The drum is an important companion on the Shamanic path, the holistic way, the path of the lively and the remembering, the path of healing and to the spirit world. Through rhythmic playing of the drum, we gather strength, lead our self into silence, cleansing places and also ourselves. Building it yourself is one of the key moments on this path. A drum is born, initiated. We give it a meaning and connect it with it through our intention and personal imprint.
She is not just a tool, but rather an independent being. A healer and a guide. Fused with the spirit of nature, the power of the deer and the tree as well as its builder intentions, to a very individual entity. Each drum has it‘s own personality, quality and medicine. The drum can help us feel and reaffirm our connection with nature. She helps us to find the silence within us and opens the door to visions and the spirit world. She is an instrument of healing and teaches us the sacred rhythms of life. Symbolizing the heartbeat of Mother Earth.
The drum beat is a pulsation, it is the pulse of life. If a person suffers from severe pain after a heart attack, and there is nothing that can be given to the person - evenly struck on a drum until help arrives. The spirit of the one who gave us life, the form of life of all forms of life, is thus called, and in the course of time the heartbeat of the person concerned becomes equal to the rhythm of the drum, or the person is put into a light trance, thus relieving the pain. You do not have to be an experienced medical professional. You only need a lot of love in your heart and the willingness to help others. Therefore, the drum is a sacred instrument for us.
-Bear Heart – The wind is my mother-
-Bear Heart – The wind is my mother-
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to dive into the deep process of building my own drum. At the beginning, I was only looking for an instrument for myself to continue working with my voice. Now however, I realized that it is so much more than that. She is a true companion.
The search for a suitable place, which also feels in tune with myself, was already a small process in itself. There were countless offers with different time periods, different ways and prices. After some time of an unsuccessful search, I then left it to the universe and stopped my research. Some time later, a friend of mine (thank you Stefan) pointed me into the right direction and I was fortunate enough to get to know Stefan Scholz, his fire drum, www.feuertrommel.de and the Oasis at the Steinberg. Also, they maybe have found me?
While browsing their site I had immediately a good feeling. The holistic shamanic orientation of his work; from drum building to smudging, to various ceremonies, healing work, sweat lodges and much more, spoke to me right away. In addition, does Stefan offer his course over a period of 4 days, and this includes far more than just connecting a few individual parts together. Stefan builds his drums in ancient traditions and let you participate in it.
The funny part is that we also share the same star sign and the same ascendant 😊. So, I didn’t need any more signs. The decision was made. So I went now expectantly to Altomünster to the Oasis at the Steinberg. Thanks to Stefan’s support, I was able to form a carpool with another friend from Switzerland. Already while entering the town one could already relax. Altomünster is a small idyllic 7.5 thousand souls community. Surrounded by meadows and fields somewhere between Augsburg (40min) and Munich (60min).
We reached the oasis on a wonderful sunny afternoon. And what an oasis we found. Just indescribably beautiful. We were warmly welcomed by Stefan’s wife Christine and it immediately felt like home. Stefan and Christine live in an old country school house and have created their own little paradise. It is truly an oasis. Simply an incredibly beautiful place that invites you to linger.
The vast and really huge garden is surrounded by countless trees of all kinds. There is a magical little fountain, a pond, countless flowers and vegetable beds, a tipi and a sweat lodge. In addition, this panorama is accompanied by the incessant singing of the numerous birds who are allowed to call this dreamlike place their home. “Did I already mention the cozy conservatory with it’s great view over the garden 😊”. All in all, it is a very peaceful and mystical place where you can directly feel the good energy. After a first meet up and greet did we all meet together in the tipi by the fire to start our little personal journey. the creation of a drum. All together we were 3 participants. A small intimate men’s round, which was apparently pretty rare.
Stefan and Christine opened the long weekend with a little ritual. We expressed our gratitude to life and gave thanks for it’s abundance and richness. In addition, we invited the spirits from all 6 directions (the 4 cardinal directions, as well as the earth and the sky) to guide us on these days. Afterwards we gathered again in the tipi for a sharing circle to get to know each other a little better.
