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The Healing Drum: African Wisdom Teachings

Overview

The Healing Drum traces the extraordinary cultural legacy of the Minianka tribe of West Africa, for whom music serves a sacred, healing function for the individual and society. The authors explore the Minianka view of humanity, music, and the cosmos relative to work, celebration, herbal medicine, dance, trance, initiation, and death.
The first book of its kind, delivering a message of untapped wisdom and power from a little-known culture ...

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Overview

The Healing Drum traces the extraordinary cultural legacy of the Minianka tribe of West Africa, for whom music serves a sacred, healing function for the individual and society. The authors explore the Minianka view of humanity, music, and the cosmos relative to work, celebration, herbal medicine, dance, trance, initiation, and death.
The first book of its kind, delivering a message of untapped wisdom and power from a little-known culture through the universal medium of music.

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Editorial Reviews

Magazine of the Place des Arts
"This is music that hasn't had its wings clipped; music that still possesses the full potential for the sacred and the magical that it had at the beginning of the world."
Body Mind Spirirt Magazine
"I have been searching for an authentic, traditional CD with chanting and singing, and now I have finally found it."
Shaman's Drum
"The Healing Drum is more than a literary autobiography; it includes considerable ethnographic information about Minianka culture"
The Jazz Report
"Together Diallo and Hall have collaborated to produce a text that combines anthropology, sociology, philosophy and music in a potent and thought-provoking read."
Ethnomusicology
"This is not actually a scholarly book, but that is part of its strength: the subjects discussed in Part One, about Minianka culture as a whole, are those covered in standard ethnographic studies."
Timothy White
"Part two provides examination of the more public role of music as a sacred healing practice in Minianka culture."
Body Mind Spirit Magazine
"I have been searching for an authentic, traditional CD with chanting and singing, and now I have finally found it!"
October 2003 Body Mind Spirit Magazine
"I have been searching for an authentic, traditional CD with chanting and singing, and now I have finally found it!"
Editor of Shaman's Drum Timothy White
"Part two provides examination of the more public role of music as a sacred healing practice in Minianka culture."
From the Publisher
"The Healing Drum is more than a literary autobiography; it includes considerable ethnographic information about Minianka culture"

"I have been searching for an authentic, traditional CD with chanting and singing, and now I have finally found it!"

"Part two provides examination of the more public role of music as a sacred healing practice in Minianka culture."

"This is not actually a scholarly book, but that is part of its strength: the subjects discussed in Part One, about Minianka culture as a whole, are those covered in standard ethnographic studies."

"Together Diallo and Hall have collaborated to produce a text that combines anthropology, sociology, philosophy and music in a potent and thought-provoking read."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892812561
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 12/28/1989
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,426,553
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Born and raised in Mali, West Africa into the Minianka (Bamana) tribe, Yaya Diallo learned to play balafon and hand drums under the instruction of his grandfather and spiritual mentor, Nangape.

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Read an Excerpt

That Odd Mary Magdalene

It seems that even among Jesus’ disciples, Mary played a privileged role. Why, then, did the Roman Catholic Church feel obliged to almost entirely erase this female figure and her role? Was it because of a now proven anti-feminism that existed at the heart of the Church from the early Middle Ages? The Christian conception of femininity, which has certainly greatly evolved in the modern world, especially since the council of Vatican II, is due both to Greco-Roman legacy and to the Hebraic options. With the exception of the female characters of Genesis, who are gripping figures to say the least, the scribes of the Bible lowered the status of Woman by making her impure and thus not apt, for example, to play a sacerdotal role. The idea that Mary Magdalene enjoyed total equality with the apostles has never crossed the minds of Church theologians. Because priests are the legitimate heirs of the apostles, such a standing would make Mary Magdalene, on the one hand, a priestess—how horrible!—and on the other, one of those on whom the apostolic sacerdotal filiation was founded.

Yet, when Mary of Bethany washes Jesus’ feet and anoints him with precious perfume, which Judas, the group’s treasurer, believes could be put to a more profitable use, she and Jesus are enacting a kind of sacerdotal and royal ordination—with Mary serving as the priestess who performs the ritual.

