Articles, essays, musings and poetry on life, truth,
liberation and unconditional love
My notes from Layne Redmond's amazing book: When the drummers were Women....
In the oldest times women's bodies were considered holy, because they had the seemingly magical ability to give birth; to create new human beings. As a result, women became the first technicians of the sacred, performing religious functions we would today associate with the clergy or priesthood. Sacred drumming was one of their primary skills.
Today, in the western world and beyond, behind the surging feminine energy of the spiritual seeking being done (predominantly) by women is a yearning to understand who they are and what their purpose in life is. They long to live meaningful lives in harmonious rhythm with the sacred energies of the earth and heavens.
One of the paths discovered, amongst these spiritual seekers, is that of divine Goddess and Priestesshood that celebrates the earth as the Great Mother of All That Is. Women were once celebrated as the embodiment of the Divine, humans saw themselves as the earth in human form, and Divine Feminine rituals preserved the sanctity of this nourishing bond between people and Nature.
Rhythmic music was particularly important in the rituals associated with the Goddess. Rhythm was revered as the structuring force of life, and priestesses and other worshiping women used the frame drum to celebrate their goddesses as the endlessly rhythmic energy of life.
Sacred drumming probably began as an echo of the human pulse. The pulse of our mother's blood was our first continuous experience as we quickened in the womb. Our physical being formed in response to the rhythms of her body. No other sensation is so basic. The beat of the priestess' frame drums articulated this process of creation, bonding the individual with the rhythms of the community, the environment and the cosmos.
Now, as in ancient times, the path of the goddess is not restrictive. It offers a channel for spiritual energy, and a sense of unity through rhythmic movement, for all people. Aligning ourselves with sacred rhythms, we can act as summoner and transformer, invoking divine energy and transmitting it to our communities.
The frame drum emerged over 10,000 years ago to become the symbol of the Goddess as creatress of the universe. The frame drum is clearly depicted in the hands of various goddesses and her priestesses. The sacred technology for synchronizing mind and body through the power of drumming and rhythm is at the root of her oldest spiritual devotions, practices and rituals.
Music began and developed first as a spiritual technology. It was considered another form of Yoga - Nada Yoga, which is based on the belief that ultimate reality resides in vibration. The physical world, including the physical form of us humans, is a manifestation of different frequencies of this root vibrational energy. The goal of Nada Yoga is a communion with the pulsing vibration behind all sound - the bindu - the point out of which everything arises. The heartbeat behind all heartbeats.
Music created from the study of Nada Yoga principles harmonizes everything in its presence. In humans, it achieves this by vibrating the matrix of the brain and nervous system.
TEMPLES OF WISDOM
The temples were the "universities" of the ancient world. Written language was developed within the Goddess temple culture. Written language is essentially a map for creating sound and vibration, through which thought and feeling can be expressed. It is the written translation of sound, which is the root of all expression. Thought can be considered a vibrational energy, and was considered just this in the ancient Egyptian culture. They believed that mind, body and spirit could be aligned with the ultimate divine intelligence by meditative practiced coupled with the sacred sounds created by voice and musical instruments. It is believed that Egyptians considered the purpose of humankind was "to embody and express the vibratory, rhythmic life of cosmic Humanity, which was felt to exist abstractly, like an inaudible music."
I rarely remember the details of my sleep-time dreams, but when I do they tend to leave an indelible impression on me. I intuitively know they're significant and symbolic of something my subconscious is chewing on and processing through. I recently had a dream that stayed with me. In the dream, I'm still living with my now ex-husband in a downstairs apartment of a 3 level building, much like the apartment we lived in for the first 10 years of our marriage. Our apartment was on fire. It became a huge blaze instantly, though we were somehow able to be in there, amidst the fire.
I went to our upstairs neighbors several times to warn them of the fire, and that they should get out of the building. They were having a dinner party and ignored my warnings, shrugging off any concern. Going back down to our apartment, I looked around to find flames were now almost everywhere. The walls, furniture items, curtains, pillows, etc. were all covered in flames. When I noticed that the fire had not quite gotten a hold of everything just yet, I thought I had a chance to get some of our things out. However, every time I went to rescue something I cared about, that thing was suddenly fully engulfed in flames and I would drop it from my hands or step away from the item for fear of being burned.
I eventually succeeded in getting one item all the way outside, to the front yard. Once it was "safely" out there I noticed that it was also now on fire, and lost to me.
As I began to unravel the significance of this dream, the most important element seemed to be that any attachments I had, needed to be burned away and released completely. I had to work on letting go of everything that was still pulling on me from that 30 year relationship that had ended just 2 years prior.
Attachments never seem to serve our highest good, yet it's a challenging practice to be in non-attachment. Even when I think I've succeeded in staying out of attachment with a person, place, thing, etc. I inevitably discover that I am still attached on some level.
Life is a practice. There is no destination, just a practice, and the idea is that we commit to doing our best every day.