Birthing a shamanic healing drum

A drum is alive and has a spirit. When I make a drum I am responsible for this being and this being is responsible for me. My own drum is a physical piece of evidence of my own sacred marriage with spirit. She – my drum – helps me to make divination, heal, unmake, release, bind, separate. Together the spirits and I create and destroy. In Tuva they say a shaman is nothing without a drum. 

Not all drums are meant for shamanic healing. Drums have many roles in many different hands. In my understanding of shamanhood if you hold and use a drum it is for shamanic healing. One has a sacred contract with the spirits which you are showing to the world by your use of the drum.

For the past twenty-two years, I undertake a process with people which I call ‘drum birthing’. This process is about bringing that which is Spirit as instructed or guided by our spirit helpers into this reality. For this, I use natural materials of timber and animal skin; the Land; midwives; community; shamanic journeying; an animist belief that All is alive and has a Spirit and all is connected. Drum-birthing is about doing the best we can to bring into being a healing drum which is as individual and beautiful as the person birthing. The drum is awakened and blessed when brought into the world.

My relationship with drum began soon after I participated in a Shaman’s journey- basic workshop with Jonathan Horowitz and Heimo Lappalainen in 1991. These two were, at that time, teaching for Foundation for Shamanic Studies in Scandinavia/Finland. They were my introduction to shamanic journeying and my first drumming experience with them is still strong in my heart. It set my feet straight on the shamanic/animistic path I still walk; but, that is a whole other story for another time. Back then Remo synthetic drums were very much in use in Finland: no matter if -30C or +30C, they sounded. 

My Remo drum was sweet to play; sweet to listen too, sweet to sing with, and sweet to work with. This was the drum which travelled to Tuva (Tyva) in 1994 when I made my first visit there to return Heimo’s ashes and attempt to continue a joint project there with some of the Xam/Xamnar (shamans) and stone carvers. This journey also became the turning point for my walk with Spirit and an.initiation into Tuvan worldview and healing through song and drum. 

There I learned about drums, shamanic healing (for lack of a better word) from my Tuvan teachers. I deepened into how a drum is alive, has a spirit, and the relationship between Shaman and drum being an active and intimate relationship, such as a marriage between two persons.

When one of my Tuvan Xamnar teachers Tözhü Teshit Lopsanovna (1912-1999) took my Remo drum and covered it with a white gauze clothe so that our spirit helpers would not get mixed up or transfer to each other I understood on a completely new level the respect and honouring of Spirit of the Drum.

I felt I was home. For Singing has always been present in my life since childhood. ut the drum took me – and my song – to a new, much deeper place. So, I learned to work with my drum, and my voice and they spread like a swollen river into my healing work and daily life. 

In Tuva I heard stories about as well as witnessed the power of drums through use: power to create and destroy; power to cause harm and heal; to chase away illness; to bring in blessings through the power of voice and the drum combined. My judaeo-christian, holy-roller, esoteric, classical voice and music therapy, church-singing upbringing moved aside willingly! 

I have heard lots of stories about shamans and their drums and read old stories, recorded by anthropologists and ethnographers. Many of these spoke of shaman’s drums falling from the sky, or of them being made by the shaman’s community. Sometimes a drum was found in the forest; sometimes it took years to be made  – each part being collected, or made, over a shaman’s whole apprenticeship which may take years.

Carrying a healing drum is a responsibility. It is as if you have a child to raise, yet you are also the child yourself and the drum is your parent. It is a responsibility, a commitment, one which is ‘until death do you part.’

Traditionally, in Tuva, a shaman would have only one drum and they would use it for their whole lifetime. I do not have many shaman drums: one is my partner, another is for others to use. It is much work to keep them fed and alive.

In the Ethnographic Museum in Stockholm there are some old Sámi shaman’s drums, and if you look closely at them, you will see some of them have been repaired: a few stitches to close a tear here, a small patch of reindeer skin to cover a hole there. I project perhaps in assuming they were cared for and loved! In Tuva it was the same: one drum to one shaman.

There is a rich tradition of making shamanic healing drums and our consumer-led/immediate gratification traditions simply lack such. The journey to reclaim part of the Finnish tradition is when our drum-birthing began in Finland.


   It was back in the 1990s that my dear friend Jaana Kouri and I were given a similar dream: helping people make their own drums (handcraft) and birthing their own drums with sacred Spirit.

   Our inspiration came during a workshop which I had organised on behalf of Annette Høst. Her teachings were of the Nordic Seiđr (2) focusing on women’s cycles and renewing old earth wisdom.

Jaana and I both received a teaching from the spirits of the land about reclaiming past knowledge and re-inspiring our own culture. We both realised that language, stories and the ways of drum making were the paths we should tread to bring this vision forwards. 

How could we in this day and age of cultural appropriation, consumerism and competition be välittäjä? As välittäjä we are the brokers, the bargainer, the negotiator between Spirit and the people; the go-betweens and ultimately the ones who help facilitate the physical act of creating and birthing shamanic healing drums as guided by direct intervention with one’s own spirit teachers?

A few years ago Jaana returned the word of academia (Spirit-led!) to focus on her university path whilst I continued with the drum-birthing process. Tanja Kangas co-leads now for she was apprenticed to this work (Jaana and myself) for twelve years. One day I will stop doing this, stop being a midwife in the ‘birthing’ of drums and for now Tanja and I work with people together.


To reclaim and re-inspire Jaana and I made journeys to our spirit teachers, we sat with Mother Earth, the Sea, Lakes, ponds asking for vision and guidance. Our mutual interest in language, stories, songs, handcraft and a living connection with spirit helpers brought in the vision. 

Giving birth speaks of being pregnant – you can’t give birth without a pregnancy first. It speaks of fecundity, of being fertile, and of bringing ‘that which is hidden’ into being.

Think of the process of making a baby: a seed, semen, and a receptacle – the womb – are required.

With the making of physical babies, we all have a fairly clear vision of what each of those things are, yes? But even then, we do not know really what we are birthing; what kind of being, what child will arrive? We may have our dreams and expectations, but we also have uncertainty.

All birth is like this, whether it is a physical baby, a painting, a piece of music, a new business or a healing drum.

It all begins with that seed, a dream, a desire, a passion for a voice to communicate with.

For some this is a dream of a drum for healing others, for others it is a different dream. Some people go away at the end of the process with a drum that has a totally different intention than doing healing work for other people or places – perhaps the drum is about them healing themselves.

