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Rhythms And Sounds of the Sacred

"Rhythm and noise.  There is terror in noise, and in that terror there is also power."

The Sacred Drum - Sounds for Ritual and Rhythm

"Sacred noise gave way to sacred music, and the result was an explosion of song."
The Sacred Drum - Sounds for Ritual and Rhythm ( Flint ) Since the dawn of civilization, our ancestors understood and utilized the power of rhythm and sound to connect with magic of  "the sacred."  An elemental urge led early humans to summon the universal god/goddess energies through ceremony and ritual, rhythmically manipulating noise while simultaneously moving their bodies in dance to the primal heartbeat of creation.  Gradually developing skills as toolmakers, they discovered the incredible sounds and rhythms that could be produced by striking two bones, sticks or flints together, shaking a dried pod, or creating a drum by stretching an animal skin over a hollowed out section of a tree trunk and striking it with a bone. "The sacred was something we did, like hunting and procreating; the way we approached it was through ritual.”  (Mickey Hart, p. 68)
The Sacred Drum - Sounds for Ritual and Rhythm ( Cernunnos )


  Archeologists discovered a site in the Ukraine that seems to have been the working area of a Stone Age percussionist:  the sounds of antiquity were scrapers made out of mammoth jaws, beaters formed from reindeer antlers, and a set of wrist rattles, one of bone and the other of seashells.  Even the caves themselves were used as resonating chambers.

The first evidence of shamanism, including both goddess and god iconography, has been found in Cro-Magnon remains, app. 30,000 years old.  It is known that scrapers, rattles, and bone flutes were in use at that time.

An anonymous artist in app. 15,000 B.C. painted the earliest known picture of a musician/dancer on a wall.  It has been called the “dancing shaman of Les Trois Freres.”  The painting portrays a man in an animal skin and mask playing some kind of instrument, possibly a sounding bow or concussion stick, performing a dance as he prepares for the hunt.
It is believed that the first drums appeared sometime between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic periods (around 8,000 B.C.). 

It was during the Neolithic period that towns appeared for the first time.  In Catal Huyuk, best known of the Neolithic towns, the women performed the rituals and ran the ceremonies while the men handled material affairs.  “There was an intimate relationship between the drum and the goddess.” (Marija Gimbutas)  Percussion instruments were the primary force behind their “audiovisual dance rituals,” in which the participants experienced and felt the ceremony with all of their senses.

The Sacred Drum - Sounds for Ritual and Rhythm ( The Historic View )
The Instruments - Sounds of the Drum   With the rise of the Sumerian civilization and the dawn of agriculture, the sacred shifted from the goddess to the worship of the sky gods.  Simultaneously, harps and horns were added to the traditional clappers, rattles, flutes and drums to birth the era of sacred song. 

Gradually the drum lost acceptance as a sacred instrument.  By the time Christianity was adopted by the Roman Empire, the drum and cymbals were banned as “mischievous”, “licentious,” and evidence of  “the devil’s pomposity.”

From this point on until recent times, only the so-called “primitive,” indigenous peoples maintained the sanctity and power of noise as expressed by the drum, balanced with chant and dance, in their rituals and ceremonies.  In so doing, they kept alive the spirit, beauty and sacredness of the god/goddess energies.

Today, as we seek to heal the wounds of Grandmother Earth, civilization is looking back to its roots.  We are realizing the necessity of balancing our feminine-receptive (goddess) and masculine-expressive (god) qualities within self and society.  In this process, we are rediscovering the ancient power of sound in ceremony and ritual, reintegrating drum and dance with the beauty of chant.  It is with great respect and honor that we thank our indigenous brothers and sisters for keeping alive the sacred instruments, rhythms and voices of our ancestors.

Our Ancestors - The Ritual

The Wild Rose Drum Team

Tibetan Buddhist Drum - The Rhythm

Tibetan Buddhist Drum

  The Wild Rose Drum Team was founded in 1993 when Lyn, following her passion and inner guidance, realized it was time to chief her own team.   Drawing on ten years' experience as a Metis drum team member, including two years as assistant drum chief, she now called on her Native American and Celtic ancestors to assist her in this endeavor.  Following Metis guidelines, she invited interested friends and acquaintances to join the team.  The response was incredible.  Soon there were fifteen people gathered together drumming and chanting the spiritual rhythms and sounds of Shamanic cultures from many paths, including Native American, Mayan, Celtic, East Indian and Tibetan.  The sacred music of their collective ancestors transported the team into wondrous arenas of beauty and transcendence.
Within a year, the team had made its own ceremonial drum.  It is an awesome and magical experience to create a drum out of timber  and skins.  Calling upon a local Native American drum master to teach and guide them, they gathered on a quiet spring day to build their drum in sacredness and love.  The opening pipe ceremony set the tone for the day.  They called and felt the presence of the ancestors, the four worlds (mineral, plant, animal and human), the elements (air, water, fire and earth), the balance of archetypal goddess and god energies, and the cohesiveness of their mutual intent.  They created a beautiful four-foot diameter drum that would hold and honor their collective heartbeat in alignment with the heartbeat of Grandmother Earth.  Just prior to tying the lacing, they placed tobacco ties holding their individual prayers into the drum, and the ceremony was complete.  A sacred drum was birthed, its spirit eager and alive.  Sounds for Ritual and Rhythm - The Sacred
Today, the Wild Rose Drum Team continues to meet regularly, joining together hearts, voices and intent as they drum and chant the magical music of the planet.  The members have discovered that their drum is a healer and teacher, guiding them in the discovery of their own natural rhythms and sounds that had so long been stilled by the values and ethos of so-called "civilized" society.  They now play for Eagle Dances and other ceremonies, as well as just for themselves, always aware of the sacred power and beauty of their drum, always thanking Great Spirit for the opportunity to express the sounds and rhythms that connect us with the heartbeat of our indigenous human heritage.

For further information on "the spirit of percussion," you might be interested in checking out this book by Mickey Hart.

The Spirit of Percussion

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