Drumming at the Crossroads of Shamanism & Tantra
In this excerpt from the Foundation of the Sacred Stream’s blog, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D. explains the context of a shamanic counseling practice and how drumming and drum healings can be used to help clients to access well-defended emotions and experiences.
Shaman as Hollow Bone & Drumming in Shamanic Cultures
In almost all shamanic cultures, both past and present, we see drumming and the drum being used as an instrument of healing. Shamans use the drum to address many issues and physical ailments including depression, phobias, addiction, and chronic health problems.
The Shaman has been described as a hollow bone. He or she enters an altered state or light trance, clearing out his or her personal ego space to make way for spirit to use him or her as a healing tool. In this way, the Shaman is a channel for higher consciousness.
The spirits that Shamans work with are described as compassionate beings, very similar to the Judeo-Christian description of angels. Although some people may resist or question the concept of healing spirits or divine spirit, it is not necessary to believe in this idea to experience healing with the drum. When I use the drum, I usually use it in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques.
Use of Drumming to Shift Difficult Emotions
The following example illustrates how the drum can be used to create a shift in a client’s long-standing issue with anger. In this case, the client was a 34-year-old man. In the course of our counseling, I had discovered that his anger was the root cause of a depression he had suffered from for most of his adult life.
While drumming, I focus my attention on moving power through the drum and into the place in my client’s psyche where [they] hold anger. As a result of drum healing, my clients experience a profound shift in anger, [gaining] access to a great deal of new memories previously inaccessible.
Eventually, anger gives way to a deep sense of sorrow, the emotion ultimately underlying anger. After the drum healing, the clients report feeling purged and more alive than he had ever felt before.
– Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.