Almost two decades ago I sat in a circle, a sacred circle. I was surrounded by strangers and yet invited into one of the most profound experiences of my life.
I was called not only to make a drum, but also to involve myself in the making of many drums, an apprenticeship of sorts. I had been forewarned that the teachings might elicit deep and intense emotions. I initially scoffed at the idea, but soon came to realize the healing power of the drum was a true thing. And it was calling me. I sat in these circles for months: making drums, and making drums, and making drums. I listened. I shared. I remembered. I envisioned. I recalled. I wept. And I made drums. I named the drums. I dreamt. I received teachings. I healed. And I continued to make drums. Then one day, I felt the time had arrived to return home to Canada.
I was invited to join an Indigenous drum circle. I sought out the counsel of elders. I received Spirit names, and participated in sacred ceremonies: the shaking tent, feasts, naming ceremonies, sweats, and fasting. And I made drums.
All the while intuitively knowing about yet searching for my lost ancestry. And then one day, much came to light. Not only was evidence found of my patriarchal Algonquin and Ojibway ancestry, I was also called to do more and to be taught more.
Many years have passed since these fated events. I continue to celebrate the drum, and her medicine. It is a fascinating and powerful instrument with the power to help heal much. It’s sweet tonalities and its rhythmic chant offers a soliloquy of peace and tranquility. And yet, she can stir you to an immeasurable depth, vision and humility. All lays before the beat of the drum: the universal heartbeat.
When sitting in those circles, the tangled lacing tied in a dozen or more knots in my lap, my frustration and impatience mounting I remember distinctly the laudable whisper of the Spirit beckoning me: “I can learn all there is for me to learn by being here.” It was a call to reflect on this metaphorical wisdom and recognize the power of stillness, aloneness, solitude, perseverance, patience, grace and kindness. The drum was a teacher of love. The drum has the fortitude to bring us to a deep breath, and a wondrous tranquility. The drum can and does awaken the dance in each of us, and calls us to sing and to prayer. Its gentle nuance is meditative, calming and yet can also arouse the wildest of our wild.
The drum has the capacity to still our restlessness, bend our beckoning hearts so that we may hear our call to compassion. The drum weeps sometimes.
And the drum grieves. Her tenderness is thoughtful, her message simple and wise.
The drum holds medicine, healing medicine and each drum, each animal has something unique to impart to its caretaker. We do not own the drum. She visits. And when the day comes we are called to pass her on, we are to do so with gratitude.
We sometimes lose sight of our dignity and worth. The drum summons us to the gentle reminders that all our worthy of love. The intimacy of the drum is a call to empathy. If we have lost sight of our benevolent nature, the drum will call us to return to our intuitive connection with Mother Earth. For with each breath, each drumbeat there is the rooted cry to who we truly are: it is our responsibility to listen, and to act. The drum is a call to love.
If you feel moved to carry a drum, let me know. We have some here, and we also custom make drums. We facilitate drum making workshops and retreats. If you need a place to stay while making the drum, we can offer that too. And if you think you are too far away, but have two or more gathering, let me know. I travel.
Drum with peaceful intention. May your heart be blessed with the resounding ground of joy, and may you feel your call to charity unfold. And may your drum lead the way. Aho! Meegwetch!