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Thursday, July 16, 2015
Cougar spirit shaman drum
I’ve just finished painting this new native style frame drum with a spruce wood hoop and blacktail deer hide. The hoop is 12" in diameter but the voice is deep and strong. A perfect drum to play outside because the smaller drum head size will not easily slacken in humidity or warp in heat.
This drum was first called "rain" because spirits always come in the rain, and our drought here in British Columbia was ended (briefly) with two days of rain just before I painted this great cat touching a pool of rainwater. It has been so dry and the fire danger extreme, and I kept wondering, "What do the animals do? How do they find water to survive?"
The painting itself was inspired in the brief moment I drew a faint black line across the light area in the drum head which at first I thought was entirely the cat’s paw. Suddenly the lower half of the shape became a reflection, and the faint squiggles in the deer skin’s surface resolved themselves into lines in rock and edges formed by water.
The cedar ring is fitted with an interlacement pattern of the 7-pointed Mystic Star, which is considered effective protection against evil influences and rival magicians.
The star design is repeated twice, with the outer pattern wrapped in a decorative hitching of sailor’s knotwork made of doeskin. In the Tarot, 14 is the number of Temperance—the quality of being moderate; to restrain from extremes.
Perhaps the life-saving rain came in that world as well as this world, and the spirit of cougar is showing me that for this moment, the extreme has been moderated and all is well.