Shamanic Relationships: My Drum

In Shamanism, we form very powerful, dynamic and life enriching relationships. These relationships include those with our Power Animals, our Guides, Nature, the Web of Life and also with numerous “tools of the trade” such as our medicine bags, feathers, drums and rattles.

Today, I wish to talk about, my Drum.

I own a number of drums. Because I travel, I am often seen at events playing a manufactured buffalo drum rather than bringing a far more expensive and vulnerable Native American drum. This particular drum–a Remo Bahia Buffalo Drum (and no, I am not endorsed by Remo)–is very much an part of my Shamanic practice. I’ve developed beautiful, sensitive relationships with all of my drums, however, this one is is special to me and hence, it is the drum that I shall refer to.

All drums connect us to Mother Earth, to her heart and the rhythm, and pulse of the Earth. To play the drum is an honor. I touch my drum and play with a sense of sacred appreciation and awareness. I do not beat the drum. I play with it and communicate with it as it communicates through me. This is the sacredness of our relationship.

It is through this awareness that I hear the voices of my drum; I hear the infinite and delicate nuance of tone that speak of connection to guides and of vision. Through the sound and the sensations and vibrations that caress the air and pass through my body…through the connection of the hand that holds the ropes that weave in back of the drum and the other hand which holds the beater…everything blends and melds into a source of communication to Spirit.

I hear, in the shifting tones, the voices of Guides and Power Animals. As the tone shifts or in small modifications of rhythm, new visions appear or messages come…the eyes in my heart see…and I soar and run and leap and swim and journey and travel and go far beyond that which is known in this World, for the Drum unlocks a state of trance.

For Shamanic purposes, most of the time the drum is played at a rapid tempo, usually between 4-7 beats per second. This tempo, especially if steady, brings us into the Theta state of consciousness. In the Theta state, brain activity slows almost to the point of sleep and is the brain state where magic happens. It brings heightened receptivity, flashes of dreamlike imagery, inspiration, and your long-forgotten memories. Theta can bring you deep states of meditation and a sensation of “floating.” Because Theta is an expansive state, you may feel your mind expand beyond the boundaries of your body.

Regardless if I am drumming for myself, a client or leading or participating in a Shamanic Circle, the drum welcomes me to Journey. It is through Spirit that I can play at the pace of an Eagle’s heart beat for ten, fifteen, twenty plus minutes.

Sometimes, we play a far slower tempo, replicating the heart beat of the Earth Mother. Here, I close my eyes and feel her comfort…the drum sending vibrations into the core of my Heart and from the roots of my feet into the Earth. As I send energy outwards, I feel the Earth beneath me, absorbing what passes through me…and the flow is circular…as I send to the Earth, she returns her Love and Energy and heals me…each beat a circle of connection of beauty and honor and respect.

My drum is sacred. My drum is treasured. When you see and hear me play, now you know there is much more going on than a man, playing a drum.