Shamanic Drumming Blog

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Medicine Wheel of Life

Bighorn Medicine Wheel
The Medicine Wheel, sometimes known as the Sacred Hoop, has been used by generations of various Native American tribes to represent all knowledge of the universe. Within the cosmology of primal peoples, the Medicine Wheel represents the circle of life. All aspects of life, energy, and the ever-moving universe spiral in circles. The plants, the animals, the minerals, and the elemental forces of nature all exist within the circle.

The Medicine Wheel provides a means of entering sacred space--that place where you can find yourself over and over again. The Medicine Wheel of Life is a mandala, a symbolic blueprint or map of reality. It represents a multidimensional, interwoven web of relationships that are in constant communion with each other. The sacred wheel exists simultaneously in a horizontal and vertical axis, as well as in the unfolding continuum of time--past, present, and future.

The Medicine Wheel of Life serves as a portal to consciously enter the cyclic, time-space unfolding of Tao or Great Mystery through a practice of reverent, harmonious relationship. It is based on the belief that the universe is alive, sentient, and constantly communicating its wisdom to who ever makes an effort to listen.

To move around the wheel and develop a relationship with each direction is to step onto a path of learning and fulfillment. Each direction has qualities and attributes that help us spiral toward completion on the wheel of life. All creatures walk the circumference of the Medicine Wheel, experiencing birth, life, and death. After completing a cycle of learning on the sacred wheel, each of us returns to the source, the Great Mystery at the center or heart of the circle.

The Medicine Wheel of Life is symbolized by a circle that is bisected first with a line of light from East to West. From the East the sun arises and the guardian Eagle takes flight. Though the qualities attributed to each of the four cardinal directions tend to vary from culture to culture, the energy of the East is typically associated with the vernal equinox, Eagle, Hummingbird, morning, birth, beginnings, the rising sun, illumination, inspiration, ascending consciousness, and the element of Air.

From the South rises the vital energy of renewal, regeneration, and growth. From the South we learn to plant seeds of good cause. We learn that our thoughts and actions create our reality. South is related to the summer solstice, Serpent, Coyote, midday, youth, trust, growth, and the element of Fire.

From the West flows the energy of transformation. In the West we assimilate our life experiences. Experience is the only baggage we carry with us from this Earth walk. From the West we exit the realm of physical experience and join into vast levels of experience in the spirit worlds of light, or we choose to return and walk again the sacred wheel of life. West is connected to the autumnal equinox, Bear, twilight, introspection, emotions, flow, the moon, death, endings, transformation, and the element of Water.

From the North flows the energy that completes the quartering of the circle. From the North we receive wisdom and clarity of mind. North is linked to the winter solstice, Buffalo, night, wisdom, clarity, patience, renewal, blessings, abundance, and the element of Earth.

Quartering the circle defines all that is the Great Mystery. We are here on earth to experience and realize the mystery. The vision of that mystery is ever present within each of us. When we still the incessant chatter of the mind, we begin to realize the Sacred Vision. We begin to recognize certain qualities from the four directions that help us evolve on the wheel of life.

Father Sky and Mother Earth together generate the powers of creation. The four directions are the power and life-giving forces of the created. When we begin in the East and turn clockwise, acknowledging the four directions, we align ourselves with the powers that shape our reality. We are also creating a circle--a boundary that separates the sacred from the ordinary and profane. Such a ritual creates a sacred space that can be slipped in and out of at will. By creating a circle, we are also structuring an energy pattern that will contain, focus, and amplify the power generated by ritual. A circle will shape the elemental forces into a powerful current that will spiral upward and downward, uniting heaven and earth. Thus, we synchronize our environment and ourselves to the circle of all that exists.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Lightworkers Beware of Energetic Bookmarks

Spirit Portal
Lightworkers are here to assist with raising the light frequency of our planet and the consciousness of humanity. The challenge we face is that light manifests itself, as well as darkness. Consequently, there are two spiritual forces that we deal with on planet Earth everyday--Light (positive) and Dark (negative). Light energy is unlimited and comes from the Source. It's highly vibrational, expansive, and full of love. Dark energy is dense, negative, and goes against the flow of the universe. It's about manipulation, power, conquest, and fear.

