Before I began painting this journey drum for the woman who ordered it, she asked where she might find shamanic training. I suggested we look to the drum first; and this is who appeared. To my understanding, this image is a beautifully articulate answer.
I see that we are to bring the child eyes of engaged curiosity and old wisdom to our search for shamanic training. We are to see clearly what is offered, as well as gaze beyond the personalities and conditions we find to the larger truth of the training for the well-being of all.
During shamanic training we are being asked to listen to the voice of Nature, to the songs of the other than human creatures and forces. This painted drum is showing that we are not to value only the "big" energies of the animal and bird chiefs, but that every creature has its unique way of singing that will become a gift of wisdom when we bring a child-like innocence and listen with a prayerful attitude.
This upturned gesture is a way that some indigenous people hold their hands when praying--to show that there is no blood from incorrect action staining their skin.
What does it mean to "hold our tongue?" I see this gesture as one of humility. When we receive shamanic training from nature, we are not to use that understanding to show off or claim the insights make us more important or valuable than others.
During our shamanic training, even while our feet are moving forward on our path, we are firmly attached to the ground. At every step we are asking, "Does this teaching grow corn? Does this way of learning create healing to feed the Holy?"
I have been making shamanic drums since 1986, but rarely have I experienced a drum be such a clear Oracle for life's journey into the Shaman's realm. Thanks, Mary Lou.