The Healing Power of African Drumming

“Used as a vehicle to conjure, create, and transport life force, our ancestors noticed first that the same beat was present in all beings, in everything, and created vessels that embodied this essence, the eternal drum, implying heart and beat…With the heart beat drum as our guide, we—our ancestors called forth all that exists into equilibrium.”
–Afia Walking Tree

Everything She Creates Has a Beat…

Life begins with a beat; a vibration of energy that permeates through the cells of all human and non-human nature. The first sound we hear in our mother’s womb is that of her heartbeat. A fetus vibrates to the primordial rhythm of the mother through the vibrations and pulse of her blood flow, the chemical energy in her body, and her emotions. These are rhythms of the living Spirit within the human body, as evidenced by the primordial beat of the drum.

The physical drum is indigenous to Africa and the vibration of Spirit that resides within the drum is indigenous to our great Cosmic Mother. As a result, drumming is used to honor and connect to the divine feminine, the giver of life. Africans revered, channeled, and communicated with Mother Earth utilizing the vibration of sound, singing and drumming for whatever they needed, food, shelter, healing, and to express gratitude for life.

As Africans began to migrate to other places around the world, they carried the sacred Mother in the body of the drum. The body of the drum houses stories, traditions, and energy directly infused with the Spirit of Mother Earth and all her inhabitants. The African drum, carved from the trunk of the tree, embodies the energy of Mother Earth. With roots extending far into the depths of her body, trees are said to be the largest and most spiritually advanced plants on earth. Each tree psychically transmits wisdom, energy, and healing directly from Mother Earth.

Master drummer Babatunde Olatunji, pioneer of African drumming in America, contends that the power embedded in a drum is the result of the amalgamation of many spirits; spirit in the carved body of the drum; spirit in the skin of the drum; and spirit in the player of the drum. The drum with its accompanying spirits, was a constant companion to Africans and a source of divine wisdom, healing, connectivity, and love.

In ancient civilizations prior to the global patriarchal conquering of women, women were the keepers of the drums. As Africans migrated to various parts of the world, they took with them their matristic belief systems, culture, and worship of the Cosmic Mother. However, as a result of patriarchal imperialism, Goddess centered cultures and societies began to vanish and women were strictly prohibited from engaging in any relationship with the sacred Mother which included communication by way of the drum. Author and Scholar Layne Redmond explains that “the drum was the means our ancestors used to summon the goddess and also the instrument through which she spoke.” The goal of patriarchal imperialism was to sever all ties to the Cosmic Mother, denouncing her power and existence to give rise to the paternalistic power of a dominant Father God.

Disconnection from the wisdom and power of the Sacred Mother through embodied spiritual practices like drumming has created a planetary imbalance resulting in the destruction of Mother Earth and her inhabitants. Our wounded planet is calling for the collective forces of mankind to remember and reclaim our sacred Cosmic Mother. It is imperative that women heed the call by returning to their divine power. As such, they can create a spaces for men to release their destructive oppressive behaviors and dismantle the systems that perpetuate the great divide. The drum is a sacred technology that can serve to instantly reunite us back with our sacred Mother, inducing healing, balance, compassion, and love for all planetary beings.nd. The place where sacred love resides.

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