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Steven Ash
from: Steven Ash
Category: Drumming

Touching the five senses in the medicine wheel

Sacred Drumming

Touching the five senses in the medicine wheel

by Steven Ash

Historically and practically there is a direct link between each of the five senses and the sacred directions of the medicine wheel. I have been exploring these connections in my daily meditations using my drum and found them to be very powerful. In a somewhat poetic form I have written down the method I am using which is based upon an ancient meditation system from India, blended with medicine wheel teachings from a variety of world cultures.

Drum is being used here for all of those involved, to stay in focus, provide a strong egg shaped sound cover for protection within the healing and alignment going on. Drum through entrainment brings tissues, organs, vessels, structure, cells, organelles and body fluids into alignment. The sound is distinctly felt by the enhanced movements of the water molecules pulsed by the drum beat. Remember that sound moves more efficiently by five times through water than through the medium of air. So you are seeing, hearing and feeling the drum beat.

Daily meditation is an essential part of spiritual hygiene, its like washing your teeth for oral cleanliness. You wash your teeth in the morning and in the evening before you go to bed, and you feel lousy, your mouth like a gibbons arm pit if you don’t. It gets to the same point with meditation. If you get lazy and leave it out you quickly notice how your moods are unstable and the ego rules. When you combine the medicine wheel with meditation a process of feeling anchored, and locked in to the place and space of where you are becomes super clear, the ego with the help of Spirit and practice gets bored and leaves you alone.

I start here where I am, breathing the sky, plonked down here like a fast moving watery being on the earth mother. All around me is life, doing the same as me; so rich in colour, sound, taste and diversity. Awaken, I must awaken to this magnificence.

I sit still,  my morning time to be with me.

I get settled, having shaken loose from my nights mixed sleep.

Having a cup of tea, I sip it with a biscuit crisp and tasty, making sure I am here, safe and sound; and awakened to this moment’s possibilities.

As any good story starts, ‘When you are ready let us begin’

Set up a rhythm on your drum that wards off distractions and brings you into focus and then brings the drums rhythm into alignment with your heart.

Look in front, too both sides and behind, close your eyes and seeing from inside look again.

Vision your surroundings and be grateful this is your and my world.

Drum the heart beat and slow it down, so that you relax slightly.

As you look inside there is light, wonderful life giving light.

This light is your soul glowing in resonance with the external light around you.

There in the East the sun is rising, has risen, and is always rising for someone.

The birds dawn chorus like a constant wave of rejoicing, is always greeting the day.

Living teacher you are, fly like an eagle, greet the elemental air on your outstretched wings.

Drum to the East and be grateful.

Invite in all the living teachers who set us by their example how to Be.

Breathe to the South, breathe into your feelings, feelings that are all over you, in your hair all the way down to you're twiddling toes and bare feet.

South is the way that you are always facing, and drum into your pleasure at being awake.

What are the many gifts you have been given that you can breathe in receive and nurture today?

And then breathe out to these gifts in gratitude. Breathe, feel towards your parents and children, and their children; your lover and the passion of laughter that flashes like lightening when least expected. South is the place of touch feelings and safety, of skin against skin, of sparked emotions kindled with fiery passion. Warm secure homes, for the growing family, safe in supporting relationships. Home of the Inner Child, the Unhipili, the sub-conscious mind, a deep and fragile part of the soul.

Listen now to the West wind that sings in your head; is this your soul wanting to be heard?

Can you hear your mothers and fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers singing to you from their golden faces that float and change as turning, curling and folding pages of an old book?

Listen to your hands drumming for a while, until you feel the trust that calms your brain, telling you how much you are loved. Through the generations, forward and backwards in time. Remember, remember your parents love for you, and drink in these dreams and memories, like the coolest deepest waters. Let this sweetness of memory, these dreams be real, imagining as if your life is made from visions, which it is! 

All life is made from imaginings, fleeting and exciting pictures as every child knows.

Focus your attention into the North.

Imagine now as you drum your dream into your most lonely self. 

When you are alone who is with you? Just you on your own.

Go north, where is north for you as you sit?

Go there breathe into the depth of you, and smell the track going in and then out from you into this mystery.

