Praying with the drum

Ritual has always been very important throughout human history and always  was very important to Layne Redmond. Thus at all our workshops with Layne,  there was a designated spiritual focus area. Sometimes it was on the floor in the centre of our circle.  At other times, a table stoodexpectantly nearby.  Sometimes there was an area set aside for ritual purposes; sometimes there were more. Each drummer was invited to pray or do what is faithful for them there.  OftenLayne would invite participants to bring and prayerfully place on the worship centre something of spiritual significance to them personally.  Choosing and placing your personal object  while all the others watched was a humbling, deeply moving moment. Holy place. Holy time. Sacred living.

 

 

Worship Centres

  

  

Above is a small table set on the deck. We were invited to think of how important water is for us. And below this table, was 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.

Transient

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. 

 

Sometimes, a Layne event involved going outdoors and lighting a fire to burn our guilt or fear. Can you see the contemporary sistrum?

Sometimes, a Layne event involved going outdoors and lighting a fire to burn our guilt or fear. Can you see the contemporary sistrum?

Intercession, Mediation and Contemplation

One way in which Biblical drumming becomes prayer is sometimes called intercession and supplication. Weknow 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 thehealing 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 andbe there. 

And sometimes, wepick 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.

 

'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 visualizethat new life squeezing through the birth canal and drum a blessing upon the newborn. 

 

Each Drummer, an Individual; Each Group, Unique

A heartfelt prayer Photo by Mark Pullen; used with permission

A heartfelt prayer

Photo by Mark Pullen; used with permission

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 ourtambourine and tar. Go with those patterns! Keep going with those patterns as long as they 'work' for you. And when the pattern shifts, go with the shift. Go! And go again!

Further guidelines follow below, suitable for copying and printing out for yourself.

So when you  are part of drumming as a group, speak up for a regular 'spiritual' moment as part of your times together. Such a moment out of your drum time is not an add-on, but the very heart and foundation of what and why and how you and I drum. 

 

 

Incense to purify and a candle for Light while the rest of the drummers keep the Pulse 

Incense to purify and a candle for Light while the rest of the drummers keep the Pulse 

Aother Workshop Focal Point  

Aother Workshop Focal Point

 

Layne prepares a worship moment

Layne prepares a worship moment

Then Jephthah came to his home...and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing.
— Judges 11: 34 NRSV
Joyce was 86 when she began to drum. It quickly became part of her prayer life.  During the summers, she drums by the hour on her dock or cottage steps sending God's gentle heart beat out across the lake. From time to time, canoeistsmention to her how they can hear it and appreciate it.    

Joyce was 86 when she began to drum. It quickly became part of her prayer life.  During the summers, she drums by the hour on her dock or cottage steps sending God's gentle heart beat out across the lake. From time to time, canoeistsmention to her how they can hear it and appreciate it.

 

 

Kathleen and Mary Ann experiencing the deep joy of drumming out of doors near Bracebridge.

Kathleen and Mary Ann experiencing the deep joy of drumming out of doors near Bracebridge.

Outdoors, a frame drum with jingles invokes a prayer time for Sylvia.    

Outdoors, a frame drum with jingles invokes a prayer time for Sylvia.

 

 

Guidelines for Personal Prayer with the Biblical Drum

 

*     Gently remind yourself what it means to pick up your drum and what your drum

                   means for you.

*     Remind yourself why you are picking your drum up: “I pick up my drum today for prayer:

a. to ask,

b.   to thank,

c.    to praise,

d.   to adore,

     e.   to simply be,

f.     to rest in God’s strength/peace/wisdom, etc."

*     Begin any pattern you know by heart or just play.

*     Drum slowly, quietly –for a what feels like a long time.

*     If you are feeling angry, bitter, overwhelmed, or simply want to,  

                 let your drumming become loud/strong/fast as you need it to be.

 *     Drum until your drumming slows and quiets.

 *     Continue drumming & open yourself to God.

 *     Gently let go of everything except the sound of each stroke of your drumming or

                   the pattern as a whole.

 *     When you feel ready, share your concerns with God; let any tears and emotions

                    flow.

 *     Remind yourself the Holy One is lovingly hearing each stroke and each word

                    you share. For God, each of your strokes and words is precious, cherished.

*      Drum until you sense “enough,” ending by giving thanks to God.

*      Relax where you are. Gently return to the present.