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Shamanism and the Drum Journey

Shamanism is the oldest form of Spiritual Practice, being documented for about 40,000 years. Shamanism has existed on every continent. Although never meeting, indigenous peoples on every continent on earth have practiced similar ancient practices in Shamanism. There may be some variation from peoples to peoples, but the basic premise is communicating with the Great Creator through all aspects and elements of the earth and sky.

Shamans use many different tools and ceremonies. Using the drum to Journey (or meditate) is one form of communicating with our Creator, Great Spirit. The purpose of journeying is to retrieve information for healing- for yourself; for another; or for the planet.

Typically Drumming/Journey preparation consists of Smudging with Sage, then Rattling oneself and area, while Inviting the Spirit Guides/Ancestor to join the drumming for our protection and guidance.

Before going off on a Drum Journey, one “Sets an Intention “on what it is he or she is Journeying for. Traditionally, the eyes are covered in the Journey, as the Shaman “sees in the dark”.

Shamans journey to “Unordinary Worlds”- the Upper World, the Lower World, or the Middle World, often according to what guides or guidance they are looking for..

Shamanism has a strong focus on having a relationship with Spirit Guides and The Ancestors. Ancestors typically are your relations, who have lived before you and wish to offer you guidance and sometimes protection. Spirit Guides or other Beings of Light will work with you life-long, or just as needed.

Shamans also have a very close working nature with the animals of the earth. In the Shaman’s world, animals have “Medicine”. Unlike medicine you take when ill, and animal, or “totem’s” medicine are the aspects of the animal that reflect Great Creator working in your life, or an attribute that you need to take on for a certain situation. Animals teach us many things about how to work and live within our environment. Again, animal totems/guides can be life-long, or they can come and go as you need them. Traditionally it is practiced that the animal that is your totem will show you three sides of itself when you see it on the Journey. You should also ask if it is your totem, and/or why it has come to you on the Journey.

Shaman’s also pay close attention to any message they receive in a Journey that may come from a rock, tree, cloud, water body or any other element of Nature. Shamanism views every living thing as having soul and being loved, created and deeply cared for by the Great Creator- just as much as He cares for his Human children. Therefore, ALL things are treated with great reverence. AND- as time goes by in the practice of Shamanism, most individuals find they have certain particular connection in communicating with elements of nature, or animals, or clouds, etc. They find their own individual “language” in which they receive information. You will find your own way of understanding. There is no set way to practice- other than through love.

Another tool used daily by the Shaman is the Medicine Wheel. This Wheel is actually a huge part of every aspect of their life and work. Within the Medicine Wheel these aspects are seen and understood: The Cycles of Life; The Time of Day/Year; The Seasons; The cardinal Directions; The Elements; The Kingdoms; Plants; Animals; Male/Female; Aspects of Spirit, Earth, the Physical, the Void and the Mind.

If you would like to learn more, attend a group drumming our book and individual drumming or teaching.

Some Suggested Readings: 


Shamanic Experience:


Kenneth Meadows


 Rainbow Medicine:


Wolf Moondance






Ted Andrews


The Way of the Shaman:


Michael Harner


Soul Retrieval:


Sandra Ingreman


Sacred Drumming:


Steven Ash

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