Giving Birth

15" horse and cedar drum Sitting behind me, drying and coming alive and finding its voice, is this beauty. A 15″ cedar frame, 13-sided for the 13 moons of the year, and horsehide. A new drum, brought to life by my hands.

Ok, so I didn’t make the frame or anything — woodworking is a skill that my parents have; not me. I bought a drum kit — but still. 🙂

I first wanted a drum last August when my mom and I went to South Dakota. (O, one of the highlights of my life, and I cannot wait to go revisit the Black Hills…) I looked around at many drums, checking sizes, animal medicine, tone, everything. Couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. So I ended up buying a kit from Cedar Mountain Drums (highly recommended). Actually several kits, cause I couldn’t decide.

From the first, I was hooked. It felt right, as if making drums was something I had done before, and was meant to do again. The smell of the wet hide, the slipperiness, the sage and sweetgrass burning, the reverence… every time I make a drum, it’s a meditation, a blessing, a lesson in patience and forgiveness and making things work, and trusting that there will be enough… and many, many other things. It’s different with each drum. Deer hides taught me about fragility. (And, I will admit, I have only made one deerhide drum and do not enjoy working with it… It cannot be moistened without danger of stretching out of proportion. I almost ruined one drum by accident, and I’m reluctant to mess with deer rawhide again.) Buffalo is strong, heavy medicine and my hands need more practice. I’ve pulled two buffalo drums. Two horse. One elk.

I love working with horse hide. I understand that some people might not want a horse drum, but the ones that do, will find mine. Horse came to me last summer, in a whirlwind of obsession like a 13-year-old girl’s, and nothing made sense but horses… and, eventually, it came to make sense — riding lessons, developing my intuition, animal communication, etc., and a wonderful, blessed moment with Lakna at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

So, yes. Making drums. Usually I do a little meditation, get the feel of the materials I’m working with, and get an idea of the drum’s name. This time, not so. This time, I had a kit from a different store (Centralia Fur & Hide) and it was a tangled mess of figuring out how and where to punch my own holes in the rawhide, and how to tie off the lacings because they weren’t long enough to thread continuously as I had always done before. And so the drum was filled with medicine of myrrh incense, of awakening, of innovation and new ways to see and do things. And in the end, as I was finishing tying off the lacings and the handle, a whisper in my mind told me the drum’s name, and that it was a wolf medicine drum.

When it dries and it’s found its voice, when it’s been Born and has learned how to Sing, I will sit with it and drum and go on a short journey to ask what it wants painted on its face. What medicine it wants to show to the world. And then, my friends, we’ll see who it belongs to. <3

Blessed Be!

EDIT: Ze drum has already found its partner, less than 24 hours later! Thank you, Spirit! <3

Leave a Reply