International Journal of Transpersonal Studies
Altered States During Shamanic Drumming
on average participated in similar drumming session2.68 times beore (
= 3.75, range 0 – 15 times). For sixo the participants it was the rst time.
A shamanic-like drumming session wasperormed (rhythmic live drumming) in a dimly-litroom or 20 minutes. All participants were lying downon mattresses on the oor. Instructions on how toperorm this imaginary journey were given beore thedrumming started. Aterwards data was collected using written reports.
Data was collected on participants’ estimationo the time duration o the session, the subjectiveexperience o the process, and the degree to which thephenomenology o the event deviated rom normal.
Immediately ater thedrumming stopped, participants were asked to writedown their estimation o the duration (in minutes) o the drumming journey. Te actual length (20 minutes) was not known to the participants. Tey were notinormed beorehand that they were going to be askedthis question.
A questionnaire withthree questions was constructed or use in this study.Te questions were: 1)
Please describe your experiences during the drumming
Was the drumming a positive or a negative event? Please describe
, and nally 3)
Were there any experiences during the drumming that you believe can have any importance or your everyday lie?
Te questionnairealso included questions about age, gender, and numbero earlier experiences with drumming journeys. Eachparticipant lled in this in silence ater the drumming journey was completed. Te questionnaires were already distributed (upside down) beore the drumming began,in order to minimize distraction and movement inthe room. Tere was no time limit or lling in thisquestionnaire. Te data gathered here was used or thephenomenological analysis.
Degree o experienced deviation rom normal state
As a supplement to the phenomenologicalresearch, a set o quantitative data were also gatheredusing the EDN (Experienced Deviation rom Normalstate) questionnaire. Tis questionnaire consists o 29statements (items), each responded to on a VAS-scale 0-100 mm (endpoints 0 = No, not more than usually; 100= Yes, much more than usually). Here are some exampleso the items:
I saw scenes rolling by like in a lm; I could hear sounds without knowing where they came rom;Perception o time and space was like in a dream.
All thepoints obtained rom these 29 items were averaged toprovide an “index o experience” (0 – 100). Tese valuesreect the total experience o deviation rom normalstates. Te scale reliability measurement Cronbach’salpha or EDN was 0.94 in the present study. Te EDNscale has been used in several earlier studies (e.g., Boodet al., 2006; Kjellgren et al., 2007; Kjellgren & aylor,2008; Kjellgren, Lindahl, & Norlander, 2009-2010;Kjellgren & Buhrkall, 2010) with Cronbach’s alpha ranging between 0.91 – 0.97, which indicates very highreliability or this scale. Te validity o the scale hasbeen conrmed in studies where comparisons betweentreatments such as relaxation in a otation tank or yoga with control conditions (relaxation in armchair and/orresting on a bed) have been done (Kjellgren, Sundequist,Sundholm, Norlander, & Archer, 2004; Kjellgren etal., 2007). Te EDN-scale has generated consistentmeasurement across dierent conditions.Te EDN tests have been extensively used inconnection with otation-tank research (e.g., Kjellgrenet al., 2001; Kjellgren, 2003). ypical EDN values ateran individual’s rst experience o sensory isolation in a otation-tank are about 30 EDN points and about 40points on subsequent occasions. By comparison, theexperience o resting on a bed in a dark, quiet roomscores 15 EDN points (Kjellgren et al., 2004). Tere wasno time limit or response to this questionnaire. Whenthe questionnaire was completed participants tiptoedout o the room in order to minimize disturbance andinteractions.
Beore the drumming started all participants were inormed that their participation was voluntary and were assured o total condentiality. Tey werealso inormed that all the data reporting was to be doneindependently. Te participants were all gathered in a room with mattresses on the oor. Beore the drumming began, all were instructed to perorm a “Lower world journey” as described by Harner (1990). Te instructioninvolved visualizing (closed eyes) a hole in the groundas an entrance or the journey, then going througha tunnel, and nally trying to nd what was at theend o this tunnel. Tey were instructed to search oran answer or solution to a personally pre-ormulatedquestion or problem area. Tey were also instructed tovisualize going the same way back to ordinary reality