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Angelic Kingdom Converges in Charlottesville

This article originally appeared in the Echo, June 2000

by Jim Gagnon

The golden yellow light danced in the eyes of those seated around the fire. Behind these glowing, watchful faces lay in infinite darkness and above them beamed the ancient moon and shimmering stars. The air shook with rhythm and felt much like a mother's heartbeat would to the child in her womb. Behind the drummers, the dancers stomped their feet, jumped into the air and spontaneously twirled with the living flame of spirit burning in their hearts. The people prayed and celebrated in the way their ancestors had since before time. The color of their skin might have been red, black, brown, yellow, or white, or perhaps they are of all different colors, creating a rainbow of living, breathing flesh. One of them could even be you.

The image of a fire with drummers and dancers could represent the natives of any culture on our planet. To some, this scene may feel distinctly or vaguely familiar. For many in (he modern "civilized" world, these thoughts bring uncomfortable feelings and even fear. Some might fear being eaten alive like the poor lost explorers in a Tarzan movie. Many associate drums with war and aggression and don't want to see that this tribal "primitive" past is where we all came from.

But consider this: although drumming has been used to raise anger for battle, it mostly has been a tool for prayer, meditation, healing, and celebration, even in the time when Jesus walked the Earth.

The beating of a drum is the very first sound that a human being hears as his mother's heartbeat fills her womb with sound. The drum takes us back to the womb and beyond, into timelessness. Drumming is pure creative energy, with the power to heal, transform, and expand consciousness. Since the beginning of time, shaman all around the world have used drums to journey to the spirit world, heal the sick, and actively send prayers to the universe. Drumming with others in a circle is an ancient tradition that is respected worldwide for its cosmic power. Some have compared a drum circle to a wonderful, psychedelic experience, while others have said it was better than sex. A good drum session dissolves our little eyes and fills us with the unlimited potential of Universal Consciousness.

The most important quality to develop in drum circles is the ability to listen. Listening to the people and the energy around us, and to the Spirit within ourselves. By listening we turn off our minds so we can truly hear. A good circle starts off gently with everyone listening and feeling the subtle energy of the rhythm. Imagine a giant wheel beginning to turn ever so slowly. With time the wheel gradually speeds up and eventually spins with so much momentum, it is virtually unstoppable.

The energy of drumming is alive! Especially in our materialistic society, drumming and dancing moves energy and brings life to a people whose lives are filled with television and traffic between work and the shopping mall, and all the things that separate us from our own inner spirit. A positive experience for any age, race, sex or religion, drumming lifts us out of the mundane and into a world of community, excitement, and celebration.

I'm no astrologer, but here's a prediction. A drum circle is starting up on the downtown mall on Fridays around 7 or 8ish. A gathering of drummers, dancers, listeners. And the people will be of various races and cultures and will come together as one to offer up prayers and thoughts of world peace and world unity.

Charlottesville is a vortex, a crossroads where energy comes together. May we become the spirits dancing in the flesh that we are.

See you there.