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Deep Ancestor Connection through Drum Making


The sky outstretched above me, birds souring above on the thermals making their flight look fun and effortless. A buzzard is one such bird, looking down as if he's wondering whether what I'm doing might provide his next meal. Occasionally a crow comes to watch what I'm doing, maybe also opportunistically eyeing up what I'm doing for an easy snack?

In my hand, a stone, flint tool, a scraper specifically designed for the job I'm doing. Designed originally by our ancestors 5000 plus years ago. This stone knapped by modern hands, an archaeologist with the experience of understanding ancient ways. The flint slides through the soft thick fur of a roe deer skin, slipping the fur from the follicles within the skin. Clearing it to become the recognisable skin that will be hand stretched over a hoop to become a shamanic frame drum.


 I feel as though my body, heart, mind, spirit, hands could be at any point in time as I do this work. I feel so connected with the ancestors that did this work, and connected with the natural world i do this. My body realises the work my hands were perfectly designed for. Not that were designed just for working on deer skins but designed for incredible intense tasks that supported our survival once upon a time. Working with deer skins being one such task.


Deer have been an animal who's life on earth has woven threads with humanity throughout history. Our ancestors honoured the deer, its life was incredibly sacred. When its life was taken to support a community all parts of the deer wereused for a purpose. For food, clothing, housing material, and of course jewellery and ritual items. Stories have been told through history of the deer spirit, the deer mother. Linking our relationship with deer back through to the Palaeolithic past.


Crafting drums from the process of slipping the fur from the skin, or from before that process like my friend Sarah does is just such a deep work.


Before I met Sarah, before she gifted me the experiences of working with the skins from this point, I would buy the skins already stripped of fur, clean, often really pale and clean in colour. I was very much in awe of the skins then that I worked with, as were my clients. You are working with the skin from an animal, its spirit can be strongly felt in the room as you work creating a drum from its skin. I would create ceremony, a strong foundation of prayers in which to hold my clients crafting their drums, I would smudge with herbs to clear the energies and support the drums rebirth.

I still do ceremony, I still hold space and I still smudge. However the process of working from the beginning, and forming the relationship with the skin while it wears its fur, changed the sacred connection. Deepens the sacred connection you have with the deer. These aren't a stranger like they can be if you work with pre prepared skins. The honouring of their spirit is held in a different way because we are working with the skin from an earlier process, we know their journey, and we have the honour of supporting their transition. The ceremony within the natural process holds so much more depth and connection. so much so I often feel smudging isn't needed for keeping a hold of the ceremony, and clearing the energies that arise within the sacred space. There is a delicate balance to be worked with and held.


I will leave a beautiful thought with you to ponder on by humble Sami Shaman Jungle Svonni - I asked him during a webinar he offered. ' How do you shift your consciousness into being with sacred space from the outside everyday world for ceremony?'' He answered, although sadly I do not have his quote word for word but this was what he said from my memory.


We do not need rituals to support sacred space, it is too cold where we live, and we are too busy to use rituals in the way western people do, or the Native American ritual. The sacred is in nature. We are Reindeer herders, the deer is our Sacred and our ceremony, the reindeer connect us to our ancestors.


 Whilst Jungle Svonni wasnt talking about drum making. I have really reflected on his words, and I really feel that the Deer itself, its spirit, the material process, our own nature and connection is the sacred within the ritual. As our hands work, we touch the hands of our ancestors as they worked, through the skin and with the spirit of the deer.









Or Email evabay@sacredmotherhoodjourneys.com for enquiries or conversations on working deeply with the process of creating your drum.


Blessings Eva

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