Sorry about the lack of news this last month, it’s been a pretty topsy turvey time and it will probably need a whole series of posts to give you the complete picture. I will have an attempt when I feel a bit stronger, in the mean time may I introduce you to my drum!
You may remember way back at the end of October I went on a Shamanic Workshop, it was a pretty intense day which I will probably blog about soon, given that it seems to have been another piece of the huge shake up my life is receiving at the moment. Anyway the lovely people who facilitated this have also begun a Drumming Circle. Unfortunately I missed the November meeting, which was their second session, but I managed to go along to Monday’s.
I have always fancied attending a drumming circle so when I found about this one I was really excited, despite never having actually owned or played a drum in my life! The first thing I had to do was to organise a drum. For a long time I have been thinking of going along to a make your own drum workshop, where you can make a drum and beater, and imbue them with your spirit and intent as they’re created. Unfortunately I can’t afford that right now, so I decided to get a cheap drum to tide me over. I had a good root around the internet and decided on a skin drum, which had been handmade and (spray) painted in the States. It was rather pretty and the price had been reduced because of a little dirt on the skin which was barely noticeable in the photo. The advert said it had a good tone and I’m pleased to say they were quite right!
I wanted to make it a bit more personal so I decided to decorate it, and also to attach some bits and bobs to beef up it’s effectiveness. On the inside I have bound an antler tip, a piece of worked flint and some beautiful spotted (guinea fowl) feathers picked up at last years Druid Gorsedd, plus a small and rather insistent piece of serpentine which I have had to bind securely in place given it’s propensity to make escape bids. On the outside I have attached a series of trinkets, shells, crystals and stones which have meaning to myself and my guides. One of these is a wire loop of tiny bells which jingle when the drum is beaten. I was worried that these might annoy the others but they are an integral part of the Faery stuff that is happening to me right now and they HAD TO go on! I am hoping to add a collar of fur to the beater, to cover the gap between the head and the shaft, whenever I come across something suitable.
I then realised I needed something to keep the drum in and after more surfing found this wonderful fleece fabric which eventually I’m hoping to make up into a bag. Although I do quite like just folding the drum up in it and placing it in a jute bag, so I’m still in two minds about it. The final act was to cleanse and dedicate the drum, it’s beater and the ‘bag’ which I did by thoroughly smoking them (and myself!) in sage smoke during ritual.
I didn’t know what to expect from the Drumming Circle, I guess I thought it would be mostly drumming! There were nine of us there in total and to start with we opened the six directions East, South, West and North, Above and Below, by rattling/drumming to them. We then had a short ‘checking in’ session and a little talk, before journeying to whichever realm we fancied (Upper or Lower) to ask our guides or power animals about that night’s intent, which was to identify something that we needed to let go(actions/ideas/habits/mindsets etc) This was rather similar to the letting go we do at Samhuinn. After our journeys we could share if we wished and then we had a good old drumming session during which we gave each other ‘drum baths’ That is, you stood in the middle of everyone while they drummed/rattled around you. It’s totally exhilarating and cleansing to be the recipient, you can feel the vibrations working through your body and straightening stuff out. It is also fascinating to drum someone, as you can feel the urge to work on particular bits of their body. The drum makes a completely different sound for different people, and also changes when working on the different parts of their body.
After the drum baths we closed the directions and because we had to leave the venue promptly, we all had to make our way home. It was shame because I would have liked to have talked to the facilitators a bit more about the drumming and how I found it, maybe I will get a chance next time!