After a short introduction of the schedule for the coming days, Stefan lead us into another world. Carefully and soulful did he lead us with a drum meditation in the spirit world to meet our deer. To feel and experience him. A first encounter full of humility, awe and gratitude. This wonderful creature left his body and we are allowed to recall a part of him back to our world. We finished the first day with a final round in the sharing circle and said good night. My companions slept in the house in one of the small, sweet guest rooms wheras I preferred spending the nights in the tipi at the fire 😊. Safe and sound, I fell asleep and woke up with the songs of the birds, ready for a new exciting day.
The next day was immediately greeted with a very delicious and hearty breakfast. In fact, all the meals on the whole weekend were delicious. Christine prepared us three yummy meals a day, made with the finest vegetarian delicacies. Not to forget, the small nice coffee breaks and the delicious desserts.
Stefan and Christine were just wonderful and loving hosts. Open, sensitive and always present. You could always feel comfortable and snug. We were really in paradise. The Oasis am Steinberg – an oasis of relaxation and a good place to recharge your batteries. Every morning and evening we all met together for a sharing circle in the tipi. Expressing gratitude and shared what needed to be shared. Always awake and in the moment.
Of course, we have also built our drum 😊. Starting with the selection of the deer skin, which was soaked water, to make it easier to remove the hairs. With this step, we were busy more or less the whole day. The deer skin was placed over a wooden post and with our hands we plucked tufts of hair from the skin. And this wasn’t so easy as it sounds. Then we removed the excess tissue, squeezed the protein out of the skin and removed the remaining moisture. In the end, the skin was pretty thin. Sometimes even almost transparent and ready to be stretched and dried on the frame. The majority of the day we remained in silence. In our own process, with our intentions and the skin of the deer.
Before we gathered at the end of the day for another drum mediation in the tipi, we searched in the undergrowth of the surrounding trees for a matching branch to make a drumstick. This was quickly found, to take shape with knife, saw and sandpaper according to our ideas. The drumstick was made from materials such as felt, leather and / or sheep’s wool.
In our next drum meditation, we traveled again to the other side in order to meet the tree. Which would give us the material to create the frame for our drum. On this journey I actually wanted to ask the tree for its wood. But in the end, I was just only able to say good bye with my deepest gratitude, because I did not need to ask for the wood – the tree simply gave it to me, – unconditionally – without questions, without ifs and buts. That is what he does. Above all, he gives us life. He is a part of us and we are a part of him. Part of nature and the natural cycle of Mother Earth.
On the next day we turned to our wooden frame. We had the choice of different prefabricated frames. Solid wood, beech, ash, tall, deep, 42, 45 or 50 cm in diameter. I decided on the smaller version because my drum might accompany me on my travels. In deep solidarity and silence, we returned to our daily work. Sanding, sanding and again sanding, before we gave the frame with the help of a soldering iron, our personal signature.
In addition of making the drumstick, we also turned our attention to the deer skin again, which had dried by now. The drum surface and the required tensioning strings were cut out and re-immersed into water to be stretched on the frame the next day. At the end of the day Stefan introduced us to the mystery of the Agnihora ritual and we spent the time of the sunset together by the fire.
On the last day, the exciting moment came that the frame and the skin could be connected. With a little finger skill and patience, our drums slowly but surely took shape. And patience is needed. Not just to make the drum, but rather to wait until you can play it for the first time. It needs some waiting time, because the skin and the tension strings must first dry again to give the drum it’s sound.
The end of our little journey ended we celebrated with the blessing of our new companion, a last sharing circle in the tipi and a final ritual in which we once again expressed out gratitude to life and the individual spirit beings.
These 4 days were for me much more than just building a drum. These were days of deep connectivity and it moved a lot for me. It was a journey of humility, awe and deep gratitude. In the end, I can only give thanks. Thanks to Stefan and Christine, a thank you to my companions, a thank you to life and gratitude that this opportunity was allowed to unfold in my life.