This will be the first year ever that I will have made more than one Lightning Drum. And just as with the others, this drum has quite a mysterious story to tell, beginning with its mere survival. You see, this drum dates back more than 10 years on an isolated West Virginia hilltop where Father Sky often meets Mother Earth for passionate embrace and the birth of a Lightning Child.
No, that is not this drum’s name. Nor did it choose the name Survivor Drum, though it well could have done so, given its tenacious character when many others perished beside it. For certain, though, it is the last of its kind.
I will tell you more about it when it’s introduced in a few weeks. For now, below is a photo of its drum stand in progress on my workbench. Like the drum itself, the stand reflects the strong character of a survivor. It is made from recovered fence posts that are 100 years old.
Shamanic rattle, shaker, noise maker— no matter its moniker, this sacred tool is a valuable ally in a shaman healer’s intention of service through sacred rhythm. Like a shaman’s drum, the rattle is used to aid in achieving the “altered state of consciousness,” (ASC), that brainwave frequency measured between 7-8 Hz which is the threshold to journey work, reportedly in the Theta/Alpha range. That is roughly the same as the Earth’s natural frequency, known as part of the “Schumann Frequency” range that I’ve written about before. The lowest in the range, according to Wikipedia, is 7.83 Hz.
But here’s something new to add.
I know this is tangential to my subject, but it’s so cool. You can actually hear Mother Earth’s heartbeat. There are a lot of amateur radio buffs who monitor the Schumann Frequency range, which results from lightning strikes around the planet. Once on the site, you can choose to listen to lightning strikes from many places. Associated Websites are also listed so you can learn more.
You can also see near real time lightning strikes on a map from this monitoring site at the University of Washington. (An updated real-time map here, too.)
Estimates are that lightning strikes the earth about 100 times a second from an average of around 2,000 thunder storms occurring on the planet at any one time. That translates into more than 8 million strikes a day! And that is what helps produce the Earth’s measurable heartbeat at 7.83HZ, the same frequency you need to enter into the altered state. But don’t worry, you won’t need quite that many beats on a drum per second to do so!
In fact, no one knows the perfect number of drum or rattle beats per minute (bpm) needed to entrain the brain to hone in on the altered state of consciousness and thus to lock in to Mother Earth’s frequency, as estimates vary widely from 200 to more than 300 bpm. After many years of journey drumming and rattling, though, it seems to me that as long as you maintain a rapid beat for anything over 10 minutes, you will at least begin to flirt with the ASC. Some people require more or less time, of course, so you will have to experiment to find your optimum.
I’ve found my preferred beat, and you can download it here if you like. I made the recording while playing my Lightning-Struck drum.
But it is a fact that the rattle, like a drum, works to help your brain tune in to this frequency range while playing it rapidly.
You can use a rattle for many different purposes, too. For example, a Hopi healer teacher taught me that she uses her rattle to summon powerful spiritual allies while simultaneously warding off negative energies that can’t tolerate her rattle’s sound (frequency). A logical extension of that is where healers will also use their rattles to cleanse an area and the people within that area during ceremony.
To many modern day people, this may all sound rather strange. But if you are willing to try it, I think you will find a whole new experience of awareness awaits you. (You should, of course, provide yourself and the immediate area and people around you with loving intention and a smudge protection before you start any such ceremony.)
I’ve often wondered if humankind has always known the value of rattles, but only recently has forgotten their spiritual value in modern times. Like, why do we automatically buy a rattle for a new baby? Oh, sure, modern psychology suggests it’s good for helping the baby learn about sight, sound and tactile experiences, but humans have been making rattles for their babies for a LONG time, long before psychology developed, by knowing the instruments hold the power to provide comfort and contentment. A baby rattle was discovered in an Indus Valley town that dates back to 3,300 BC. In those times, the shamanic tradition was all that existed to help people heal, so the rattle was also a sacred instrument. Giving one to a baby, then, had to hold extra significance.
Whatever the case, you should hear a rattle before buying it, as you definitely need one that is pleasing to your ear. That will help you find a comfort level and open the way to your own connection with the heartbeat of All That Is.
Final Note: Even better than buying a rattle is making a rattle! There is nothing better than making your own sacred shamanic tools. Look in the column on the right for an eBook about how to make your own rattle, and even how to get it free with the purchase of a Rattle Making Kit from Thunder Valley Drums!
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She’s been so elusive, like a stealthy spirit of the woods, here then there, and I could only glimpse her with the corner of my eye or when she tapped my hair with a breeze when she whisked by. I had about given up trying to find her, to sit in the circle with her, to hear her story or to learn about her kind.
She had only come to me in the shadows of dreamtime long years ago, and had brought her subtle energy through my hands and into a paintbrush on a special piece of wood. It was a sacred symbol, one that will be familiar to many of Celtic descent, and then she vanished. I placed the sacred symbol in a box for safe keeping. And forgot.
Several months ago, though, the once familiar energy returned and I offered my hands, which she moved from afar in the way she seemed able, a sort of remote influence that also entered my mind. It was time to make her drum.
So while I put the finishing touches on it, I thought you’d like a glimpse or two. It is a joyous day for me, for you see, she fully emerged from the shadows a short time back, a regal if purposeful young beauty from an ancient lineage. She taught me of the symbol I had painted long ago while also sharing knowledge of her kind and the wisdom they hold. Soon you will know it too. And today, you will hear her name, spoken for the first time since the Olden Ages.
Sorry I haven’t written for a while. It’s a busy time in the ol’ drum shop! Here’s why…
The Warrior Goddess Drum, a rare Lightning-Struck beauty, is one of the best Lightning-Struck drums I’ve made in a long time. She sounds so good! That’s because she is made from maple, one of the most resonant woods, and because she wanted to be a drum!
I know, I know, that last part may appear to be an eclectic thing to say about a drum, but when you have worked with sacred drums as long as I have, you begin to realize that each has a distinct personality that is directly tied to its destiny. Some drums don’t wish to become drums because their destinies lead them otherwise, and others can’t wait to fulfill their destinies as sacred healing allies for healers.
The Warrior Goddess Drum definitely wanted to take her place in the healing circle. You can learn more about her on the Thunder Valley Drums Website.
(The drum has been sold since this was posted.)
Aho & Namaste,
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