Sacred Drum Making and the Medicine Wheel

There are many styles of drum making and each style is good. If there is any difference, I believe it is the intentional addition of Spirit to the creation of  a drum that makes the drum a sacred tool.

So, how do you begin to decide what method to use to make a drum? When I first began to make drums, I chose to lace drums using a four direction anchoring system. I chose this style of lacing because for me it is one more layer of sacredness added to the drum. It is this layering of sacred meaning that is felt when using the drum in ceremony or meditation.  As we beat our drums, we activate the Medicine Wheel when using the 4 direction anchoring system. I feel the drum becomes a physical metaphor for the Medicine Wheel that we can hold in our hands or to sit around with others to play.

There are a number of ways to lace a drum just like there are many ways to define a Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel is known by a few different names such as Sacred Hoop, Circle of Life or Sacred Circle. There are at least 562 federally recognized Native American Nations in the United States and each Nation has their own way of interpreting their Medicine Wheel. There is no one definition of the Medicine Wheel that is more correct or incorrect than the other. Just as there are no incorrect or more correct way to lace a drum.

In Native American cultures the drum represents the whole Universe. The Universe is thought of as being a circle with no beginning or end. The drum also represents Mother Earth in its roundness. When the drum is played the sound represents the heart beat of our human mother and the heartbeat of Mother Earth bringing us closer to nature.

For me, the heartbeat of the drum is the coming together of the human and the divine. The drum becomes the drummer’s sacred Medicine. When we apply earthly or human definitions such as in the Medicine Wheel to the drum, we super impose the Medicine (Wisdom) of the: 4 directions, the 4 seasons, and the 4 elements.  In the bigger picture, when we instill the meaning of the Medicine Wheel in our drum we have a sacred tool that gives us a template or belief system that helps us put order to our lives. The drum can help us live our lives more consciously and deeper.

All rights reserved. Copyright, Yvette Neshi Lokotz, March 27, 2011


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Filed under Drum Making, Drums, Medicine Wheel, Sacred Hoop

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