can I get a good drum? How do I make my own rattle?
Where can I read about shamanism?
questions we are often asked, and so we have collected some information
here which we think will be helpful. Below you will find a discussion
of things to think about before looking for your first drum or rattle.
In the menu on the left you will also find Tools Resources, with links
to people whose work we know and like, and a Book List of recommended
The Drums rhythmic power is like the heartbeat
of the Earth, and is deeply anchored in our shamanic practice. We
journey on the drum beat to the Spirit world and return with power.
The drum and the rattle are, on one hand, the tools of our trade,
and on the other hand, our allies with their own power and soul. In
shamanic work, traditionally, handheld tambourine-like drums are used
together with a drumstick. But where does one find a drum? Which should
one choose? Should it be a factory made drum, or hand made? Do you
think about making your own, but dont have the tools or experience?
Should the skin be from an animal, or is it all right with a synthetic
drumskin? The most important is that this partner feels good to you,
that the sound is pleasing to you, that you can dance with its power,
that you can work together.
are filled with power and at the same time act as power antennae.
In many parts of the world they are used together with drums, and
in Siberia they are often built into the drum or drumstick. They are
easy to carry, and dont bother your neighbors if you live in
a flat. They also tend to be much less expensive than drums, and many
shops selling goods from third world countries have beautiful,
powerful, inexpensive rattles for sale. You can learn more about rattles
and how to make your own by reading Jonathans article POWER
IN YOUR HAND.
Produced Drums are not as expensive as hand-made drums, and
generally have a good sound. They are available at music stores, and
the ones with synthetic skins can be used outside in the rain or very
humid places. The Remo company makes some nice ones, which are easy
to personalize. Even a plastic drum has a Spirit. Respect it, and
it will help you.
Handmade Drums and Rattles are getting easier to
find as there are more and more people making them. In the Tools
Resources we have listed some of the drum makers we know and have
worked with. Several of them also hold drum and rattle making courses.
Here you make your own drum. The drum-making is done in a ritual way
with awareness, and in this way you get to acquainted with the Spirit
of your instrument as it makes itself known. If you want to try to
make your own drum or rattle, the best book is Bernard Mason's How
to Make Drums, Tom-Toms, and Rattles which gives you many types
to choose from. Also recommended is Nicholas Woods fine book
Voices from the Earth (see Book List).
Drumming CDs are another option. Many people who
dont have the money for a drum, or the time to go on a course,
find that the alternative of using a drumming CD works very well,
using either a headset, thereby not disturbing others, or speakers.
This option should never be used in moving vehicles of any kind, and
should be regarded with the same respect as other allies used for
contacting the Spirit world.
American Style Flutes are easy to play and good for helping
to shift consciousness. Deeper toned flutes require longer fingers,
and the 5-holed flute is easier to play than the 6-holed which has
have a role equal to the drum and rattle in several cultures,
especially in Scandinavian magic tradition. You can read about it
in Annette's article The Staff And The
Song and see a drawing of the Siberian
shaman's horse-staff in our gallery. There are many ways to get
a staff. A good way is to walk in the woods with a strong desire to
find - or be found by - it. Release all expectations of what it should
look like, it's the Spirit of the stick that counts. A crude branch
is fine. It need not be decorated but it should be strong. The important
thing is that you can work - and dance - together. Get to know your
staff better by walking with it in nature and make a journey to meet
with the Spirit of the Staff.
speaks to our soul and our senses, the smoke can both invoke, ritually
purify and bless. Along with drumming, singing and rattling, smoke
creates a powerful ritual. In various shamanic traditions you use
different kinds of incense - discover yourself what works best. You
can read more about it and how to make your own herbal incense in
Annette's article Sacred Smoke. You
can also buy different kinds of good incense, for example at Trommeværkstedet
or online, see the Tools Resources page.