The Nu Paradigm is HERE.
Reclaiming Queen Nyabinghi's Drum
African warrior Queen Nyabinghi was believed to be the reincarnation of
the leonine Kemetic warrior goddess Sekhmet. Queen Nyabinghi was
known for playing her powerful, mystical trance drum. Her Ugandan
female followers, called bagiwas, were so fearsome in victory that the
invading colonialists had them branded as witches performing rituals with
the drum. The drum was eventually outlawed.
The Nyabinghi rhythms of resistance have long played a major role in
Rastafarian culture, as Babylon is chanted down. However, Rastafarians
are quicker to speak about Haile Sellasie than Queen Nyabinghi because
many are clueless as to who she is. Tragic, for in truth, numerous
Jamaican Sistas are sexually victimized. Rape and incest have become all
too common, accepted, even ignored, while Sistas struggle to maintain
their equilibrium. Especially sad because Queen Nyabinghi taught a life
philosophy similar to and pre-dating Rastafarian beliefs. How did
Rastafarianism become so patriarchal? Rasta male infidelity is a
celebrated given. And look up "Nyabinghi rhythm" on YouTube. You will
find mostly men playing it, while scantily clad Sistas gyrate for the camera.
Sadly, sexual abuse and goddess suppression are worldwide traditions.
Imagine what would happen if Sistas took back the drum.
shifting Nyabinghi rhythms...
Do you know that, in spite of what the so-called spiritually conscious Brothas may say, Sistas had the
drum first. There is a little known Orisha pataki (spiritual lesson demonstrated through cultural tale)
about the female Obatala owning the drum first. A young Shango wanted desperately to play Obatala's
drum and pleased to his mother, Yemaya, to get Obatala's drum for him to learn, play, and own.
Through a series of comical circumstances, Obatala allowed Shango to have her drum. However, in
Afro-Caribbean countries, a large honorary drum is always displayed with a white bow to show that the
drum first came through Obatala. Through the arrogance of Shango's energy that runs through the male
drumming community, our Brothas have forgotten or refuse to acknowledge who owned the drum first.
As a result, Orisha traditions frown upon women playing drums like djembes, claiming the heat of
playing them will "fry a woman's reproductive eggs."
Says who? Sounds more like a patriarchal fear of an inability to procreate. And or possibly, male fear of
what happens when drums are put into womens' hands.
As a professional djembe player/percussionist, I'm here to tell you that more than a few Brothas
became embarrassed when I could outplay them. There have been fellow musicians who hoped to
intimidate me off the stage, only to become frustrated that I more than held my own and my ground. And
then there were the Brothas who resented me because I could play, they could not, and the only male
ego solution was attempted rape. I say attempted because, in terms of acquiring female upper body
strength, drumming has its advantages...
But another side to that is the fact that some Brothas were intimidated because they knew I was a
priestess, metaphysician, and witch. They had legitimate reason to fear. Juju and drumming are as
natural for women as bearing children.
From a metaphysical standpoint, women are natural receptors. As such, we, often unknowingly, pull in
the energies of our environments. The added bonus is that we also have the bonus ability to transmute.
Any toxicity we pull in can be changed and released to the community or cosmos for greater benefit.
Personally, I become much more psychically in tune with my environment when I drum, and can feel
when something is in or out of sync. Our ancient foremothers knew these secrets as they gathered in
secret during the mooncycles to trance dance and drum these energies into personal and collective
empowerment. Today's woman has lost touch with these practices, but tries to subconsciously
transmute by partying, obsessive exercise, drinking, shopping...all in an effort to shift the toxic energy
that has been built up from daily living.
Buy a drum.
You will be delightfully amazed at how beneficial just five to fifteen minutes of drumming is for you. And
when you drum, pray. Mentally focus your intention. Bond with the energy of your instrument and make
magick. Extend the time as you go further into your drumming meditation. You'll find yourself trancing out
as Queen Nyabinghi's drummers did as they were possessed of her warrior spirit. You may have
ancestors come to your aid.
Or perhaps Queen Nyabinghi will pay you a visit.
Sistas, buy a drum. Gather with other drumming Sistas. Change your world. Change OUR world.
c.2011 By Queen Mother Imakhu