Across all time and in every culture, persons of power have traveled to alternate realities on the vibrations of a journey drum.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Night Drum

This 14" hoop drum of Cortes Island deer and spruce wood was made during a demonstration at my recent shamanic journey art and drum exhibition: Staying Awake in the Spirit World. Although I thought I had several skins to choose from, only this one, with both the bullet entry and exit holes, was available to me. A drum containing the hole of death for the deer, and the hole of life as food for the hunter, is destined for special work. I do not try and arrange such magic--it naturally happens when the drum head can only be fitted onto the skin in such a way that includes this.
Just at the end of making of this drum, when a few of us were left in the gallery after I had finished tying off the last cords, a bat flew into the space. It showed no alarm but flew expertly around and among the hanging drums in the display , and then left through the upper window into a starry night. I took the wet, newly made drum out into the dark, and offered it to the four directions. I blew my breath as food into its good voice, and then held it up to the stars.

This was an old deer; the sound of this drum is rounded and mellow, with harmonic tones in the lower range. The bullet hole in the drum's surface is completely stable and will not crack or tear. The exit hole is supported by the drum rim and anchored with lacing. This drum is able to navigate in the dark, and will be a strong companion into the night.


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