A person will be pregnant with their drum and this forms a link to a central part way to honour our past traditions in Finland: the tradition of sauna.

Sauna is found all over the world by different names and with varying customs and physical forms. Sweatlodges of the First Nations of Turtle Island seem to be the most known form borrowed by other peoples. In Finland they have been a sacred central part of the culture for a very, very long time.

It is said that sauna is the first building (made of logs/ turf/ peat/ holes in the earth/ skins) constructed when arriving to a place. It was the first living quarters whilst building a house. Sauna was the place for giving birth and even up until the 1970s there were still people being born in them. It is the place for doing healing, for doing magical charm work, for bathing and also washing the dead. It is a holy place, with its own sacred rules, and has many different guardian-like spirits.

This is the place where transformation and alchemy are visible within fire heating stones and water poured on them to create steam. Sauna is the place where we climb the ‘hill of pain,’ it is the place for our prayers to be given and also answered; the place for our physical healing to be resolved; for our hurt hearts to be soothed; for purification; celebration; initiation and weeping the pain of change. It is, for us, a womb.

In Finnish, we also speak of the seppä  – the smith – who is found in the old rune-songs and stories of Karelia (1). Seppä is the transformer, working with stone and metal, fire, heat, steam, water and air. They get “hot” from which some traditions speak of as what the “tietäjä”, Finnish for “one who Knows” does when going between the worlds. 

So having our sauna womb available during the birthing we are able to honour our ancestors. We reclaimed the seppä and getting hot into our work. We reclaimed its use in our drum birthing.


We speak of ‘birthing’ because it is about being in the borderlands between ‘spirit and matter,’ it is about being on the edge – having one foot in each realm.

People need to generate a connection between their own spirit helpers, and the spirits of nature in order to bring forth a healing drum. How can we connect, and receive guidance from our helpers, and bring this information into this reality?

We are the välittäjä; the go-between, the hollow-bone, the conduit for the spirits to work through us when doing healing work. We immerse ourselves in the energy of Creator-Luoja: creation and destruction, cooperating with spirits of nature-Luonto, our own nature-luonto, spirit helpers, and with one another, to take creative seeds and plant them continuously in our womb-kohtu (any human!) weaving knots of our new fate-kohtalo and meet ourselves-kohdata into this new path. This is sacrum of birthing a sacred healing drum.

For a full week we guide a small group given over to birthing a shamanic healing drum. This was our compromise with tradition and modern life.

At the beginning, Tanja and I set up an altar in the centre of our work space created from our first journey to the spirits. We make that journey to learn about the coming week together, to learn about our time and journey with the other people gathered.

We ask for strength and for power for the week ahead, we give thanks for those arriving, we seek vision of what is coming forward and for blessing – and all this is then laid out on the altar as a reminder to us. This gives birth to our red thread for the week. 


Having people gather in circle for an extended period of time allows us to guide each person into a deep connection with the spirits of nature, the spirits of elements, and with their own spirit helpers. Their spirits guide every aspect of putting the drum together.

There are many teaching stories about places of power and the the World Tree or Centre of the World. People would go to find their ‘power place’ in nature for the birthing process. This is a place where they feel a connection to the ‘World Tree,’ the sacred ‘centre of everything’.

The idea of the World Tree is found all over the world, and is often seen in paintings on the front of a shaman’s drum; as well as sometimes being found represented on the inside of a drum – the part that faces the shaman, the spirit or god side.  

Sometimes they will get instructions that the world tree needs to be brought into their drum physically. Perhaps it is the part they hold, or woven in or drawn in. 

This connecting power place is where each person will constantly. Sometimes it is the place they will spend a night sitting out with nature to seek an answer (3).

We have sacred practises for each part of the drums construction: the frame, the skin, the lacings and the finished drum’s decoration.

There are sacred ways to choose the skin and the wood board which will become the frame, as there are for bending that board, and for joining the head and tail of the board to make the round drum frame, and also for attaching the skin.

All of these are done with the constant contact of a person’s spirit helpers, with song, and with their partner kätilö or midwife, and if needed Tanja or myself – and all with contact with their power place, out in nature, 

When people come and ask how or what to do, we ask them if they have asked their helpers. The mantra of the week is “Go ask your spirit helpers before you come to us.” 

We have different practises to help people in this, help them be in contact with their spirit helpers. In that way, people learn to walk in this physical world and in the spirit world actively – both at the same time – weaving the two worlds together to aid the birthing process. Nothing is ever pre-ordained! Birthers learn to follow the clues their helpers give and this is key to birthing a healing shaman’s drum. Often one of the most difficult teachings for some is just allowing this red thread to form and following it. We do our best to support and assist so that the visions are brought into this reality.

We give examples of this sacred weaving in language and story – both from Finland and Tuva – as a way to help explain the different parts of the drum and the basic way all the parts are put together. A central part is connecting to our mother Earth and the energy of the cauldron, the iron pot full of possibility, full of flame, full of creation energy. This is where the raw energy arises and it is not from the arms! Physically, we refer to it as vitun voima and reclaim the old meaning in Finnish: the energy from the hips, womb, cervix, the hundreds of ligaments and muscles in and around the female genitalia. Yes, men can connect with this energy also and perhaps this is where “ergi” actually originates (4). Some folk try and use their arm strength with no connection to their womb space and the results are torn skins, frames that crack when they wouldn’t have, even getting more tired and frustrated. This is the region of birthing power. 

We speak of ‘bones’ – the drum’s frame; and of ‘skin;’ and of ‘laces’. These are all parts of our fate and we are tied to our fate by our laces, and all of these come forth from water. 

As I said before, ‘the birth is of water and fire,’ but first of all, people have to ‘find the bones.’ when we were born we all swam in the birth waters of our mothers, and we swim in the birth waters once again as part of the birthing process of our drums.

We arrange a sacred walk with that specific intention – a walk to find the bones. People set off into the forest, down wild paths, and at the end of the walk they come to the birthwaters, just like in the pregnant belly.

We almost always have a body of water for the bones – the wooden frame boards – where they float.

So, people undress, and they go into the birthwaters of the bones and find, or choose, one of the boards within them.

They swim, paddle or float with their bones, until they feel ready to arise, dress and return to the land, bringing their boards with them.

