Shamanic journey during Dalva’s teaching circle:

As I had previously mentioned I was participating in a teaching circle about Finnish shamanic traditions that practitioner Dalva Lemminmäki gave in Toronto. She spoke about Finnish traditions, Tree worship, a Finish creation myth involving the egg, about working and journeyingand many other things. We also did a 1 hour long shamanic journey. here is what happened on my journey:

Dalva had previously explained, that in her tradition one drums for at least an hour, often 2 to 3 and that she at times drums up to 5 hours when journeying after sun down until sunrise next morning.

I agreed with her, that too is Siberian practice, but here in the very popular “shamanic workshops” they do a number of short 10 minute trips – which is why many people in the end have trouble journeying and rarely go into full (theta brainwave) trance…..

In the circle several people were drumming, using frame drums and djembes, others had rattles, others also chanted or sang… I was a bit like a prolonged community drum circle, but pleasant. I prepared my fur, so I could lay down on Ee’ren Eder ( my Reindeer Spirit and Clan Guide, represented in physical reality through my Reindeer fur, used for journeying only.) – To put the fur into the tight chair would not work and it was comfortable to use the armrest of the chair to keep the drum level….To drown out some groaning and squealing that was going on, I settled into a steady 180/ minute beat.

.I “see” Lira (my Screech Owl Guardian) flying ahead of me ~~ 2 meters above the ground, leading the way through a scraggggly Forest with lots of rocks, gray granite with veins of white quartz, huge boulders, deep barren ravines, boggy at times, Aspen and Spruce, underbrush with Blueberry bushes… It is a gray evening on a cold rainy day.

We come up to a steep rock wall. Lira lands on a small Spruce Tree that is almost leaning against the steep incline. I have to step across a wide crack in the rocky ground to get there and – – – find myself standing on the granite rock cheek of a GIANT!!!Forest Spirit Person, that has been here forever. I am standing on his left cheek, in front of his massive granite nose, to my right looking up into his GIANT eye and furrowed brow high above it. Looking down, to my left I see the Giant opening his cavernous mouth with large ivory colored teeth and then and there I am being sucked towards that, I see his tong like a giant Beaver tail… I am sucked into this maw and slide down a long tubular “riffely tunnel, that must be his gullet. Like coming down a water slide I am splashed into a large reddish brown glistening cave. There are – like stalagmites and stalactites – but all made from living flesh and bone. Nevertheless, there are rock drawings and carvings in red and black everywhere on these formations. In the middle the cavernous stomach is a large fire. Beyond that, further down there is a dark black tunnel..

A little back from the fire there sits an old man, skinny, with white hair,

– – playing a kantele!

I recognize Väinämöinen!

Oh!! now even in the trance journey I know, where I am!

The belly of the Forest Giant!:)

There also is, on the other side from Väinämöinen a large Bear sleeping further in the back and a large Moose is sitting in the center on a rock. He is crying. In his lap he is holding one of his broken of antlers, while a strange stubble on his head is rapidly growing into a sizable Wapiti Elk antler. Then the other large majestic Moose antler falls of and the Moose wails in futile desperation. “ They will not know me!!!!” he wails, while a small bird settles on the now quickly growing Elk horn and starts chirping loudly.

canada-moose

Moose

I try to help the inconsolable Moose, try moulding the second, just growing rack into a more Moose like looking antler, flattening it out a bit, …. But I need more stuffff and grab dripping spittle and juice from the belly stalagmites and some flesh from the ground nearby. Like as if it was puddy I manage to form it all into a Moose antler. – But for the other side it was already too late – that one was fully hardened into a sizable Wapiti antler. Now however Väinämöinen on the other side of the fire starts to sing and to my and the Moose’s high horrrror the newly formed Moose antler changes into another Elk/ Wapiti horn and then , oh shock, the whole Moose changes into a Wapiti Elk in front of my eyes.

Wapiti Elk

Lira appears and gives me more “cave spittle juice” and I rub the animal with it and it starts to flimmer and shimmer as a Moose again… – until Väinämöinen again starts to sing…. When he stops the animal is half Elk, half Moose and a mess.

