are many shamanic practitioners that prefer to do their own Drumming too. Some opt to use CD's and other recorded material in lieu of the physical Drum itself. In the case of having an assistant, the shamanic practitioner generally will Dance to the rhythm, often with accompanying rattles attached to his costume. Frequently they will sing their Power Songs and call upon their Spirit Helpers and Medicine in this way.

The Songs, Dance, and Drum's voice are a monotonous rhythm in the sense that they are simple so that there is more freedom to enter into trance and allow the practitioners the ability to slip between the cracks of the universe/stepping between the worlds fully aware of what is taking place on both sides. Drumming is a sacred practice that takes you deep within yourself. The development of a strong, steady rhythm will aid you in spiritual growth. It helps raise energy from the base chakra rising to the heart chakra and increases the ability to nurture and care for others. It will bring up powerful emotions so it is cautioned not to send that energy out if it is an angry or violent emotional state you are in so centering and neutrality or positive excitement are advised. The vibrations of the Drum carry that beating energy to all who hear it and they will feel it pass through them taking it on. Think of War Drums and you will know what I'm talking about.

Drumming Power Animals:
Some Drum their Power Animals calling them forth through Dancing. No matter how fierce the guardian animal spirit may be, the Dancer is in no danger because the Power Animal is harmless, it is the source of power and has no aggression intended, but comes to you because you need its help. Shapeshifting is a common way to stay connected on a regular basis to one's Power Animal. If you ignore it they fade into the background of your life and Drumming and Dancing are one way of maintaining that experience. In this way the spirit of the animal receives an exchange of energy allowing it once again experience physical form. You possess the animal spirit, it does not possess you.

Group Drumming:
Group Drumming is done around a Mother Drum, one large enough for 6-8 people or more who will beat out a rhythm together. This is a strong reverberation and you can feel it at a great distance. The voice of the Drum is deep and resonates to the core of your being. In ceremonial use, the institution of "heartbeat drumming" is used and the ritual is dedicated to Mother Earth, peace, healing of individuals or issues, that type of thing. A Drum leader is chosen for their experience and ability to keep the rhythm going strong. A prayer of dedication is addressed, offering cornmeal or tobacco to the Spirit of the Drum, and the drumming begins. As the beat grows strong and even others may join in by playing on their personal drums or dancing to the rhythm.

Drum Rhythm:
The rhythm of the Drum is best felt by closing your eyes and listening to it. It sinks into your body and conscious awareness, and you can "ride" that rhythm often finding yourself projecting into a shamanic journey. The image of the beating is that of the energy rising up from Mother Earth, and focus is important because whatever you are thinking and feeling will be magnified by the Drum's voice. When a session is ending it can be difficult to let the rhythm die because your own heartbeat and energy are so tied to it. During Group Drumming at least 2 members are drumming at all times, allowing the others to rest, as these sessions can go on for hours.

Often there are accompanying songs that are sung appropriate to the ritual ceremony and enhancing the energy effects with a stronger focus. The vocal accompaniment adds to the energy being raised and draws you deeper into the ceremony. As the session is brought to a close, the leader moves into the center of the circle so others will take notice. A beat of 4 strokes and a final heavy beat is counted out by all Drummers in unison to mark the ending and call those back who have journeyed. It allows the rhythm to be broken and any light trances as well.

The Spirit of the Drum:
Drums have resident spirits and those spirits recognize the voice of the Drummer that is the caretaker of the Drum. In this way they carry that Drummer's voice out into the worlds working together as a team. A close relationship to the Drum is maintained, and the caretaker understands the voice of the Drum as well. They speak to one another. At times the Drum will call to the caretaker and ask to be played. It's a two-way street for them and the relationship is very sacred. During healing ceremonies the Drumming calls in other spirits, spirits that will appear before those gathered, look at the patient, diagnose and prescribe what is needed to cure. There are instances where hospitals have allowed NA Drummers in to perform healing ceremonies effecting cures that doctors couldn't. Cures that are instant and difficult for modern medicine to attempt to explain...especially to a Board of Directors!

You *can* see these spirits when they present themselves and they will speak, so it is this along with other phenomena that is witnessed that demonstrates the power of the Drum. Some of the other phenomena might be flashes of light, little sparks of light, loud thundering noises, a variety of things but they are seen, heard, and felt by those who are gathered at these sacred sessions. People often see the energy signature of the Drum itself weaving through the group like a transparent ribbon of fog might weave along the forest edge of a low valley meadow. It's beautiful to see this.