Bending the wooden board to form the drum frame is a communal event, it requires a team effort, it is not a job that is meant to be completed by oneself. Bending is when the baby first starts to be born and everyone in the circle are supporters of this. Bending is when the frame – the bones – of the shaman are joined. Shapes vary and speak to the red thread of their birth story. We have never lost a baby! 

The skin is the face we show to the world. The inside, with its fat and fascia perhaps still present, is part of the god-side: the side the shaman speaks and sings with, where the secrets are kept. We arrange the choosing of skins so it is directly connected to Spirit and their spirit helpers. Stretching the skin and attaching it to the bones is pair work between birther and midwife. 

 In Tuva, one shamanic song sings of ‘tying the laces of a shaman destiny.’ When we work with the drum’s laces – the part that ties the drum skin to the drum frame – they tie us to the World Tree, which we hold in our hand as we play the drum. When we work with our laces, we tie our fate. Singing their birth song, their power songs strengthens them during this all day and sometimes into the night, process.

I find that communal drum birthing requires learning about boundaries. Imagine ten people scattered around in a large area outdoors – some sitting close to each other, others set apart. Some are singing to their frames as they whittle, saw and smooth them, while others are quieter than quiet. Some people talk to their frames; some sit and rattle their rattles whilst holding their frame.

Some people have never held a sharp knife before, or used a hand drill which does not run on electricity.

Some people disappear, going to their power place to find out what is next in the process to work the frame.

Some people tell others to leave them alone, and some learn to ask others for help – which might be one of the hardest things for them to do. And when asked, some learn to say “No”, and remain focused on their own process – not being available to solve everyone’s problems.

And then, sometimes, when they are at almost the end of putting their drum together they come to understand – or get told by the spirits – that their drum is not for healing other people, it is for healing themselves. The spirit of the drum decides and it lets the person know.

All the shamanic journeys people make are important, and all of them reveal a side of the spirit of their drum which is important for them to understand (or begin too).

The final journey everyone makes is to meet the spirit of their drum. This is probably the part of the whole process I cannot emphasise the importance of enough. It is vitally important to know the spirit of your drum, who they are, how to honour them; how are they to be worked with; for what reason and when; what offerings do you need to give to them; can other people hold them or are they for your hands only?

They say in Tuva that if one doesn’t take care of – doesn’t honour a drum – it can turn around and bite you. What that means, is that one needs to care, co-operate and use a drum respectfully, because the drum is alive, and so, if you are not careful, it can turn around and do you harm – prevent good things happening to you. Interesting is that löylyy can do the same!

And then, finally, we come to the important task of waking up and blessing the newly made drum. We join in community – all of us in circle – and we put on our finery and we make ceremony.

Each year the ceremony differs because each year we contact our spirit helpers and ask about the blessing ceremony. As each group of people have been different, so the ceremony has been different.

We ask, “what was the ‘red thread’ during the week?” ‘What events, nature spirits or phrases around the dinner table are important for the ceremony with this circle?”; “What should it look like?”; “Who wants to be present, remembered, honoured?”

Then Tanja and I sit together and weave our answers together, and in this way, we honour our helpers, the spirits of the place where we are, the ancestors, the group and all the drum spirits.

We feel we honour the making of the drums in the best way possible, and I also think we work in quite a traditional way, considering the times we live in. A week is good, but ten days would be even better.

We need more drum carriers – we need more healing drums. All the drums people make with us are healing drums, and some – but not all – of these are shaman’s drums too.

To do shamanic healing work is to be grounded, rooted in the earth, with your hands in the heavens, and with a constant flow going between here and there and bringing it back to your people.

This flow directs your hands to create. It is one of the ways for the spirits too manifest; it is a way to bring new ways into the world, new inventions even. The sacred is present when we call it in, be aware of its presence in every action, as every act is a prayer, and every drum is a voice of prayer, when we play it.

Making a drum is a journey into the raw energy of the creative. It is the energy of passion, of joyful lust, of heat and of fire. It is a joining in with that creative spark, and keeping it smouldering so that it is ever present in our lives.

When we work and eat in community there is always much laughter and tears about how everything in drum-birthing is a reflection of life – basic, life-making and life-giving fecund sensual sexual nutrition-giving and taking LIFE!

Touching the sacred is focusing the energy of our ordinary reality time with the time continuum of our spirit helpers, mixed with a heaping of intention, so as to produce a flow which is so focused, that the time of ordinary reality disappears, and we are then enveloped in Their time.

Having a baby is a pretty proud moment; it is amazement, it is awe inspiring, it is an essence of profundity. Birthing a sacred drum is the same.

Many different folk join in and many have on their mind: to make a shaman’s drum – and some of them do, and some of them don’t for something else wanted to be born to them. Sounds like a natural pregnancy!

People often tell me afterwards that it was the hardest, and most wonderful thing, they had ever done. They tell me that they are in love with their drums.

We had a group of theatre people come and make drums once – playwrights and actors – people who wanted to make drums to help them better understand the energy of creativity involved, maybe have a drum that could be used in their performance. They were surprised at how each drum was so alive and with a spirit and some said straight: I am not to be used for performances, make another! The week time gave them a better sense of the project they were working on

One woman made a drum which was for a child. Her birth story was all about healing and working with children in the schools. Then she came along a second time and a drum was born for mourning and lamenting of her dead grandchild.

Another found out why her drum was born with five sides: the summation of the teachings she received from her helpers gave her literally a layered upon layer teaching five-sided shield of service to Land and community. And she was determined that her drum would be round when she was bending her bones! A beautiful drum to see and hear with teachings in every second of her working with her baby.

Birthing a drum is finding out that the inside is the outside, that the outside is the inside. It is about finding out who is leading whom and who is following and when. It is walking together between the worlds and bringing forth. 

1. K(C)arelia is the geographical region lying on borders of Finland and Russia and may include Fenno-Ingrians. The Karelians are an indigenous group with their own language and culture. During the second world war a great portion of Karelians, over 500,000, were refugees to Finland and the new borders forced upon Finland. Many did not leave the region and so, remain on the Russian side. The Finnish Folk Archives contain rune-songs (poetic like), charm songs, healing songs (the longest over 300 lines), laments. 

2. Visit and also other writings on Seiđr/Staff/Song by Annette Høst. 

3. Sitting out in nature for vision: ulko-istuiminen. Old tradition. In Finnish we often say “menee metsään” or “go to the forest” because that is where the wisdom, comfort, guidance, healing happens. And then we are “metsään peitto” or “under the blanket of forest” which might mean that anything can happen so beware! One might just transform!

