Category Archives: Thoughts

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,
Bob

 

 

 

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

Tracey

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
http://www.slianchroi.ie/rites.htm
https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/ancient-wisdom-on-the-curriculum-at-ireland-s-only-druid-school-1.1840019 (article in the Irish Times)
http://www.celticdruidtemple.com/

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,
Tracey

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,
Bob

 

Recent Customer Photos of Their Drums!

What a thrill to see drum photos from wonderful customers!

The above is from Kim, a new friend in Oregon, USA, who sent along this picture of her new Hummingbird-style drum shortly after receiving it last week. It is right at home with many of her other sacred helpers. The seagull painted on her drum, the first painting by Glenn Lewis since his return to work following an extended absence, is the likeness of one of Kim’s dearest totems. I’ll let her explain in these email excerpts:

“The gull has been coming for breakfast now for two years and I have named him Houdini. He brings his mate in the summer who is now named Francine. The two of them keep other gulls away and often bring us presents. I couldn’t think of a better totem to start out with.

I chat to Houdini all the time.”

Many, many thanks, Kim, for sharing the photo of your drum and for being such a good friend to all of those around you.

Next is a photo from Rebecca and an email excerpt from the day she received this Hummingbird-style drum beauty in her Pennsylvania home.customer supplied photo of her new drum

“Hi, Bob,

I have received the Drum! And oh do I love it! It’s beautiful and so well made. I have let it sit for a little while with my tools in my reading/healing space and I’ll be smudging us this evening.

I’ll introduce it to the backyard and the rest of the space Saturday (weather depending) with a small fire ceremony and a couple of close friends.

I appreciate the detailed instructions, an ounce of prevention…!

I have a attached a picture of just the drum right now so you are sure of its safety and I’ll send some pictures of the 2 of us together after the fire ceremony.

Thank you so much for this wonderful creature, I know we’re going to do good work together in this world and others.”

Again, sincere thanks to you, Rebecca, for sharing the photo and your beautiful sentiments.

I’ve always said this is the most fulfilling occupation a person can have. Making sacred drums for spiritual people is so rewarding, and the bonus of friendship with an ever-enlarging circle of healers is absolutely sublime.

Aho & Namaste,
Bob

A Faux Magazine Cover That Should Be Real

There have been plenty of faux magazine covers making the news recently, but what if this one were real? Perhaps someday the mainstream press will cover the important topic of shamanism. And the coverage could look like this…

hoped-for magazine cover
Maybe someday!

There was a time when no one had access to a corner drugstore, no pharmaceuticals except what grew within walking distance, and no electrotechnology-dependent intervention for those who suffered. On any given day, we are only a heartbeat away from returning to a time like that. A comet. War. Natural disaster. Pandemic. Even now the rich and powerful want to reduce or even take away healthcare from millions of citizens right here in the U.S.

What will you do then? It is best to learn alternatives like shamanism. And then, even if the world remains disaster-free and congress should discover a sense of compassion in place of greed, you will still have the wonderful benefits of a shamanic practice. That is quite an upside! Imagine, a true and direct connection with the Divine and a code of conduct that will help you navigate in a sometimes lost and troubled world. It is a path of self development, compassion and service to those you love and to All That Is.

In short: A heart thing like few others.

Just a thought on a rainy day in Kentucky.

Aho & Namaste,
Bob

________

By the way, the drum photo with lightning is animated in the original Google Draw program, so if you’d like to see the lightning actually flashing, send me an email request (live free @ natural shaman drums dot com — no spaces) and I’ll send a copy in a reply.

Thanks for the template, educator Steven Katz.

Direct from the Land of the Midnight Sun

By now I’m sure you consider Stian Berg to be your friend, just as I do. The shamanic practitioner from Norway has sent along his thoughts and photos twice since he first purchased a Thunder Drum back in December, 2016. And now he offers this update:

midnight sun in norway
Midnight in Norway! (Photo by Stian Berg)

Looks like sunrise…but it’s midnight!

“I love midnight sun,” he says of the area near his hometown of Bodø, Norway in an email that accompanied the photo. That’s quite a difference from the scenes depicting his surroundings last December (article) when it’s dark as night at midday.  (You can see more daylight scenes from his update a few months ago in April.)

Thinking about this can really alter one’s perception of time and place, and reveals just how parochial our thoughts can be. Here in Kentucky we are keyed to the shifting light of the four seasons that swing from long to short days through the equinoxes and the resulting influences that affect our bodies and attitudes. Heck, I admit that even this time of year, when the days are deliciously long, I occasionally experience a fleeting worry that winter and diminishing light aren’t far off.

Not so for Stian, as he enjoys the plunge into month’s-long darkness and the re-emergence into equally long periods of loving sunlight. He is, in other words, in perfect alignment with his environment.

So the next time you may experience stress at the gradual loss of daylight, like will inevitably begin this September and deepen until late December, simply remember Stian. His nighttime last for months. But so do his days. And he loves the seasons as they present themselves in his area, no matter how much or how little light.

He is the living epitome of the old saying, “Bloom Where You Are Planted.” Even if there’s no sun, he’s proof that you can flourish from the light within.

Aho & Namaste,
Bob