We have a fantastic group of drummers from beginners to teachers themselves coming to the Frame Drum Intensive that starts next week, July 10 - 14, outside of Asheville, NC.
Tommy Be is the principle teacher but Farrunnissa and other long time teachers will be teaching the beginners some of the time.
I'll be at the retreat for the whole time, overseeing everything, teaching when I can. In the evenings Debra Roberts and I will be teaching material from the Bee Priestess traditions.
Some of you know I went into the hospital for a week when I got home from teaching at Omega, June 7 - 9, and have been released into Hospice which I cannot praise highly enough. I went into the hospital because fluid had filled all around my lungs and heart so I had only a few days to a week left before my heart was unable to beat any longer. We decided to do a surgery in which they cut away a part of the bag around the heart so it would drain over to my right lung side where they put in a permanent drain thinking that would give me one or two more months.
All went well with the surgery, and I am getting things in order and trying to finish my film, Axe� Orixa�, which is well underway at this point. I'm not in any pain and am recovering my strength, (I worked out with my trainer last Tuesday and I'm out for walks most days) and am incredibly well taken care of by a wonderful network of angelic friends! My heart surgeon says there was much less cancer in the fluids they drained than they expected and so he won't prophesize how much longer I have left!
In thinking over the retreat that starts next week, we gave everyone the option for a full refund but decided to go ahead with those who wanted to attend, and in fact more people registered. I'm very much looking forward to seeing everyone.
I want to thank all of you who emailed, phoned and sent me cards -- it means the world to me. I'm not able to answer emails at this time and may never catch up but I am reading them all. I'm really at peace, busy eating anything I want and looking back over my life with true pleasure. It has been so great to meet so many of you who love the frame drum, and it has been really amazing to see how the simple desire for wanting to learn to play the drums has unfolded in my life. One of the projects that we are taking care of now is getting When The Drummers Were Women back in print. My dvds and cds will continue to be available through my company Golden Seed Productions which will also care for and house my slide collection from the many years of my research.
We are working with the wonderful Center for End of Life Transitions organization for a natural, environmentally sound home-based funeral. The body, which is not embalmed, is kept undisturbed at home for up to three days, much like a traditional home wake. They also work with Asheville Mortuary Services which has seating for up to 30 people to attend the cremation and view it through a large window. We can create our own ritual and music for this period. We have the option for purchasing a cardboard coffin that we can decorate and also non-metallic offerings can be put into the coffin. In the beginning I wasn't real excited about thinking about being cremated (!) but by the time the two wonderful women, Caroline and Ruth had laid out our beautiful options we were all very excited about creating the funeral. Really it has taken on the aspect of transforming a funeral ritual that could be somewhat empty into something more meaningful and celebratory as I did with other kinds of rituals with the Mob of Angels. I can see my death as a very natural extension of the life I have lived.
When I was working on Invoking Aphrodite and speaking the words of the ancient poets and priestesses I felt that my voice had entered the stream of the thousands and thousands of voices that have spoken these words throughout time. In particular I loved recording the Epitaph of Seikilos:
I am an image in stone
I was put here by Seikilos
Where I will remain forever
The symbol of deathless remembrance
As long as you live, shine, be radiant!
Let nothing grieve you beyond measure.
For your life is only too short and time will call for you.
You can download a free copy of Epitaph of Seikilos here
Sending out lots of love, blessings, and endless peace, Layne