Drumming for “Walking-Prayer/Moving-Circle”

A“how to”of drumming & singing for “moving circles”of Celebration & Affirmation     


In times of old, human community life was punctuated by shared rites of celebration or sadness; “rites of passage”.

Planting & harvest, birth & death; reflective or celebratory experiences; all were emotionally & spiritually engaged by human community of old, often through various forms of traditional movement, music & drumming; and often in a “moving circle” of participants –symbol of the village & “circle of life” itself. Many of these community-affirming practices have been forgotten or lost.

Drawing on Sufi-dancing, European village songs, and even ‘liturgical circle-songs’ (an Eastern-European church tradition during the Renaissance) “WalkingPrayer/MovingCircle” brings new life and spirit of invention to drumming, singing, and moving-circles, revitalizing an ancient/new community-building art-form.

As a malleable & creative form of community celebration & reflection, mourning, or group-aspiration, walking-prayer in moving circles is a useful & vibrant way to engage and be in sympathy with community life circumstances, passages, or just a shared spirit of gratitude and joyful exaltation.

This playshop invites participants to co-create newly “authentic” forms of this ancient moving-art form, relevant to shared community experience and contemporary cycles of life.

Bring: easy to carry & play (while walking or moving) drums; ankle bells or shakers (hoop/frame drums if you have them). And/or melodic instruments you are familiar with, if you want to do more music than movement. Bring mostly: desire and willingness, to co-engage affirmations of goodwill, through movement, music, dancing, drumming, and emotion. 



More On That:

As with words, movements have meaning.

In fact, words themselves are both audio and visual forms of “movement”.

Facial movement, body postures, familiar or unfamiliar body movements; a certain viscerally conscious and knowing, but cognitively unconscious  “vocabulary of movement” is innate to all people, most mammals, many birds, and other animals, all the way down to insects and fish.

Movement is seen as ‘empirically’ (literally: ‘sensed-experience’) direct and very detailed “visual-movement” expressions of a persons (or higher animals) emotional and psychological state of mind or emotional being.  Known in scientific circles as methodical observations of meaningful-actions, “expressive movement” was widely studied by the likes of Charles Darwin (as “behavior” in evolution) and by mystic/inventor Harvey Spenser Lewis (healing harmonics and sound/color/light pioneer) as well as many Russian scientists and psychologists, and other scholars around the world. “Expressive movement” also emerged as a finely nuanced form or idiom of artistic dance expression, in popular contemporary culture.

Modern and dramatic and traditional forms of dance embody the higher artistic realms of “expressive movement”, and carry with them subtle octaves (so to speak) of musical and dance expressions. And so too, in peoples cultural life,  the art of walking or moving-prayer/ circle-songs  find fresh avenues of relevance and significance, vital to community-building and strength.

Movements, invested with meaning and intention, can also act as totemic suggestions to the body of the universe, investing energy and attention toward “emulating” or “enacting” certain desirable or wished-for outcomes, and prompting the reciprocity of the natural law to respond in kind.

 Or at least: that is the desire.

Is the universe, as Einstein himself wondered, sympathetic, adverse, or merely neutral and indifferent to, the needs and desires of the living?

Do movements and sounds and gestures, suggesting a desired-for action or outcome, influence the actual flow of objective worldly events?

Certainly, the ancients thought so, through their dances, and imaginings and enacting favorable future outcomes for perhaps an upcoming hunt, act of warfare, or defence. And curiously: physics too, affirms such seemingly specicious beleifs through direct observation, namely; matter behaves one way while when being measured through direct avenues of living perception, and another way when being logged by instruments set to record it.

The observer, it is now empirically known, affects the observed.

Engage the dance of desire, the song of hope, the cry for freedom, and all their companies of joy and sorrow.

And judge for yourself, the meaning and significance implicit in, the instructively illuminating,  outcomes.


"Moving-Circle & Sacred-Song" events:

"Circle-Dance & Walking-Prayer"

Ceremonial & Celebrational Moving Arts are one of the oldest forms of spiritual communion practiced by people all over the world, including Europe, Asia & Africa.

Moving circles of ceremonial dances/walking prayer & song are evident in the written and pictorial records of many civilizations, its origins disappearing into the mists of ancient human antiquity. During the Renaissance, and the artistic& scientific influence of Ottoman Islam on post-Renaissance Europe, singing & walking prayer circles were even part of Roman Catholic liturgical ceremonies for a while, openly embracing (after a few centuries of persecution) pagan arts it could not not destroy. Then came the "new dark age", masquerading as "modernity"; an epically tragic disconnection from nature from which we are only now (maybe) beginning to emerge!And in that darkness the many arts of movement as prayer and invocation were obscured and lost.

