Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Heartbeat of Love

You will recall from an earlier post that customer/friend Kim sent in a photo of her wonderful Hummingbird-type drum that had been painted by Glenn Lewis. Well, what you may not know is that during the beautiful process of bringing forth a drum with the energetic help of a customer, I inevitably ask if s/he would like to send a photo of him/herself with the drum. Ta-da!

Kim submitted these wonderful photos some time back. This is LOVE all around!

a thunder valley drums customer with her hummingbird-type drum

She writes: “Me, near my special apple tree. Did a ceremony today. Still no drum name.
Calling it Houdini’s drum for now.”

She brings up an interesting point, naming a drum. Presently she’s calling it by the name she gave to the seagull who visits her deck often and whose likeness is painted on her drum. Many many people I correspond with also name their drums after animals, be they spirit animals or pets or favored types.  Well, an apple tree is an exquisite ally to have while playing a healing drum. The tree offers the promise of rebirth, and its fruit heralds the sweet and tangy taste of what is said to be its restorative  powers. Its obvious that Kim knows her allies well, and shares the love she feels for them.

And then, a few days later, I received a very special envelope from Kim that contained twoa customer with a Hummingbird-type drum notes, one for me and one for Glenn Lewis, such a beautiful surprise, and heart-filling.

I simply can’t express the overwhelming love and gratitude I feel for Kim and her family, and for all of you who step into the circle of exploration and extend your trust to me to help make a drum for your journeys. We may not know each other in person, but we are never alone on the path. It is proven at nights sometimes when we can all go within and hear the heartbeats inside and outside across the miles, across continents and far beyond the bounds of space and time.

Indeed, we all have one heartbeat, and it spreads love all around the big wide circle of All That Is.

With deep gratitude, Aho & Namaste,




Running Around In Circles

Drombeg Stone Circle Ireland
Dromberg Stone Circle, Ireland, courtesy of Tracey (see story below)

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to run around in circles! There are sacred circles around the world, some of standing stones or little stones, some of old groves, some of cut wood, some of the boundary between a fire and the chill, and nearly all of the heart.  The circles are a place for reverence, ceremony, protection, connection, love, family.

And that’s one reason why people treasure drums so much, I think. The round frames with the deep sonorous sounds resonate deeply within our cellular memory, our DNA. In shamanic practice, the drum can reunite us with ancestors in the great circle.

And that is why I love to make drums– for the circle. They always create circles of friends!

Here are some examples. The customer purchases a drum, and a friendship begins. The drum extends the circle to the customer/friend. The friend takes the drum and the circle to more friends. Beautiful! So, you will always find many friends in the circle, like the one pictured above, Dromberg Stone Circle, in Ireland. It’s located near to Tracey and Barry’s home in West Cork.

And here are Tracey’s photos of Barry opening the new Hummingbird-type drum she gave him as a birthday present and to help start him on his way to the study of shamanism.

customer barry opening his drumlooking at his new drum

The drum was painted of course by Glenn Lewis, our resident artist, and features the image of Green Man.

Here is Tracey’s reaction upon receiving it:

Hi Bob,
Just to let you know…the Green Man arrived this morning!! We are absolutely thrilled- it’s SO beautiful and the sound is AMAZING even now.

Barry would like to email you personally and will do so tomorrow. We will get some nice photos at the weekend and forward them on. In the meantime I attach pics of Barry receiving the drum today…

Can’t thank you enough Bob – it’s everything we expected and much more 🙂

Be in touch soon.

Kindest regards


Here is our photo of Barry’s wonderful drum…

close up of barry's drum

Tracey followed up with another email after I had asked her about Celtic shamanic practices in Ireland, since our Advanced Shaman Training Class here is studying that subject now. She sent the photo above of the circle, along with these fascinating insights:

Hi Bob,

Great to hear from you !

In terms of Celtic healing, the druids were of course keenly attuned to the cycles of nature – much as tribal cultures all over the world are. Trees are richly symbolic in Celtic druidism and it’s interesting to note that the Oak is associated with the month of May, which is the month of the Bealtaine fire festival heralding in the summer and the fertility it brings. This imagery carries over to the Green Man as you know, the vines associated with him are many times of oak. In ancient times, each Celtic tribe had it’s own sacred tree or totem and druidic wands were usually made of rowen wood.

When Christianity arrived in this part of the world, the old Celtic feasts were quickly overlaid with “new” Christian feast days – one such example is St Brigid’s day, celebrated on Feb 1st (Imbolc fire festival, half-way between winter solstice and spring equinox). When I was growing up in the 1980’s it was still traditional, even among staunch Catholics, to leave out a scarf on the eve of St Brigid’s day. It was said that if one had a sore throat the scarf was to be wrapped around your neck and you would be healed. It’s really interesting how the old Celtic traditions merged with the Christian feasts here, and even more heartening to see a revival of more intuitive, wisdom based spiritualism here.

I have a nice picture of a stone circle in West Cork called Drombeg that you might like which I attach – It’s a really special place, like a mini Stonehenge I suppose but very accessible and only about an hour from where I live. Of course, celebration of the winter solstice at Newgrange and Dowth is a massively important in the Pagan calendar here, we are hoping to go this year. The stone circles were almost like a giant sundial, tracking the cycles of the year. Most contained an altar stone, used for ceremony and, possibly sacrifice in ancient times. Many times human remains were found there, so they were possibly burial grounds also.

Here are a few links that you may find informative also (article in the Irish Times)

I’ll think some more on this and forward on any other info I have – please be aware that Barry & I have only recently began to explore a neopagan belief system and are by no means experts.

Be in touch soon.

Kind regards,

I have always loved to make drums! And now you see why. Friends around the world…in one big circle! Special thanks to Tracey and Barry… and to you too!

Slán leat!

Aho & Namaste,