“Hey Kim, my other half is interested in attending this event. Wondering if it might interest you.”
A fast click on the link to check it out reveals a compelling headline: A Shamanic Journey and Drumming Circle. Truth be told, I didn’t need to dive in any deeper on this one. My usual tendency to procrastinate the pros and cons of deserting my comfortable lair in favor of stepping out into the big wide world took a backseat. I was in.
“Tell your other half she has a partner in crime,” I replied.
By other half, my friend and author Catherine Evans was referring to her pseudonym, Cate Ellink – her less subdued self. This is the part of herself that loves to explore strange phenomena and pushes back against the social norms. The same part of herself that I seem to energize. I must admit, I do have a knack of unleashing and fueling those underlying qualities in those closest to me. Go figure.
Maybe it is because I tend to view the world through the lens of acceptance. I have no interest in judging others, idle gossip or sifting through tedious social bullshit. I am the first to laugh at myself and do so often; I like to play too; especially when the game involves a worthy adversary – in the nicest sense, of course. Yep, overall, you could say that I Go with the Flow. I work at keeping the faith and trusting that the universe has my back even during the times when the reality appears to the contrary. And I love to ponder and explore the more mysterious side of life. Who doesn’t?
Yeah. Back to the drumming.
Honestly, given all I just divulged about my interest in mystic exploration, it isn’t a long shot to conclude that taking a Shamanic Drumming journey is right up my ally. Even though I had never drummed before.
“Don’t you just smack your hand down?” Cath responded when confronted with the above comment. “Rhythm. We have rhythm, don’t we?”
Well, yeah. I’ve got rhythm honey, but as far as I’m aware, rhythm tends to favour my hips and not the ability to chime on a musical instrument.
Hmm. I didn’t express those thoughts out loud. Instead, I shut my mouth and charged forth into unknown territory; the world of Shamanic Drumming and meditation.
Did you know that the medicine drum is a tool used for healing and transformation since ancient times? And that drumming has the power to synchronise brain hemispheres and create altered states of consciousness in which healing and wisdom from the higher self can be obtained?
We were anointed with pine oil and smudged with sage and other pungently burning incense. We were cleansed and balanced with some kind of spritzy concoction; we listened to our hosts talk about the moon’s energy and shedding old habits that no longer served us; and we each gave an offering back to humanity in the form of soft tobacco leaves and syrupy whispers.
They gave us a medicine drum; mine was of deer, Catherine’s, kangaroo. Turned out, we didn’t have to just smack our hands down and wing it. We had drum sticks to guide our… erm… rhythm.
Oh, and we found it! Maybe not right away, but when our hosts began the steady tempo and the sensual sounds of our hostess’ voice rose above the thick incense curling through the room; rhythm had not eluded us. In fact, it became our friend.
The beat seemed to seep into my being like a sacred mystery unravelling the invisible threads binding me. It was glorious and liberating, utterly beautiful, and it created a sense wellness within. Sometimes, all it takes is an unexpected moment to arrive to show us what we didn’t realize we needed. I hadn’t realized that I needed to merge with the beat of a drum and fuse with the sacred energy accompanying us in the room that night. And I certainly didn’t realize that I needed to join hands in a circle made up of like-minded strangers and express my wishes for the greater good of humanity. It was like soul therapy.
After which, I felt renewed and energized. Were you aware that rhythm is a primordial vibration that pulses through our bodies with the beating of our hearts? Yep, consider the following quote:
“Ancient sources tell us that the frame drum was not just a powerful symbol of spiritual presence, it was an important tool for many spiritual experiences. Priestesses of the goddess were skilled technicians in its uses. They knew which rhythms quickened the life in freshly planted seeds, which facilitated childbirth and which induced ecstatic trance of spiritual transcendence. Guided by drum beats, these sacred drummers could alter their consciousness at will, travelling through the three worlds of the goddess: the heavens, the earth and the underworld.”
~ Layne Redmond
They spoke about our connection to the land and the universe, and how most of us are living beneath a veil of ignorance; and how the ideals and beliefs of humanity have turned upside down. The need to get back to our roots and remember the truth of who we really are is becoming imperative if we wish to see change in the world.
I agree. I guess that’s why I found myself in a dimly-lit area breathing incense, smelling like pine oil and gazing in wonder at the oh-so-interesting altar-mat splayed mid-center of the room and adorned with totems.
We sat upon blanketed mats with pillows and listened to words of ancient practices and beliefs surrounding the Bone Dance. Syllables strung together to form sentences fell upon my ears and swirled around my euphoric mind – the concept of shedding the outer layers and becoming a skeleton resonated someplace deep within me. The notion being that beneath our fleshy exteriors, our material-based desires, and our personalities, we are all mirrored. Take it all away and we’re left alike; an identical process of bones.
Have you ever meditated to the sound of the drum with interluding bouts of the didgeridoo? D – d- did you do-do?
Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I hadn’t either. Admittedly, I’m not used to participating in group meditation, preferring the solitude of my own soft and quiet space when practicing stilling the mind. But there was something extremely transformative, uplifting and moving about tuning my senses into those soulful beats, that I almost forgot how hard the floor was becoming beneath my butt. Almost.
Okay, I might have to work on that part of the whole Shamanic Drumming journey experience.
All in all, the night far exceeded the expectations I actually didn’t have. It began with a picnic beneath the stars and great conversation, and ended on a naturally induced high – the likes of which cannot be achieved without transporting your spirit to the higher-realms where mysteries abound and dreams are for the taking.
Shamanic Drumming was more than just a meditative journey. It was a soul journey and I can’t wait to do it again.