Black Horse Drum

One of the hot tips I have received from my lwa is to give them Saturdays, Jesus Sundays, and my current “best of” Pagan roster Wednesdays. So far this is going well; it’s an amount that challenges my general lethargy without instantly shattering against an energy dip or executive functioning fail.

The main tool I’ve been using on Wednesdays is the black horse drum I bought at Pantheacon. It’s lovely in that it gets me to a wild, not-here place fairly quickly and easily, which is otherwise harder for old sick me than it was for young bouncy me. At the same time it is an offering to my Deities and spirits that, after the initial purchase, has no consumerist aftertaste to it: the drum and I raise the sound and the energy and give them, a pure thing in the moment and yet not belonging to any moment. It is the call, the answer, the prayer, the spell, the departure and return, all bound together.

All of this, combined with my whole music-centric thing and love of chants and so on, might tempt one to think that I would have a whole history with drumming by now, but no! My other ritual drum, pale and painted, has tended to only come out on special occasions. Partly it’s because I’m shy of making noise even in my own house, and actually had to have this conversation to start unpacking that:

Me: But what will you think if I go off in another room and start pounding a drum while you’re doing whatever?

Husband: …Um. “Oh, she’s using that drum that we paid for. Good!”

(Hopefully this unpacking will also free up my collected chants and some other noisemaking ritual tools.)

I’ve also historically been appropriation-nervous of drums – yes, I know, drums exist all over the world, but I’m one of those err-on-the-side-of-caution people. I only even have this new drum because it’s black and horse and the Morrigan in my head shouting BLACK HORSE BLACK HORSE IT’S MACHA HOW MUCH PLAINER CAN I MAKE THIS.

Also also, and this is just how nifty a trick my brain can play when it’s motivated: I’m self-conscious of how easily I can reach trance through sound and therefore it feels somehow illegitimate for me to reach trance through sound. That trance? Oh, it doesn’t count. It’s just a stim gone wild. Well, yeah, but isn’t that what getting to trance from sensory overload or underload or repetition is at its foundations in the first place? I don’t know! I don’t know what trance feels like to neurotypical people, or if they do it at all.


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