4. Ergi. I agree whole-heartedly with Annette on this- refer to her article above! My understanding and experience of Ergi is of ecstatic, perhaps a sexual/sensual/erotic, life-full explosion and implosion and giving into it for use in magic, healing. We need more men and women who know how to direct this energy for healing Land and community and not into sexual acts or ego-led, money-led power grabbing.

This article was first printed in Sacred Hoop, 2019


Viis’ karhun kynnet

Lähtee raapimaan 

Iho veristän

Ketä ei voi auttaa

Kun iho aukea

Jätä miun yksin

Kuinka selviä?

Kova on sen kieli

Metsään lähtee mieli

Sota aina on

Suosilmä imee

Mistä voin karkuu?

Kun koti aina on

Sydämeni halkeaa

Kivet sortumaan

Tulipesä sammuu

Sydän itkemää

Iho repimään

Metsään kulkee yksin

Viis’ karhun kynnet

Sydän Irrallaan

– 2016 sanat kay mukaan Rosanne Cash’n “Five Cans of Paint”

There is no separation

Use it, Value it… those words remind me of many words which have been spoken… and the reason for the genocide, ecocide, reservations, etc. Also there is a difference between being made in the image of something and being a part of it. Mother Earth, the land, the trees, all beings swimming flying digging running… are part of the Creator… and humans also. And as being part of – and not made in – we share. In this sense we are equal- but each has their own gifts, teachings, fooleries, wisdom… and not one is less than another. The Natural World and Customs teach very differently from what you wrote. Because you leave out the rest of the sentence and it is there: use it, value it, wisely….

Who is determining the Wisely? The community/the People/the interconnectedness of ALL creatures and recognising and working with that? If I use anything, it is to use the knowledge that the Land teaches-shows me-and over time-.

A Natural World lives and breathes and is interconnected. One cannot use and value wisely if one does not take in to consideration the WHOLE. This general “christian “Western”” and any war-oriented/rape-oriented dogma has led the world into ecocide, genocide, power struggles, comparison ideology: those who have and those who don’t; give with the left hand and take with the right-if one knows where the right is. Those who Know best and will do what they have to to convince coerce – all in the name of a God or Gods… destroying, burning, killing, putting down, silencing, being aggressive, racism, segregation….

Material culture is passed on… more stuff, more garbage, massive destruction, more bigger and better…all professing to be Western – to be christian… all singing this same song. I cannot swallow those words nor sit back and let them just be there. It sounds like dogma. I am not made in His image. I am not a likeness. I am part. Creation is not separate from me, which is how that phrase implies. All are Created… all are part of the creation. There is no separation. My honouring is for all around, below, above me-seen and unseen. My view is circular or better even is the spiral. I am here to revel in the land; nurture, take care of, because if I do not, she will not take care of me nor my descendants.

9 November 2017

Virgin – Impi

Olen Impi. Olen Ilmatar.

Olen hän. Olen tähti.

Olen hän mikä on itseni. En ole nainen ja en ole mies.

Minulle on kohtu. Valta halua käyttää sen.

Valta halua että olen heidän palkinto, rosvojen ja sodan aare.

Jos saat minua, voit raiskaa. Voit kontrolloida.

Valta halua käyttää minun voima, minun yhteys Äiti Maahan.

Olen Impi, Olen Ilmatar.

Olen Hän mikä on neitsyt. tämä ei ole fyysisen, biologinen käsite.

Olen Hän mikä on itsenainen, suvereniteetti on Impi.

Impi! Sinulta löytyi mahdollisuudet olla,

Voima, energia, nestemainen, virrat vie,

Verta, vesi, kohdun neste, synnytysneste, meri, suola

Lauluu, laulaa, laula olen Hän mikä luodaa, seistaa, purkaa.

Sydän, sauva, puu, kivi, suu, kohtu. Olen Impi.

photo: Rothschild Canticles (f. 64r): Mary as the Mulier amicta sole

Three Words.dox

Cleaning out the computer. I am looking for those small writings or longer ones that have gone on that misbehaving adult called FB and which I could post here also. Rather, I would like to have a more timely place to write, share, sing, digress, get to the point, ponder, wonder, buzz like a bee to a flower or tell stories. And found this in the file called “WRITINGS”.

I think this encouraging list may be from the breath work training that I went through here in Finland with Minna Martin and Rauni Toffer (Hengityskouluohjaaja- tai Hengitys itsesäätelyn ja vuorovaikutuksen tukena – Breath Coach/Breathing as a tool for self-regulation and self-reflection). We did something similar in Conscious and Re-birthing Breathwork training in Estonia with Rani Spets, Sophia Sjöblom, and Bo Wahlström.

Either way, this is like swallowing a little pill of confirmation, or maybe like petting ones own head and doing some self-talk!

I have this memory of writing for each woman in the group three characteristics – ominaisuudet – that I had become aware of during the studies together on a slip of paper. Each time we wrote we folded it over and down, covering the previous comment. We were instructed to hide it away and then open it up during a time we were feeling not worthy, down in the dumps.

No, no need to go into what was the down in the dumps part of my life. Just to say, I did open it when I felt like crap. And now cleaning the place out, this is power- all encompassing power- to keep on. The fan itself is in the folder I suppose, of the education course. Or maybe burned up in the big brick oven or sauna. Either way, today it feels wonderful to read these words found buried in an obscure place in the computer entitled Three words.dox

Suorapuheinen, rehti ja huumorintajuinen.

suorapuheinen, reilu ja huumorintajuinen

Räväkkä, voimakastahtoinen ja erityslaatuinen

Curious, authentic, determined

Vahva/voimakas/sisu näiden lisäksi mitä on edellä

Itsevarma, seikkaija, mystinen

Funny, charismatic, authentic!

vakava, itsellinen, kiinnostava

Luova, Tietoinen, Opettaja.

yritteliäs, idearikas, valoisa

Intuitiivinen, aikaansaava, kokeileva

Aito, salaperäinen, vaativa

Naisellinen, rohkea, iloinen

Voimakas, helmeilevä, maaginen

Iloinen, aito, energinen 

Kaunis, voimakas, tietäjä

Nopea, energinen, syvä, sydämellinen. Ohhoh tuli vahingossa 4.

