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Steven Ash
from: Steven Ash
Category: Drumming

Sacred Drumming into the Ancestors

Sacred Drumming into the Ancestors.

by Steven buffalo spirit


The picture of life after death that keeps being reinforced by people who have had near death experiences is that of a tunnel that leads to a brilliant source of light and peace, and at the end there is a relative or group, either blood family or of soul family member waiting in the light.

The aspect of this near death experience we will explore is the universal experience of being welcomed by some relative or friend. These people who are on the other side of the veil between this, our middle world and the world beyond, these are our ancestors. If we can open a dialogue between ourselves in normal consciousness and our ancestors we may find answers to important questions in our lives. If there is a pattern of behaviour that is limiting our life’s progress we can find out through the lines of the ancestors the source of the disturbance and it’s purpose, and finally become stronger for understanding its place in our present life.

There is a safe, clear and straight forward process to learning from our ancient relatives. We can all accept that we have had a father and a mother, and that our mother had a father and a mother herself who are our maternal grandparents. Our father he too had a mother and father and these are our paternal grandparents. Some of these four grandparents we will have known, maybe they are still alive, we still know them respectively as elders or dis-respectively as I call them “olders”; and those that have passed on we hold memories of as pictures that flicker, vivid, humorous and poignant. All of these four grandparents can lead us into the realms of the ancestors, each grandparent line has a basket full of attributes positive, negative or neutral that contribute to our make up, character and personality. By exploring these grandparent lines we can resolve a host of emotional and psychological misunderstandings, release shame, boost feelings of low self worth, remove and heal poverty consciousness, gain love and respect for our selves and our parents, understand why things happened the way they did, and why things happen the way they still do. We can change the patterns that we carry by seeing them clearly, as if looking down a tube into the subconscious wealth of information that is held in our own tissue memory, in our body our arms and legs. We can follow lines of force in our own bodies which are the routes into the generations that have gone before us.

The energetic nature of the limbs holds the code into the four ancestral lines of the grandparents.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine “man stands between heaven and earth”. The legs carry Yin or feminine information up from the earth into the body. The legs are grounding for heavenly energy and carry Yang energy from the head back down into the earth. The meridians of the legs relate to water metabolism, digestion, elimination and the feeding mechanisms, and since every one of the trillions of cells of your body is made of Mother Earth and she is our true mother we can say that in seeking the ancestors the legs relate to our Grandmothers the Earth Mother and the divine feminine. 

Again in the picture of “man standing between heaven and earth” the arms reach up and out, throwing and catching information about our relationships with the cosmos, others and ourselves. The energy meridians on the hands and arms carry information into our body about our relationship to society, community and family, how we relate to others and ourselves; as an example when you greet someone automatically you reach your hand out, you do not use your foot. The energy information carried in the arms are more Yang relative to the legs, therefore we can say that the upper limbs relate to the Grandfathers, the sky father and the divine masculine.

It is universally accepted in the study of energy medicine that the right side of the body is the more dominant, proactive, Yang and male; with your right foot you kick the football towards the goal of life; so the right side corresponds to the father and the parents of your father. The left side of the body is regarded as the more receptive, Yin and feminine in nature and in this quest for the ancestors the left side relates to the mothers side of your being, her mother and father.

We will designate a limb to each grandparents ancestral line. The following is the picture we are going to work with using the drum to open up routes into our ancestors; starting with the female. The lower left limb is our mother’s mother and her line of mothers going back in time and space. These mothers and grandmothers carry the mitochondrial DNA, the maternally inherited energy generating, fiery stability and physical vitality of our being. The lower right limb is carrying the information of your father’s mother, her vitality and power; her place is in inspiring us towards realising and becoming our life’s purpose. When you look into both the grandmothers lines of the lower limbs imagine these female relatives as fans spreading out into the distance.

