Tarahumara Drum Heart Drum in Cave
THE HEART DRUM & TARAHUMARA DRUM---FULL CIRCLE
The transfer of the Heart Drum will be video taped for a documentary film now in progress, Keeper of the Beat.” Keeper is about one woman’s journey to becoming a keeper of the beat. The film traces the movement and rhythms of Borden’s life that bring her closer to her ancestors, the earth and the sacred feminine. Also included will be interviews with other women drummers, beat-keepers, artists, mentors and magicians from Hawaii to Siberia. Stories will unfold through the language of the drum, song and the spoken word.
Seed money is $14,300. $3300 has been raised. Help us to our goal of $11,000 by 2/28/07.
TO CONTRIBUTE SEND ALL CHECKS TO: Barbara Borden • PO Box 1424 • Mill Valley, CA 94942
Tax-deductible checks to: DanceArt, Inc. at above address.
Online Contributions: Coming soon. Thank you. Barbara
COMING HOME TO THE HEARTBEAT
February 28, 1992---at a huge drum circle held in the gymnasium of The College of Marin in Kentfield, CA. I was one of fifteen hundred people crowded into a gymnasium that resonated with the greatest acoustic sound and vibration I had ever heard. Through the roar and spectacle of thousands of drums I spotted one that stood out from all the rest. It was a very large, heart-shaped drum, hanging vertically from a sturdy wooden frame. I raced down the bleachers to play it. As soon as mallet met skin I felt an amazing vibration go through my body. My core seemed to realign as tears flowed freely and joyfully. I felt I had come home. “Who made this magnificent drum?” I asked its owner. "A woman in New Mexico who wants to remain anonymous," he replied.
For the next six years I searched for that woman to no avail. One day I received an article from a student about drumming and health written by Feeny Lipscomb, owner of All One Tribe Drums in Taos, New Mexico. Touched by the article, I called her immediately. During our phone conversation I asked if she happened to know a woman drum maker in New Mexico who made an incredible, deep sounding drum? She replied, "You mean the heart-shaped one?" Needless to say I almost fell off my chair!
COMMITMENTS TO THE HEART DRUM
I first met with B.J. Quintana, the Heart Drum maker, on April 6, 1999, at her home studio in Locke, CA (outside Sacramento). She agreed to make Heart Drum #2. At this meeting, I made the following commitments to The Heart Drum: to carefully midwife this drum into being, care for it and be its keeper; to listen to and follow the drum---the drum beat; to honor the Creator---The Great Heartbeat of Life---and those creating the drum; to keep the heartbeat of the community alive and thriving with the drum and through drumming; to invite all to feel home in the beat of the drum; to invite our awakening together while honoring our individual and cultural uniqueness; to be aware and remind others that we are all pulsating to and are part of the One Great Heartbeat of Life.
At the end of our first meeting as I was about to leave, B.J. handed me a sixty-year-old double-headed medicine drum that had been given to her. She explained that the drum had come from the Tarahumara Indians who live in the mountains of Northern Mexico. I began to play with my fingers since there was no mallet. Its sound had a clarity and resonance that entered my soul like a piercing yet gentle breeze. Each head of this lightweight drum was hand-painted with a different design; one appeared to represent form while the other presented the formless. The colors looked like they were made from red earthen clay. As I watched them vibrating I became mesmerized.
I could not stop playing the drum even as conversation continued in the background. I began singing a wordless melody. I don't know how much time passed until I stopped. B.J. with tears in her eyes said, "Thank you for the prayer." I was speechless. As I was walking out the door, B.J. mentioned that she might have to sell the drum. I told her to be sure to let me know as I had become very attached.
THE GIFT OF THE DRUM
Two days later a large box arrived in the mail---return address: B.J. Quintana. I knew instantly that it was the drum. Her accompanying card read: "Dear Barbara, As much as I need the money, I'm afraid I cannot sell my Tarahumara drum to you. After hearing you and the drum together I realized this drum had found its place. I would like you to have it as a gift. As old and worn as it is, it still has a beautiful song to sing in the hands of the right person---in the hands of a true 'beat-keeper.' You are that person. Enjoy." With tears in my eyes, I accepted the drum and great honor B.J. had bestowed upon me. At that moment I felt I became a keeper of the beat in every cell of my body.
HEART DRUM IS BORN
Fifteen months later, on August 15, 2000---after raising $3500 from an extensive community of friends, students and fellow beat-keepers---after searching for a dead cottonwood tree with a trunk shaped like a heart, after cutting a piece of this trunk that would become the drum’s shell, and after B.J. going to New Mexico to supervise its creation---the Heart Drum was born! I saw the drum for the first time a week later at All One Tribe Drums in Taos, where it had been assembled. Our first great celebration and sanctification ceremony took place outdoors in front of Southwest Drum & Moccasin in downtown Taos.
The drum then went to the home of Marie Helene just outside of Taos until October of the same year. I then transported the drum by automobile to a cave in Embudo, NM---between Santa Fe and Taos---to better acquaint myself with deepest vibrations and pulsations of The Heart Drum and the earth. The Heart Drum and I spent a week together in verbal silence and the protection of this exquisite multi-chambered sanctuary, one of several cave temples made in the Taos/Santa Fe area by artist Ra Paulette. It felt important for the Heart Drum and I to be held in the softness of this curved, carved sandstone cave temple to get acquainted and exchange knowledge and blessings.
