The Drum one of the most ancients of instruments and one of the most important in the Shaman’s tool bag.
This simple instrument traditionally made from a solid wooden frame and is mostly circular. However it can be made in various shapes according to the skills of the drum maker.
The face of the drum or skin traditionally comes from the skin of an animal that has been hunted to sustain life. This way after the animal has been eaten, the relationship and respect continues on.
This relationship increases the power of the drum and drummer. All drums are seen as having a spirit of their own.
To understand how important the sound of the drum is watch what happens to people when listening to music with a lot of drumming. It brings people together and removes barriers.
The different uses of the drum
Traditionally there are many uses for the drum
• Entertainment , songs and story telling
Most of the teachings from the ancestors would have been passed on through mythical stories, poems and songs. These would have been accompanied by the drum.
Some stories would have great symbolic meanings which would ease rites of passage. The drum would help these symbols be absorbed by the initiates.
This is a multifaceted subject. Illness or disease can often be explained as imbalance of the spirit, mind or body. Issues affecting one aspect normally influences all three.
One thing that plays a major part in our health is how we see the world through our own individual lens.
In a way, our viewpoint can also be tainted by our parents, society, people that surround us and the environment we live in..
All this can create a very narrow or polarised view point which can produce a permanent pattern of internal winds or emotions. If we don’t become aware of these emotions then they can cause illness.
In the shaman’s world everything is seen as energy and vibration. Our illness has a certain vibration and even a story. Shamans can read this story and assist in changing it.
Energy loss or soul loss can also play a major part in dis-ease. Events can happen in our lives that in effect shock us and it’s like part of us leaves or we lose energy in a way. It has to return through the awareness process or it is liable to happen again through a similar experience.
To clarify – healing work must be done through awareness work because the whole point of helping clients is to empower them.
What role can the drum play in healing?
The sound and vibration of the drum can in effect put people into a trance-like state. When in this state the bridge between our subconscious minds and our conscious mind opens. We then enter the dream state.
Whatever doesn’t need to be in our subconscious mind now has a chance to come up into our conscious mind in the form of symbols or scenarios.
When in our every day conscious level of awareness we can process this information and help to release it.
On a purely physical level, the vibration of the drum can help to release pain or even infection.
On a spirit level the drum can be a conduit for our spirit guides and helpers. Some of these helpers are seen as “Doctors”. For instance in the South Americas shamans of the Amazon region work with herbal medicinal plants they call doctors, each one having a different role in healing.
A ceremony can simply be nothing more that a way to connect to the passages of nature.
These passages of nature are not external or separate from us. However our busy lives and state of constant doing can make it seem so.
Using the beat of the drum and use of intention it is possible to become in alignment with the rhythms of nature.
Why would we want to connect to nature?
In the Shaman’s view and many other spiritual disciplines, the body is the vessel that holds our spirit. Our body belongs to the earth; it also came from the earth. So it is not resistant to the seasonal cycles.
When we are in tune with our inner and outer cyclic nature we are more likely to be happier and living a creative and inspired life with less fear of change.
The best way of connecting to nature is to be within it. Ceremonies work better when we are with nature and we learn more about our own nature.
The drum has another important message of bringing people together. Togetherness and helping each other is all we really have. This is a time of great changes; supporting one another will soften the passage.
by John Black