I remember the thrill of excitement as I approached the yurt at Kingfisher Cottage, it was a setting I had longed for and set the beginning to such a profound transformation of my life. A Woodland walk took me past some logs piled up as I saw a man pushing a wheel barrow. Initially I thought he was some Woodland Wizard, it was Steven the teacher. The welcome for me was the most oddest I have ever experienced as it was as if my soul was being reached into. This was certainly the beginning of my mystical Journey into the world of Sacred Drumming. The beat of the drum vibrated in my body, I had never felt so alive, and the birds and nature so present in the core of my being. I had come home and had found a way of life that would sustain something in me that had gone to sleep. The making of my own healing Drum taught me about my fear of making things, messing up. Actually I gained in not getting things right, and loved the world of imperfection. The word "mucker” comes to mind. I became a specialist in just putting things together, and seeing what happens, the sense of freedom in this was incredible. This quality was somehow acknowledged and affirmed when my teacher gifted us all with a little stone. It was of brown varied colours and had hidden depths and shapes that I loved so much. It held such symbolic deep value to me, that I grieved when it decided to go its own way to join its other stone friends with Grandmother Earth. Yes, the world of imagery and symbolism was another incredible gift that opened up other realms to life in a very grounded way. Everything in nature became alive in the way I experienced as a child. Now as an adult I had made friends with the stone people and a very special stone gifted by Steven. Never had I appreciated stones so much, and the knowledge they hold of our land. Reverence respect and attachment along with loss were my lessons for personal growth. I also learnt a new meaning to the word prayer. This is something I had always rejected as I bulk at anything that holds a religious connotation. To be honest, I didn't really understand spirituality, to me it was just a word that people spoke of, but held no meaning for me. The Medicine Wheel however played with my imagination in a beautiful way. Made very special by Stories of Back Elk a Native American Indian who I so much wish I could have met and chatted to. Instead I set up my Medicine Wheel and hold a daily prayer with nature while in a garden or a Woodland even a hill or Mountain and I drum, and it is such a special moment. Somehow as I drum I realise that already I look at life through Black Elks eyes, allowing his words and way of describing things to mingle and create mine. When I face West I imagine what Black elk describes as " The thunder beings that live to send us rain " Then facing North "whence comes the great white cleansing wind ". Yes, when I drum in the Medicine Wheel in a Woodland embracing the healing quality of imagery, and the vibrational changes in my body, I also touch ancient history, humanity and its shadows. Black Elk spoke of things that he deemed holy and also acknowledged and perhaps honouring the darkness of mens eyes along with its love and teachings. The gift to my life is indeed Sacred Drumming and the creatures, trees, plants, the bird and bees who join me in my walk through this life and come to me when I drum. The course however also held something very, very special it was like looking into the pool of crystal clear water and that was the looking into the eyes of my other Sacred Drumming Teacher Renata. Renata and Steven have been my guides, my mirror and a long friendship with all its ups and downs. A truly transformative path to take, not for the fainthearted, but for those with courage and a commitment to truly seeing life beyond the prison of stuck values and beliefs.
Jean Hammond March 2020