Tonight I felt a strong urge/call to drum; Sunday nights are generally good times for me to work, since I’m relatively well-rested from the weekend (though after this week I should be better rested at all times, thanks to a lack of a commute–w00t!). So up I went; I cleared out my half of the ritual area (I really need to clean up the art-clutter!) and sat down in the dark to drum.
I started with a steady drumbeat of just a little faster than one beat per second, maybe one every 2/3 second. I let myself ease into it, and eventually found the beater going clockwise around the drum. As I continued with this, I began to feel something “open up” spiritually around me. I decided to keep going to see what would happen, since I wasn’t getting any feelings to do otherwise. The drumbeats began to form a pathway for the spirits to arrive on; I could see it in my mind’s eye, extending far into the Sky above me and also from the Earth below me at the same time (though I’m not sure if these were literal directions, or just how my mind chose to parse them). The path was filled with animal spirits of all sorts. I recognized a lot of my skin spirits, both the ones that are “mine”, so to speak, and those in my artwork bins waiting to be made into ritual tools and other such things. I also recognized Taylor’s dragon spirit, among others. They were all animals, though, and mostly “native” rather than “mythical animals.
I began to panic a bit. What was I going to do now that I had invited them all? I asked the Animal Father for his advice. He simply told me to explain what I was doing. So I stopped drumming once they were all there, and proceeded to thank them for their time and patience while I was learning to call them. That seemed to satisfy their curiosity (and confusion, in a few cases), and nobody seemed particularly miffed.
Then I began to drum again to give them a path to head back home to, wherever home might be–for some, it was the skins, skulls and other animal parts; for others, it was unknown realms. I had a faster drumbeat, maybe twice per second, and the beater went counterclockwise. I saw them retreat back up the path I had created, to wherever they went, and felt their presence diminish over time. Once everything seemed clear, I stopped drumming, and thanked the drum and beater for their help.
Once thing that stood out to me was that I was visited by individual animal spirits; there were no totems or deities of any sort, and no human spirits (though I work with very few of those)–there were a couple that I recognized, but they were in animal forms they sometimes used. This goes along with the strong suggestion I had prior to going to Arizona to start working with the skin spirits, and apparently now other individual spirits.
So it looks like I’m going to have to get started on writing songs and drumbeats for different spirits I work with, since they seem to want individual “calls” for me to work with them. The drumbeats I used tonight were apparently inviting and farewell “calls”, but the whole middle of the ceremony is missing. it makes sense–call the spirits, call forth specific individuals with their own songs, and then go to work. That’s what their expectation seemed to be as they were waiting for me to do whatever I was going to do once I’d called them.
I also spent some time meditating with my favorite tree at Laurelhurst Park. I was a bit distracted since everybody and their mother was there as well, and I was getting quite a bit of amusement at curious squirrels coming quite close to me as I sat motionless. (Though they quickly retreated up the nearest trees and got rather frustrated that I wouldn’t leave and let them come down!) I’m becoming more acquainted with the Land here as well; once it’s warmer I may do some drumming at the park, since the animal spirits would really like to work with me outdoors, and the Land would like that as well.
Believe me, I have plenty of reasons for wanting it to get warmer. That’s just one more.