Songs & movements in walking-prayer are affirmations of trust & faith, an opportunity to reclaim & breath new life into a lost art of ceremonial community experience. Moving song/prayer circles are movements & gestures of meaning and intention; these gestures do not just reflect, but actively give shape to, our shared aspirations --which literally means "breathing with desire, together".

Through song, and simple movements, moving circles give shape and and form to the formless, bringing into being our shared aspiration/"breathing of desire together".

Through movements of our hands & eyes we connect with each other; through movements of our feet we connect with the earth, rooting our intentions in "terra firma".

Circle-Dances/Walking Prayers are a  “grounding practice" of  physical/spiritual embodiment, and an emotionally authentic & adaptive contemporary form of shared spiritual experience.

Have a look and listen to some of the following materials and let me know if you would like to host/enable a walking-prayer/circle-song experience for you and your community.

you can contact me at 

Or find me on skype with skype-name:   marco.zonka

“Circle-Dance/Sacred-Song” is a way to actively reincarnate the ancient shared experience of being alive together in the living mystery of what we call “life”. The living spirit hungers for joy. And that hunger loves celebrating its "living presence" in the living presence of others!

About the song "Lord & Lordess Prayer" (below from Soundcloud)

This rough-draft of the Circle-Song “Lord & Lordess Prayer” is an example of the "call and response" used in these movements. We start with a short version of the song to begin moving, and then lengthen and elaborate as so inclined or able from there.  

Creator! Create your own Creation!

Recreate and reinvent for yourself and others the ancient ceremonial art of village song and spiritual communion, in a form made accessible, relevant and emotionally authentic to contemporary celebrants.

A wide range of simple yet powerful choreographic movements are engaged by concentric circles of men, women and/or children, moving in circles formed within and around one another, and circles  merging together  "into one". 

Singing beautiful melodies in a "call and response" style similar to "kirtan" (but with movement) each circle-song "sings a message of affirmation" to the circle moving within or around it; affirmations of love; of mutual empowerment; affirmations of forgiveness, or renewal. Or  messages of ecstatic declaration!

The "answering circle" then "sings that message back to them" in a dialog of  moving delight.

Archetypes & Primordial Circles

Anatomy of the Natural world:

Women sing to  men; men sing women; men & women surround children and sing a song/affirmation/declaration of love and/or empowerment to them.

Call & Response!

"Walking-prayers are are not "fixed" forms; all  movements are fluid & adapt to the desires of the participants, until  the song and movement takes its most desirable & emotionally authentic "form." And then surrendering to that "form" the community holds and affirms the dance-intention, dancing that desire into being. which is to say: embodying the form of the desired thing to make the thing real.

Participants will learn a series of songs and movements from an existing  repertoire of songs and dances, after which we are invited to create our own songs and dances, exploring and discovering as a  group what feels natural (or not) and how to shape the dance to make it fit.

In this way the "participants" ARE the "creators", engaging as living exponents of celebratory music and movement, recreated with new relevance and authenticity,

Give a listen to the sample songs below, and familiarize yourself with them. Listen particularly to the song "Lord & Lordess Prayer", and its call and resonse form. This song is based on "The Lords' Prayer" given by Rabbi Yeshua/Jesus to his 13 disciples at the last supper. Jesus observed: "Do not take new wine and put it in old bottles, ruining the new wine; make new wine and put it in new bottles!". So this is new wine in new bottles and it invites not only of the Lord but also the Lordess of all worlds to be present with us!

The "invocational" part of the chant asks:


and the answering circle answers:


"Who? Us! Who? Us! Who? Us!"

Because the question is: Who will do the effort of transforming this world? And the affirmation is: "Us!"  -mz


Click the "pdf" below to download a blank poster, and fill in with any event=specific information:



Lyrics to:

"Lord & Lordess Song"

Our Mother, alive within us!

Haloed be your name!

Thy Queendom come! All love as one!

On earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our violations

As we forgive those who wound and agress us

And lead us not into the darkness

Lead us now into the lightness

Alive is the power of light And its living forever!


Our Father, alive within us!

Haloed be thy name!

Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done!

On earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day out daily bread

And forgive us our violations

As we forgive those

Who wound and agress us

And lead us not into darkness

Lead us now into the lightness

Alive is the power of light and its living forever!