The dry run also gave us a chance to orchestrate the roles people would have during the healing part of the ceremony. The FSS Basic Workshop is a prerequisite for the drumming circle, and I encourage people to take the advanced workshops as well, so that there is a greater range of practices that can be done in the group. Our ceremony benefitted from that, because there were people who’d been trained in each part of the work that was called for in the healing section.


After a quick break, we began the ceremony itself. It flowed together like a dance, with people drumming and rattling to support the healing work. No matter whose turn it was to receive healing, there were always at least two people who were trained in each healing practice, always at least one drummer, and always people rattling. Actions that were performed by one or two people alternated with actions performed by the whole group like waves of motion moving around the circle. Another participant made a similar observation: “It seemed that as the drum circle created the ceremony, guiding spirit helpers likewise cooperated as a group. As we practiced and then performed the completed ceremony, it seemed power swelled and grew exponentially, while energies of all the participants, seen and unseen, flared into something far more powerful, flowing as a whole.”

In addition to the healing benefits of the circle, it seemed like a rite of passage for each person in the group, going deeper in their relationships of trust with their helping spirits. One group member had this to say: “The experience of creating a ceremony was incredible for me because I didn't know I had the power to do it! Not only was I surprised and excited when we called on the spirits and used what we were given to create a ceremony, I was doubly blown away by how powerful it was when we actually did it! It really drew back to the core shamanic teaching that we, in cooperation with the spirits, are our own spiritual authorities and not dependent on any presiding authority for our own spiritual empowerment.”

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