Anticipation of Astral Projection
Entering the drum circle, I am in anticipation of astral projection. Sending out its own personal signature vibration, my drum introduces itself to the circle of twenty-five others. Each drum announces its individual sound signature to the group as well as to the ancestral spirits who have gathered with us for this event of gratitude. My drum seems to be tight and tense announcing its unique sound, as if in hopeful anticipation of acceptance by the other drums.
Near and dear to my heart, my drum was made for me by a dear friend many years ago. It is constructed with elk hide and with a deer antler handle that has ten holes carefully drilled through it to string the sinew that holds the hide to the wooden octagonal frame. On the hide is a picture of a woman, possibly Mayan sitting at a loom weaving a blanket. A tiny burn hole shows evidence of a bonfire on a powerful full moon night in the Ponderosa pine woods of the Rocky Mountains. The drum and I are connected on a deep level.
Grandmother Drum Produces Entrainment
Grandmother Drum sits in the middle of the room and sets the pace, beginning with a heartbeat rhythm. Made from the base of an impressive cottonwood tree, she commands respect and reverence as her resonance reverberates through our souls. We all join in.
We begin in turbulence. Eyes open. Everyone looking around with searching smiles to figure out who has not dropped into the beat. Our drums urge each other to get into sync. I close my eyes and focus on Grandmother Drum as she plays louder, commanding attention from the other smaller drums. We listen more closely and the rhythm quickly comes into cadence.
I am beating the heartbeat and it speaks to the rhythm of my physical organs, my breathing, my heart, the blood flowing through my body, the energy that surrounds me. It is a rhythm that feels very comfortable. As the beat mixes and comes into entrainment, it evokes for me, a time outside of time.
Shape Shifting into the Coyote
My body, rocking back and forth, is transported as the drum beats shift and astral projection begins. There is a back beat answering the heartbeat rhythm and I am no longer in my friend’s living room.
Overcome with the primal desires of an animal, I take on fur, four legs, a tail. Pulsing with the energy of freedom and a feeling of wild desires I am running through the moonlit prairie, climbing to the top of a mesa. Standing in the moon shadows with nose held high I pick up evocative scents. My neck moves into an elongated stretch and from deep inside me a howl emerges; the sound traveling out and across the desert night air echoing through the canyon. The call is answered by another out in front and to my left. I feel the resonance of a kindred spirit, one of my kind. I identify his scent as wild and natural and earthy. I feel a longing deep within my glands to connect with him.
Descending Back into the Room
Suddenly I realize Grandmother Drum has softened her beat. I listen closely, all drums have decreased in volume and the beat is slowing to a halt. Wishing to remain the coyote I know that I must, for now, return to my body in this current lifetime. With reluctance, I focus on the room. I feel the chair beneath me. I wiggle my toes to descend into my human form. With great effort, I pry my eyes open. I am surprised to see all of my drumming friends sitting around the room in daylight as I return to this other reality. Grandmother Drum sits in the center of the circle, silent with the knowledge of all of the experiences that just happened in and beyond this room. I feel awkward in this human body as I long for my coyote self on the other side.