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Anatomy of a Sacred Drum

Posted: 23/11/2012 in Blog
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From two dead things you make something alive Sacred Drumming

Making your own sacred drum in ceremony is even more meaningful if you look at your drum as if it is becoming alive as you make it. So lets look at its anatomy as we go through part of a drum making.

 We start by smudging ourselves and all the tools with white sage.

The wooden hoop is the drums skeleton, the structure in which hollowness can exist, like the bones of our body that are smooth and rounded, all the sharp edges of the wooden hoop need to be rounded and soft, so the skin can move over the edges as it stretches and tightens later in its life. We go in stages until the wood is really alive and loved, starting with a rasp, rough sandpaper, fine sandpaper and then wood oil with added essential oils. As you work on the hoop, you breathe and focus into your own bones thanking the "standing people" the trees for giving of themselves for your drum. It is important to be grateful all the time you are creating...What would you be like without bones? Would your face look so good in the mirror in the morning if your skull dissapeared overnight!

Your rib-cage is like the hoop of your drum with the diaphram being the skin, so as you smooth away the wood hoop you focus on your body structure and know that it is the solid upon which the flexible parts hang. And in the centre of the ribcage is the lungs and heart, both with their own even beat, the lungs ebbing and flowing like the tide and the heart regulating and distributing the blood throughout the whole body in its pitter-patter rhythm...be grateful that you are making a drum with a heart so regular and loving, with breathing like the tidal flow of the sea.

Next you cut the lace out of a piece of rawhide going round and round until you reach the centre. This cutting is strange it brings up fear, it is scarry because you have to be careful making the lace even fine and yet strong, the lace is like your line of life, an umbilical cord; life and death memories come up, there is a smell and feel of death as you cut the wet hide. This lace is like your tendons, sinews and muscles it is going to hold everything together. As you snip snip round and around you meditate on being grateful for being alive, having been born; look back through your life and see how this long wet strip of skin represents your life, in every moment there is life, be grateful.

Now you shape and prepare the skin for the drum head, round, floppy and wet just like a new born babe! A beautiful animal has given its skin for your drum imagine its life cycle from birth to death...you are going to give it new life.
Drum is going to be your friend for a long time, so in this time be really conscious. This might be the only time in this life that you make a sacred drum so be awake and feel how aware you can be. The drum head represents your skin, the largest of the endocrine organs, the organ of feelings, touch and sensitivity.

The drum is audibly heard and internally felt by two-leggeds. This gives the human race a new sense of the first sound any human heard. That sound was in the womb and was a double heart beat. The child's own heart and the heart of it's mother resonates through the amniotic sac and mirrors the human connection to the Earth Mother. Jamie Sams in Sacred Path Cards


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