Then, all of a sudden I hear a loud sound – and almost “wake up” Someone in the room (tonal) started to sing or whatever and the disturbance transformed into a strange egg yolk yellow cube with bright red Chinese writing symbols on all sides. !!??!! (6 inch x 6 inch cube)

(This strange cube appeared several more times – whenever there was a disruptive -to me- sound in the room that “made me come up” from the trance. I just resolved to drum a little louder, so as not to hear it and went back “down”)

I went back to the cave. The Moose/ Elk Wapiti and Väinämöinen I are gone, the Bear is awake and brings me a Pow Wow drum to look at. He tosses it into the fire and now I also see Lira sitting there with several old movie reels and bits of ripped film, that she tosses into the fire.- – –

– – I say:“YES!! I KNOW!!!! I WILL tell her and explain – (like sooo many others )– and just hope she will not take it the wrong way…“ I promised the Bear. Healing comes with understanding – on both sides….

When I look again there is part of Dalva’s skirt in the fire, halfway burnt.-

– Again the scene is split up by a loud noise and the yellow cube with Chinese kanjis…

When I get back there, it feels like “late” But now the fire is out and through a vapory smoke I see a black Wolf with a white triangle on his chest standing at the entrance of the passageway into the gut of the Giant, beckoning me to follow him.

I do, through the gut of the Giant….. On and of there are flashes of the Chinese kanji cube, but I just disregard them…

We get to a place, that is the beginning of the “Fire River” there are several Beings there, but again loud noises make me start to shake and “be tossed up”and hear the 2 3 4 drumming = Oooo Oooo Oooo Oooo…..>

By the time I am back down I am “not very deep” and hear the room in the background.

For a flash I see Sandra D. sitting at the River’s edge reading a book made up out of Oak leaves.

I now “know” where I am and ask the Wolf to show me something that I need to know or bring back . Right away the crying Moose/ Elk appears and Lira with the stupid movie reel lands in my lap – Literally! Nice! Yes, OK, again….. I will not forget to tell…

Lira leads me up to the stomach cave with the rock art. There I see a white envelope hanging among the Medicine symbols. It says “Message” and Lira directs me to take it and open it. I do – but>>> again the strange yellow cube with the red Chinese writing…

Shitt… x#*ZZOOßo**^#ZZ*ßpvochchch!!!!!

I think I loudly say something like that and wish I had not…. 😦

But I am halve “awake” and realize, the drumming has almost stopped – it is just me and the djembe left….

Dalva is winding down the journey …

Someone sings and promptly there is the yellow cube again…

I have to return – never mind the other messages… I feel being dragged own by a soup of heavy molasses and struggle against it… I should journey on, but I am no at home but at Dalva’s circle….

I struggle against the sour smelling molasses until Lira brings a watering can with “Muskoka rain water from the flood” and douses me until the molasses comes of.

I feel Peter and Janet next to me…….

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So….

What does it all mean?

Well:

In one of the Runes = song/ poems Elias Lönrot used for the Finnish folk epos the Kalevala, is about Antero Vipunen, who is seen as the primodeal Elder shaman, an ancient Forest Spirit on a perpetual journey hidden deep in the Forest, turned to stone, incorporated into the living Earth. He holds a lot of secret wisdom and even the sage Väinämöinen went to him for wisdom and to learn a Rune that would aid him in “singing himself a boat” (creating a Rune = chant -vehicle that allows him to go on a shamanic journey)

I traveled to this Being,

Lira is one of my Miahanits – Medicine Guides….. Read more on : https://shamanicdrumm.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/134/

The Moose/ Elk Wapity: During Dalva’s teaching talk she referred to her special Guardian ans an Elk – and the picture that came across to me (in pre-verbal imagery ) was a Moose. However, most of the circle participants – hearing the word “Elk” envisioned a Wapiti, like we have out in Western Canada.

Wrong critter. The Moose in the cave – and in the Kalevala is upset because he is not seen by Canadians as / for what he reallllly is!