The upper right limb is carrying the information from our father’s father’s line, like a whip tail of the sperm, motivating and driving our creativity, our force forward. The upper left limb is corresponding to your grandfather on our mothers side, a stabilising male line who is protecting our feminine nature ensuring that we each have self respect and respect for others. Please note that in this adventure there are no strict rules, stay flexible I am describing archetypical characteristics not absolutes. These attributes of your forebears just give a glimpse of the potential lying hidden within our subconscious memory. 

So to recap, each of our four limbs corresponds to a grandparent and their ancestral line.

Left leg to our mother’s mother

Right leg to our father’s mother

Right arm to our father’s father

Left arm to our mothers father


There are certain rituals that are essential for your safety, because when you open spirit doors crazy things can happen. Before you start to explore, firstly smudge your self with the smoke of sage and secondly open the medicine wheel, calling in the powers of the seven sacred directions. Ensure that you do both of these rituals strongly so that you have a safe space to work in. I like to set the medicine wheel up so that it reaches to the four walls of the room I am working in, creating a temple or sacred space. It is also essential that you enter with a clear intention, a strong reason and driving force to explore your ancestors, almost like the tip of your seeking spear. You keep this intention at the leading beat of your drum, making your intention clear before you start your journey. Be humble making sure that you and the people you love are not exposed to you being on an ego trip. When ancestral work is done in prayer and with the highest intention for all involved wonderful things can happen and lost relationships can be rekindled.

As an example. My wife and I wanted to sell our house on the south coast of England and move to Europe. Our house was in negative equity and not in great shape, but it had a wonderful garden with a huge Walnut tree in the centre of the lawn. Over the years we had both nursed the garden into a flowing colourful oasis and it was if a voice spoke to me instructing me on how to make our little plot more beautiful. The voice would instruct me on composting, pruning and when to mow the lawn. I began to notice that the voice almost gave me a posture, very upright with a smile, it was male and he loved me very much because I was caring for my wife's future. He reminded me of “Pop Pop” my mother’s father. So I spoke to Ma who was then 93 about my experience in the garden with the spirit of her father and she said “You will know it is Pop Pop, because he never liked a straight line, every thing was curved in his garden” And so it was in our garden there was not a straight line all the borders flowed like a stream!

“Pop Pop” who we later called “Skipper” was a good business man especially with regard to buying and selling houses, so I made a journey with my drum into the realm of my ancestors, into the line my mother’s father. Quickly he appeared and suddenly I had memories of him sitting in his chair as an old man, smoking his embassy cigarettes and smiling at me, giving me his army telescope, telling me stories of the war and Africa, making me wear a tie to take my female cousin to the fair. This flood of memories told me of how available he is to me if only I am willing to ask. So I asked “Hey Skipper, help me to sell this house and leave with a profit, I ask you this as your grandson and apprentice gardener”

Over the next few months we did the house up, taking regular time to meditate and drum. I noticed that in myself there were characteristics rising to the surface, they were always there in me but I had not valued them. As I drummed, sang and prayed the medicine wheel I began to believe in my ability to sell the house at a profit, and it manifested. Very quickly an excellently presented home and garden came together. We sold at the perfect time at the hight of the summer, to the perfect family who loved the homey feeling and especially the garden. No other house in our area reached the price we obtained and in the end we came away with a bit of security to help us set up home in Germany and then a year later in southern Austria where we are now.

The four limbs correspond to the four grandparent lines. With the drum you can journey into each of these in turn, asking questions about root causes of patterns of behaviour, reoccurring illnesses and many other topics. You will begin to notice that the more you explore the possibility of being able to safely delve into this unseen world the more you will notice these same ancestors are clearly available in your normal consciousness. They are part of you and are in your cellular memory. It is as if before you were numb and insensitive and now you can see very much more clearly and are open to having a positive relationship with these loving souls that are just over the horizon or just behind a veil. Always do this work with high regard for personal and family safety, and only accept the company of souls who you know have love as their primary reality. Remember you are learning to “remember” and that as a human you are in the most wonderful state. It is said that “The Angels cry for the gift of a human body” It is your gift to be present in the moment and to explore your reality through the generations with the sacred drum.




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