Hello again and welcome to our latest blog post. This is a drum ritual that I have been wanting to share for some time. We will be putting it on our website as a resource/practice available to everyone.
Drumming is a very powerful modality and can be a very therapeutic and magickal practice. I was fortunate enough to have discovered drumming as a young man when I acquired a job at a local African store in my hometown. I soon found myself being schooled on the extremely difficult job of putting goatskin heads on djembe drums, rope tuning them to the specifications of my mentor and boss Moussa Konate', a master djembe player from Guinea West Africa. He taught me that the drum is a living thing along with the rhythm that comes from it.
Since then I have explored drumming and rhythms in many different mediums, from playing metal oil drums with looped soundscapes that I recorded with a tape recorder for performance art to sitting in with Voudou practitioners providing a steady beat for the dancers to trance out to and become open vessels possessed by the Loa. I have used the drum for meditation, for magick and for medicine.
There are many different types of drums as well as styles from around the world. Shamanic drumming is a way to connect one with the spirit of the earth as well as provide healing from past trauma and can help one open up to something larger than oneself. I have included a drum ritual with Shamanic roots in this blog post and I hope that it serves as a useful template for the curios to explore drumming more on their own and discover the beauty and richness that the drum can bring to ones life.
First, it is very important to know that you have everything you need to do this ritual. Any drum will suffice: djembe, frame drum, tabla, darbuka, or even a pot from your kitchen or maybe a coffee can. You may wish to use a rattle. The important thing is that you have something to make and keep your rhythm.
Second, we must set an intention. What is the intention for the ritual? Here are a few ideas:
Asking for guidance/answers/wisdom from ancestors, Source, spirit guide, universe, God/Goddess
Connecting to the Earth’s energy and syncing with the rhythm of nature and universe
Entering into an elevated state of consciousness to see life and life’s problems from a different perspective
Performing magick to get a specific outcome
Healing yourself or someone else
In creating this specific ritual, the intention I set is to ground us, connect us to all nature, recognize Masculine and Feminine energies within and without us and to receive wisdom from our guides. Keep in mind however that this ritual is meant to be an outline or a guide. We encourage you to create your own using this outline, feel free to add or omit whatever you feel is necessary to make this your personal drum ritual.
Create a Sacred Space
This can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. Some people like to smudge themselves and their drum, (smudging is burning of herbs for cleansing, purification and protection) before they begin. Sage is a very popular herb for smudging; we like to use white sage. Also setting up an altar might be something that speaks to you. Although an altar is not essential or necessary, it can provide us with a focus to pray, meditate and listen and to remind us that this is a sacred ritual, not just a drum jam. An altar is any structure upon which we place offerings to ancestors, elements, spirit guides and or God/Goddess, also sacred objects that have spiritual significance specifically to us such as statues, crystals, pictures or maybe just a feather. Again, it can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. It is your personal altar and should be special to you. It represents the center of your sacred space.
Once we have created our sacred space, we begin by holding the drum, giving thanks to the animals, trees and any other elements that have played a roll in the creation of our drum. If it is metal, thank the elements that were used in its making. The same goes for a kitchen pot or coffee can. The important thing is to make this sacred by showing gratitude and being mindful.
Slowly begin with a simple rhythm such as a heartbeat. Align your breathing with this rhythm. Continue to play this rhythm steadily. Feel the rhythm moving through your body, as it moves through your body feel it expanding from your body and connecting you to everything around you. The air, the grass, the trees, the birds, the insects, the Earth. Feel the vibration connecting your energy to the Earth and rooting deep within Her, so that you can feel Her heartbeat moving through you and eventually through the drum itself. The rhythm you are now playing is the heartbeat of the Earth herself.
You are now one with the Earth, one with everything around you. Free from human mental constructs that bind you to limited beliefs. You are open to receive the true wisdom of nature and the universe. Free to connect with true Divine Masculinity and Femininity understanding that it is in all things and not limited by male and female bodies but energies that resides in all things. Invite these energies into yourself to merge with your Masculine and Feminine energies to encourage them to vibrate and dance with each other to the very rhythm that you are playing. Blossoming into the true Divine essence of balance between the two. Ask for help in understanding the true nature of Masculine and Feminine energies and what they mean and what purpose they serve.
Continue to feel your connection to all things around you and within you. Let the rhythm accelerate if it wants to, slowly getting faster but continuing the heartbeat rhythm. If it does not want to accelerate, that’s okay, just keep the rhythm steady.
You may experience a trance state of awareness that might open you up to receive answers to questions or a deeper understanding of life itself. Welcome this. Altered or trance states produce deeper self-awareness and allow us to view life and life's problems from a detached, spiritual perspective not easily achieved in a state of ordinary consciousness. This process allows us to connect with the power of the universe and something larger than ourselves, to externalize our own knowledge, and to internalize our answers. Stay in this state for as long as you want or need to. When you are ready, start to come back to your physical awareness, gradually slow down the rhythm and let it ground you back into your body and to the earth.
Once you are completely back in your body, feel the rhythm slowly getting quiet, slowly letting it fade back into the great beyond until, silence, sacred silence. Sit now in quiet solitude and meditate on what you have just experienced. Let the experience absorb into all of your being.
It is important to conclude the ritual by closing sacred space. When you close sacred space, you may wish to smudge yourself, your drum and the area. Thank all of the energies, elements and spirit guides that participated in your ritual for their wisdom, help and healing. Give thanks to our Mother Earth for all that she gives us. Thank your drum.
Drumming is an essential element of our healing sessions. Learn more about them on our Offerings page.
For more tools to help you on your journey check out our Inspirations page.
Love and Light to you on your journey.