You can hear the sounds coming through the trees in the clearing; a low, rhythmic drumming catches your ear, and you can hear the music carrying through the forest. Getting closer, you smell incense and feel the warmth of a fire. People are dancing to the beat of a circle of drums; each person keeping tune and rhythm with those around them. The throb of the drums pounding together makes the ground vibrate under your feet. Even if you have never experienced one before, the electric feel of a Pagan Drum Circle can leave your spirit charged for hours.
Paganism, or Neopaganism refers to a polytheistic religion such as Wicca. Rather than worship Jesus in the way that Christians do, those who practice Wicca worship a Goddess and a God. In Wicca, the God and Goddess are ever around you and manifest themselves in nature. Wiccans believe in the power of magic or sorcery, and often evoke such power in magic circles. As air, water, fire, earth, and spirit are united, a Wiccan is in touch with the power of the Universe. Magic circles are cast to so that Wiccans can cast spells or perform rituals.
Rituals are vital to any religion, and Wicca is no different. Catholics baptize their babies in holy water inside a Church. Wiccans baptize their babies through Wiccaning, in which it is asked that the child be under the protection of the God and Goddess. It is rituals such this that require magic circles, and the sights and sounds of nature are a major part of any circle. Singing, clapping, poetry, and most importantly, drumming, all become part of the magic.
A Pagan drum circle is very much a part of Wiccan ritual. A magic circle of purity is drawn around a fire, and each drummer converges around the fire or off in a corner so that they may all sit together. A drumbeat is started, and each drummer beats to the rhythm. There is no one leader to this type of drum circle; the spirit simply takes everyone away and a rhythm is kept from each contributing. Ritual singing and dancing occurs around the fire, as each individual gives themselves up to the beat of the drum and the connection to their God, Goddess, and each other. Often these types of drum circles last until dawn, and are considered a ritual or part of a spell.
Why a drum circle to invoke a connection to a higher power? Drums have often been thought of a way to connect to your own spirituality. For thousands of years, people have been drumming to connect to themselves and others around them. The consistent beat of a hand drum can allow you to enter a level of relaxation that will bring upon a new level of consciousness. Drumming, in a word, calms a restless soul. It is no wonder that Wiccans widely incorporate drumming as their main choice of sound for a magic circle, spell, or ritual.
Although Pagan Drum Circles are very different from the average gathering of drummers, it is with the same spirit and love of rhythm that one becomes involved in a drum circle. Wiccan, Christian, old or young: the sound and spirit of the drum surrounds you and gives you a connection to the world that you may have otherwise been missing.