Shamanic Drumming

The shamanic drumming is centuries old technique for achieving an altered state of consciousness and communicating with the spirits . The sound plays major part in almost all of the shamanic rituals .


shamanic drumming circle


No matter produced by a tool or a voice , the rhythmic continuous sound helps achieving  a state of trance . There are many different form of sound producing in the shamanic world . The amazonian shamans using the "icaro" . It is a chant accompaniment by a  chakapa, a rattle of bundled leaves . These chants and the sound produced by the chakapa helping the participants to enter way deeper to the spiritual realm .  Some shamans are using wood rattling , bells , horns and etc. In the different cultures the instruments are different  but the goal remains the same . To tap in to the realm of spirits .


Probably the most popular shamanic instrument of all is the drum. 


There is some mystical power hidden in the drum beat and the sound wave it produces . The shamans however did found its hidden powers long ago . The first evidences of drum usage dating back to the prehistorical era .


shaman drumA shaman's drum is usually made of hide and wood . Its forms and size varies . From the flat Elk Hide drums of the native North American shamans to the well known African Djembee and the Buddhist's Mokugyo . The drum may take variety of different forms but its main purpose is one . To make the link to the the spiritual realm .


Normally a shamanic drumming session is a part of the healing ritual .


The drumming is a guiding sound which the shaman uses to orchestrate the ceremony . He begins with a slow rhythmic drumming gradually building the intensity of the tempo .  Then in its climaxes the drum tempo reaches between 3 and 7 beats per second . By constantly increasing the tempo the shaman guides the participant deeper and deeper to the spiritual realm . Furthermore the shaman uses the drums not only to guide the participants in the ceremony . The drum actually is the tool needed to communicate with the spirits . The sound can leave our realm and to enter the spiritual . With it the shaman establishes a bridge between the two realms . 


Well known form of the shamanic drumming is the so called drumming circle . 


The drumming ceremony is shamanic drumming a form of a group consciousness . Under the shaman's guidance all the participants are entering a single rhythm of drumming . Often practiced even today as a healing and enchanting experience . The traditions of the drum circle are rediscovered in the USA in the late 60's and continued to grow followers . Another popular form of modern shamanic drumming is the "Medicine Wheel Drumming and Prayer Ceremony"  . In this form of shamanic drumming the participants are all drumming together guided by the leader . This ceremony is outlined step by step in the book "Finding Sanctuary in Nature" by Jim PathFinder Ewing


Nowadays the shamanic drumming is recognized by the western civilization .


Moreover its powers are now used by psychiatrists with therapeutic goals and objectives . Some others using drumming as a form of recreational and supportive music in places like prisons and hospitals . We still have a lot to learn about the ancient ritual of drumming , but we are heading in the right direction. 

Related Literature

Shamanic Drumming Circles Guide

by Michael Drake


The Shamanic Drum : A guide to sacred Drumming

by Michael Drake


Finding Sanctuary in Nature: Simple Ceremonies in the Native American Tradition for Healing Yourself and Others

by Jim PathFinder Ewing


Shamanic Drumming : Calling the Spirit

by Michael Drake