I’ve been calling in my Medicine Drum to use in ritual and ceremony for almost 2 years. I am a firm believer in the Lore’s of the unspoken… of Spirit, that when you send a request, it will be answered when you are truly ready to receive and embody the gifts and medicine of that which you seek. Not when you “think” you are… there is a stark difference and when you come full cycle, you can look back and laugh at your naivety. That has been my experience.
And so, I have patiently known that my drum and I were seeking each other. I looked on etsy and found a gorgeous Teardrop frame shamanic drum… tempting, as it was to purchase, from a master craftsman too… I was told a firm no.
An initiation awaits… I must be patient…
As with most of my initiations from Spirit… I can feel when I am entering into the dance… there is a type of stirring that surrounds me in the ethers… and I become still… listening for my calling… for the directions…
I have no idea how or when I found and started following Gypsy aka “Sacred Hunger” on Instagram. I felt an instant sister connection, must have been the Wedge tail wings she was preserving at the time, or some other animal medicine… but I felt drawn to her for reasons beyond my knowing. Not only is Gypsy a Shamanic Midwife, trained by Jane Hardwicke Collings (a woman I respect deeply for her gift of service to the world) but also a Death Doula. Something I had been tuning into for a while and felt called to look into further. Knowing that I would most likely fulfill this role in my community (wherever that may be) after I reared my children.
One day I saw that Gypsy was facilitating a Medicine Drum Workshop down on the Central Coast of NSW.
It was like a BAM confirmation…
I asked if she would come north to facilitate a Medicine Drum Workshop. Gypsy agreed, as she would be in the area mid August. I put my feelers out to see if there were enough numbers to make it worth her while.
The day after I posted online I received a few emails from women in my community letting me know there was a local practitioner who was facilitating a Medicine Drum Workshop in the same month and that there was another woman, initiated into Native American healing that also created drums….
How did I not know about this… In the whole 2 years of calling it in… Then organise someone to come and find out there are locals doing it… Oh so funny!!!!
I felt strongly about getting Gypsy to come up but out of respect, contacted one of the local women as felt right to support someone close to home, though she was not interested in facilitating something in Kuranda.
So we locked in a date. All the while Gypsy and her family were journeying through the NT. With little communication, things just seemed to flow… not smoothly… but flow nonetheless.
Unfortunately for me the weekend that the workshop was to take place had everything that could go pear shaped did kind of vibe- consequently I was unable to journey with the others who had booked in.
The Journey: Labour
My active journey started late on Sunday evening, reflecting on my birth and birthing Auruara and Maia with both Gypsy and her partner Karl. I have processed my birthing imprints many, many times before, so it was quite easy for me to access the wisdom and answer a particular set of guiding questions. One particular prompt, gave me a slight “aha” moment with regards to my birth and how that relates to my creative projects.
Afterwards I lay in the Womb Temple, making myself comfortable with the lights dim, deer hide beside me so I could feel the dried skin underneath the palm of my hand. Karl initiated the shamanic journey for me to meet the spirit of my deer. Gypsy explained some of the processes a little more in depth.
Then they both began to drum over my relaxed body.
6/4 rhythms perhaps, the tones of their drums began to quiet my mind.
I set my intention to journey inwards to connect with the Spirit of this Deer, to anchor the medicine that it carries and to embody that with full reverence for its life as a sacrifice in service to the whole.
I felt myself dissolve into myself… collapsing like the birth of a star; I disintegrated into the soil beneath the foundations of the Temple. My heart mind scattered into a mycelia network… a super highway of microbiology penetrating the subterranean layers of the Earth… Until I was inside a cool dark chasm…. Everything was suddenly still… and so quiet… as if I was inside a deep vacuum of space and time… into the eternal void of nothingness…Darkness… the womb of creation… I waited… patiently I became silent, my breath long and drawn deeply.
“Where are you?” I called.
I waited… for what seemed like an eternity within a minute or two.
image sourced from tealtribe.com
And then a meek figure appeared.
There she was, coy and timid, poking her head around what seemed to me the side of an old tree. She was so sweet and beautiful, a very dainty Doe, small and slender. She oozed a gentle beauty and grace. I was taken a little as I had imagined a very powerful spirit to emerge, as I wanted to feel a ‘powerful’ energy.
We connected and she spoke to me saying that the power and strength comes through me, and through her softness of grace and beauty, together radiates from her skin into the world. I will hold her as she holds me.
Then my vision shifted and I saw an almighty stag… like holy fricken wow…. He was so impressive to look at and he just stood there, with these massive antlers, like a guardian of some sort. It was her ancestor and I then travelled through her bloodlines, and saw that the masculine energy was very strong and grounded, which
allowed the feminine essence to be soft and gentle.
Everything made sense to me. This was the medicine intoned in my drum. This is what I have permission to work with.
Then I heard singing in the distance. Native American with hints of Indigenous Australian. The singing became louder until I found myself invited to a campfire with people dancing all around me… chanting… singing… swirling energy, welcoming me home, here, by the fires of grandfather spirit under the light of grandmother moon. I took my place with grace and a smile. I was initiated and gifted songs and rhythms, then everyone celebrated and I started to come back into my body.
The Process: Birth
Using a template I then cut the rawhide for the face of the drum and the lacing I would need to weave and stretch onto the hoop/frame. This was then suspended in water to soak over night. I placed one of my large crystals on top of the hide to hold in place. Then went to sleep.
Intense travelling on the astral planes that night!
The next day the process was a self initiated journey making my medicine drum. We were going to go out to Davies Creek to sit in a very special and sacred spot to me, but because it was raining, I decided to stay home (with all my creature comforts) and weave my drum from the Womb Temple.
There were some funny moments where the lacing became knotted and tangled and I would pause to ask,
“What does this mean?”
As much as there is deep medicine in this process, I found it also humourous in how I work very quickly and sometimes in very unorthodox ways… Having a light heart made the process very enjoyable. I would stop a few times to brew a cup of tea and stretch my body.
Overall I completed my drum in approx. 4hrs.
In a nostalgic kind of way, it felt like I had done this many, many times before. A deep remembering took place, weaving and stretching the skin. Working with and honouring life in a ceremonious way. There is something deeply humbling and revealing about working with skin…with the sacred balance of life and death… connecting with the Spirit of the animal, listening deeply to receive the wisdom and medicine from it’s life force that will take on another form in the use of a Sacred object or talisman.
Nothing is forgotten or lost…
Completion: Nurturing my Newborn
After around 2 weeks she is dry enough to play and I have noticed some interesting tones… ranging from a deep primal resonance, to an uplifting high note… and a few smooth mid-tones… so cool!
Now, another journey awaits, to source a branch to craft into a beater. Davies Creek is calling me, though I went to my favourite creek a short drive away and managed to source a perfect back up or perhaps one to practice carving.
Since the bEarth of my new baby, I have received, or rather remembered, some ‘new’ songs and I look forward to sharing in the future.
As I continue to form an intimate relationship and journey with my drum, I am feeling called to intone the skin with the blood from my womb, such an act will be another rite of passage, all in time, which will aid in taking women on deep Shamanic Journeys into the womb, via the primordial heartbeat… the drum.