The Role Of The Drum For The Shaman
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The drum has a role of first importance to the shaman, for its rhythm develops a oneness of feeling and purpose with the rhythms of the universe. Everything in the universe, from the smallest subatomic particle to the largest star, vibrates with rhythmic motion. All things are born of rhythm and it is rhythm that holds them in form. Rhythm is the heartbeat of life.
Every living thing has a unique song, a pulsing rhythm that belongs only to it. Within the heart of each of us, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm that connects us to the totality of a dynamic, interrelated universe. The drum’s beat unites the shaman with all life forms into a single being, a single heartbeat. The drum reconciles all of the disparate and discordant aspects of nature. It promotes individual and planetary resonance and restores harmony and balance.
The drum’s sonorous voice expresses the basic rhythm patterns man has observed over and over in nature: the tides, the phases of the moon, the changing seasons, and the myriad cycles of life. Rhythm and resonance order the natural world. Dissonance and disharmony arise only when we limit our capacity to resonate totally and completely with the rhythms of life. Rhythm is a universal vibrational language. We respond to rhythm whenever we sense it and seek it out when it is not present, for it is invariably pleasant.
Drumming affects aurally generated emotion more than any other musical instrument. Drum rhythms cover the whole range of human feeling. Whatever the emotion, the drum seems to compensate and offer satisfying expression. Drumming provides solace, relief from anger, courage when afraid, or even ecstasy.