Here for the First nations out West, that are familiar with Elk he stands for sexual prowess and allure while the Moose, Hottha (Ojibwa) or Moosee (Cree) is the sacred balance of gentleness and strength within a human – and other Being

Meaning : these 2 have VERY different Medicines and the Moose in the journey wants to be seen for what he is….

I try to fix him in the journey, but Väinämöinen starts singing = the Kalevala itself talks about Elk and – so I can not fix that….

The strange yellow cube with the bright red Chinese writing is a visual manifestation for the sounds, that I am not used to, during journeying (they are yellow = alarm and red Chinese = to me = unknown and foreign. But they also represent the circle members, the many for whom journeying was unknown and new and foreign. And the Chinese writing yet again emphasizes the communication gap that exists due to language barriers in the circle……

So on one side it is Chinese to me to hear strange sounds during journeying but on the other side I could be the translator… ifffffappropriate of course…..

The Drum , the film reels and the Bear.

Bear is for healing and much healing needs to be done. Healing comes through understanding the other better. Many First Nations People consider 1234 = drumming “White man’s war drum tom tom drumming a’ la’ in the old Westerns, when you hear the war drums and the Natives circle the burning wagon train and… You all know…

So nowadays there is resentment against this and it comes up, when First Nations Elders hear none Natives play that rhythm on a drum. Some are quite vocal about it…..

It happens often and on several occasions I had to defuse the situation with teachings for both sides and so bridge the gap…..

What many first Nations so far are not yet familiar with is, that other shamanic Ancestor ways – like in Europe and South America use this rhythm and it is part of their culture and not just miss appropriated or picked up from an old movie… We in Siberia for example use this drum rhythm as one of the East rhythms – to ward of unknown disease Spirits that usually – as seen by my people – approach from the unknown future = East. For us Bear guards against these. So here Bear is well aware and points out the problem by tossing the old Pow Wow drum into the fire and Lira adds snippets of moovie reels….

When we shamanic practitioners from other cultures play this rhythm in Native American company we should be wise to qualify = explain, where we got this rhythm from and why we play it right now and maybe ask, ifffff it is OK with the “Spirits of Place”

In this case it comes from Dalva’s Finnish tradition and that is wonderful and very spiritual. And yes, there are many drum circle songs with that rhythm and also some First Nations chants from the Southern tribes = rain songs for example…. Not that we need more rain in Ontario right now….

Here we are being made aware of cultural sensitivities – no rain songs when there are floods – or no John Wayne drumming ….

And Yes, my Guides alert me to the problem and tell me to explain to Dalva, because it is her skirt that was burnt in the fire = “something” happened somewhere in the recent past and the smoke is still in the air but the fire is out.

The Wolf leads me to another realm I “know” from studying the Kalevala: The River of Death, where the old shamaness, the mother of the hero Lemminkäinen has to revive her son, who got killed and tossed there. This is a place, where she sang healing Runes that are very powerful…

Kallela_Lemminkainens_Mother

I still wonder, what she would have sung to me…

I will have to go back to visit her another journey…

As Dalva said in her teaching: In Finland and in Siberia we journey for looooong times – and 1 hour just flew by. When a journey needs to be aborted – or I get “tossed out” by – the proverbial phone ringing, someone touching me, or whatever, I often start to shake quite badly and it takes a while until I am back in OC…..

This time it felt like being stuck in heavy molasses that was dragging me back….

Later in the evening Dalva and me had a long wonderful talk and several other practitioners joined in.

🙂

Blessings to all circle participants who read this! 🙂

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Grandmother Chant

Ya no maa…..

My Inde’ teacher taught me the Ya no maa chant waaaaay back, when I was 21.

-Actually I should rather write it like this:

Ya’no ma’a’

…because of the way “a” is vocalized in Inde’….

He taught me this chant and several others and then, when I was keyed into the melody, the inner voice of it, (what we in the West would call “entrained”, then he had me sing/chant my own words to the melody.

