Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to drum a shamanic journey

When I was first a drum maker in British Columbia, I was show by my guidance that I could not keep making a journey drum without learning to ride this good horse to the spirit world. I asked my drum to show me how to make a shamanic journey on its broad back of drum beats, and these are the journey instructions I received for making this journey into shamanic time and space.

The drum needs to be woken up by lightly running my fingers around the drum rim. This quiet irregular sound prepares my awareness for entering into the alternate reality of the shamanic journey. I next ‘sound the call’ by striking a quick series of beats with my drum beater in each of the drum quadrants. This is my knocking on the door of shamanic reality, saying, “Here I am, please accept my intention to journey to you.” After all, in this non-shamanic ordinary reality we consider it polite to knock on the doors of those we wish to visit.

I begin my shamanic journey beat on the drum quite slowly, as I bring my journey intention into my awareness and listen for the ‘doorway’ in the drum—this is a quality of drum sound that causes me to feel I am falling into the physical experience of the shamanic journey. When I hear this particular shimmer of drum sound I increase my drum beat until I reach the sound of a correct decibel and speed to lift away into shamanic reality.

At the close of my shamanic journey I again sound the call with a quick series of drum beats in each drum quadrant, followed by several minutes of very rapid striking of the drum to bring me back from the journey into this reality. I say goodbye to my shamanic journey experience by sounding the call very softly for a third and last time, and then again put the drum to sleep by lightly running my fingers around the drum rim in the opposite direction from the one I used to begin. While this quiet irregular sound is still vibrating the surface of my drum, I look back into my shamanic journey and ask two important questions. The first is, “What else do you have to show me or tell me?” The answer often expands or repeats some aspect of the shamanic journey and therefore underlines its importance in my memory. The second question is, “What can I do to honor you?” I make sure that after my shamanic journey is complete, I find a way in ordinary reality to honor the gift of this journey into shamanic reality by doing what I have been shown. This drum protocol is available on a CD called Ride a Good Horse to the Spiritworld which can be ordered by emailing me at