Is it forbidden to think that Mary of Bethany, over the course of those long moments spent at the feet of the Lord, could have heard what he had to say or at least sensed the full scope of Christ’s mystery even if she did not grasp it in its entirety? Jesus persistently tried to lead his disciples to realize this—if only in the Fiat of the Transfiguration!—but their hearts remained curiously closed all the way to the end. Mary, however, did perceive and accept it. On that day she knew the moment had come to manifest this mystery in chiaroscuro. In a kind of prophetic intuition . . . Mary anointed the head of Jesus, recognizing and presenting him as King and Priest, and anointed his feet as Messiah sent from God.

Such a presentation obviously involves a rite of enthronement that can be performed only by a person vested symbolically with sacerdotal powers. Jesus was fully aware of this when he answered Martha’s reproaches by saying that Mary “had the best part.”

At that time there were two sites named Bethany: a town two miles east of Jerusalem, where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived; and on the left bank of the Jordan, at a ford just before the Dead Sea, where John the Baptist baptized. In addition, there was a place called Bethabara, “house of passage,” by the gates to the desert. John the Baptist and later Mary, each in their own way, granted baptism, initiation, the right of passage, or the means of crossing the threshold. The two Bethanys, then, seem to mirror each other. Magdalene extends the echo of her precursor, John the Baptist. One is a man clad in hides and the other is a woman clad in her long mane of hair. The chief difference between them is that John remains in a harsh and terrible place, screaming in Essenian rigor his curses and his calls to repent, whereas Mary in Bethany, on the opposite where all is blooming and gay, speaks of love and forgiveness and the transition from one world to the next. While Jesus received from John a baptism in water, he did not receive, as the ancient kings had, a consecrating anointing with oil. Just before his Passion and “baptism by spirit and fire”—the crucifixion—he received the perfumed oil from the female Magdalene. The old and ancient notion of the priest-king applies to Jesus, but this royal unction, let me repeat, can only be performed by a priest—or priestess.

The unction in Bethany is surely one of the most important events in the life of Jesus. Furthermore, this is what Jesus himself says to his disciples who are always more or less hostile toward the whims of Woman: He declares to them that this woman truly did “what she had to do,” and even adds, according to Mark 14:9, “In truth, I declare to you, everywhere the Gospel is to be spread, throughout the whole world, one will also recount, in memory of her, the deed she has done.” This is acknowledgment of an uncommon power possessed by Mary that went far beyond a mere gesture of female vanity, which is clearly what the first disciples thought it to be, and underscores the importance Magdalene was given in the very words of Jesus.

Why, then, was Mary Magdalene relegated to such a minor role in the evangelical tradition as revised and corrected by the Church Fathers? Is the Christian sacerdotal class ashamed to owe so much to a woman?

And I cannot forbear from asking myself: what has the memory of the Church done to these words of Jesus? Isn’t there something yet to be explored there? And wouldn’t this something be the consecration of a specifically female ministry of a prophetic and charismatic nature that Jesus would himself have recognized and proclaimed as existing in tandem with the apostolic and sacerdotal ministry? What a unique place woman would hold in the very heart of the Church if this was the case!

The question certainly has been raised—and it seems that Abbe Saunière may have answered it in his own way in the church of Rennes-le-Chateau.

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Table of Contents

The Healing Drum
African Wisdom Teachings
Preface and Acknowledgments
Part 1: Those Who Refuse the Master
Introduction, Mitchell Hall
1. Birth of a Fool
2. Family Life
3. Village Life
4. The Elders
5. Knowledge
6. Initiations and Secret Societies
Part 2: The Healing Drum
Introduction, Mitchell Hall
7. Musical Instruments
8. The Minianka Musicians Apprenticeship
9. Music, Work, and Dance
10. School
11. Rituals and Celebrations
12. Music and Healing
13. Two Cultures
14. The Healing Drum Today
Pronunciation Key and Glossary of Minianka Terms
Selected Bibliography
Index
About the Authors
Audiocassette Ordering Information

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2004

    Another point of View

    This book certainly captivated me. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. It presented another way of seeing life from another point of view which could be very helpful in our somewhat multicultural society. One thing that really was satisfying was that the journey not only crystallized self realization but also self acceptance which to me was the pinnacle of his experience- his fragmented self was healed and became whole.

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