Witty earthy and kind

Naisellinen, lämmin ja läsnäoleva

Mukava, rento ja vahva

Witty, strong-willed, authentic

bright, intense, passionate


Playful, wise, compassionate

Humorous powerful connected

Energinen, luova, iloinen

Aito, kuunteleva, osaava

Maadoittava, herkkä, voimauttava

Integral. Embodied. Beauty-full

huumorintajuinen, vaativa, sydämellinen, väärentämätön

Shamanic activism and self-

The shamanic path is about connection, being a conduit, responsibility and service through the help of spirit helpers (or teachers, “power animals”, guides) for others: be it community, family, Mother Earth and all that dwells above and below her. The side effect, if one walks this path, is understanding and development of self.

My teachers in this reality laid this out fairly clearly to me. In Tuva, a group of European shamanic practitioners arrived and were being taken around to sacred mountains and springs, meeting shamans in the city and countryside. These shamanic practitioners had backgrounds as therapists, researchers, anthropologist, media editors and publishers, teachers at universities, practitioners of Buddhism – just to give some more background. My role was to just accompany and act as a liaison / help arrange / do cultural “interpretation” between Tuvans and them. On one such occasion one of them asked what techniques, or for example, journeys does he (the shaman they were visiting) do for himself to develop himself.

Discussion ensued. First, what was a journey. Second, develop self meant…?

The shaman answered: 

“we don’t do things for ourselves. Shaman gift is to serve. My family (extended family too) takes care of me. We take care of the sacred places by blessing and purifying, singing our algyshtaar. Then they take care of us if all goes well. 

When something is wrong, then we have to do more work (ritual for land, spring, mountain, sacred trees and places, herds, cars, people, objects…). People don’t go to shamans who are not strong (as in spirit connection/making ceremony and rituals that change something). People know who they are (those shamans). I do not do work on myself. The spirits work on me. I take care of my people and land”.

In the following days and months something became more clear to me: this path is not pursuing self-development – nor enlightenment. Not directly. It is not psychological, although psychology fields of understanding are used to interpret the shamanic path / world view or turn it into something else without recognition of the interconnectedness of Spirit World and this reality.

I do not know of any other way to explain this at this moment. And when I dwell on this shaman’s words there is much food to digest.

So amongst all this climate talk – I think of just garbage, pollution of air, land, water, raping the earth and women for more and more, consumerism, and much more and ask myself: What am I doing to impede the connection between myself/family/community and caring for Mother Earth? What can I do to help? What, in my actions that I live right now, need to be changed so that I may better honour this world that I am living in at the moment? How can I receive power 

What do my spirit helpers have to say on this? 

If someone is fumbling along on this path (I think we are all fumbling along) then do we not have a responsibility of honouring the still living indigenous peoples and their knowledge? Do we not have a responsibility to ask from our own Spirit helpers those questions and live as best as we can accordingly?

I hear a small teasing voice saying: “yeah, the christians have their holy spirit and angels and cherubs and devil which tell them things – and they are very different than what I would consider living and being in this place”. I cannot answer that except to say sad, grief. Compassion I want – yet it is the place that I stumble: judaeo-christian bible-quoting, them vs us folk. 

That is a side-effect of doing shamanic healing work for others: I became aware that it is my shadow, one of my traumas, one of those conflicting (ristiriitäinen) aspects that I have no answer too. Just trying to be compassionate – and sometimes miserably failing at it. 

I cannot and will not accept that those walking on a shamanic path / animistic / pagan path want their neighbourhood, village, city, town, state, commune, county, country, continent, world to be a dumping and extraction ground and do nothing. In order to walk this path – or any animistic path – the Land is Sacred. All life is sacred, There is a giving and taking for it to continue – yet the taking is taking and has taken its toll. 

Honouring even the taking (either we agree with that taking or not and I was thinking of meat industry at this moment of writing) if we are using that something (wood for energy, cement, water, whatever!) we took needs to be recognised and thankfulness for it and asking for forgiveness even – but only if we truly mean it.

If the one of the roots is “green technology and industry” is this not another form of abuse? Use of waste for materials and new packaging requires continued consummation. Beeswax wraps require more work for bees because the wax gets stolen from their hives for our consumerism and waste. There are difficult decisions for activists!

I return to my questions to self and to my spirits: 

  • What am I doing to impede the connection between myself/family/community and caring for Mother Earth? 
  • What can I do to help? 
  • What, in my actions that I live right now, need to be changed so that I may better honour this world (the whole earth or maybe it is country or state or commune or community or village…) that I am living in at the moment? 
  • How can I receive help from others or step-up and out on this entire issue?
  • How can I serve? 

If others made the same journey – with their Spirit helpers/guides – what answers would come forth? In short simple sentences or phrases? Maybe it involves a ceremony or ritual. However it definitely contains physical action (picking up, keeping wallet in pocket and not buying, quitting something, assisting in a group, marching, writing, singing, etc etc).

  • Really? Oikeasti?
    Shaman ilmiöt. Armoa armoa! Ei kaikki on shamaanit-tietäjät- ei kaikki on parantaja. Voisimmeko Pitää semmoiset sanat/titteli/nimike heille mikä oikeasti tee semmoisen työtä? Sama kuin shamanistinen harjoittelija, tai noita. Tai vólv. Ei ole usein että he valitse semmoisen elämä. Ei kaikki hallitse sama taidot… 
  • Who will sing me across the river?
    Who will sing me across the river? Who will sing me from my home? Who will sing my rememberings? Who will sing me from my home? Who will sing me across the river? Who will sing me skyward bound? Where the stars beyond the crown Show a wrinkle in the wind. Mother spun the cradleContinue reading “Who will sing me across the river?”
  • How to make a Staff
    That is a long question. There are many responses, many experiences. Gleaning, I find a few. First, I ask from Spirit(s) – my helping ones – I ask from the Land. Very simply, to the point, for a staff.
  • The Thing with Ceremony
    The Thing with Ceremony Why am I special? I am not. What is real ceremony? You are in the center You are the one giving A place of honour A place of sacrifice You always have a payment There is a cost for being In the centre of ceremony To being the main dancer ToContinue reading “The Thing with Ceremony”
  • Raven Song I
    Sometimes the Ravens come out of my drum Talking and squawking and chirping and telling me things. Making fun of my serious life, showing me that I am still here and they too. Sometimes they fly out of my drum in a small group of one after the other just pop out of my drum.Continue reading “Raven Song I”

Nyt puhun shamaanin Parannusrummusta

Nyt puhun shamaanin Parannusrummusta

Jokin aika sitten (2019) olin sairauslomalla – sain viruksen. Lääkiksen itseäni viskin, hunajan ja lämpimän veden sekoituksella, miedolla saunalla sekä yrteillä ja eteerisillä öljyillä. Viruksilla on oma elämänsä – käytän kaikkia keinoja helpottaakseni oloani! Ja katson elokuvia, pohdin kaikkia asioita, täytän vaalikone-kyselyt ja etsin oikean ehdokkaan. Vastaan erään henkilön kysymykseen, mitkä ovat parhaita värejä rummulle ja paras puulaji kehykselle. Vastaus: kysy auttajalta ja etsi netistä rummun rakennuskurssin – löytyy paljon vaihtoehtoja ja tekijöitä.

