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One Drum: Stories and Ceremonies for a Planet

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  367 ratings  ·  64 reviews
“The most profound truth in the universe is this: that we are all one drum and we need each other.” —Richard Wagamese, One Drum

Fans of Richard Wagamese’s writing will be heartened by the news that the bestselling author left behind a manuscript he’d been working on until shortly before his death in 2017. One Drum welcomes readers to unite in ceremony to heal themselves and
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 19th 2019 by Douglas McIntyre
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Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The most profound truth in the universe is this: we are all one drum and we need each other

At the time of his death, Ojibway author, Richard Wagamese had been working on this book, One Drum, in which he planned to share stories and ceremonies illustrating the Seven Grandfather teachings, the foundations of Ojibway teachings. Sadly, he was only able to complete three before he passed but his writings about them are beautiful, moving, and profound. He illustrates each with a story based on Ojibway
"Those who tell stories rule the world."
I'm positive that there are so many more valuable stories begging for their chance to have air breathed into them, but sadly Richard Wagamese will no longer be able to do this for us.

We should be grateful that we have this last brief glimpse into some of his thoughts. I can't help but wonder if these musings were maybe what kept his monsters/demons at bay, or perhaps they simply added to his literary prowess.

This little book was to be about the teachings
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Wagamese is a beautiful writer. These pages are filled with wonder, ceremony and truths...even though it is an unfinished work.
Colinda Clyne
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sigh. "This is how you change the world, the smallest circles first." I need to make a poster out of this as a daily reminder ...more
Sandy Plants
Parts of this I loved; parts of this I found challenging and/or didn’t agree with.

I have a real hard time with organized religion or anything even smelling of that—mass thoughts/rituals shared (and passed down as tradition and cultural norms) by people as opposed to beliefs and ceremony and rituals that have meaning to ME. I also understand why people find meaning in that, it’s just not accessible to me. I also have a hard time with allegory—I am HYPER sensitive to any form of manipulation so w
Little Strawberry Muffin
Amazing, touching, and breathtaking.
Ben Rogers
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great read!

Sad to have lost Richard during the writing of this book.

Zippity do Dah
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book. The reading of it seemed to me a spiritual practice in and of itself. This book fills me with a sense of connection to the world.
Amanda Alice
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book. A treasure.
Kathryn Burwash
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As usual Richard Wagamese takes the essential truths and philosophy of Aboriginal spirituality and makes them understandable, approachable and inspiring. Featured are three of the seven grandfather teachings; Humility, Courage and Respect. As well as outlining the stories and premises of each teaching he also explains the ceremonies that make the teachings come alive in our hearts and spirits. He believes we are all of one spirit, one energy and one drum. This is truly a book to read and practic ...more
Sarah Flynn
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful unassuming little book that really sticks with you and goes a little bit deeper each time you think about it, One Drum is full of wisdom.
I started rereading it even as I was still reading, because later passages illuminated earlier passages, which then upon rereading further illuminated the later passages. It’s the kind of book that I will be thinking about and learning from for a long time.
But the lessons are those very simple yet infinitely difficult to learn lessons of how to ce
❀ Susan G
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
Richard Wagamese was such an amazing storyteller and this non-fiction book is full of Ojibway stories to help share the Grandfather teachings and ceremonies. Unfortunately he passed away after the first 3 teachings leaving the reader so sorry for his death and wanting more of his wisdom and beautiful way with words.

His fiction and non-fiction are intwined as he learned and shared himself in all of his books as he learned and grew.
'Before, when they said that I had to have faith, I would get irritated and say it's an acronym that stands for 'Find Another Indian to Hassle'.... Now I've decided that it stands for 'Find An Insight that Heals.'' - Richard Wagamese
This book, the final writings of Richard Wagamese published after his death, is the final and essential conveyance of his generous spirit and wisdom. The central message of this book, passed on from the wisdom of his Ojibwe elders, is the interconnectedness and harmo
Enid Wray
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oh how I wish he’d had the chance to finish this before he passed. I will admit that I wasn’t so sure about the first part of it. It seemed almost saccharine, trite.... too much like an inventory of platitudes.

But when we get into the actual teachings, and the stories he shares, and the ceremonies and practices… well, I couldn’t put it down.

If only we all lived like this… think how much better a place the world would be… and how much happier and healthier we all would be, individually and colle
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Richard Wagamese was working on this final manuscript at the time of his death. This book draws on traditional Ojibway ceremonies, however anyone can find something to enjoy in this book. It is divided into three sections: Humility, Courage, and Respect.

What I liked: I think part of the reason this book was so well-received was because Richard Wagamese shared his own struggles with alcoholism and abuse. His writing comes off less like pop psychology and more like lessons from someone who has li
Apr 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A gem - beautifully written and full of ideas that make you think more deeply. Richard Wagamese presents teaching stories and ceremonies from Ojibway traditions interwoven with his own (profound) experiences to convey and explore the seven grandfather teachings. The book focuses on ways one can make changes to heal while bringing more harmony to our community and nature through kindness, patience, and open-heartedness. Like so many other reviewers have commented, it's tragic that Richard Wagames ...more
Debbie Bates
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is unfortunate that Richard Wagamese's One Drum was left unfinished at his death. It is an exploration of the grandfather teachings of the Ojibway nation. It is a combination of fable, exposition and personal experiences. Wagamese focuses on his efforts to reconnect with Native culture and ceremony. It is a thoughtful book that embraces us all as part of Creation. The book asks us to consider our place in Creation and what we owe to other members of our universal family. Although only three o ...more
Andrea Spagnuolo
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a gift to humanity. Richard Wagamese, master storyteller, is a gift to humanity himself. His writings and interprations are so beautiful while his style of writing makes spirituality, however you may experience or view it, a unifier of mankind rather than a divider. For me personally this was my first introduction to the Grandfather Teachings, and a wonderful gateway if you will. I am eager to learn more about these teachings and if anyone can recommend more resources to me I would ...more
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Originally I wasn't going to give this book a star rating, because how do you rate a book of spiritual teachings and anecdotes? But I feel deeply impacted by what I just read, so if I can help boost its ratings so more people will read it then that's the right choice for me.

