The past few days I’ve been a lot more consistent about drumming. I’ve been practicing the songs/drumming for Wolf and Small Wolf, getting better at switching between the two since I’m working towards a ritual format that will involve smooth segueing from one song to the next without missing a beat. I’ve also begun singing the lyrics to the songs quietly as I walk around throughout my day, without really thinking about it–which apparently is fine, just so long as I’m practicing and getting the songs well imprinted into my memory.
The songs/drumming have been good for my focus as well. Instead of with a “normal” musical performance, where I’d have to worry about what other people thought, in this case my main concern is that the spirits like their respective songs. While I’m a pretty decent piano/keyboard player, I’m not much for writing songs and I’m not a really, really experienced drummer. So the songs I come up with aren’t particularly complex, and wouldn’t win any contests. But the spirits like them, and they give me ideas for things they’d like me to include in them. And if they like them, then that’s good enough for me. Sort of like the common advice in books on how to make ritual tools and other sacred artwork–it doesn’t have to be award-winning artisanship to work well.
So today I went upstairs to do some artwork (since my ritual area and artwork area are one and the same, and the practices often overlap anyway). As soon as I got there, the skin spirits “grabbed” me and got my attention. They sat me down, and asked me to start drumming for them. Nothing specific, just entertain them for a bit, since they like listening to me drum even when it’s not specifically for them.
After a while, I settled into one particular rhythm. Before that point, I hadn’t been feeling anything more pronounced from any single one. However, as I played this rhythm, Small Badger popped up and said, “That one’s mine!” So I began to play it just for him (drum solo!), building a greater connection between the rhythm and the skin spirit. It was quite a success.
Of course, now I have to write a song to go with it. No, it won’t be this one. Those are European badgers, and Small Badger is most definitely an American badger. Small badger did tell me to go research him (or, rather, his species) to get to know his general characteristics better, then I think we’ll be chatting more about what his song should include.
Certainly not a musician myself, so the idea of drumming and instruments in general feels a bit intimidating. But I’m looking forward to experimenting, since it seems essential in shamanism to do these things first-hand. And I expect the spirits are more concerned that you simply “get into the groove” rather than how well you perform. Thanks for sharing your experiences.