Can you feel the heartbeat?
Who, what, when ...
The Peninsula Awareness Festival will run from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Peninsula Oilers Bingo Hall. The Grandmother Drum Prayerformance will start at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The cost is $15 for advance tickets; they are $20 at the door. Children under 16 are free. Space is limited, and some advance tickets are still available at Pye Wackett's in Soldotna, Body, Mind and Spirit in Kenai and Something To Believe In in Homer. Call 299-5433 or 260-7800 for more information, or visit the Web site at www.whirlingrainbow.com.
White Eagle Medicine Woman, the director of the Grandmother Drum International Peace Project, will do her part to help you. Saturday, she will bring the Grandmother Drum to Kenai as the featured guest artist for the Peninsula Awareness Festival.
"I'm excited because back in 2001, when we called forth the Grandmother Drum, we received guidance from the grandmothers to get the permission from all the Athabascan tribes and their blessing to build this world heartbeat. It's a heartbeat of all people and the unity of all tribes," she said.
"We got permission from the Kenaitze people, and they also gave us a donation toward the building of the drum, and we have never been down to Kenai. We've been all over the world, and we've been in our own community here in Palmer, and the Valley area and Anchorage, but not down on the Kenai."
The Grandmother Drum is seven feet in diameter. It is the largest one of its kind in the world.
"We are about bringing people through the heart, through the heartbeat, together in ceremony and prayer, in what we call a prayerformance, which is kind of a cross between a performance and a ceremony. It really involves everyone in an interactive extravaganza, which involves a lot of sharing and a lot of call and response singing and dancing, and getting children up on the drum," she said.
White Eagle Medicine Woman (Suraj Holzworth) has lived in Alaska for 26 years. Originally, she came to the state as the youngest woman to climb Denali at the age of 19. She is an international performance artist of Celtic and Seneca descent. The Grandmother Drum has been a part of her vision for the last 15 years.
"There's a prophecy that Native people have, particularly the Hopi and the Navajo, called the Whirling Rainbow Prophecy, that speaks to coming together of the four races the red, the yellow, the black and the white. In that prophecy it says that the healing will begin in the north and spread like a whirling rainbow," White Eagle Medicine Woman said.
The purpose of the Whirling Rainbow Foundation is one of creating unity through music, dance, cultural, visual and healing arts. The Grandmother Drum International Peace Project is a vehicle for the mission. The drum travels all over the world, as the centerpiece for conferences, ceremonies and other events leading audiences in unified action on global issues of world peace, racial reconciliation, environmental stewardship and earth sustainability.
In June, the project arrived back to Alaska after its fourth "Ring of Fire" world tour, traveling for six months and 18,000 miles from Alaska to Guatemala, working with indigenous communities at ancient temple sites and at international healing conferences and ceremonies.
Built by the Alaska multicultural community in 2001, the drum has toured the United States, Australia, Canada and Central America
"It's an honor to come home every time from touring and bring we call it bring all the medicine home and give it back to the people. We actually see this drum as a giant vessel, or chalice, of love that has been poured in from, I guess 30,000 to 50,000 people that have prayed with us and this drum ... . There is a vibration that's in this drum of people's prayers and intentions," White Eagle Medicine Woman said.
The prayerformance of the Grandmother Drum will be part of a weekend-long event called the Peninsula Awareness Festival. The healing aspect of the drum and the focus on unity make it a good fit for the festival.
"It's the only drum in the world with inlaid crystal. It's a healing drum, so we actually lay people underneath because of the frequency it can produce ... . It's different from any other drum, in that the walls start pulsing and the floor starts pulsing. The only time we actually experience that surround sound pulsation of the heartbeat is in the womb. So it has a way of touching people beyond words," White Eagle Medicine Woman said.
Camille Moritz, owner of Something to Believe In, a metaphysical store in Homer, is one of the festival organizers. She describes the festival as an opportunity to build awareness for alternative types of healing events and activities in the community.
"It's a cultural diversity thing. We wanted to bring people from different places together under one roof," Moritz said.
Moritz suggests interested visitors stop by to visit the booths, vendors and practitioners. Intuitive readers, energy and body workers will practice on site. There will be a variety of workshops each day, as well, including Alaskan Herbs for the Cold and Flu Season, with Patricia Kelly, and Developing Your Intuition, with Shirley Knapp, author of "Sustaining Joy."
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