Toby Christensen Speaks on Intentional Drumming

Toby and Malidoma playing togetherIntentional Drumming

Hi, this is Healingdrummer Toby Christensen and in this post I would like to talk to you about intentional drumming. One of the things that I’ve experienced as I’ve traveled around, particularly lately, is that there are a lot of amazing drum circles forming throughout the country. People drumming for peace, healing, community and many other good causes.

Keep Focused on Rhythm and Purpose

One of the things that I’ve noticed is that as people drum it’s very easy to lose track of ordinary reality. What I mean by that is that we start drumming, let’s say drumming for peace, and as the drumming continues the rhythm begins to fall apart because people lose awareness of what they’re drumming, that is the rhythm, and what their intention is. What occurs is fragmentation of energy. So rather than being focused on a particular intention we are simply making noise banging away on the drum. This can have an adverse effect on the energy, and effectiveness of the circle. My good friend Malidoma Somé (pictured above playing with me at a ceremony in Denver) in his book “Of Water and the Spirit” says this:

From Of Water and the Spirit – Page 229

In the Dagara culture the drum is the transportation device that carries the listener into other worlds. Only the sound of the drum has the power to help one travel in this specific way. This magic works only when the drummer coaxes special rhythms, not just banging noises, out of it. The journeys that can be taken with the drum concern not only the listener, but the drummer too. Where the soundship goes, everybody goes. To refuse to drum it to refuse to travel. To forget how to drum is to forget how to feel.

This really puts into perspective the power of the drum, and the responsibility that we have as drummers to hold a sacred and Hawaii Drum Circleresponsible space for those we are holding space for. The I think one of the distractions that has occurred is the wild drum circle extravaganzas we hear about at the Grateful Dead concerts and Pagan festivals. These are all absolutely fine and good however fit into an entirely different category than intentional drumming. When we are drumming for healing, transformation, or to influence the shifting consciousness is important that we hold this space with intention. In the video below I have given some suggestions as to how to maintain focus, how to call in the spirit allies and how to use this powerful tool in a very positive way.

Thanking the Ancestors

One of the things that I didn’t have time to put on the video because of the 10 min. time restriction from YouTube, is that once we have employed the ancestors to assist us when we complete our ritual make sure to thank the ancestors and to release them to do the tasks that you have requested from them. Often times we open with an invocation of power and request the assistance of the ancestors and then we keep them tethered to our ritual space after we have left by forgetting to release them back to the spirit world to do their job. The other thing that is helpful, is to make offerings to the ancestors. When you make your evening meal, take a small piece of each of the prepared foods, put it on a plate and give a prayer of Thanksgiving. Then place the plate either on your ancestor shrine, your personal shrine or outside in nature so that the ancestors can enjoy the feast that you have prepared for them and reciprocate your kindness by responding to your requests. In Western culture we often hear about asking the spirit world for help but rarely is there an emphasis on giving thanks!

More to Come

This is the first in a series of “intentional drumming” videos that I hope help you to utilize the power of the drum in a helpful way making transformation in your life effortless and delightful!

Comments

  1. Watching Toby talk about intentional drumming made so much sense to me and has inspired me to get back to my drumming practice. Thanks Toby for everything you are and everything you teach us.
    Bunny

    • Bunny,
      So glad that you were inspired by this post. I’m glad to hear that you are getting back to your drumming.
      You are so welcome! I’m glad that the teachings have been helpful.

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