Mietin, että aloitan blogin: haluan kirjoittaa rummusta, valmistuksesta, miksi tein kuin tein ja tallentaa kaikki, mitä pystyn Tuvan matkasta ja shamanismista Tuvassa. Sitten aloitan siivoamaan tietokonettani ja tallentamaan eri tavalla kaikenlaista. Löydän eräältä muistitikulta haastattelun, jonka Dr. Elina Hytönen-Ng Itä-Suomen yliopistosta oli tehnyt vuonna 2014. Elina oli osallistunut meidän kuuden päivän Shamanistisen parannusrummun rakennuskurssin. Hän on etnomusikologia ja šamanismin harjoittaja. Paljon kysymyksiä nousee esiin kurssin aikana. Järjestämme aikaa myöhemmin kesällä haastattelun tekemiseen. Elina pyysi, että toistan osan siitä, mistä puhuin kurssin aikana – tai lähellä! Nauha pyörii tätä kirjoittaessa. Kuuntelen, äänessä on vahva mielipide ja paljon ohjausta!

Rummun valmistus – rummun omistus. Nyt puhun shamaanin Parannusrummusta. Ei soittimesta. Jaana Kouri ja minä olimme keskustelleet Rummun synnytyksestä. Meitä yhdistää kiinnostus käsityöhön, suomen kieleen, pohjoismaisiin ja Fenno-ugrilaisiin tarinoihin ja yhteyteen Rummun hengen kanssa. Ja suhde omaan rumpuuni, sekä se, mitä näin ja koin Tuvassa shamaanien ja heidän rumpujensa kanssa iskee sydämeeni ja haluaisin jakaa sen eteenpäin.

Yhdessä, Jaana ja minä, toteutimme kokeilumielessä viikon kestävän shamanistisen rummun synnytys/rakennuskurssin vuonna 1998, jos muistan oikein! Kun aloitimme rummun rakennuskurssimme ei tietääksemme Suomessa ollut “henkien johdattavien parannusrumpujen valmistajia”.  Tunsin Tanskasta Torbenin ja Norjasta Dayn, jotka rakensivat shamaani rumpuja. Taiteilijoita en laske mukaan, enkä käsityöläisiä. Taina Pailos, Tuula Nikulainen ja edesmennyt Tapani Hietalahti olivat inspiroivia opettajiamme ennen kuin aloitimme. Heidän rummuissaan yhdistyi kädentaitoa, tieto ja taiteellinen inspiraatio.

Viimeisten kymmenen vuoden aikana on syntynyt erittäin paljon kursseja ja pajoja. On ollut mielenkiintoista seurata opettajien kädenjälkeä. Joskus rumpua katsomalla näkee, kuka on tekniikan taustalla.

   Välillä on noussut samanlainen olo kuin joku silittäisi korppien selkää, mutta väärältä suunnalta, eli pyrstöltä niskaan! Nousee kapitalistinen kilpailunhalu, joskus pilkahtaa ylimielisyys: minä tiedän paremmin kuin he! En tuomitse tunteitani, vaan muistutan itseäni, ettei ole oikeaa tai väärää, en tuomitse muita, on vain tämä ihana ihmeellinen ihmisyys ja erilaisuus.

Usein olen miettinyt: Milloin me järjestämme Rummun teon opettajien leirin – tai kutsumme kaikki valmistajat olemaan läsnä ja jakaman tietonsa, taitonsa, näkökulmansa, jne? Onko semmoinen mahdollista? Pystynkö tai haluanko jakaa Minun arvokasta, Minun tietoani ja taitoani muualle? Olen huomannut, että ääni/ego/lapsi/aikuinen voi puhua noin! Jos antropologit kykenevät kokoontumaan yhdessä ja jakamaan dokumenttinsa, filminsä ja löytönsä toisilleen, voisimmeko me rummun tekijät tehdä saman?

Löydettyäni kätköistäni paljon Rumpuun liittyviä papereita, tallennuksia, kuvia ja tutkimuksia iski kirjoittaminen halu.

Shamaanirummut, puhun nyt kehärummusta ja kapulasta/“orba”sta (Tuvan kielille). On monia erilaisia, kyllä. Eräs ystävä käyttää talking drum/puhuvaa rumpua – hän soittaa eri tempoja, lauluja ja rytmejä silloin, kun hänen isänsä menee transsiin ja ottaa yhteyden esivanhimpiin ja kaikkiin heidän heimonsa henkiin. Se on sen Rummun tarkoitus. Ja tiesitkö? Tämän ystävän täytyy ottaa oman isänsä paikka – eli parantaja. Sitten hän ei rummuta enää, vaan sen tekee joku muu.

Shamaanin Rumpu on pyhä.

Shamaanin Rumpu on Elävä. Ei perkeleen ihana vibra-, ihana ylä- ja ala-äänisoitin. Se ei ole soitin.

Shamaanin Rummulla on oma henki.

Shamaanin Rummusta on pidettävä huolta – kuten lapsesta – kuten vanhuksesta – kuten toisesta ihmisestä. Parhaimmalla tavalla, mihin pystyy.

Shamaanin Rummulla on oma ääni.

Shamaanin Rumpu kerää voimaa, levittää, jakaa, tuhoaa, poistaa, luo, katkaisee voimaa.

Kunnioita Shamaanin Rumpua. Ruoki sitä.

