Drums, chanting and Zoom
Seidr by Zoom is quite simply not something I ever thought would happen,
I had set up and advertised some shamanic workshops by Zoom- finding different ways to work with groups as a result of the first covid lock down.
The idea was simple- I would take the group on the same drummed/led meditation that I do with in person groups. I was certain his would work as I regularly did drummed shamanic journeying work for clients by phone. And I had been doing this work in person groups for some years- so I felt I had the right skill set to transpose to online.
In groups I drum and take the group on a pathworking journey. We (usually sometimes there are changes) start in a small comfortable room, walk through a door and along a tunnel like path through a woodland.
We pause when we get to a glade- this is where the pathworking (us walking in the shamanic world together) stops, and everyone is now in their own reality.
The centre of each reality is the World Tree – Yggdrasil- and I can guide the group up, down, or to different specific locations using this tree as a map. I drum as I talk, then at some point stop talking and only drum- allowing each individual to do what ever needs to be done.
As I drum I can either do my own work (in an established group) or I may feel I need to hold space quite carefully- keeping a feel on how deep everyone is and if the experience is comfortable. Then in time I drum more gently and talk the group back to the tree, back through the woods, and back to the room.
So I settled in to my Zoom workshop- all ready to drum and lead the group. Sadly I was naïve about the complexity of sound and Zoom.
I started talking and drumming softly- and almost immediately I was told that the microphone couldn’t pick up the drum and voice and so the group were hearing intermittently a bit of both.
So I took a deep breath, and started using just my voice. I missed my drum- and worried that my voice alone would not be enough. But it is a well trodden path and I felt the deep connection/heaviness as I talked so I carried on.
We got to the part where I stopped and drummed, and boy was I glad to be back on familiar ground.
But again technology was against me and Zoom was not picking up the drum well. I was in that strange state where I was half in an altered state of perception, but also very aware of the physical reality. I felt anxious and unsure yet could “see” someone sat by a fire who was laughing very loudly. His hood was pulled very low over one eye, he knocked his pipe on a stone and firmly said “fucking chant then”.
So I did- I moved into my seidr chant, chanting solo rather than asking the group to chant with me. ( I have written a separate blog about the chant which you can read here) As I chanted the weaving “Norn-a-Norn” chant I was able to slip more completely into trance, the fire gained colour and I went to sit down and chat to Odin. I was pretty stressed at this point and not in the best of moods- our conversation was colourful.
The chant morphed and changed as it does, and I was not chanting- rather I was the chant. Fully able to connect myself and feel the edges of where the group was. In time I felt the energy change, the chant “runs out” like coming to the end of a ball of wool. With solo chanting the key is to feel that the chant is coming to an end so I can be able to talk and guide the group back seamlessly. It is more complicated than group chant as I go deeper, and it is only me feeling when the energy changes.
And so I call the group back to their World tree, and then lead us all back along the path to the small room which acts as a pause between this world and the other.
I started the seidr Zoom sessions in desperation, I had two key reasons-
My tarot/shaman business is my sole source of income. As a single Mum I need to work – I have rent to pay and teenagers EAT a lot.
I also missed not working in my group, and certain members of the group were very clear how important Seidr was to them I “needed” to make this work online.
Now I am back in person at the beautiful barns- but I also hold the seidr groups on Zoom at least twice a month. I love it! I love that I get to work with people who just couldn’t come to work with me in person, and people who used to come but have since moved and can now work with me again. And oftentimes there is at least one Barns person there who just can’t wait until chanting in person….
It remains a slightly strange experience to solo chant- but I love it just as much as group chanting now.
Even in the barns I will at times pause the drum to solo chant for the group- it seems to deepen the connection somehow. Though is can take me so deep that I struggle on guiding the group back- I am still working on the combination.
For those of you that haven’t experienced seidr/drummed journeying what do people experience? Their experiences are so different (which I love) its almost hard to know where to start.
· Many of my regulars, like me, are intensely visual and will see their journey with great clarity.
· Often people “feel” the journey- hot/cold, body tremors, stress, heavy, energy flowing. People will say they “felt “ the chant in their body.
· Some people see colours, others specific images whilst not seeing the whole landscape.
· I have had people experience words and sounds with less of a visual experience, and even smell being an important sense.
· We all have sessions where is just doesn’t work- and for whatever reason we can’t full enter the experience. But the feedback is people still feel they received healing even if they didn’t experience the journey. Often they "realise" something important.
· And sometimes people “zone” out. They are in an altered state of reality- but have no memory of it. My understanding of this is their left/logical brain is not ready to assimilate what they have experienced yet- it often comes back through dreams or just at a later date.
This is the second in a serious of blogs exploring my shamanic work- my next blog will explore how I work with a 1-2-1 client.