Shamanic Drumming Blog

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Native American Flute

Next to the drum, the most important Native American instrument is the flute. The instrument evolved from traditional uses in courtship, treatment of the sick, ceremony, signaling, legends, and as work songs. During the late 1960s, the United States saw a roots revival of the flute, with a new wave of flutists and artisans. Today, Native American style flutes are being played and recognized by many different peoples and cultures around the world.

According to Ute-Tiwa shaman Joseph Rael, "The flute is an instrument connecting the two worlds, the non-physical with the physical. The breath of the flutist is the breath of God coming through a hollow reed; the sound is that of the invisible lover courting the visible lover, the metaphor of the lover and the beloved."

The flute opens a path of communication between the spiritual and earthly realms. The flute is related to the soul, which extends far beyond the physical body, connecting us to the symphony of the universe. Something transcendent happens when you begin to play a flute. You journey deep inside yourself and bring out the cosmic music of your soul. Nothing matters--audience, place, time--you just get lost in the music. You become the music--notes, rhythm, and melody.

The flute is akin to the breath, which is spirit. Its sound is like the wind, which is dispersive, changeable and unpredictable, yet it has the capacity to permeate anything. The flute is also akin to the birds and flight. Its chirp, warble, and bird-like notes make your heart soar. The flute is like the air; you cannot hold it or contain it, and yet you can never separate yourself from it. "Everything needs the air and so the flute represents the voice of the soul and the voice of the wind, and the voice of the birds--those things that are free, free to --move. So taken all together this trio, the flute, drum and rattle, represents the whole voice of Creation."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

How to Save Earth from Ecological Disaster

In his book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Daniel Pinchbeck developed the hypothesis that we are undergoing a transition to a new realization of consciousness, which will be embodied by a new fundamental paradigm that takes into account what Carl Jung called "the reality of the psyche," which is to recognize that its contents have a living reality, along with new social, political, and economic systems that mesh with this realization. Pinchbeck sees the rapid evolution of technology as an expression of this unfolding of consciousness. The acceleration of planetary crises can either incite a planetary awakening and a shift into a regenerative planetary culture based on sustainable principles, or a destruction of human civilization in its current form, and perhaps extinction for our species.

In his new book, How Soon Is Now: From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation, Pinchbeck outlines a vision for a mass social movement that will address the ecological mega-crisis that is threatening the future of life on earth. Drawing on extensive research, Pinchbeck presents a compelling argument for the need for change on a global basis. The central thesis is that humanity has unconsciously self-willed ecological catastrophe to bring about a transcendence of our current condition. Covering everything from energy and agriculture, to culture, politics, media and ideology, How Soon Is Now? is ultimately about the nature of the human soul and the future of our current world.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Before the End

Hexagram 64
In order to gain some insight into the chaotic events of our world, I consulted the I Ching. The I Ching is an ancient Chinese text and divination system which counsels appropriate action in the moment for a given set of circumstances. Each moment has a pattern to it and everything that happens in that moment is interconnected. Based on the synchronicity of the universe and the laws of probability, the I Ching responds to an inquiry in the form of a hexagram. By evaluating the hexagram that describes your current pattern of relationship, you can divine the outcome and act accordingly.

When I consulted the I Ching regarding the state of our world today, I received Hexagram 64: Incompletion (a.k.a. "Before the End" and "Before Completion"). This hexagram represents the time before the climax of a cycle. The present situation is one in which order is arising out of chaos. Everything is changing and seeking equilibrium. The conditions are nothing short of a rebirth. The I Ching counsels that this is not the time to force the completion of a long-standing objective or to rush headlong into a new project, for you are entering uncharted waters. The matter at hand is unlike any that you have experienced.

This hexagram symbolizes fire over water, illustrating how the two principles cannot act in accord. The ascending fire diverges from the descending water, forming a state of dissonance. Dissonance is nature's way of breaking down the patterns of an old cycle in preparation for a new cycle. Divergent polar forces pull apart obsolete patterns, allowing new patterns to form. This represents the turbulent state of affairs around the world. We must learn to deal with this dissonant energy. We cannot make sense of it because it is entirely destructive.

Instead, we must hold steady within ourselves and observe its chaotic behavior from a place of power. Our inner calm and stability will help contain its devastating energy and it will be unable to do as much damage as it would otherwise. Make a conscious choice not to be swept along by unfavorable circumstances or permit your steadfastness to be shaken. See things as they are, in process of change, without fixation on imbalance; see the potential and call it forth.

Chaos brings about disorder but then that disorder leads to order. Perhaps that is why everything always seems to work itself out, whether we choose to fret about it or not. Like most organisms observed in nature, human beings are self-organizing systems. We are constantly trying to make sense out of chaos. We tend to classify what we see in terms of the past and this inclination can lead to a rude awakening.

Learn to Live With Your Heart, Not Your Mind

In a rapidly changing world, we won't be able to figure things out mentally, so it's best to go back to our heart and be there whenever possible. If we are able to get in touch with our hearts, we will be able to connect with the guidance of our own intuitive knowing. Intuition reveals appropriate action in the moment for a given set of circumstances. Take the time to quiet the mind, whether in meditation or prayer, and ask to be taken into your heart's sacred space. While you are there, practice seeing the world from that point of view. The energy that comes in from the Source is directed through our hearts. When we are in sync with the heart, we are in sync with the Cosmos. As we learn to live from the heart we are able to move with the ebb and flow of change with grace and ease.

In this disorganized situation, the I Ching counsels non-attachment. We are being asked to flow the way nature wants us to flow -- without expectations and without the need to classify or think of completion. We must be empty of questions, for questions confine answers. This is a time for introspection. Clarity of mind must precede effort. We must pause and tune into our inner voice to gain a balanced and ordered perspective. Only then can we attain the clarity needed to meet the challenge facing us. Once we gain the correct perspective, we must suspend all disbelief and trust in our ability to meet the challenge presented to us. With steadiness, deliberation and effort, we can clear away the confusion and restore order to the situation. Thus, the cycle of hexagrams ends with a new beginning.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Huichol Prayer Arrows

Huichol Indians in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico make prayer arrows to send intent of prayer to heal others. People who live near the Huichol call them "Virarica, the healing people." They are a culture based on being at "One" with the natural environment. The prayer arrow is a tool to send healing thoughts and intent for the purpose of goodness. The prayer can be used to heal anyone or anything without boundaries. The intent can be any type of healing from a cut finger to a broken heart. It can never be used for harm.

The feathers atop the prayer arrow represent the winged ones who are the messengers between man and Creator. The woven "God's Eye" in the middle represents the Nierika, which is a gateway to the spiritual realm, a realm of clarity, vision and understanding. Using the Nierika as a focal point during meditation, one's consciousness passes through a gateway to the realm of spirit, helping the seeker to find clarity regarding their life path, a solution to a specific problem or guidance in an endeavor.

To infuse the prayer arrow with healing intent, the Huichol hold the arrow close to their heart. This is what the Huichol call the "kapuri," or life force. We are all connected to this life force. After sending healing prayers into the arrow, it is stuck into the earth. Our Earth Mother then transmits the healing energy to wherever it was intended.