Drums are the most widespread, sacred, ritually significant of all musical instruments. Integral within religious ceremonies, combined
with dancing, singing, marching of celebrating marriage and birth, to sounding the passing on of a soul to exorcising malevolent
spirits, expelling evildoers, divining the future, signalling danger to
becoming an earthly voice for the ancestors, spirits and gods.
The drum, in it's many guises, across all continents, within all nations and peoples, has been part of the story of humanity
from the moment our ancestors fashioned the first drum.
From the sound of our mother's heartbeat in the womb,
to Christian Huygens' (1665) Theory of Entrainment as an explanatory
idea as to why drums have been and are, so important in world
cultures, the drum is here to stay.
Since the re-introduction of Shamanic practices into the West in the 1970s/80s
by Dr Michael Harner and his later created
Foundation of Shamanic Studies in the US,
the anthropologist coined the collective name for community
healers Shaman, a Siberian term, drumming for Healing
and calling of Spirits, celebration and so forth that has since continued to
grow in the West.
Shaman is a term for healer, but a healer that communes with Spirit
and is able to move between the worlds gaining answers, guidance,
healing as they looked after the holistic healing of those in their community.
Often the position was passed down and the sacred methods handed down.
For Britains our equivalent would have been Druids except
the Romans killed them all they believed, when they invaded Britain and annexed us
to the Roman Empire but some would have survived and
continued to pass the craft in secret.
But, the Druids in the UK are very small in number even now.
In Native American culture the equivalent person would be the tribe's
Whatever culture, the drum has and is an integral part of our lives.
Who is your favourite band? Not many are without a drummer or
percussion of some sort which brings me to mention the rattle.
In Shamanism the Rattle is as important as the Drum.
As Shamanism includes animism, the belief that everything
created has a Spirit, because everything created is energy,
and even if it's a piece of metal, nail, door handle,
that energy is of the creative force that is everything . . .
Great Spirit, God, Yahweh the creator of a thousand names
yet of no name, the rattle is used for it's delicate voice to varying degrees
depending upon what it is made of.
What is the Theory of Entrainment you may have wondered?!
It is the now proven theory that two rhythms in close proximity to
one another will slowly begin to mirror each other.
They entrain rather than cycle apart from each other which would
take more energy. So the two rhythms expend less energy by
entraining closer and closer to oneness and eventually
beat together as one, harmonised.
Our drumming ancestors were harmonising through the drumming
entraining to the beat of the universe itself,
just as we do today.