Be bold, taste into the saliva of your mouth and the smells in your moist nostrils.

Sniff the air of the North, and connect with all you do not understand.

Ask yourself. Where do I go when I sleep? 

Where will I go when I die?

Is there something I am missing?

Where is all of this life taking me?

What is around the corner?

I don’t even know what is around the corner?

Dive over, drum over like a waterfall into the opposite, feed that feeling across the centre.

Give this empty awareness of you “not knowing” give it into your southern abundance of having so much. Go from north to south.

Be humble and admit that, ‘You do not know from where it comes, but from that place we receive so much’

Open up, open, open and let the magnetic waves of grandfather sun, that pours through the body of our sacred mother earth, invite it to also pour through you, invisibly carrying with your deep desire, magnified gratitude for just the fact of being here.

Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit

Om Bhur Bhuvaha Swaha

Tat Savitur Varenyam

Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi

Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayat

“You who are the source of all power

Whose rays illuminate the whole world

Illuminate also my heart

So that it too can do your work” 

Translation of Gayatri Mantra

Look inside, everything is within you.

That sound singing is you, this is your soul being seen and sung.

All the pictures, visions, are like a film screen, where we are seeing the divine.

Take away the judgement of what is good and what is bad. 

See it all for how it is.

Every choice you have made has brought you here.

See it all, and as you look towards everything you are seeing, mix the pictures with the sounds that you can hear across the centre, centralise it all.

Bring the seeing of the east to meet the symphony of the west.

See the sound, hear the light.

Both are the same.

The visions, breath, sound and taste all meet in the middle.

Into the core of the up of grandfather sky and down into the core of mother earth and  concentrated where they meet in the heart, into this core where the holy name sits in the majesty of life’s meeting place.

Drum is holding you in place, keeping you in focus.

A dome, a drone of sound that bleaches away all other distractions.

Imitating the heart within the heart that beats on and on. 

Forming a road of stepping feet on which to travel.

Inside and outside it is all the same.

Rhythm and even movement, gentle and touching.

Drum holding you in a place where you deserve to be.

The Question is, Where does it start?

It starts in the place where we are totally alone.

There is no one to guide us, beckon us. Or accompany us.

We need to be alone so that we can make our choices.

The place we start is in the North.

Lets get back to the seven senses.

We have been told that there are five.

No thats not right.

There are seven senses.






Here are two too add:

Lateral Line

Holy Breath

The Lateral Line is a rudimentary group of sensory cells that run from the top to the body to the bottom, dividing the whole heaven to earth part of our being into two.

Front and Back.

You can see the Lateral Line on the little finger side of your hand, along the edge dividing the palm from the back of your hand. This part of the hand is most sensitive to healing energies. You can see it running down the side of a fish from eye to tail.

This Lateral line is extra sensitive to the vibrations in the environment, of water, earth, air, and partially fire. This lateral line is hyper sensitive in both hands which have a strong energy connection via the acupuncture energy channels of Lung/Colon, Pericardium /Three Heater, Heart/Small Intestine meridians to the organs of lungs and heart in the chest.

The Holy Breath is the most exciting sense organ to discover, because it exchanges information in and out of the body at all levels, physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. These most refined and blessed messages are travelling between the outer world and the inner world on each breath, one at a time. Explore your breath, do you notice how you can touch with your minds eye every individual part of your being, how with the help of the breath you can feel within and notice how you are being breathed into your natural reality. And you are on your own, in your power, seeing within and when you wish sensing beyond and out. 

It happens every time we breathe in and breathe out.

Our alone-ness holds our life together.

It goes everywhere.

It starts in the North

The beauty of true Shamanic teachings is to learn beyond the limitations set by those who have not fully explored their potential. We can explore and discover our power within the safety of the medicine wheel, using our senses fully, and making it our own discovery. Remember the senses are the interface between the inner and the outer worlds. Please do not take this as a set of rules to follow. Find out yourself which of the seven directions of the medicine wheel fit with your picture of the sense organs, allow your skill as a drummer to bring you home becoming settled and grateful for your human life, Oh and all the life that shares this wonder with you.

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