Chapter Nine – First Drum

‘…the shaman drum comes to us by the destiny of the spirits…’  Sarangerel

      Upon returning to Europe I adhered strictly to the post dieta restrictions and ayahuasca continued to do her work, bringing me slowly towards a more shamanic state of being and I began to have dreams of drums and drumming. I felt no real connection with shamanic drumming knew nothing about it and didn’t really search for any deep meanings in these dreams. Repeatedly I would dream of being in drum circles, sometimes with people from the retreat. Eventually I was given a dream that I couldn’t ignore. In the dream I found myself outside a shamanic drum shop. There were dozens of beautiful drums in the windows. I went inside and found that there was a woman giving a class on shamanic drumming. I sat down next to her and told her all about myself. She said, we will have to find you a teacher.

   She called a tall man over to us. He was wearing an animal mask made of light. It was incredibly beautiful as the light was in constant movement and changing through all the colours of the spectrum. After this all I could hear through the night was drumming.

   The next day I took the hint and resolved to get a drum. I soon realised that the best approach by far was to make my own, as personal involvement would make for a much deeper spirit connection. I obtained a beautiful red deer stag hide; it was a by-product from an organic deer farm where the animals are well treated. Stag felt perfect as I had dreamed of the one horned stag, seen the stag in the field and Dougal had brought me antlers. For the hoop I chose Oak; in this way, although the drum was to be in the lacing style found often in North America and also Siberia it would be firmly rooted in the European forest. I made the drum in a ceremony, which was a very rewarding experience. The hoop was the bone/skeleton of the stag and onto this was painted red ochre for the blood. Then, the hide of course is the skin and when you have put this on, you have effectively recreated the animal in a symbolic manner. I did this, and then spent time meditating, connecting with and sending love to the stag and the oak. That night I dreamed I was in a train. Two children wearing animal masks made of light danced in front of me in my carriage; I took this to be approval from the spirits. A year or so later I helped Michèle make her own drum. This one was slightly smaller than mine made from fallow deer skin with beautiful markings and a hornbeam hoop, a tree associated with witches. Nature gave approval, as seven red kites flew above us. When we’d finished we went back into the kitchen and a praying mantis dropped from the ceiling onto Michèle’s head, further signalling the presence and approval of the spirits.

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