Anything that came to my mind, anything I needed, anything I was “calling out for” or “calling in”

So since then, that is what I do: I chant the Ya no maa

and then…….

. This one is for my Grandmother and my Great Grandmother….

. the women of my lineage:

It’s the right time of year for a chant like this.

When the trance comes, so does Grandmother Ulaly

… and we talk….

2 New Chants, that I “found”

I never know, where the chants come from.

They are “out there”, in the Medicine Lines called the “collective unconscious” by CG Jung

I drum…..

…..the trance comes……

….. flirrrrry lines, sparkling in the bluish blackness…..

…..then somehow the drum rhythm changes….

….. a melody instead of a steady beat……

….. and then words drift in……

….. after a while I just sing along…..

…..Then, after a while it is time, to come back.

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Will I remember the chant, the melody, the words…

It is easier, when that is in English….

But sometimes it is not……

What language is it?

Questions the analytical mind will ask –

– and I may or may not have the answer…..

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Artwork  by Frank Howell

http://www.frankhowellgallery.com/artists/frank-howell

and Khambra Scarre

Teaching the children

Continuing from the previous post 🙂

After opening speeches and me doing the Noon Day Prayers and smudging, it was time for some teachings.

There were several school classes of kids from age 6 to 12 there to learn about First Nations culture. There also were quite a number of adults there and lucky for me several First Nations People also joined the circle.

I Had set up a small teachingdisplay and we discussed the meanings of Eagle, Wolf, Buffalo and Bear,  the Guardians of the 4 directions for the Anishinaabe People and the kids got a chance to handle an Eagle feather, a Buffalo horn, a Wolf ‘s tail and the Bear skull.

Then, on we went to the culture of the Haudenosaunee Longhouse and where the differences are.

Deer antlers, and other items were inspected and questions answered. We talked about how the Anishinaabe smudge and why the Mohawk People do not, but rather use Tobacco Prayers and how to conduct oneself when such an opportunity arises.

I also addressed some more problematic areas like why the white settlers tried to kill all the Wolves in the area while the First Nations watched in horror. Wolf is seen as an important teacher of family values, endurance and survival skills apart from being a mayor Clan Guardian for all First Nations.

There would be much to tell, but I also wanted to mention, that whenever a First Nations person is in the circle, I always give them the word to chime in and contribute or share personal experiences or give teachings.


2 hours of teachings go by very fast and then it was time for drumming!

They had all waited for that! We had to take turns to give all the kids a chance to play either the big Pow Wow drum or one of the frame drums I had brought for the occasion.

I explained, that the large drum was a gift from one of my clients and that it represents the voice of the Earth Mother. We played the heart beat and I sang a chant or 2.

Kids always want to speed up the beat and singing is a good trick to slow them down. Some children have lots of trouble keeping the beat or rhythm while others take to it easy and right away.

Some Anishenaabe Women see it as a special privilege to be able to play the big drum, because the men in their communities usually restrict them from even touching a Pow Wow drum. In the last few years there are a few female drum groups but they often experience the full brunt of rejection from their male contemporaries. No such problems exist in the communities of the 6 Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy 🙂

Everyone enjoyed the drumming sessions and at the end all the participants followed me in a traditional Closing Prayer.

Shi’ Meegweetch

Niawe

Shya’-nam

Thank you all


Upcoming celebrations for National Aboriginal Day

I have been asked by the town of Huntsville to do the Noon Day Prayers for National Aboriginal Day, which is June 21st = the Summer Solstice

National Aboriginal Day is a fairly new holiday here is Canada.

Most Native communities have always celebrated the Summer Solstice according to their cultures and people living in the big cities drive home to the reservation for the day, much as other Canadians would do for Thanksgiving day.

So this day was essentially selected by the Government to pay long over-due tribute to the First Nations.

Here is a little more about it all came together:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Aboriginal_Day

and

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/canada/national-aboriginal-day

http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100013712/1100100013713

Sadly there is little funding in the communities for putting an event and so we all organize things on aolunteer basis.

