04 February 2009

Another Great Awakening

Kathryn Abernathy, "Mandarin Morning" See more of her amazing work.

Dear Drummers,

I want to extend a warm invitation to all of you to join in the groovelicious rhythmocity this Friday! But a special welcome to anyone who is new to the group and anyone who has wanted to attend but has been a bit shy about it. There are a LOT of new people right now and that makes for a wonderful energy. If I have not said it out loud, please know that I always admire anyone who seeks out our drumming community and takes the step to attend, because everything in our culture makes it far easier to withdraw from human company and from spiritual seeking than to move toward it. I think you will see very quickly that this is an open, welcoming conglomeration of human spirits. So, welcome!

This is the time of year that we in the Celtic Shamanic tradition start talking about the goddess Brighid, who is associated with the emerging springtime and the surfacing of new life from frozen winter. Brighid is a major figure in the Celtic pantheon; a mother goddess and divine force of healing and creativity. You can get all kinds of inspiring understanding of Brighid from a million web sites and from that absolutely stunning new book by Jaime Meyer: Drumming the Soul Awake. (What a masterpiece!)

Do you see, as I do, that on a national and global level, we are in a time of awakening? I believe you all are attracted to drumming, at least in the way I facilitate it and the way our group embodies it, because you feel a kind of awakening happening, in the world, and in you, and you want to understand it; you want to call it forth and feed it. You want to nurture the Awakening.

This Friday we will drum up a cornucopia of hot grooves and cool moves for about 90 minutes. Then we will enter into a ceremony of feeding the spirit of our drum. If you own a drum, it’s a great time to bring it. If you don’t, please don’t worry, the drum is an object but it is also a spirit that accompanies you and a metaphor upon which you can pleasantly ruminate. This Friday, the drum is the voice of Brighid, the one who sings to us to awaken what needs to be awakened. So if you want to, bring a drum, rattle or any ceremonial object. And if you want to, bring an offering—anything biodegradable. Examples include herbs, flowers, tobacco, and poems written on small pieces of paper, liquor, chocolate, nuts, fruit, and seed. But no meat, dairy or eggs.

Bruce Levine wrote a heady article for Z Magazine this month called Fundamentalist Consumerism and an Insane Society. His point is that our entire culture is insane in its worship of stuff over anything else. I agree with much of his thesis, and especially like his use of the word “Fundamentalist.” The media revels in funny stories about wacky religious ideas and religious wars, but the real (and truly destructive) fundamentalism in our culture is consumerism, which rarely gets a serious treatment. The awakening we are feeling now through the economic crash is a cracking open of our fundamentalist consumer culture. Time will tell whether we actually peer into that wound and heal it or put yet another Band-Aid on it and go dancing and drinking.

Below is an excerpt from Levine’s article. I believe our drumming serves as an antidote - as a healing force (as a song from Brighid) - to these six “assaults” on us by the consumerist culture.

It is difficult to protect oneself from the slow death caused by consumer culture. Human beings are every day and in numerous ways psychologically, socially, and spiritually assaulted by a culture which:
· creates increasing material expectations
· devalues human connectedness
· socializes people to be self-absorbed
· obliterates self-reliance
· alienates people from normal human emotional reactions
· sells false hope that creates more pain

I leave you with what has become a famous poem even in American culture by: Rumi

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

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