So I have started to regularly drum with horses.
I have been deeply moved by the observed effect that it has upon them.
People seem to expect that they would be scared, or at least very cautious – and I have to say if asked I would have guessed something similar. In fact I have been overwhelmed by their curiosity – in some cases almost to the point of obsessiveness, even the odd trance link state.
Last week I took my drum on a healing visit to a small native pony to follow up some distance work – as soon as I started drumming for him his neighbour – an old bay mare – marched meaningful out of her shelter and stood stock still on the other side of the fence before us, watching as he rubbed his muzzle around me as I sat before him. When I had finished it seemed that the most respectful thing to do to offer her some drumming too.
As I drummed she explored my drum with her lips, muzzle, and bristles. That touch in human terms might best be described as intimate curiosity yet who knows what it constituted for her – all the while her ears almost flapping as if in the breeze. And then she just stilled, it was as-if she was soaking, osmosis allowing her to absorb the vibration given off from the drum. It transpired that she had very poor sight – part of me was left wondering what image or creation was being crafted inside her head from all this sensory experience.
My intuitive feel about the strength of the drum is its capacity to amplify the intention imbued in the action by the drummer – what do I mean? If our intention is love or healing, then we create such a bubble within our aura and the drum invigorates energy within that space, it resonance boosting, transmitting and sharing that intention.
And then I got to thinking about a similar previous response drumming for my friend Holly Davis’s Arab geldings; as we did it one of them (Harree) was absolutely hypnotised by the whole thing, he lowered his head held just next to drum such that his whiskers light touched the skin of the drum throughout. All the time his eye held in space just before my face – watching, still and watching yet at all times travelling. Holly is an experienced Animal communicator, this was too much of an opportunity to miss.
But let us break off for one moment, so what is this “shamanic drumming” …………….
In 1980 when Michael Harner published “The Way of the Shaman” he observed the apparent ubiquity of drums to the shamanic practice – initially observed in photographs of Mongolian shaman and then spreading out beyond them to other traditional societies. His work opened the flood gates, not just to a shamanic revival but also a more scientific understanding of the use of the drum – in particular the different mental states induced by sustained drumming at different numbers of specific beats per second – most specifically the range of 4-4.5 beats per second which can induce a theta state in the brain.
Research concludes sessions of rhythmic drumming are proved to create theta wave patterns in the brain which is often compared to the short period of semi-conscious awareness that occurs between the sleep and being complete awake.
Steven D Farmer cites research carried out by Melinda Maxfield “Effects of rhythmic drumming on the EEG and subjective experience”: “… rhythmic drumming in particular, often induces imagery that is often ceremonial or ritualistic in content and is an effective tool for entering into a non-ordinary or altered state of consciousness even when it is extracted from cultural ritual, ceremony or intent.”
In some ways it is if by carrying our drum with us we carry about our own temple – of the means to construct a temple exactly where we need it and for whatever purpose.
So returning to Harree …….
His channelled responses were quite remarkable and not a million miles from intuition. I have largely written word for word, only amending for ease of reading – there is no shift in meaning.
“Through the resonance of the drum’s unique vibration each horse will find his way, as the resonance meets and interplays and interacts with our spinal column. It enables the travel of the note, the vibration to reach our inner organs and there to create healing of the emotional past traumas we hold there. Each cell carries its own code, in some ways similar to a helix, and the drum seeks out and reacts with each that resonates as if it were itself. That is how to drum works.
“The aura becomes a buzz but like a personal buzz that would be intrusive for another uninvited to come into. It is our moment, our vibration to have invasion would change it. It is like it tingles and is trying to find its own form like a plate that has been broken trying to resemble itself.”
Thank you Harree for insight; thank you Holly for your facilitation.
This is such a strong and moving description of the physical and emotional shifts which be-lie the individual energetic healing process. In all such sessions the Horse’s stay for what they need and when it is taken then depart quiet and appreciative, returning to their herd, their feed or simply to quietly release somewhere – not dissimilar behaviour from other free healing interventions. For the drummer, there remains the imprint of that incredible moment of deep connection – that energetic memory of two souls embracing in harmonic resonance.
And so I return to my earlier intuitive observation – through the drum we create a powerful space – like a primeval docking station it amplifies, projects and shares our created intention. It can carry love, offer healing or take us on the most incredible journey; it can bring us closer to the souls that we share this and all other worlds with.
Finally a thank you to all the horses who helped me to recognise and appreciate this incredible connection.
For those of have enjoyed this blog, there is now a second article, please click here to read.
© the Mindful Horse
(I would like to thank “Natural with horses” for the pic of me with horse and drum from 2014).