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

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Order a custom built shamanic frame drum

 Every part of a drum I make tells a story and while each part is just itself—the wood and skin that gives spirit a body and a voice—each part is also a symbol that means something more. This drum is a custom order using a hard to obtain doe skin and I discovered meaning at every stage.

The BC spruce wood hoop is laminated from 4 pieces that represent the 4 oceans, 4 rivers, 4 mountains, and 4 winds of the world—all the bones and blood and breath of this world.  And one of these pieces of hoop wood broke.  The tiny diagonal line will not be noticeable when the drum is dry, but I know that something broken in this reality will become something whole in the alternate reality and since this piece of spruce is in the “heart” of the hoop—the bones of this drum will mend a broken heart.

I am superstitious about counting the number of holes in the rim of the drum skin, especially since this number in turn controls the number of thongs that tie into place the inner ring.  Some fundamental meanings of the symbolism in a drum have to be left to the drum itself to determine.

The 4 directions and the 4 solar holidays of equinoxes and solstices appear in the lacing that ties the drum head to the hoop—and therefore ties the voice into the drum.  I sometimes tie on a drum head with 3 thongs for the three lunar seasons, and sometimes 5 for the five kinds of time.

This inner ring of this drum became tied with ten thongs which in the Tarot is the number of manifesting success through perseverance on this earthly plane. The person who commissioned this drum wanted the inner ring filled with the magic hexagram, a symbol of protection, because it offers no “gates” through which an evil spirit might enter.  .  The broken rim wood, number of thongs and pattern of lacing in the inner ring now make another layer of symbolism in the drum.  The drummer holds the sign of protection, which extends outward in rays of success, to a strong heart in the spirit world.

Some meaning of symbolism in a drum is just for me.  Many years ago I had a ring break after a drum had dried, and the special skin presented to me by a MicMac elder could not be re-soaked for repair.  Soon after this I lifted a wounded snake from the road to a warm, round rock in a mossy bank. The snake opened its mouth wide and held my gaze, and I saw the snake as if on the surface of a stone drum, wrapped around the holding ring.  Although that drum, and the snake, died—ever since I have honored their teaching by securing the cedar ring with a copper snake.

All of the symbolism in making this drum disappears beneath the rim as the drum dries.  But what appears is even more magical.  Now the never -before -seen faces and forms of creatures begin to emerge in the patterns of the drying skin, and the drum transforms into a journey oracle of the spirit world adventures which await the keeper of its voice.


3 HOOP SIZES:  12" / 14" / 17"

Cortes Island Blacktail deer skin stretched on BC Spruce wood


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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Dreamer's Drum

 This new drum is calling out for a dreamer.  Someone who can read the shapes of messages behind the stars.  A drummer who hears the songs of the night sky.

This new drum of Cortes Island deer and BC spruce wood is fastened with a pentacle, the most widely revered of all esoteric symbols.   In ancient times the pentacle meant 'life' or 'health' and was derived from the apple core pentacle of the Earth Mother, according to The Women's Dictionary of  Symbols and Sacred Objects.

 The pentacle of this Dreamer's drum is also an interlacement pattern, which means its double layer of rawhide thongs is one continuous thread of invocation to the Sacred.  The ancients generally regarded stars as living entities: angels, legendary heroes, the souls of the unborn or the newly dead.

This drum was built during the summer season of light, but has waited until this season of  darkness to be offered.  As dreams need time to incubate in darkness before coming into their strength just before dawn, so some spiritual companions need time to mature into their purpose.

Please check the posting on YouTube in the next weeks for the voice of this drum being played with a felted drumstick.  If this is your drum unpainted, please email me at  Otherwise I look forward to sharing with you, during the first weeks of December, the painted face of this Dreamer's drum.


The Dreamer's Drum
17" Frame of Spruce
Blacktail Deer hide
Cedar fittings
Smoke tan wrapping on Star Interlacement handle

shipping additional

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This new drum from the Journey Oracle has an eightfold interlacement pattern woven into the cedar holding ring. Such patterns have long been popular magic charms because the endless line draws the eye around the figure without a break so that the design can be used for meditation or trance. The magical properties of this design focus on the central diamond around which the apexes of four larger triangles interlock. Therefore the pattern includes not only eight points but also references the mystic threes and fours.

The eightfold interlacement pattern is related to the Buddha’s concept of the Eightfold Path consisting of: right conduct, right contemplation, right effort, right faith, right occupation, right resolve, right self-awareness and right speech. There is also a connection to the Eight Precious Things: a book, coin, mirror, pearl, Artemisia leaf, jade gong, musical lozenge and rhinoceros horn.

Eightfold Path Drum


14" frame of spruce wood
blacktail deer hide
cedar fittings
eightfold interlacement pattern in raw hide thong

$300.00 cn
shipping additional

Email Kristen at to purchase

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You can listen to this drum being played with a felted beater by clicking on