I really thought that my own upbringing in a deeply Christian family had, in a way, ruined any deep feelings for spirituality that I might have. I think I was wrong.

I'll be re-reading this multiple times probably, and I want
An excellent book to encourage meditation, attention and connection. Such a pity that Wagamese's death left it unfinished, with only 3 of the Grandfather teachings. He talks about being connected to the sacred Creation and a breath meditation to go with this. Also about Courage, Humility and Respect, with ceremonies to accompany each. The book is illustrated with photography which was hard to see on the ebook edition. I would like to have a hard copy version of this. ...more
This book really spoke to me. The stories really resonate with your spirit and soul. It also helps you understand the connection that you have with the world around you. I found even though I am not an indigenous person, I could still understand and connect with what the author was trying to say, and it relates to life and other religious teachings quite well that it is easy to understand. I really liked this book and I plan on reading it again and again.
Janet Mercer
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
One Drum is a book one needs to read, contemplate and revisit several times. The stories and take away lessons may be different for everyone, where one is at in life, will influence how you interpret and perceive the stories and ceremonies. While I felt it ended rather abruptly, (it was a work in progress when the author passed) it is a beautifully moving and deeply profound offering to be cherished. I believe we lost much when Mr. Wagamese left our world.
Sherry Monger
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the book Richard Wagamese was writing when he died in 2017. Filled with traditional teachings, One Drum reminds us of our connection to Mother Earth and her ability to bring us together in good health. There are many wise lessons and spiritual teachings for those who can be quiet for a moment to listen and reflect. We are all One Drum, regardless of our differences. We lost a truly deep soul upon Wagamese’ death.
Fred Matthews
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Richard Wagamese intended this book to be a look at the 7 Grandfather Teachings but he didn't get to complete it because of his death due to cancer in 2017. We get to learn three of the teachings through storytelling and then taught simple ceremonies that will help us to live into the intent of these teachings. While I can certainly explain what these are it is up to each of us to walk that journey to gain our own understanding. ...more
Jodie Siu
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a stunningly beautiful book. Though incomplete, it outlines three of the seven Indigenous grandfather teachings (principles for living), and ceremonies that people can do to bring these principles into their lives. Gorgeously written, accessible and open-hearted - just a wonderful introduction into an Indigenous worldview. If only Richard Wagamese had lived to complete it, but I am grateful for the portions he did.
Mar 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is so beautiful and powerful. I will be recommending it to everyone I know. Great spiritual wisdom, teachings, and ceremonies to heal. Probably the most important book I've read in the last ten years at least. It's sad that Richard passed before being able to share the stories, teachings, and ceremonies of the other four Sacred Grandfather Teachings but, this book is such a gift. Chi Miigwetch Richard! ...more
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Still mulling over teachings contained in this book weeks after reading it. Especially the teaching on what is respect: not something to be demanded from others or earned, but something intrinsic that you carry around inside yourself that affects how you relate to everything and everyone around you. A beautiful book.
Kristen Cliffy
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking this book is unfinished. Richard Wagamese was a superb storyteller, but even from an unfinished book much can be learned. I love the traditional teachings of the Seven Grandfathers, the lessons therein; and how the book is sprinkled with the authors own personal journey and reflections. Grateful it was still published.
Alexis Armit
Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was filled with so many simple lessons and beautiful images. While I enjoyed learning the breath, tobacco, vision, and respect ceremonies, I took a lot out of his worldview and teachings. We all share a common beginning. We all enter the world in the same way; with humility and innocence. (P.190). The book flows full circle to the idea that we all come from one drum. A beautiful book.
Mar 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Richard Wagamese is one of my favourite authors! This book is practical and mystical and tells us so much about indigenous (Ojibway) people. I loved all the ceremonies described in this, esp sacred breath. Too bad for us that he couldn't finish it. I am glad we get to witness its magnificence still. ...more
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Richard Wagamese was one of Canada's foremost Native authors and storytellers. He worked as a professional writer since 1979. He was a newspaper columnist and reporter, radio and television broadcaster and producer, documentary producer and the author of twelve titles from major Canadian publishers.


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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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“Can you stand?" Waabooz asked.
"Yes," Buffalo said. "Why?"
"If you stand there calmly you won't sink any farther and we can work together to get you out of there."
"Are you certain?" Buffalo asked. "I feel the bog pull at me even now."
"I am not certain," Waabooz said. "But Trust does not require certainty.”
“Ceremony has become fraught with judgment: the idea that whoever our God might be, He requires absolute adherence to the way, to the means, of approach. But those reactions are based on fear, and they're inaccurate.

The elders say that Creator is perfect loving energy. Within the realm of perfect love there is no judgment. If there is no judgment then there can be no failure. In turn, if failure does not exist, there is no unworthiness. We are all one energy. We are worthy and we always were. We never have to qualify. And ceremony was born to allow us to remember that.”
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