Shamanic Drumming Blog

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Finding Your Power Song

Power songs are oral prayers spoken from the heart, expressing your true self and personal power. All shamans have at least one power song to call their helping spirits. It announces the shaman to the spirits and proclaims, "this is me … please help me." The song is usually sung near the beginning of any ritual and is often accompanied by drumming. Singing brings the heartbeat and body into resonance with the song similar to entrainment with the pulse of the drum. As the shaman's song invokes the intended spirits, the shaman comes into resonance with these spirit energies as well.

I recommend that you find your own power song to invoke your spirit helpers. The lyrics are usually just a line or two repeated over and over. The words of your song will have great power if they come from the heart. As ethnographer and author Gregory Maskarinec puts it, "In the shamanic world, words transform substance. Any medicinal properties of raw substance are trivial compared with the power of speech ...."1

To acquire a power song, begin your day with morning prayers to your helping spirits. Ask your guides to help you discover your personal power song. Do not eat breakfast and fast throughout the day. Plan to spend the day alone in an outdoor location that is preferably quiet and private. A wilderness or wild area away from the city is preferred.

Do not plan an itinerary -- be spontaneous. Just stroll quietly through the natural setting with the awareness that communication with natural elements is possible and be open to such communication. Nature is communicating with you all the time. Be aware of your surroundings. Look for synchronicities. They involve an internal psychological event that corresponds to an external observable event. Some aspect of a journey, vision, or dream may manifest in your ordinary reality. An animal, bird, or insect may bring you a message or guidance. When any animal shows up in an unusual way, or repetitively in a short period of time, it's critical to pay attention to the message. 

As you wander, discover what animal or bird you feel like. Take on its feelings, embody its spirit, and enjoy its identity throughout the day. As this is your first attempt to acquire a power song, you may only find the melody. If so, subsequent excursions will unveil the words for your melody.

When invoking your spirit helpers, repeat the song as long as you feel it is needed. I often start dancing and rattling while I sing my power song and bring my whole body into the act of calling the spirits. The more feeling or emotional energy you put into it, the stronger the invocation.

1. Gregory G. Maskarinec, Rulings Of The Night: An Ethnography Of Nepalese Shaman Oral Texts, (University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), p 187.


  1. I have been doing this for years, since before I could even speak or write, & never knew that it actually had a source or a name! Thank you for sharing & confirming in me things I felt were true despite how my family reacts.