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I  am planing to set up a cultural display for our 2 Host Nations, the Anishinaabe  ( = the Ojibwa)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anishinaabe

and the Kanien’keha’:ka  (= the  Mohawk)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohawk_people

After the prayers at Noon I will have the Teaching Tent open for cultural teachings:            

– – Smudging:

       Making Prayers with sacred herbs
    = learn about smudging and  participate in a smudging ceremony   
               
— Our Host Nations the Anishinaabe and the Mohawk:
            a look at 2 distinct cultures –   

– – Buffalo teachings  –

– – Frame Drum circle 🙂

    I will bring the large Pow Wow Drum and extra  drums

– – sometime later …..

  after I catch my breath……
   Question period!!????

= What would you like to know..?

—-Closing prayers

A shaman drums……..

To me my work with drums and drumming, is an inseparable aspect of being Shaman —

My people call a person that does the things I do a “Kham”, leading Khamlanies = healing and other rituals. Udega is another similar word but it rather describes a person working with herbs and potions.

Someone who uses drums and chants , who has one or more Spirit Guides, mostly in animal form that he or she contacts while drumming in order to find out what is wrong with a client is called a Kham. The word this culture uses is Shaman, also a Siberian word, Tunguse to be precise and descriptive for someone entering ecstatic trance.

In this culture I claim this word as a befitting description for me because it points not only towards what I do but also to my Siberian heritage and distances me from the also often used term “Medicine Woman” that implies Native American heritage and incidentally would be analogues to the word Udega among my people.

Shaman however is not what I do, it is what I am. It permeates every aspect of my daily life, my art, the way I teach at elementary and university level, the way I mentor my private students, and how I conduct public multicultural gatherings and rituals.

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The musical aspect of my practice as a shaman involves drums and drumming as well as chants, traditional ones and others received in trance states and by extension movement and dance.

To me drumming in itself has different aspects that all fit onto a fluid continuum from light-hearted fun all the way to deep states of conflict resolution and healing.

Describing this continuum in more detail I want to first mention community based events that I facilitate and supply a multitude of drums and percussion instruments for:

There is the Bracebridge Drum Circle that gathers every Tuesday evening and provides everyday fun, good for you drumming. People come to jam together and also practice culture specific rhythms from around the world.

Next is the Frame Drum Circle, called “The Healing Drum” It is centred around spirituality and personal growth and I teach the use of the drum as a tool for relaxation and meditation, anger management and conflict resolution and -on occasion- I facilitate cathargic psychological ab-reactions for participants and lead them into profound healing states.

Even further along the continuum is my use of drums in shamanic healings. When I either drum with or for an individual client order to put him/ her and me into trance, so I can “see” into the body/soul to find an illness or dis-ease.

The last on the continuum is me alone, drumming and chanting, most every night to initiate and maintain altered states of consciousness and thereby see/find out about concerns I have for self and others. That is also where I receive most of my chants and where rituals are “born” as finished entities, ready to be used with the community and where the concept of much of my artwork comes from…..

Looking Back Woman

One of my most important companions is my drum.

Nice sentence !

– But which one?

I have over 60 drums, many of them handmade by me.

I use them for school visits and public teaching events, on Pow Wows and multicultural gatherings, for the people to use, to learn about drumming and the Power of the heartbeat of Mother Earth, so they all can meet and feel the voice of our common Soul.

There however are a few drums, that are “special” 🙂

Let me introduce you to one of them:

My Llooking Back Woman drum”.
The woman on it is looking back at where she came from.
What she has experienced
What she has survived
All the good stuff
And all the bad.
But she is moving forward.
towards the tree of Life that grows on Mother Turtle –
(seen as the living animate World by our Native People)
There are many Spirits in the air, surrounding the woman.
She is not alone.
There are buds on the Tree
for new Beginnings
like a Spiral of Life the sap/ Energy is rising up the Tree
To bring forth the New in the Woman’s life.

This is a healing Drum for women.
Only women may ever play it.
I am watching out for that.

Sometimes, this drum appears in the dreams of people I work with or mentor .

To help them move
FORWARD!