Shamanic Drumming Blog

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Riding With the Spirits

by Michael Drake

For six months in 2005 I worked as a medical transport driver, assisting clients to and from doctor appointments. The work was very rewarding and I met interesting people from all walks of life. I am truly amazed at how people cope with their illnesses and disabilities. The human spirit is simply irrepressible.

I had an incredible experience one day after dropping a client off at a local hospital. As I got back in the car and sat down in the driver's seat, I got the sensation that someone or something was in the car with me. I closed my eyes for a few seconds, entered an altered (shamanic) state of consciousness, and tuned in to what was happening. To my surprise, I discovered a huge Spirit Bear sitting in the back seat directly behind me. He was a jovial character and not the least bit menacing. I knew at once that he was a spirit helper there to aid the sick.

Sitting next to the bear was the spirit of a recently deceased friend. Jane (a fictitious name) was a compassionate healer and drummer when she walked the Earth in the flesh. In her hospice work she had assisted folks in their death journey to the other side. She often worked with Bear Medicine in her healing work and the Bear Spirit was her traveling companion.

Jane had first appeared to me several weeks earlier during a healing ceremony at a friend's home. I was performing drum therapy on a client. I was drumming the Bear Beat and singing the Bear Chant. Spirit Bear filled me in a powerful way and Jane came through me as well. She did some powerful healing work on the client. Before she left, Jane told me that she would be available to help me whenever I needed assistance in my healing work.

I was overjoyed to see Jane once again. I asked her what she was up to. She told me that she was there to help the sick and the dying. She told me to call upon her and my other helping spirits daily to ride around in the taxi with me. She told me that they would provide whatever help and healing they could for my clients.

I then began each morning with a prayer to my helping spirits, asking them to assist me not only with my clients but with my driving as well. I asked them to help me drive safely. I was not always aware of who was in the car with me or what was transpiring in the spirit realm. I had to focus on my driving and it is not a good idea to enter altered states while operating a motor vehicle. Moreover, I find that tuning in to what is happening in the spirit realm can be emotionally overwhelming.

Occasionally I got glimpses of spirits coming and going. On one memorable occasion, I was driving a dialysis patient from Salem to Portland, Oregon. She sat in the front seat beside me and soon nodded off into a deep sleep. Shortly after she fell asleep, an enormous serpent slithered over the front seat and coiled around my client's body. The serpent worked on her for the entire ride to Portland. The energy in the cab was palpable. I was witness to an incredible and powerful healing. It was an uplifting and unforgettable experience.

At times, I sensed dark and ominous beings leaving the cab after they had been extricated from clients. At other times, I sensed an entire entourage of spirits riding around with me or following me as I walked through various hospitals and clinics. I have seen spirit wolves, lions, eagles, hawks, and horses. I once saw a very protective black jaguar watching over an infant boy with respiratory problems.

I never imagined when I started driving medical transport that it would become such an inspirational and rewarding experience. I thanked the spirits each day for the opportunity to help others and for this wonderful gift of life. Riding with the Spirits was a journey of power, healing, and boundless joy. 

Click here to connect with a power animal. 


  1. What is the bear beat and the bear chant? anywhere I can hear it?
    I loved this article and this experience thank you so much for sharing,
    many blessings to you for facilitating such a healing to your clients.

    1. Barbara

      I learned the Bear Beat from a Seneca man named “Bear that Walks like a Man.” The chant came to me later by way of spirit. I love singing this and shapeshifting into Spirit Bear. You can hear the bear beat and the bear chant at The link to the free Sacred Songs & Chants download is