The drum is used to help the shaman move from ordinary reality to non-ordinary reality; a reality filled with sights, sounds, feelings, and smells. Besides the rattle, the drum is the instrument of choice of the healer.
Once in Dreamtime, the practiced shaman can go anywhere on earth, into the earth, in the heavens, from one universe to another. He mind-walks these areas with complete ease. The beat of the drum is the vehicle through which he achieves this Dreamtime.
Because the shaman is highly intuitive he tunes into the repetitive, monotonous beat of the drum, a much tooted prayer device and one which helps the shaman as he travels to commune with those who inhabit the ether worlds.
Drumming brings the shaman’s rhythm and personal resonance into sync with the natural world, that is, the actual physical beat of the earth herself. And certainly, of the universe. Yes, both the earth and the universe have sound.
Because of the implied therapeutic value to shamanic drumming, drumming has had an interest resurgence. It is parlayed as being helpful to reduce stress, to lower blood pressure, to reduce muscular aches and pains, to reduce illness, both physical and psychological.
In spite of the renewed interest in drumming, one must remember it has been around for thousands of years, used by shaman as a tool to alter his state of consciousness and not as a device of health unto itself. Any value drumming may have in healing requires additional study and consideration.
Dr. Wilson has forty years experience in education at the junior high school, graduate school, and community college. He is the author and co-author of textbooks in literary criticism and in the humanities. In addition to over 100 published articles, he is the author of three speculative novels whose central character is a shaman.
He is a book reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.
Lujan Matus will be teaching in the near future a very rare and ancient set of movements called “The Three Treasures”. In this ancient set there is a series of drumming movements performed with the feet that ground the initiate to mother earth and bring about a profound inner silence that will pervade the warrior’s life.
Photo courtesy of H.Koppdelaney