Drum Circles: What’s the difference?
The tradition of a drum circle is an unusual one. Before I lived in Sedona, Arizona, I had no idea what a drum circle even was. Drumming in a circle does not sound all that appealing, but that is only if you don’t know what you are getting yourself into. I have lived on both coasts and attended drum circles in Sedona, Arizona and Siesta Key, Florida. Aside from the hippie clothing, loud drumming, hypnotic dancing and happy faces, all the things these two drastically different events have in common, there are major differences. Sedona, Arizona is a magical, special, spiritual place where people come from all walks of life and have a hard time leaving. A drum circle in Sedona is a sacred, spiritual practice that takes place on top of a rock, called Cathedral Rock, which also happens to be a major vortex point. On the night of a full moon, hundreds of people climb the half hour hike to the top of the rock, with drums, blankets, food, kids, pets and a jolly attitude. The best part about this drum circle is the majestic view of the red rocks all around and as you stare at the magnificent natural beauty around you, you are overcome with a feeling of being one with the universe and all that is. The moon lights up the sky and one by one drummers start playing the drums, not knowing the exact rhythm, but inspired and joined together by tens and then hundreds of drums together in unison. Women and children start dancing in a hypnotic trance, wearing long hippie skirts and throwing glow in the dark hula hoops. Dogs run around loose and get to know each other as blissful as their entranced owners. An important drum circle tradition in Sedona is to make wishes to the moon, as the drum circles on Cathedral Rock only happen on the night of the full moon.
Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida is a highly touristic, outgoing, and popular place to be. Siesta Key Beach is considered the best beach in USA and is known for its crystalline white soft sand. However, that is not all it is known for. Thousands of people gather every Sunday for a drum circle celebration. Here people drum weekly to celebrate and give thanks to the magnificent Florida sunset. It takes place right on the beach next to the water of the Gulf of Mexico which tends to be warm year round and makes swimming to the sound of the drums all the more unique and enjoyable. It is a big mixture of locals who enjoy living in this gorgeous beach town and wandering tourists, eager to experience the wonder of a beach drum circle and to join in, all in great fun. People make a day on the beach out of it and bring coolers packed with food and drinks, beach chairs, and happy kids with their sand toys who get to swim in the ocean and make castles in the sand to the beat of the drums. Don’t be surprised if you see glow in the dark hula hoops being thrown around and even fire dancers. After all, a drum circle in Siesta Key is a big production and no wonder thousands of tourists gravitate to it every week.
Even though drum circles might be different in such unique places, the tradition of a drum circle and the spiritual connection to the divine through drumming is what unites drummers from all over the globe. And isn’t it all about connection anyway?
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