Earth Rhythms Healing
Articles and Insights
Articles and Insights
I know that one thing we all have in common is that we love the drum and that we want to help others experience the fun, excitement, power and communicative qualities that drumming together has to offer. Drums are the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instrument, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.
Why is the drum so powerful and why does it move us to want to share it? Here is my perspective. I believe the drum circle is a micro representation of the macrocosm. We come together with our different backgrounds and world views and we open ourselves to the rhythm. The sound frequencies and the energy raising abilities that are presented when everyone is immersed in rhythm together offers some powerful potential for healing the group mind and for helping us come together in cooperation and peace.
Anthropologist Michael Harner, founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, did pioneering work in the 1960’s and 70’s in studying the effects of drumming. In his studies he concludes that “the beat of the drum, as used to transport native people into shamanic states of consciousness, closely approximates the base resonant frequency of the Earth, which can be measured scientifically.” This brings me to the notion that when we all drum together we connect ourselves to the energy of the planet and to our connection with nature. This gives us opportunity to use this energy raising vehicle to come together with a purpose.
As we play this ancient instrument that has been used through the ages to heal people, to help tribes see into the future and to bring people together to celebrate rights of passage we have the ability to utilize our drum circles to help make our world a better place to live.
As facilitators, the first question we have to ask ourselves when we enter the drum circle space is what is our mental, emotional and physical state? Maybe we’re doing a circle in an environment that we feel uncomfortable in or that the conditions are not quite what we expected. Since most of us facilitate in so many different types of situations this idea is something to consider. Once we are in touch with our state of being before the drum circle comes together it is then that we have an opportunity to set an intention for the drum session that is about to begin.
My personal preparation and practice is to walk around, acknowledge and feel the space where the event is to be held. What is the space normally used for and who are the people that will be attending? Once I have done that I meditate on clearing my mind from my everyday concerns and I focus on my breath while stating in the space that the energy that we will raise here today is to be used for the highest good of the participants that will be involved. With this intention set and clearly stated in my mind I am able to share this intention while facilitating the circle.
As we “intentionally” share rhythm with others, we come to realize that our state of mind does affect the group and that when we come to the circle with positive intentions towards peace, love, healing and acceptance that we can raise the energy through the rhythm towards these goals.
This ultimately helps us spread cooperation, peace and harmony amongst the participants of our circles and it ripples out into the communities that we live in. We are leaders of change through rhythm and our vehicle is our drum. I’m grateful to be one of these leaders and appreciate and thank you all for your efforts in helping to make peaceful change in our world. Drum On!
Community Drum Circles: Shamans or Demons -
Intention: A Reflection of the Group Mind
by Stephanie Kusmer, Earth Rhythms Healing
Thursday, May 24, 2012
I have some thoughts that I’d like to share on community drumming and how setting intention is very important to the outcome of the experience. Many times I participate in community drum circles where I find I actually feel worse than I did before I joined the circle. I’ve spoken to others who have felt the same way. I’ve spent some time pondering this idea and have come up with some thoughts on why this is and how this can be changed to help achieve greater enjoyment of our drum circle experience while creating an intentional channel for the higher spirit to come through us.
The drum has been used throughout the ages for many purposes. Individuals and groups have used the drum beat to travel to other worlds shamanically, to create changes in the weather, to celebrate events and rights of passages, to channel spirits, and even to wage war and destruction. The drumbeat connects us deeply to the planet earths vibration and in doing so peels away layers of the illusion of the individual ego, exposing opportunities to manipulate time and space. Shamans and many ancient cultures have known and utilized this throughout the ages.
This is why I feel it is so important to understand how powerful drumming is when participating in group and community drum circles for the experienced and inexperienced drummer alike. For example, before the circle gets started it is beneficial to utilize techniques for clearing negative energies, i.e. smudging the circle with sage or incense, calling in the elemental quarters/spirits and setting intentions of the highest vibration of love and light. This is beneficial to assist the group in communicating more effectively. If the circle is already going, an individual can do this before joining the circle even if it is in their mind and not physically done. To help achieve this goal, each person has the responsibility to come into the circle with a mindset of willingness to listen to each other and help each other discover the power of rhythm. Once the rhythm is achieved a higher mind of willing participants can come together to create a loving and healing experience. When we are entrained with each other in the circle it creates a portal for the energy to flow into us. When we are aware of this we can come together for the highest good of all in the group. It is true that each individual may have a different level of experience when it comes to drumming.
It is the responsibility of the stronger drummers to open themselves to the channel of rhythm while keeping a clear mind and listening to the group conversation. It is the responsibility of the less experienced drummer to listen as well and try to entrain as the rhythm is being created. So many times a community drum circle ends up a battle of who can hit the drum hardest and loudest without any consideration for the communicative potential that the drum circle creates. This is a mirror of our society that encourages competition instead of cooperation. Being aware of this can assist us in coming from a higher state of consciousness and heart centered awareness that we can channel into the circle. We can use this energy to draw benevolent spirit of the highest vibration instead of drawing in low level vibrations which reflect fear, insecurity and competitiveness.
I believe when we come together with intention for higher good we create that vibration and it is reflected in the energy and experience of all. When each of us looks around the circle do we feel judged and inferior or do we feel love and openness. It is our choice. The experience not only reflects our individual intention but also manifests and reflects the group mind and intention. Are people smiling and having a good time or are they still faced with diverting eyes? The drum circle is a micro representation of our world. What we put into it is what we get out of it. Garbage in, garbage out - love, light and understanding in, love, light and understanding out. Keeping these thoughts in mind may help us all to elevate our enjoyment of community drumming as well as utilizing it to assist the greater good of all.
Blessings and Light,
Stephanie K. Kusmer, Earth Rhythms Healing
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