This morning I was reading my RSS feeds from the Shamanic Drumming blog. Michael posted a great “how to” on feeding your drum. Fortunately he’s given me permission to pass along his posts to you, so for all you drummers out there, here it his article. Thanks Michael.
How to Feed Your Drum
by Michael Drake
In the shaman’s world, all is alive. A drum is regarded as a living organism; not as an object. The drum has a spirit that can be awakened and if called upon, must be “fed.” The spirits eat just as we eat. Shamans believe that if the spirits are not fed, the ritual may not go well. Shamans ritually feed their drums. Many use the head of the drum as an altar to offer blue cornmeal or tobacco to the spirit of the instrument.
Cornmeal is good “food” because corn is a sacred gift from the beings that live in the spirit world. The one offering the cornmeal first breathes on the grains so that the spirits know who is offering the gift. Offer the cornmeal to the four directions, and then to the drum itself so the spirit of the drum can eat it. The offering may be placed on the inside or outside of the drumhead. It is swished around the face of the drum for a few moments, and then left as an offering to the spirits of place — the spirit and consciousness of every living thing in a time and place.
You can offer a pinch of dry tobacco in the same manner. The sacrament, tobacco, is the unifying thread of communication between humans and the spiritual powers. Tobacco feeds the drum and carries our prayers to the Loom of Creation, thereby reweaving the pattern of existence in accordance with those prayers.
Smudge smoke is also one of the foods for spirits. Cedar, sage and sweetgrass can be used for the smudging and feeding of drums. To smudge your drum, light the dried herbs in a fire-resistant receptacle and then blow out the flames. Smudge your drum by passing it through the smoke three times. Conclude the smudging by thanking the spirit of the plant whose body made the offering possible.
As Michael said, the drum is a living spirit. You are the caretaker of your drum and must care for it like any “living being”. I’ll post more on the “care and feeding” of your drum at a later date.
Until next time –