Shamanic Drumming/”Om” Chants


Hi I wanted to know if shamanic drumming is prohibited in halacha. People have told me that it is considered avoda zara. I was also wondering about chanting “om” while meditating to transcend to a higher subconscious. Thank you.



  1. We must distinguish between the exercises and the philosophy. The philosophy of both shamanic drumming and yoga are Avodah Zara (idol worship) without doubt. The Code of Jewish Law states, Yoreh Deah 178:1, “It is forbidden to follow the ways of the pagans…” The Rema, ibid., writes that it is “only forbidden in regards to customs of the pagans that are based on sexual immorality…or a statute of their religion that has no logical reason, in which case we suspect that it is blemished with pagan [symbolism]…but other customs of pagans that have [tangible physical] benefit are permitted.”

    Subsequently, with regards to shamanic drumming, so long as it is being done simply for its “therapeutic” or its “calming” influence, I think it is permitted. With regards to yoga, I think that the correct approach is to refrain from saying anything at all during the exercises, and just concentrate of becoming fit, well and healthy.

    Best wishes from the Team