Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Ritual Address to Society | Thunder Drumming
©2008 Turtle Heart
The Ceremonial Program for 2008
In original instructions of Sacred Pipe…..yes, those: the teachings are given inside the ceremony. Otherwise the rule was silence. The Keeper of the Bundle opens the Bundle and what happens from the beginning to the finish of that moment is the “ceremony”.
Recently the Drum was opened, and Four Drums now live with me, Turtle Heart, on the small island of Pantelleria in the Mediterranean Sea. Today the opened bundle asked for the old contract. The program for 2008 will be what we call The Drums of Thunder. The ceremony will involve formal conversations convened before a large Tewa Drum, made by the late Mr. Red Shirt of the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. I have been the Keeper of this drum for 30 years.
Sitting before this drum will be the central exercise of the ceremonies this year. When we are all together we will sit before the drum and while the drum is speaking the lessons will be given. Perhaps you could call them Singing Lessons. Wabeno style.
This will be done several times during the day and several times during the night. Four times a day at least. When we are together with the Waiting World. In April I will be doing this ceremony near to Milano. Later I should be bring Thunder Drumming to Sicily. I convene ceremonies with this program.
If anyone is interested in having and hosting two or three days of Thunder Drumming you can organize a time and place and make me an offer to arrive there and share this ceremony with you.
People who come to Pantelleria for private studies will have the opportunity to participate in more intimate and focused sessions with the Thunder Drumming. Please contact us if you would like to visit us on Pantelleria for private studies.
We will try to make some recordings of these sessions and make them available at the World Journey of the Four Directions Unity Bundle official web space.
On Pantelleria we are waiting with blinking lights on our ADSL modems for ALICE Telecom to flip the switch and turn the light green for “go”. Some estimates are at least one more month before they do. Since coming to Pantelleria we have been limited to a dial up analog modem. Slow. Slow. Once the ADSL is actually working we will have many more possibilities as to what we can share.
Speaking the original instructions only when the drum is speaking, hopefully thereby making it the voice of the drum, is an improvised practice. It is a kind of Sacred Jazz. It is a response to the people gathered around. It is a very clever system of giving out the teachings and practices. The idea of people sitting around while some “teacher” “teaches” them something is the more conventional way people have of doing this kind of work together. Even most Indians do it this way these days. It is not the only way. Creating a large, spontaneous song with the drum, it is possible to travel clearly into the moment and come closer to hearing something that will really help us, right now. The Old Indians have always expressed to me their belief that a good teaching has practical value in the lives of the people.
This kind of exercise is a type of fine-tuning the process of communication. People listen to music differently than they do to speech. Different areas of the brain are used to both create and hear the ideas which are made by the drum. It is a real time conversation turned into a new direction, using an ancient tool.
Drum is not very well understood by modern people. Drum has been with us for millennia. Every culture has drums and a history of drums. The North American Indian drum is not one drum, it is many drums. In the North many singers gather around one great drum for the singing. In the Southwest, many singers gather, each holding a drum. Each ceremonial drum has status as a “person”, not as an object. In the original teachings the drum was a consultant. These days there is more social than ceremonial drumming. The difference is like the difference between gossip on a street corner and the oral examination of a medical doctor. In tribal society it is not usual for just anyone to casually possess a drum. Once a drum enters your life Indian people have a greater expectation towards your behavior. People who are Keepers of drums are expected to live good lives and be honest people. People will quickly turn away from a drum that is not clearly in balance. If you show up among Indian people with a drum, they will look at you with questions on their faces and in their eyes.
The drums of the original teachings were birthed objects. Once created by their makers, they went through a variety of ceremonial birthings. These ceremonies could last a year or more. Real sacred rums have a birth, a name and lead a rich life. They are approached with respect. From the songs and ceremonies made for the skin of the animal, to the songs and ceremonies made for the wood which contains the drum, each step in the life of a drum is particular and rather profound.
Of course, these days you can bypass the original instructions and buy “real american indian” drums. These days Indian people also use every kind of drum…from high school marching band drums to tambourines. “Indian drums” are made in large well organized shops. They buy the skins from hunters, the wood from loggers and advertise in the yellow pages and in shaman magazines. The difference between these drums is like the difference between real grass and the artificial grass that is used to carpet the outdoor sports arena. It is, one could say, the difference between a live person and a dead object. There are quite a large number of little shamans, I call them “floating heads”, who buy skin drums and beat on them, accomplishing nothing day after day. There are these days a great many Native American drum groups that work the social dance circle of pow-wows. Social dance drums are not usually sacred drums, they are musical instruments. There is a much smaller group of Indian people who hold and carry sacred drums. You could live your whole life next door to a sacred drum and never know it, never hear it. American Indian drums are very different than the drums of other cultures, such as African or Arabic drums. This exercise is with the original teachings of the American Indian Drum.
The original teachings of drum take us back to the beginning of time. The teachings take us back to the time before the church, before even governments, when society was moved forward by the ancient Clans of the original people. The drums that we will be using for the Thunder Drumming Ceremonies each come from a birthing. Each comes from the ceremonies and life of a proper person in the service of the Mystery Life. Over 2008 I will ask each of these drums to speak to the people who are present. We will try and make some sort of recording of these Thunder Drummings.
This new program will begin on Pantelleria at the Equinox. On Pantelleria the Equinox is 20 March, 6:48:29 CET, at 36North50 degrees by 11East57 degrees.
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