The weekend before last I had a mind blowing experience of creating my first medicine drum (in this lifetime). I wouldn’t call it a workshop, it was for me more a ceremony from beginning to end.
Now I know some people will say, why not buy a drum – and yes you can. I am however a direct experience kind of gal. If I read about something interesting or fascinating, I want to do it. If I read a great recipe or see an amazing feast on a cooking show, I want to create it. If I hear about a new technique to help my clients, I want to learn it and experience it myself. To me there is no point seeing or reading about something that you are passionate about, if you don’t move mountains to have the direct experience. And that is what I did with my medicine drum.
I met and became friends with Peter Bowden over the past 12 months. I have had the privilege of being at many of his shamanic journeys. Whilst I had seen and heard the medicine drum before, I had not truly experienced the power of healing until I met Peter.
I knew that one day I would be called to make my own drum. Why you ask? Well apart from being a direct experience king of gal, as someone who now spends their days helping others achieve and heal. I saw this as the next step, a natural progression. As a healer we work first and foremost on ourselves, in order that we can work with others more effectively. If we cannot heal ourselves, we cannot heal others, if we are not prepared to go to those places, then how can we expect our client’s to do so? I am constantly looking for new ways to improve myself and therefore the work that I do with my clients, and this will never stop.
The first step in the ceremony (I won’t cover them all or we would be reading for a very long time), was to pick our animal skin and size, I chose the deer (female) for a 15 inch drum. All skins are collected from animal’s that have passed peacefully, and have been treated with respect after passing.
Secondly we picked the wood (eucalypt) and colour skin (lamb pale green) for our beater. After setting our intent, and making our selection we made our beater (mine is called Thumper). In ceremony we then soaked our skins overnight to make them pliable for work the following day.
The next day we set our intent and started creating our drum. Once you place your skin on the table, you cannot look at your drum until it is finished, that is everyone in the group. By the time evening rolled in there was a lot of laughter, assistance, love, blood (the sinew can be tough), sweat and tears in everyone’s drum. Is my drum perfect? No she has a few little hiccups – there was one time that Peter and I stood there and laughed out loud, he could not figure out what I had done. She is perfect in her imperfection. Whilst you make your drum you keep your thoughts focussed on your drum, and what you want your drum to be and achieve. You breathe life in to it.
As we all completed our drums, it was time to turn them over and see their face for the first time. Mine is beautiful. We then went inside and in turn had our beater and drum cleansed and blessed by Peter. I was advised that my beater was strong and wanted to be decorated (I am still working that out) and that my drum was blessed with the spirit of the Bear (Mato in the Lakota language). The bear represents healing, heart and courage, whilst the smallest drum of the group – its meaning and intent is very large. A bear can also tend to hibernate, that is me to a T. I was asked that once I became one with my drum that I please take her out and share her with the world, that there was a lot of joy and healing to be done.
The journey of making my drum Mato, and my beater Thumper had many lessons. The most powerful for me were: we are not alone, everything is connected and there is no shame only strength in asking for help. I had four people help me with my drum at various times. And whilst our drums were being blessed and we were able to share our experience with the group (my new drum tribe). I shared that whilst I had created this beautiful drum, as with everything in life that is worthwhile I did not do so alone. That the four people who had assisted me were now woven in to my drum, and any time I played Mato they would be there with me sharing their courage, wisdom and strength. I would publically like to thank Peter Bowden, Michelle Wilson, Karla (Shorty) Simpson, and Katheryn Wildbeauty for helping me create something so special.
The last part of the ceremony is the birthing process of your drum, whilst made the weekend before last, I had not been able to play my drum or connect the beater to the drum in any way shape or form. So last Saturday I meet with my drum tribe, and we all breathed life into our drums for the first time. Those who could not be physically present phoned in.
We were like a bunch of kids on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to arrive. We had the honour of Peter attending our gathering, he showed us some basic techniques, counted in our first beat and then taught us a beautiful Native American song, which translated to “Embrace the Day”. I am looking forward to many more sessions with my drum tribe.
If you are interested in making a drum, or would like to chat more about my experience, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call, or alternatively you can leave a message on my blog or Facebook page.
Enjoy your day, or should I say ‘Embrace the Day’.