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Shamanic Drumming

The use of drums in shamanic journeys has the purpose of inducing people to non-ordinary states of consciousness, in order to access and connect with other dimensions of reality. In these drum beats, which should be monochord and repeated, ideally there are three to four beats per second, harmonics being a common feature in many of these sounds and also in other instruments that help us to travel internally, such as singing guttural, berimbau, crystal and/or tibetan bowls, didgeridoo, among other instruments from other cultures.

Theta rhythms are associated with these deeper states of consciousness, with science having found that if a rhythm of four beats per second is maintained for at least 15 minutes, most people can travel successfully even on the first try.

Michael Harner was an American anthropologist and shamanic researcher, founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, based in Mill Valley, California. One of his best known and most important books is The Shaman’s Way, where he describes his drumming technique developed by him. This anthropologist believes that the rhythm of the drum beat can work for all people and the effects of this rhythm even leave an impact on the state of consciousness of each one. For this, he suggests a continuous, monotonous rhythm between 205 and 220 beats per minute, without changing the rhythm scale and the intensity of the beat. He explains that it should not be seen as a musical track with a melody, but rather as a rhythm that guides people to a different state of consciousness.

These shamanic journeys through the drum guide people to what in shamanism are called journeys to the lower world, the middle world and the upper world. It is possible through these journeys to explore numerous aspects such as our power animal, other guides that accompany us in our life and obtain many important messages from these other parallel realities.


  • Drake, M. (2009). The Shamanic Drum: A Guide to Sacred Drumming. Talking Drum Publications