Personal Use of the Drum:
While I've explained briefly what some of the uses are there is a process by which the individual can undertake a personal healing through Drumming sessions. The Drum allows you to enter the Silence, and it is there that one can see what the Winds of Change are calling for. As you keep rhythm and balance it with your own heartbeat, you come into unity with the Web of Life and All Our Relations. The Drum will begin to "speak" to you in its own voice and through that it will tell you what you need to do to heal yourself emotionally, spiritually, physically, or mentally. It is used as a therapy tool and has been for generations, now being introduced by psychological professionals as well through their own NA heritage and wisdom.

A fine book written on this subject is: "Listen to the Drum: Blackwolf Shares His Medicine; by Blackwolf Jones, M.S., C.A.S. & Gina Jones; ISBN: 1-881394-07-7 I find this book to be invaluable for anyone going through major change in their life on any level. It's easy to read and simple to follow.

Drum Styles:
Sacred Drums come in several different styles and each serving a purpose. There are Drums for personal use, for healing, for ceremony, and they take many forms. The following list will give you an idea of the diversity and uses.

If you are interested in the ritual use and construction of Drums I suggest acquiring the book: "Sacred Beat" by Patricia Telesco and Don Two Eagles Waterhawk; ISBN: 1-59003-030-3 And you may eventually want to make your own, but at the end of this article I will list some resources to order them from, or you may want to explore your local NA craft stores and musical instrument supply shops. Often the Pagan/Herbal shops have drums for sale too.

Earth Mother Drums:
These can be as large as 20' across and 10' deep, a hole/womb carved out and capped. This type of Drum is made to dance upon. The energy of the dance goes out into the world and other dimensions as it reverberates into the Earth Mother. They are seen as the belly of Mother Earth, and can serve as a Kiva. The soil that is removed is mounded to the sides representing Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.

Hoop Drums:
Two headed Drums with a lower tone one head amplifying the other.

Slit Drums:
Allow the voice of the Ancestors to speak to us, and those who Dance to it take union with the Ancient Ones of the past, present, and future.

Water Drums:
Drums containing water and played with a "wet head". They offer a variety of tones and amplification, are carved from stone, shells, wood, or lava, and have skin heads. Most will hold around 5 gallons of water or more.

Single-headed Drums:
These are generally around 15-18" in diameter, light enough to sustain in one arm for extended periods and provide an adequate volume. They are very popular and less expensive than the rawhide heads. Some have synthetic (mylar) heads while others have rawhide/skin heads. The synthetic head is less susceptible to temperature and humidity than the skin heads are. The synthetic drums are available at most music stores and called "REMO" Drums, or Pre-Tuned Hand Drums.

*Note: I have a two-headed hand Drum attached to a little stick. On each side of the drum are strings with a tiny stone at the end. I know there is an "official" name for it and I want to say it's something like a tamboura but I can't be certain so I just call it my Centering Drum. When the stick is held between the palms and you rub them together the drum turns and the little stones beat out a rhythm. It's very portable, has a very sweet voice, and I love it. It's great for entering into meditation or journey work, and it's excellent if you are traveling as it slips easily into a purse. The overall height is about 7" and the diameter of the head is about 6". I apologize for not recalling it's official name but if you see one of these you may want to pick it up and give it a try. I believe it is also used in Asian teachings and in martial arts so someone who is familiar with those practices may know what they are called.

Heartbeat Drums Rodney Scott 3555 Singing Pines Road Darby, Mt 59829 406-821-4401
Moondance Drums P.O. Box 8592 Missoula, MT 59807 406-721-8434
Shares the Mother's Heartbeat Bill Shoemaker 4302 Center Street. Apt. J302 Tacoma, WA 98409 206-572-4696
Tarwater Drums and Rattles Hawkwind Renewal Co-op P.O. Box 11 Valley Head, AL 35989 205-635-6304
Thunder Studio Drums P.O. Box 1552-9 Cedar Ridge, CA 95924 916-273-3253


Libraries are on this row
INDEX Page 1
(Divination & Dreams, Guides & Spirit Helpers)
INDEX Page 2
INDEX Page 3
(Main Section, Medicine Wheel, Native Languages & Nations, Symbology)
INDEX Page 4
(Myth & Lore)
INDEX Page 5
(Sacred Feminine & Masculine, Stones & Minerals)
INDEX Page 6
(Spiritual Development)
INDEX Page 7
(Totem Animals)
INDEX Page 8
(Tools & Crafts. Copyrights)

Cinnamon Moon
© Copyright: Cinnamon Moon & River WildFire Moon (Founders.) 2000-date
All rights reserved.

Site constructed by Dragonfly Dezignz 1998-date

River Moon