The making of a drum is the creation of bringing together seemingly separate elements. The raw hide of the animal carries the Medicine or Spirit of the animal which is the drum head and lacing. The Spirit or Medicine of the tree used to make the drum hoop is added to the mix. And, your own Medicine, thoughts and emotions are added the creation. This alchemy of Spirit is the gateway for a new Spirit to be born which resides within the drum. This new Spirit is why I call drum making sacred drum making.
A drum is an organic Being and over time will age. Over the years you may find the hoop becoming brittle or the drum head may begin to tear. The lacing may weaken and break. This normal and natural. Sometimes there are accidents and the drum is damaged.
What happens to the Spirit in the drum? It has been my honor and blessing to assist others in the release of a Drum Spirit. As I asked my sacred drum making guide how to respectfully and compassionately release a drum Spirit, I was given or rather instructed in a releasing ceremony.
I prepare myself, and my drum making space for a very different energy to deconstruct a drum. I give tobacco similar to when I make a drum. The drum must be soaked for the lacing and rawhide to soften in order to remove it from the hoop. The “undoing” of the lacing is done in quietness and reflection of the Medicine the drum holds. This reverence for the drum in the Spirit is very special to me. This process of undoing is very much like assisting a human loved one when they are in their process of crossing over or as the Potawatomi say, “Walking On”.
As I unlace the drum, I am also feeling the loosening of the drum head allowing the Spirit to become more fluid and flexible. As I pull the lacing through the last few holes, I can feel the Spirit of the Drum beginning to let go of the physical. When I pull the drum head off the hoop, I feel the Spirit move back to the Creator and leave the physical world.
What to do the drum head, lacing and hoop? Depending on the condition of the drum head, I may recycle the drum head into rattles or smaller drums. I can then reuse the lacing as well. The hoop is a totally different matter. I have not recycled a drum hoop as most of the hoops have phrases and words written on the inside of the hoop depicting the medicine of the old drum. I will burn the hoop in a sacred fire as an ending of the ceremony releasing the Spirit of the Drum. If the drum head raw hide is not in good shape, then in ceremony, I will return the hide to Mother Earth by burying it with tobacco and sometimes flowers.
This week on Sacred Hoop, Wednesday, Nov 14, at 9pm EST on Souls Journey Radio, Neshi will share about the ceremony used to release a Drum Spirit. You are invited to share this special topic with Neshi as she brings another layer of sacredness to drum making.
All Rights Reserved. Copyright, Yvette Neshi Lokotz, November 2012.