My short answer to both of those questions jumped right out of my default Irish sarcasm...in the form of "WHY NOT"? But I try most days not to live from my defaults very much anymore. My quick sarcasm was a long time friend that was really more of a defense mechanism, and I find now, no longer serves me very well. Nor does it do very in furthering my journey on my chosen path.
So the real answers are not quite as simplistic, nor as short, because there are many.
Questions (and answers) in Meditation
I spend a fair amount of time in meditation and more often than not, in my meditation periods, especially in deep or prolonged periods of meditation, I am very visual, during which I frequently journey to a space and time when ceremony and ritual were common, daily practices for the purposes of healing, building and strengthening community and inter-personal relationships, expressing spirituality, and connecting with the Earth, the Universe, and Higher Realms within ourselves, and without.
When my meditation period has ended and I am fully joined with, and settled in my conscious mind again, I feel a sense of loss (for lack of a better word) and a longing for what used to be so commonplace among our species. I am always filled with gratitude and great appreciation for all of the indigenous, tribal, and native peoples of the world that still honor ceremonial, ritualistic and sacred practices.
Why a Drum Circle?
Sacred drum circles, Shamanic drumming, as part of ceremony or ritual, or even as a stand alone expression of the same have been part of the human experience for millennia, almost since the arrival or humanity on our planet. People have expressed themselves through replicating the most primal, and elemental of all sounds...their own heartbeat.
A Drum Circle creates and nourishes a sense of community of like-minded people, gathering for individual reasons, to be sure, but also to be "part of".
Part of something larger than themselves, something that allows them the space and freedom to express the music that lives inside each of us. The Circle allows us to connect with one another on a deep level, expressing both our humanity and our spirituality. The magic of the Circle transports us to realms outside of ourselves and connects us to something Sacred and Ancient.
I can state these things from experience now. I facilitated my first Sacred Drum Circle this past week in honor and celebration of the Summer Solstice. I am a novice, but enthusiastic drummer and Native American flute player and these items have become an integral and beautiful part of my meditations. The desire to establish a Drum Circle in my area was birthed during meditation with a strong nudge from Source. Okay, maybe a bit more than a nudge...maybe more like a consuming fire! I started making some inquiries for location, set things in motion in that regard, created an event on social media, made some flyers, and prayed. I felt so "out of my element". Nagging doubts, and maybe even a little fear crowded my usually much more "zen" headspace. Questions like "Who do you think you are?", "Why on earth would you attempt something like this in THIS area?" I did my best to answer then dismiss them. "I AM a child of the Universe that feels guided to do this." "And why not here? If not here, where?" I even briefly entertained the idea of canceling the whole event 3-4 days before the scheduled date.
But I didn't, and made up my mind even if I drummed alone for 2 hours, it was all good. I love drumming. I finally found peace from the nagging doubts and questions by surrendering the whole event to Source with no attachment or expectation for the outcome. So the planned date and time came. The skies looked none too promising, with the threat of rain on the horizon. Nonetheless, I set up the Sacred table in the center of the space with candles honoring the Four Directions and crystals I'd felt guided to use. I hung Tibetan Prayer Flags facing West where the sun would set and watched the stong wind carry the prayers and intentions inscribed on them, heavenward.
I cleared the space with prayer, intentions, and flute music and people began to arrive. Some were friends, some nodding acquaintences, and some, complete strangers. Two hours later, there were no strangers. There were only drummers and musicians, and people who had been transformed by a powerful, shared experience.
We did three rounds of drumming following an outline on Shamanic Drumming I'd gotten from my good friend Google. Everything I'd read or heard about the Drum Circles was true! The drums and other instruments do find one another, naturally, organically... magically. And when they do the experience is like none I have ever had before. It was felt by all who played and participated as they shared their personal experiences afterward. We all felt a deep connection to one another, to the Earth, to all of humanity, and to the Spiritual Realms as well. It was both relaxing and healing, yet exhilerating, all at the same time.
It dissolved egos and separateness...and it was empowering. So very EMPOWERING.
More than once, after a round ended, all we could say was "Wow" Wow, was indeed the best word to describe what we had just shared.
It was amazing, and so beautiful for me to see these folks, most of them strangers to one another just a couple of hours before, laughing, talking and sharing their experiences with one together.
Promising myself that if there was any kind of positive response to this first attempt, I would try my best to keep the momentum going, I'd created a sign-up sheet for people to share names, email addresses and preferences for frequency and preferred day of the week. Everyone present had filled out the sheet. Monthly was the unanimous choice for frequency and so it shall be.
We will gather.
We will drum.
We will connect.
We will honor the Earth, our Ancestors and the Source of All That Is.
And I believe... we will be transformed.
Fair question. For me the answer is simple and somewhat selfish. As I have awakened and begun to question everything I ever believed, or thought I believed, and everything I knew, or thought I knew, I have had a desire to seek out my own, my tribe, if you will.
Becoming a Reiki practitioner, and eventually a Reiki Master has opened my heart and mind to embrace life more fully. It has enabled me to love more deeply, to forgive more quickly, to embrace life more fully, and eventually realize there is nothing to forgive. I created every life experience I have ever had, good, bad or indifferent.
My love for all of humanity and other sentient beings has grown exponentially and with that love has come a desire to know other people in ways that are real, and connected, and spiritual.
I believe, and have for many years, that Western culture has done itself a huge disservice by abandoning, for the most part, ritual and ceremony. There is something deep within me that misses them. It yearns for a greater and deeper connection to all other living beings that share the planet with me, and it has a desire to honor Mother Earth, and also desires greatly to nurture and protect her.
All that I read and have read, much of what I hear, my conversations with others...all tell me- I am not alone.
To restate what I said earlier, not sarcastically, but earnestly and sincerely, "Why not now?" If not now, when?
If ever there was a time when our species, when all beings, when our planet, ever needed all that ritual and ceremony have to offer, it is now.
Now IS the time and we ARE the ones. If this resonates in your being, join us.
The next Sacred Drum Circle is planned for Wednesday, July 19th, from 6-8 PM in Gardner Park, Newport, VT. Join us, spread the word, bring your drums, rattles, shakers, tambourines, what have you, bring the music in your soul and your dance. Come and share your beautiful spirit with us.