Creating a Ceremony in a Core Shamanic Drumming Circle
  It was a gorgeous spring day in Boulder, Colorado, and I was impressed with the members of our drumming circle for being willing to spend an entire day indoors. I facilitate a circle that’s grounded in core shamanism, and based on the concept of building shamanic community. There’s a six-month commitment to bi-monthly meetings, and twice during that period, we meet for a whole day. The day-long meetings provide a perfect opportunity for going deeper into the practices for which the participants have been trained, and for delving into various shamanic topics that are of interest to me and to the group.


For our most recent all-day meeting, I wanted to experiment with creating a shamanic ceremony, out of the blue, with no advance preparation or knowledge of what we would be doing. I wanted to see what our community would learn about the nature of ceremony, it’s foundation in direct inspiration from the spirits, and its power to bring healing and wisdom to the group. Not only would it be confidence-building for us, deepening our relationships with our helping spirits, but we would have a beautiful ceremony at the end of the day, in which we could all participate.

First we talked about the role of ceremonies in indigenous cultures. We mentioned several ceremonies that we knew by name, and talked generally about their power for healing, marking seasons, and celebrating rites of passage. By contrast, the only parameters I gave for our ceremony was that it would have an opening, a main section that would somehow allow for each person to receive healing, and a closing of some kind. We would spend the morning journeying for instructions and creating the ceremony, and in the afternoon, we would do the ceremony together. Everyone was eager to give it a try.

Our plan was to do a series of short journeys to ask for instructions, and then make notes and share the information with the group. We would repeat the process until everyone felt we had what we needed for the ceremony. No one was assigned a specific section of the ceremony to work on. As I was drumming for the first journey, I was amused by the questions that chased each other about in my mind. “What if everyone gets something different for the opening, and no one gets anything for the closing?” “What if the pieces are all jumbled and nothing fits together smoothly?” Not that I was really afraid of that, but I was truly not prepared for how amazingly everything came together.

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