Yleensä shamaanilla on yksi tai korkeintaan pari Shamaanin Rumpua elämänsä aikana, koska Rummun ja shamaanin välille kehittyy läheinen suhde. Rumpu kerää voimaa, tietoa ja taitoa. Rummusta on pidettävä huolta, häntä on ruokittava, pidettävä elossa. Joskus se on kovaa työtä. Ei kannata haalia enempää kuin on tarpeen. Muista vastuullisuus!

Shamaanirummulla tarkoitan Rumpua, jonka synnyttämisessä ovat mukana henkiauttajat, jotka ohjaavat ja opastavat, kuinka rumpu on tehtävä. Kirjaimellisesti. Ne kertovat, kuinka työskennellä. Ne kertovat hetken, jolloin tarvitaan ottaa aikaa seremonian ja riitin valmisteluun. Vuorovaikutuksessa ollaan samalla tavoin kuin ollaan pari- tai ystävyyssuhteessa. Se on jatkuvaa vuoropuhelua.

Vuonna 2009, oliko se silloin? Reilut 15 vuotta olin kulkenut rummun kanssa ja laulamisen kanssa, kun minut kutsuttiin Gaunt’s Houseen UK Shamanic Konferensille. Minulla oli ”esitys” lauantai-iltana, ja sunnuntaina aamupäivällä luento yli sadalle ihmiselle. Aihe oli Tuva. Mukanani oli paljon esineitä, jota käytin Tuvassa, ja joita vieläkin käytän. Tarkistin omilta henkiauttajiltani, mitä yleisön kanssa piti tehdä. Lauantai-iltana oli Tuvalainen Tuli-seremonia ja luento-esitys Tuvan shamanismista – ja erityisesti esillä oli rumpu ja kapula.

Sunnuntaiksi sain ohjeet henkiauttajilta. Minun tuli ohjata ihmiset laulamaan heidän rumpujensa kanssa, sekä tekemään matka ja kysymään: mikä on sinun henkesi? Näytä minulle ja opeta minulle, kuinka laulaa sinun (Rummun) lauluasi. Kuinka ylistää Rummunhenkeäsi. Sitä samaa, mitä opin Tuvassa, se on minun normini. Sitä mitä olemme opettaneet kurssillamme.

Esi-ajatukseni oli tämä on varmasti tuttua ja vanhaa, tämä on heille tuttua. Oi, sain halon päähäni – ja ison palan niellä – don’t assume anything! Älä oleta!

Yllätys yllätys: kun vanhat konkarit (kirjailijat, opettajat, luennoitsijat – minulle isoja nimiä “šamanismi maailmassa”) sanoivat, että tekivät ensimmäisen kerran näin, syntyi kysymys: kuinka ihmiset, jotka omistavat rummun eivät tiedä tätä? 

Noin 110 rumpua oli nostettu ilmaan, kaikki soivat, kaikki laulavat eri kielellä – tunne oli kuin herätysliiketapahtumassa, kun Pyhä Henki laskeutuu alas!

Eli jos omistat Rummun – jos olet ostanut, tehnyt, olet saanut lahjaksi, ole hyvä ja kuuntele haastattelu (mp3) BandCamp-sivulla.

Olemme tehneet ja toteutamme Tanja Kankaan kanssa kuuden päivän rummun synnytyskurssin, koska haluaisimme viedä ihmiset syvemmin yhteyteen Rummun ja Luonnon kanssa; Rummun ja heidän omaan luontonsa; heidän ja synnytyksen energian (koko fyysinen skaala) kanssa; heidän oman äänensä kanssa (en tarkoita pelkkää laulamista); heidän Rumpunsa tarkoituksen ja heidän oman elämänsä tarkoituksen; ja erityisesti, kuinka he käyttävät Rumpua parannustyössä, jos se on siihen tarkoitettu?

Kuusi päivää ei riitä! Mitä jos kurssi kestäisi vuoden? Kolme vuotta? Kaksikymmentä vuotta? Meidän kulttuurissamme? Liian usein katsomme kelloa, kun meidän tarvitsisi katsoa Luontoa ja Taivasta, Äiti Maata. 

Mitä jos jokainen lapsi saa oman rummun kun täyttää kolme vuotta? Ja kun siirtyy lapsuudesta aikuisuuteen, ottaen aikuisen vastuun ja velvollisuudet kannettavakseen, saisi uuden rummun? Siperiassa vain shamaanit kantavat rumpua. Ja muut, eivät? Entä jos saamelaiset ja karjalaiset eivät kantaneet rumpua, mutta käyttivät pelkkää ääntä ja Luontoa? On niin monta erilaista keinoa tehdä parannustyötä.

Kun näen ihmisten jättävän omat rumpunsa sikin sokin sinne ja tänne, tai kun he eivät tiedä kuka hänen henkensä on, onko mies-, nais- tai muu henki? Tai kun he eivät tiedä kuinka ruokkia ja kunnioittaa häntä, kuinka työskennellä hänen kanssaan, on pakko alkaa puhua. Kirjoittaa.

Ehdotukseni on: Jos saat lahjaksi rummun, teet oman Rummun, ostat rummun… 

Tee shamaani matka ennen rummun vihkimistä ja herättämistä oman henkiauttajan tai voimaeläimen kanssa ja kysy kuka ja missä on rumpuni henki? 

Pyydä, että hän ottaa eläinmuodon, kasvihahmon tai hei, molemmat! Siksi, että se syventää ajan mittaan omaa suhdettasi tähän maailmaan, jossa asumme nyt. Kyllä, se voi olla jotain sfääristä. Voi olla, että hän ilmenee ensin muotona tai värinä – ajan myötä muutos tapahtuu. Rummun hengellä on monta ulottuvuutta, hän voi olla samaan aikaan sekä väri että muoto, henki, eläinhahmon. Rummun nahka ei määrittele hänen henkeään! Sama kuin ihmisillä! Eikö niin?

Kuinka minä ruokin ja kunnioitan sinua? Koska Rumpu on elävä – sinun tarvitsee tietää, mitä hän syö. Kuinka usein? Milloin? Kuinka? Kuinka minä tiedän, että hän on täynnä – tai hän ei halua tai ei pysty hoitamaan jotain henkilöä tai tilannetta? 

Täytyykö minun muuttaa tai luovuttaa jotain, jotta hän voi tehdä työnsä? Milloin ja kuinka minä käytän sinua? 


Vastaukseksi ei kelpaa pelkkä “levittää valoa maailmalle”. Kysyn perään KUINKA, opeta minua! Ja opetus ja opintopisteet kestävät koko elämän ajan, jos tätä polkua jatkaa, sanonpahan vain. 

