Shamanic Drumming Blog

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Bridge to Eternity

The spiritual traditions of the Hopi, Cherokee, Tibetan, Hindu, and other cultures teach us that there are seven vibratory centers located along the center of the human body. Known as chakras, each vortex of energy is associated with a particular function of consciousness. They are the interface among the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of one's being. While the sacred teachings of many cultures recognize seven chakras, Amazon and Andean shamans teach that there are nine chakras. Seven of them are within the physical body, and two are outside the body. The eighth chakra is called the Wiracocha, which is the name of the Creator or Great Spirit (the word means "sacred source"). This chakra resides within the Luminous Energy Field (LEF) and hovers above the head like a golden spinning sun. It is our connection with the Great Spirit, the place where God dwells within us. When we shift our awareness to the eighth chakra, we experience a deep union not only with all of Creation, but with the Creator. Read more.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Music as Medicine

Burundian Drummers
Imprinted into the fabric of reality is a fluidity which at the underlying core is comprised of vibration. Just as letters, words and phrases carry vibrational information which transmutes out into our greater universe, so too does music. There may be no greater language with the power to break all universal vibrational communication boundaries than that of music. Music plays a vital role in human culture; it is a key social technology for building and sustaining community. Theoretical neuroscientist and philosopher Walter Freeman tells us that a "significant discovery by our remote ancestors may have been the use of music and dance for bonding in groups larger than nuclear families…" In aural and oral cultures, music and sound would have been a vital element of human life and ritual culture. Ritual in many human cultures involves music, and it often provides the primary structure for activities that construct meaning. Ritual music is a universal way to address the spirit world and provide some kind of fundamental change in an individual's consciousness or in the ambience of a gathering. Experiences of ego loss and trance are important for integrating the individual into the group and maintaining community, and music is a significant element of such ritual activity. Read more.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

What is a Shaman?

According to the Encyclopedia of Shamanism, a shaman is a practitioner who has developed the mastery of "accessing altered states of consciousness" and "mediating between the needs of the spirit world and those of the physical world in a way that can be understood by the community ...." Shamanism is the intentional effort to acquire and nurture ongoing relationships with personal helping spirits by journeying into realms where the spirits dwell. The reason for developing personal relationships with spirit helpers is to gain wisdom, healing techniques, and other vital information that can benefit the community. It is this intimate relationship with spirit and the use of trance states that distinguishes the shaman from other practitioners.

Shamanism represents a universal conceptual framework found among indigenous tribal humans. It includes the belief that the natural world has two aspects: ordinary everyday awareness, formed by our habitual behaviors, patterns of belief, social norms, and cultural conditioning; and a second non-ordinary awareness accessed through altered states, or trance, induced by shamanic practices such as repetitive drumming. This second-order awareness can be developed over time or appear all at once, but once it is discerned the world is never the same. According to shamanic theory, the ordinary and non-ordinary worlds interact continuously, and a shamanic practitioner can gain knowledge about how to alter ordinary reality by taking direct action in the non-ordinary aspect of the world. Read more.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sioux Nation Defends Its Waters from Pipeline


Elder Addressing Crowd
According to the Standing Rock Sioux Chairman, the Dakota Access Pipeline "Is Threatening the Lives of My Tribe." In North Dakota, indigenous activists are continuing to protest the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which they say would threaten to contaminate the Missouri River. More than a thousand indigenous activists from dozens of different tribes across the country have traveled to the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, which was launched on April 1 by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The protests have so far shut down construction along parts of the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has also sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its approval of the pipeline. Read more at Democracy Now. Photo by Shane Balkowitsch: Dakota Access Pipeline Native American protest site, on Highway 1806 near Cannonball, ND.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Battling for the Earth: the Huicholes

In the fight for the land against mining multinationals, the Huicholes represent us all. They are the last Peyote Guardians.

In his two-hour indie documentary, Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians, HernĂ¡n Vilchez captures one of the last Mesoamerican civilizations to preserve their distinctive way of life in an ever-globalizing world – still able, until now. The Huicholes tribe has been a largely resilient culture that lives in parallel to contemporary Mexico. Carbon dating proves their people’s existence long before Christ and their beliefs predate those of mainstream religions, practicing an early form of animistic and pantheistic mysticism.

Every year they perform an 800-kilometre pilgrimage to the top of the Cerro Quemado, a sacred mountain in the fertile semi-desert area of Catorce, where the hallucinogenic Peyote cactus grows. Eating the fleshy gourd is at the heart of the tribe’s spiritual knowledge and core to their existence, connecting them to their ancestors and guardian spirits through psychedelic visions.

The earth where the cacti cultivate has evaded drought – which is widespread in surrounding regions – but is now falling foul to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). N.A.F.T.A. grants mining concessions to Canadian multinationals out to quarry natural riches in the Huicholes’ holy land. Read more.