Praying with the drum
Ritual has always been very important throughout human history. It has always been important to Layne Redmond. Thus at all our workshops with Layne, there is a designated spiritual focus area. Sometimes it is on the floor in the centre of our circle. At other times, a table stands expectantly nearby. Sometimes there is one area; sometimes there are more. Each drummer is invited to pray or do what is faithful for them there. Often Layne will invite participants to bring and prayerfully place on the worship centre something of spiritual significance to them personally. Choosing and placing your personal object amidst all the others is a humbling and moving moment. Holy place. Holy time. Sacred living.
Above is a small table set on the deck. We were invited to think of how important water is for us. A Below the table you can see a bowl of shells and stones from the seashore for each of us to take home as a tangible sign of the Holy One whom we found there.
During the ritual at this table, the candle was lit. At the indicated moment, each participant put a couple spoonfuls of soil, from a place of spiritual significance to them, into the circular glass vase. We meditated quietly as air bubbled up the tall glass vase of water. Prayer and readings were intermingled.
'Fully Present' Moments
Each time we pick up our drum, it is potentially a power-filled holy moment.
Pause to wonder: what am I really picking up? Who accompanies me as I pick up my drum? Whisper a prayer of gratitude: "Thank-you, Source of all." Or read a prayer you like.
Each time we set our drum down or put it in its case, what are we doing? What all are we really laying aside in this moment? Who accompanies us? How grateful are we to have had a moment to drum and for the privilege of experiencing God's Pulse within us ? A breathe prayer of thanks is so appropriate as you tuck your drum away.
Perhaps someone you know is dying and so you drum Omalu in your home to be with that person and ease their transition from one reality to another. Perhaps a woman you know is giving birth and so you drum Happiness (slowly) in your home for her, for her strength and well-being flowing. And you visualize that new life squeezing through the birth canal and drum a blessing upon the newborn.
Intercession, Mediation and Contemplation
One way in which Biblical drumming becomes prayer is sometimes called intercession and supplication. We know someone in great need of prayer or healing or direction. So we drum a pattern that comes to us, because it is so deeply integrated within our fingers' muscles. We play and we cry out: 'where are you, Lord ? I need you!' Or, 'bring my sister the healing and Peace she needs.' Or, help our leaders to discern - faithfully - what step is next for our congregation.'
Or we may repeat a particular phrase meaningful to us over and over again, such as 'Loving Creator,' to simply be with God. Or we repeat a favourite prayer or chant a simple hymn like "Be still and know that I am am God" as we drum. This is meditative prayer. God already knows what we need and we know we need to be closer to God.
Yet another way in which Biblical drumming becomes prayer is what some call 'contemplative' prayer. A pattern we know well is simply played over and over, slowly and gently. Our worries and concerns start to fade. The pattern quietly leads us to Holy Wisdom who is within us, or to the Light of Jesus Christ or to the Creator, or, or, or. Once in that space, we simply drum and be there.
And sometimes, we pick up our drum and let it play us, knowing we are with God and in God and so feel that Love. No words, just the Pulse of All. That is contemplative prayer, too.
Each Drummer, an Individual; Each Group, Unique
Each of us is one of a kind! Each of us is a unique expression of our Creator. Thus, we pray best in our own, unique way, as does each drum group. And we have personal concerns, just as we have our preferred drum patterns on our tambourine and tar. Go with those patterns! Keep going with those patterns as they 'work' for you. And when the pattern shifts, go with the shift. Go! And go again!
And when you have drumming as a group, have a spiritual moment as part of your time together. Such a minute or two out of an hour is not an add-on, but the very heart and foundation of what and why and how you and I drum.