Sunday, July 22, 2018

Starting a Shamanic Drum Circle

A shamanic drum circle is a place for practitioners to get together for learning, healing, and the direct revelation of spiritual guidance. Starting a drum circle begins with getting the word out. This means doing outreach to new age bookstores and local events listings in community newspapers, college campuses and the local shamanic community. If possible, begin promoting your first drum circle at least six weeks in advance. Follow up with reminders a few days before the event. Don't be discouraged by a low attendance. When they meet on a regular basis, drum circles have a natural tendency to grow over time. If you drum, they will come. What you communicate about the drumming circle has a great impact on who will join and what they will expect. For posters and promotional materials, emphasize the benefits of being a member of a shamanic drum circle. Make sure to include key phrases like:
  1. "A supportive community for shamanic practitioners;"
  2. "Deepen your knowledge of shamanic practice;"
  3. "Build community through rhythm;"
  4. "Promote understanding of self and others;"
  5. "Foster authentic connections and relationships;"
  6. "Elicit wisdom, insight, ideas and points of view;"
  7. "No prior musical experience necessary;"
  8. "Instruments will be provided;" 
  9. "Please bring a drum;"
  10. "Drug and alcohol free!"
To learn more, look inside my book Shamanic Drumming Circles Guide.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Core Teachings of Shamanism

One of the core teachings of shamanism is that the entire universe is alive with a spiritual consciousness that can communicate. From photons to galaxies, life is conscious, intelligent energy that can form itself into any pattern or function. The shaman, like our modern physical scientists, views the universe as a web of inseparable energy patterns that is in a continuous process of creation. As a result of this, we are all interconnected and interdependent through all dimensions of reality.

Shamanism is a way of perceiving the nature of the universe in a way that incorporates the normally invisible world where the spirits of all material things dwell. Shamans have different terms and phrases for the unseen world, but most of them clearly imply that it is the realm where the spirits of the land, animals, ancestors and other spiritual entities dwell. Spirit encompasses all the immaterial forms of life energy that surround us. We are woven together into a net of life energies that are all around us. These energies can appear to us in different forms, such as spirits of nature, animals or ancestors.

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, July 8, 2018

Support Standing Rock's Landmark Case

The Lakota People's Law Project is asking for donations to fund the upcoming legal battle to protect Standing Rock activist, Chase Iron Eyes. The necessity defense of Chase could set a precedent to protect not only land and water, but freedom of speech itself. This trial can help create a permanent legal framework to protect indigenous, environmental, and civil rights. This trial may prove to be the most important of our generation. At this crucial juncture, they ask you to give once again. They must raise $200,000 for expert witnesses, investigators, their travel, and the capacity to categorize all the evidence. As Lakota People’s Law Project Chief Counsel Daniel Sheehan discusses in a new video, the information they have already gathered from deposing law enforcement officials is very encouraging. When people go under oath, they often stop lying.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Summer Solstice Rituals in Mongolia

On the summer solstice last week, Mongolia's Shamans gathered to practice traditions and rituals that are thousands of years old. In the post-communist era shamanism is undergoing a dramatic revival in Mongolia. Harshly suppressed during Mongolia's long Soviet rule, shamanism is suddenly widely sought to fill the spiritual void of a newly democratic society. From storefronts in Ulan Bator, the nation's capital, to homes in rural Mongolia, shamanism has become a growth industry. The key to its viability seems to be the flexibility inherent in shamanism, where knowledge gained through ritual engagement with spirits in the landscape, rather than a strict cosmological doctrine, is seen as the core of shamanism. Getty images has published a photo essay of the rituals.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Ritual Drumming

Ritual is a tool used by shamanic practitioners to engage the powers of the unseen world to effect specific changes in the physical world. A shamanic ritual often begins with heating the drumhead over a fire to bring it up to the desired pitch. The sound of the drum is very important. Practitioners may strike certain parts of the drum to summon particular helping spirits. It is the subtle variations in timbre and ever-changing overtones of the drum that allow the practitioner to communicate with the spiritual realm. The practitioner uses the drum to create a bridge to the spirit world, while simultaneously opening the awareness of all the participants to that bridge. A master drummer can draw powerful rhythms from the drum that can transport others into specific dimensions of the spirit world.

All elements of drum music such as timbre, rhythm, volume and tempo play an important role in shamanic ritual. By using different parts of the drumstick to play on different parts of the drum, different timbres can be produced for transmitting different meanings. Different rhythms transmit different meanings and enable the practitioner to contact different beings in different realms of the cosmos. Volume and tempo arouse feelings in the listener and communicate symbolic meanings directly as aural sense experience.

A practitioner may have a repertory of established rhythms or improvise a new rhythm, uniquely indicated for the situation. The drumming is not restricted to a regular tempo, but may pause, speed up or slow down with irregular accents. The practitioner may stop playing altogether, or suddenly hoist the drum skyward and bang it violently, throwing the disease into the heavens; returning it to the spirit world.