Kysy, mikä on minun Rumpuni tehtävä. Oletko yleisö-, rumpupiiri- vai parannustyörumpu? Voivatko muut koskea sinuun? 

Jos on kyseessä on parannusrumpu, pyydä että Rummun henki opettaa sinulle kuinka toimia hänen kanssaan. Voi olla, ettet saa koko pakettia samassa istunnossa! Etukäteen ei voi päättää, tuleeko tästä parannusrumpu, jolla hoidat muita ihmisiä. Saattaa olla, että Rumpu ei sitä tahdo, voi olla, että hoidat sillä vain itseäsi. Rumpu ei ole egon jatke.

Parantaja tarkoittaa palvelijaa, sitä joka palvelee. Itsensä kehittämisen ei tulisi olla päämäärä. Se on sivuvaikutus, jos otat huomioon kaikki kompastuskivet ja vastaukset, jotka saat kun työskentelet muiden hyväksi.

Muista vuoropuhelu. Tiedosta, mitkä ovat matkan aikana nousseet tunteet. Tee yhteistyötä.

Jos et pääse eteen päin tai on jotain, mitä et ymmärrä, hanki itsellesi opettaja tai opas tässä todellisuudessa, sellainen, joka auttaa sinua työskentelemään Rumpusi kanssa.

Yleisörumpu eli audience drum, yhteisörumpu eli communal drum. Henkilökohtainen rumpu. Perherumpu, koristerumpu, transsirumpu, seremoniarumpu, meditaatiorumpu, sointurumpu, yhteisörumpu, heimorumpu, rock’n’roll-rumpu, tanssirumpu, papitarrumpu, shamaanirumpu, tietäjärumpu, xamnarrumpu, vesirumpu, hikimajarumpu, lasten rumpu, ja sydämenlyöntirumpu on jokaisessa.

Tuvan tasavallassa opin, että jos et pidä huolta omasta parannusrummustasi – sinun shamaanirumpunasi – on mahdollistaa että hän voi kääntyä ja purra sinua.

– Christiana Aro-Harle(n) vilkkaan mehiläispesän kuhinan kaltaisista ajatuspyörteistä kiteyttänyt Tanja Kangas

  • Really? Oikeasti?
    Shaman ilmiöt. Armoa armoa! Ei kaikki on shamaanit-tietäjät- ei kaikki on parantaja. Voisimmeko Pitää semmoiset sanat/titteli/nimike heille mikä oikeasti tee semmoisen työtä? Sama kuin shamanistinen harjoittelija, tai noita. Tai vólv. Ei ole usein että he valitse semmoisen elämä. Ei kaikki hallitse sama taidot… 
  • Who will sing me across the river?
    Who will sing me across the river? Who will sing me from my home? Who will sing my rememberings? Who will sing me from my home? Who will sing me across the river? Who will sing me skyward bound? Where the stars beyond the crown Show a wrinkle in the wind. Mother spun the cradleContinue reading “Who will sing me across the river?”
  • How to make a Staff
    That is a long question. There are many responses, many experiences. Gleaning, I find a few. First, I ask from Spirit(s) – my helping ones – I ask from the Land. Very simply, to the point, for a staff.
  • The Thing with Ceremony
    The Thing with Ceremony Why am I special? I am not. What is real ceremony? You are in the center You are the one giving A place of honour A place of sacrifice You always have a payment There is a cost for being In the centre of ceremony To being the main dancer ToContinue reading “The Thing with Ceremony”
  • Raven Song I
    Sometimes the Ravens come out of my drum Talking and squawking and chirping and telling me things. Making fun of my serious life, showing me that I am still here and they too. Sometimes they fly out of my drum in a small group of one after the other just pop out of my drum.Continue reading “Raven Song I”

An encounter with Honeypaws

An encounter with Honeypaws – Black Beast – Honey Stealer – King of the Forest – Golden Master – Golden Apple of the Forest – Golden Mistress of the Forest. 

The night scuffled in darkness when Otso came from the wood. 

A voice sang out: My darling, come to me. You the sweetness, the darkness, the eater of honey, of berries. Come to me,  come to me! Handsome, beloved, eyes like black buttons. Come, come, come to me now!cried the voice in the night. 

Since the womb, this, the awaited moment. Since Honey Stealer, this Golden Mistress of the Forest became present there has been preparation for the encounter, the wedding. Through the dusky night falling on Earth, with sons gathered, dear friends and family near, He walked through the trees to the gathering grounds.

We danced, we sniffed, we parleyed, we were afraid. But Ohto, the darling, the Black Beast, the Honeypaws, the Son of the Pleiades, the Master of the Forest bent down. He offered Her his back to stroke, to touch, to test. And Daughter touched, and that was that. 

Each stroke of finger, each stroke of hand, gentle, gentle like a flame brand lit within her, lit deep lights. Drew up the flame, drew up the honey, drew up the sweetness, and drew out the pain. 

He let her touch his coat that is what He did. And in that touching He gathered around her, gathered her up, took her in. She trembled with knowing, she trembled with fear, and she trembled to feel great love was near. 

Power of might, power of knowing, power of playing, power of longing, power of hoping, power of home.

Her feet they buckled, down she went. He held her up, he pulled her under.  They were called into the warmth of the fire, his coat upon her, in the company of two-leggeds and reindeer brothers and sisters. Daughter Fire with flames dancing in the centre. The drums sang. Their voices of thunder trembling over the two. 

Spirit She sang the shapes of forest, grunts of beasts which gathered, remained. Spirit sang thunder, hummed liked Bee. His coat sank into hers in the dancing light. Not a sight of her face, not a sight of her hands, not a sight of her legs to be seen. 

A voice cried out: “Come back! Come back! Return! Return! To the fire light.” 

Calling and calling into the night. So deep the honey-ed dark, so deep the great sleep. 

Slowly arose the Daughter, the Wife, the Mistress trembling. Looking into the fire, looking into their faces. Shy as a Maid. What had she done, where had she been? Lying on her was Her lover’s dark skin. 

Smooth it is, smooth as silk. Dark and bronze, golden mahogany, not old and not young. 

That which had been missing, that which had been left was found once more in the dense starry night of full moon light. 

Let people believe, let people beware that this is not the first time a woman has wed Bear.