“A Place of Continuous Prayer”

There wants to be a place . . .
	a Place of Continuous Prayer on earth,
	a place on the ground where always
	at least two or more are holding the circle
	holding the sacred Space in a prayerful good way.

	On a sanctified ground
	One Humanity One Earth One Home in accord with nature
	In Respect for the Directions, the Elements, the Creatures, the Ancestors, the
		Yet-To-Be-Born. . . 
	Where all people can come in a right way and join . . .

					-- Tony Basilio

 

The drumming began the first night in a small copse of trees. In the moonlight, our group of 22 crowded together to weave a circle of prayer ties that would hold our intention to “Be spirit,” to stretch ourselves as a community of contemporary shamanic workers in an ancient form of service to our world as we committed to drum continuously for 4 days. We knew that more was possible together.

After the initial collective drumming, the group began melting into the night as pairs in 2 hour shifts held the beat, making prayers, surrounded by prayers. Each tie held a member’s own personal intention for what “being spirit” would mean in their life. “Pay it forward” someone said. Most of us went to bed with strong dreams; we could feel the drums’ pulse from our beds.

The earth turned, and new shifts arrived, sleepy and excited – “fresh meat” said a wag – and after smudging with sweet smoke, the exchange was made. There were no dropped beats as the relay progressed, each pair shaping the rate and rhythm as they were moved by spirit.

Into this ongoing ceremony, other ceremonies were woven: toning with the trees as we slowed down to find their beat and their song; preparing a personal death lodge to release what no longer fit our deepening relationship to life;building a cairn of stones to honor the ancestors who held us through time; dancing our helping spirits each day and bringing their messages forward; finding our heart song through nature’s sounds and images. We could see the sparkle in our eyes getting stronger; songs came through from spirit filled with power and joy. We sensed large, ancient beings moving in the night. Spirit spoke to our effort: “You are calling up ancient magic that is needed in this time. This is only the beginning.”

The grass beneath the copse of trees flattened down with the dancing. How could we have forgotten the feeling of moving under the stars, of singing in the night mist, of straining our senses beyond the circle into darkness?

Even in daylight, the drumming was like a fiddler’s call. By sunrise, there were often extra people inside the circle, while others coming for breakfast sat on the porch laughing and tapping their feet. Drums and rhythms came alive to Irish drinking songs, to lullabyes, to hymns, to the simple tempo of a heart beat. Soft, loud, fast, slow as the hours flew by. The spirits weighed in as well with new songs: “Bright leaves falling from the trees; bright leaves falling from the trees; because there’s MAGIC, SPIRIT, all around” came one song. I-are-We-are-Light, I-are-We-are-Light; SHINE your beautiful Light!” came another. Joy, pure joy, filled everything.

The continuous drumming created a sustained journey for us all as realities began to blur: dreams became awakening, became journeying, became folded into ceremony with the omnipresent beat. The moon danced along its course each night, waxing toward fullness. I remembered a song to Moon from years ago: “Into the silence of the night, into the silence of the Moon, I am making my dreams come true; into the silence of the night, into the silence of the Moon, I am making my being come true.” Strong stuff. Time for us to dream deep and dream true.

The four-day commitment swept us along in a state of no-time. As the closing ceremony began, the group returned to the little circle, drumming en masse. One member spoke of having seen a spider reabsorbing its web as a metaphor for us to take in what we had spun for the past 4 days. She read a message from Spider Woman that had come through another member in the past:

               "Hear me well . . .	
		You have all that you need within you to add a greater light to the Web.
		Go.
		Dream me a new dream,
		Weave me a new web,
		Spin me a new song,
		Make me a new world."

On a prearranged signal, all drums stopped on a single beat – and the resounding silence brought tears to our eyes. We cut the string holding the prayer ties, each taking a tiny bundle of the transformed tobacco and cloth to give to the spirits of the land. The woods were shimmering in the fall sunlight as we packed and made our goodbyes. Leaving with a renewed sense of what is possible, we brought the silk of these days home to our own circles to start spinning again.

						--Cecile Carson, October 2008

credits:
	- photo of drumming - Sinead Wilder
	- Spider Woman's message - Ramona Lapides

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