Driving The Heart Drum home to the Bay Area, we stopped in Los Angeles for another sanctification ceremony from part of the community that had helped finance the making of The Heart Drum. The final sanctification ceremony occurred on April 28, 2001, at my home in Mill Valley, CA. It was a very happy day for all. And I know that the redwood trees outside were rejoicing from the sonorous sounds of the drum as well!
KEEPING THE BEAT
Since then, The Heart Drum has traveled to many special events and ceremonies including: a vigil for 9/11 victims; Institute of Noetic Science Steward Council Meeting; Heart Council led by Jack Kornfield, Deena Metzger and Naomi Newman at Spirit Rock Meditation Center; Visions for a Positive Future with Jean Shinoda Bolen, Lynn Twist, Angeles Arrien; Women’s Circle called by Marianne Williamson and Meg Wheatley; various community events, drumming events, conferences and ceremonies in the SF Bay Area. Several people of varying age, gender, race and place are stewards of The Heart Drum. They help care for and manifest the visions of The Heart Drum---peace, unity, and harmony.
AND THE BEAT GOES ON
On the weekend of July 21 – 23 at the first women’s drum camp of Born to Drum, I met Susie Hawk and Deborah Guerrero who represented Native American drumming and ceremony at this multi-cultural drumming weekend. When Susie saw and experienced The Heart Drum, she burst into tears as I had done when meeting its relative in 1992. During the course of the next two days, many feelings and exchanges between Susie and I took place. It was clear to me that something bigger than either of us was at work. I stayed true to my initial commitment to The Heart Drum---to listen deeply and follow the drum beat rather than my own will. I asked The Heart Drum, “Is the next right step for you to go with Susie?”
THE HEART DRUM SPEAKS
I listened for an answer. I listened to the drum and to the heart of Susie Hawk representing her people---the Suquamish, Duwamish and Tulalip of the Northwest. Instead of words I was receiving images and hearing sounds. I saw not only the great joy of Susie and Deb as they played The Heart Drum and chanted prayers, but also the joy of many indigenous peoples and beat-keepers throughout time, all around the world doing the same. I heard the sound of volcanic eruptions as the drum was played with a powerful determination to sustain Sundancers in their sacred ceremonies. I felt the drum expanding people’s open heartedness, generosity, and love while acknowledging that we are all part of the One Great Heartbeat of Life. I recounted the progression of The Heart Drum from its inception to its birth to the many ceremonies centered around its strong and constant heartbeat. I realized the full circle of blessings that have come with and through The Heart Drum. I saw a full and complete circle ever vibrating outward, touching many.
THE NEXT RIGHT PLACE
Without a doubt I knew clearly and deeply that it was now time for The Heart Drum to go to its next right place with its rightful beat-keeper, Susie Hawk. Knowing the drum would reside on land on the Suquamish Reservation and serve the people there felt right. So, On July 23, Susie’s 52nd birthday, I said to her, “Good morning and happy birthday. The drum has spoken and I have listened. After seeing and hearing you and Deb and the drum together, I realize this drum has found its next right place. You, Susie, are to be its next beat-keeper.” We sat together silently as our tears flowed.
BLESSINGS IN THE BEAT
Since that time, The Heart Drum continues to open hearts while residing at Elaine Belle’s Healing Tea House and Hallie Austen Iglehart’s Green Sanctuary, both in Mill Valley, CA. On December 1, the drum and I will travel to Wellspring Renewal Center in Philo, CA, for a two-day retreat to honor the drum and its beat-keepers while focusing on peace. December 5 – 20, the drum will reside at Open Secret Bookstore Temple in San Rafael, CA. At the end of December, 2006, I will deliver The Heart Drum to Susie Hawk and her people on Bainbridge Island, WA. As I said to Susie, “I do not feel that I am losing a drum but that I am gaining new friends and community.”
ALL HEARTS BEATING
Many of the initial visions I had for The Heart Drum have come to pass. I had always felt that the drum would move on at some point in time so that it could touch more people. I also learned from B.J.’s gift of the Tarahumara drum that it is the nature of drums to circulate as they must, to go where they are called and do what they are meant to do. I feel blessed to have been supported by so many people to bring The Heart Drum into existence. I am grateful to have had so many years of its sounds, vibrations, teachings and blessings. As a keeper of the beat, I want to insure that the knowledge and practice of passing drums continues. I see a time when there is a drum in every household, place of business, government agency---for all to enjoy as a tool of transformation---a way to communicate and entrain with each other, to join all hearts in beating together as One with The Great Heartbeat of Life.
I thank all of you who contributed to The Heart Drum, myself, its stewards and all beings with your presence and presents. Big Blessings and Big Love in the Big Beat, Barbara
Those who helped create The Heart Drum:
Drum Maker: B.J. Quintana
Shell Seekers/Finders: Lee Lujan-Seeker, Harry Coca-Finder
Assembled At: All One Tribe Drums---Feeny Lipscomb, Owner (no longer in business)
Those who helped assemble the drum @ All One Tribe Drums: Jonald Lowe, Casey Jones, Patrick
Stewards of The Heart Drum:
SF Bay Area--- Barbara Vass, Vicki Zalewski, Lotus Belle-Glover, Zehara Eckert,
Remmy Kingsley, Sally Burr
New Mexico--- Marie Helene, Akili Gonzalez
New York--- Bram Kincheloe, Ishmael Beah
Los Angeles--- Moriyah Singh Chahal
Photographs--- Page 1---BB and Tarahumara Drum---Irene Young /BB & Heart Drum---Unknown
All others--- Sally Burr