It isn't hard to see that even though we live on a planet that surrounds us with beauty, that there is a lot of darkness manifesting within humanity. A big shift in energy is now taking place around the world. The veil between the spiritual and physical worlds is growing thinner. Things are really going down now. The dark is pushing its plan. There is a major battle going on in the spirit world and it is spilling into the material world. The darkness is materializing into the physical realm from the spirit realm. You can see it manifesting in the world around you.

I am a shamanic practitioner. I invite helping spirits into my home each day. I open a portal to the spirit world each morning through prayer, chant and drumming, and then I close that portal. It is important always to close sacred space after you have completed your spiritual work. I express my gratitude to the helping spirits for being with me and send them off, releasing their energies to the six directions. I thank the spirits for their blessings and presence, and then send them off to wherever they need to be.

I recently had an uninvited spirit pop loudly into my house before I had opened sacred space. I sense spirits coming and going--souls, spirit animals, and such, but this was different. I was in my office and my wife Elisia was in the kitchen preparing breakfast when we both heard a loud popping sound. I thought that Elisia had dropped a bowl on the floor, but she said that she had not dropped anything. She said that the sound emanated from above the floor about chest high in our tiny little kitchen.

The first thing I did was reach for a spray bottle of holy water. It's the quickest way to get rid of uninvited spirits. It was later revealed to me that this intruder had used a bookmark to get into my house. Dark entities have left "energetic bookmarks" on the homes of all lightworkers around the world. The dark ones leave these bookmarks to remind them to stop at these homes. The bookmarks themselves do not pose any threat. It's important to pray to your helping spirits and ask them to remove these bookmarks and to remove any future bookmarks left behind by the darkness. I have had to clear my home of energetic bookmarks several times in the past few months.

To keep the darkness out, you have to smudge with sage, cedar, and sweetgrass and bless your home with holy water. Holy water is the only thing that cannot be manipulated by the darkness. Spray holy water around the perimeter of your home and yard. You have to establish boundaries to keep the darkness out. To learn more read my post "The Great Shift and How to Navigate It."

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Shaman's Horse

Lakota Painted Drum, ca. 1860s
My drum can connect me to the earth or carry me like a flying horse. Sometimes I send my spirits out, but other times I must go myself, alone or with the spirits.
--Tania Kobezhikova, Khakass shaman

The shaman's horse, namely the single-headed frame drum, originated in Siberia, together with shamanism itself thousands of years ago. Shamanic drumming is considered one of the oldest methods for healing and accessing inner wisdom. Practiced cross-culturally, this technique is strikingly similar the world over. Shamanic drumming uses a single, repetitive rhythm played at a tempo of three to four beats per second. Although sounding quite simple and redundant, the unique connection between the drum and the shaman gives this drumming great power, richness, and depth.

According to Tuvan musicologist Valentina Suzukei, "shamanic drumming is not monotonous at all. Constant changes in timbre and volume keep them interesting. The healing quality lies in this variation, which tracks and directs the patient's energies. If you don't listen for timbre, but only for pitch and rhythm the music is boring, monotonous. But the player's every smallest change of mood is reflected in timbre."

Through the many frequencies and overtones of the drum, the shaman communes with the normally unseen energies of the spirit world. By changing and listening to the tones, pitches, and harmonics of the drum, the shaman is able to send messages to--and receive them from--both the spirit world and the patient.

The shamanic drum is a time-tested vehicle for healing and self-expression. A shaman may use the drum to address any number of health issues including trauma, addiction, depression, and chronic pain. Additionally, the shamanic techniques of extraction, soul retrieval, and journeying, can all be performed with the drum. According to Mariko Namba Walter and Eva Jane Neumann Fridman, authors of Shamanism: An Encyclopedia of World Beliefs, Practices, and Culture, "The drum is used in a variety of ways in shamanist rituals; it may serve as (1) a rhythm instrument, (2) a divination table, (3) a "speaker" for communicating with the spirits, (4) a spirit-catcher, (5) a spirit boat, (6) a purifying device, (7) the shaman's mount."