Photo credit: Vaschelle Andre

Current members:

L to R: (standing) Cynthia Lewis, Sandy Mills, Charlene Gumbs,
Mar Stevens, Shawn Nealy, Salina Gray, (sitting) La Tanya Carmical.

Healing Drum Meditation

africanwomen

Drum Meditation - In using a djembe or ngoma (African drums) breath slowly until you find the heartbeat. After several minutes use both hands, one hand with the heartbeat, the other a beat behind. When you began to engage your thoughts, (”I’m not doing this right, I’m don’t know how to drum”) the steadiness of your rhythm vanishes. The rhythm resumes when you return to your breath and not engaging the thoughts. Now, drum what your heart desires, drum the voice of the ancestors. Let the beat come from your body, not your mind. Avoid a scattered, unconnected, rushed rhythm. Breathe evenly, drum evenly. The Native American Sundance drum and round hand drums can also be used.

I have heard villages singing and bells playing while drumming a song from my heart. Before long I am not so fixated on the happenings in the world or the calamities of my life. I am no longer angry or sad, just a rhythm playing into the atmosphere. Drumming is a very special kind of liberation…one that is ancient and comes from the earth. Every indigenous culture on every continent has a drum, has a voice that contains the sounds, the language of those who have come and gone from this earth. In this way the drum is always sacred, it is always a spiritual engagement. In some societies the drum has been reduced to entertainment, lost in performances in large music halls.

Remember the drum prayers of long ago and the healing arises.

--Zenju Earthlyn Manuel