Prior to October 2006 I had never played a drum. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t even picked one up. But that year I embarked on a journey to Peru. My seatmate on the bus ride to Logan Airport was Lynn and she had a frame drum with her that she had made herself. She carried that drum all through Peru and played it as we traveled on buses, vans, boats, and planes. She played and we sang together, weaving melodies and stories around our group. At one point we found ourselves acting as space holders as the others explored and climbed the small peaks that surrounded a beautiful valley. We were singing. She was drumming. She put the drum down and walked away. As I stood looking out across Lake Titicaca towards Bolivia, I heard a small, quiet voice. It was the drum. I paid it no mind. Lynn turned to me after a few minutes, and said, “she wants you to pick her up.” “I know,” I said. Lynn gave me a long look and replied, “well pick her up and play her.” I did and thus began my love affair with the frame drum.
In January of 2007 I traveled to what I lovingly refer to as east boonie-land Maine, to make a drum with Lynn. In a snug cabin surrounded by winter stark trees and snowbanks, we did ceremony and sang as I birthed my very first drum. A drum of my own. With my intentions and heart breathed into it. I did not “know” how to play a drum. I had no lessons. I learned by listening to the drum and what was in my heart. This first drum, birthed in winter, in Maine, continued the opening of my heart and the freeing of my voice. I sang more. I wrote songs. I felt as if I was rediscovering a piece of me that had long been buried. That year a friend asked me what I wanted to do. My answer was that I wanted to gather with others and drum. Drum in joy. Drum in sorrow. Drum in letting go. Drum in love. I began facilitating weekly drum circles. Frame drums and rattles and sometimes a didgeridoo showed up. We did ceremony. We drummed and rattled. We sang. We shared stories. We were explorers uncovering the secrets of our ancestors.
It is now 2022. I have made three other frame drums and own a total of nine. I continue to facilitate drum circles. People have come and gone. The frequency of the circles has changed. Still, today, I facilitate circles using the drum to open us, to show us the way to new perspectives, to connect our heartbeats with Mother Earth’s, to celebrate Grandmother Moon, to build community. I use the drum for my own healing and to facilitate healing for others. I teach the way of the Shamanic journey. I have done 100’s and 100’s of journeys with a drum, learning the wisdom of the other realms. The drum gives me access to my voice. Actually it is my voice. I sing, laugh, weep as I drum. I travel and merge with the drum. October 28, 2022
If you feel the call to make a drum of your own, stay tuned. Annette of Spirit Dancer, http://www.spiritdancervt.com, and I are in conversation about a drum making workshop at the beginning of February 2023.