Ritual Drumming Info

Topics of this blog

  • History
  • Materials
  • How to play
  • Rituals
  • Full Moon Drumming


History

Our drums are built after the example of the Plains Indians in the Midwest of the USA. We have learned from original models, which we have bought and sold for years from the USA. In 1997 I started to build drums, because my Californian source dried up. In 2002 I taught my wife and she in turn taught our current drum maker this wonderful craft. Today we still pass on our knowledge in annual drum building classes.

Thunder Drums

Materials

We only use materials from the animal and plant kingdom. Our technique only works with firmer skins such as cow, horse, deer or wild boar; metal is not used. Goat skin is not suitable for our building method, the tense force of the skin string would tear this skin.

Rinderhaut


Raw hides react in their own way to different weather conditions. Thus, if a drum is played outside in damp conditions, it will lose its tension over time, differently and depending on the type and thickness of the skin. However, in a well air-conditioned room, it will always regain its initial tension. To restore the tension outdoors the drum may be held to the fire, and with the large Powwows, hot stones may be placed under them. It is necessary for quick results to hold the drum quite close to the heat, but not too long. If it is too far away from the heat source, nothing happens. However, please be careful when holding the drum so that it does not get too hot. Over the years it is advisable to rub the skins lightly with grease every now and then, especially during the heating period. This protects them from drying out and cracking. In winter, keep the drums on the ground rather than in the cupboard. In summer, in our rather humid latitudes, drums tend to be more saggy than in heated rooms in the winter.

The tension of the drum is created when the skin is pulled over the frame and the string is tightened. The tension of the wet skin should not be too loose or too tight, the drying process itself makes the tension. The string and skin pull together and harden. Thus each drum is a unique piece.

Trommel spannen

The beech frame is bent four times over a mold and glued. This makes the frame extremely robust, even though it remains particularly thin and light. We offer the drums in sizes 30 - 55cm in 5cm increments and the elaborate oval shape of the Samian Shamans. Frames that have a diameter of 50 and 55cm are 12mm thick and therefore heavier. We also build large gathering drums such as the Powwow (also called Mother Drum).

Rahmen

The mallet is made out of gathered wood with a red leather head and lined with sheep wool.

Trommelschlägel

How to play

When drumming for a long time a trance-like state is reached, which is used for connecting to other states of consciousness and for communication in circles and groups. The mallet is traditionally built by the player himself. Ritual drumming is not about drumming in a particularly virtuosic way, as it is the case with frame drumming, but rather about synchronous, monotonous drumming. Universities have studied the effect of monotone rhythms and discovered a change in brain waves and states of consciousness. When we drum to the rhythm of our heartbeat or walking, we can do it without much effort for quite a long time. At North American Powwow festivals and rodeos, the drum is played continuously for the entire time (a week or more), day and night. Thus, the energy and intention of the festival lasts the entire event.

Waldtrommeln


Rituals

We base our rituals and drumming on the Plains Indians with full respect for their culture, tradition and way of life and give thanks for the direct access. Our original European ritual culture has already been permanently destroyed since the Roman invasion of the Celtic/Germanic area of the many tribes. There are only a few unbroken traces left in England and on the outermost borders of the continent that have survived and are accessible. In recent decades they have regained significant attention and acceptance. With increasing intuitive practice and worldwide exchange, a distinct European understanding of spirituality is slowly growing again.

Vollmondfeuer 3


Full moon drumming


Since 1997 we have been drumming every month at full moon for 2.5 - 3 hours. I got to know full moon drumming in 1983 - at that time it was said that for a long time there have been people all over the world who get together to drum on full moons. For me, this is like meditation, which is also practised worldwide. The purpose of both is similar, it's about stopping to think, stopping individuality for a moment. Full moon drumming is very refreshing, anyone who has experienced it can confirm that. We create our realities through our thinking and get caught up in them all too quickly. That is why it is good to stop thinking from time to time. In this way, the brain waves experience new paths and solutions. Afterwards we are refreshed, calmer and better connected.

Vollmondfeuer 1

With the current crisis, we have opened these drum gatherings to all people who feel like joining in with the instrument they have at hand or with their voice. In this way we can align ourselves with positive energy, similar to the spontaneous singers in Italy during the first lockdown. You can be there from everywhere, alone, in the family or even in small groups around the fire.

Martina Vollmondfeuer

Our drums have many names: Shaman Drum, Sweat Lodge Drum, Mother Drum, Ritual Drum, Trance Drum, Plain Indian Drum, Frame Drum.

Finest feeltone craftsmanship made of high quality materials, lovingly cut from whole skins and strung with the frames in the northeast of Germany by the beautiful Baltic Sea.

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