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Drumming and rattling to feed the land

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While camping in the Chisos Moutains in Big Bend National Park, a friend set up our tent and then took a late afternoon hike. It was winter, and we didn't realize how soon it would get dark.

The Chisos Basin is a lush valley in the crater of an extinct volcano. A stream flows between oak trees to a rock window where it pours out in a waterfall to the desert far below.

The hike turned out to be harder than advertised, so after looking enjoying the view we sat down and ate a snack before hiking back.

While resting, we began drumming, but after a few minutes we stopped, puzzled. We were sitting in a small canyon with high walls, a perfect setup for echoes, but there were none. None.

It seemed as though the land was hungrily soaking up the sound. We could feel it as we began drumming again.

We finally had to stop, because it was getting dark, and we had not brought flashlights. So I rattled as we started back. And a strange thing happened.

It felt as though someone placed a steading hand on my lower back to help me along. When we met other hikers going the other way, I would stop rattling, and the support would stop, too. I got the message.

From then on, we took drums and rattles on all our hikes and drummed to feed the land wherever we stopped to rest. I often also rattled while walking. We experienced many spirits.

When we returned to Houston, a friend told me of visiting the vortexes near Sedona, and seeing energy spiraling up from some vortexes and arcing over to the mountains miles away. Other vortexas absorbed energy that was spiraling down to them from the mountains.

The sad thing she said, was that modern humans came there only to soak up the good vibes but gave nothing back. They could not see and did not realize they were, in effect, robbing the earth.

My guess is that indigenous people intuitively know that and their drumming, chanting, singing, rattling and dancing are (whatever their stated purpose) also done to feed the earth in gratitude for supporting them.

In a journey this summer, one of our Houston Shamanism Meetup group members received a similar message. When journeying on what we might do to heal the drought (and if we should), she was told by the spirit of the rain that we were supposed to dance.

Nourish the land where you live. Drum and dance on the earth when you can. If that is not feasible, can you take a small rattle and walk around while shaking it?

It need not even be a special rattle, just a few small rocks or beans in a can or box will work. If you put on earphones, no one will even think it very odd if you dance.

Give it a try and see what you feel. If you do it on a regular basis, you may feel a change in the energy in your yard or small area. Come back and leave a comment about what you experience.

Or come to the Houston Shamanism Meetup this Saturday evening at 6 pm, journey with us, and then go to Denny's with us to talk more about your experiences and your thoughts on them.

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