Tag Archives: lightning-struck drums

Spiritual Superhero Week Flashback 2

I’m walking down memory lane with you as I move previous posts over from my old blog. And this one is from a series first appearing in 2012 and featuring superheroes from yesteryear who have found new spiritual paths during their retirement. This post features the wonderful Mary Marvel, circa 1940s.


This is the second of five installments.

Here’s the original post:


If you just landed here on the Shaman Drums blog for the first time, here’s an up-to-date summary of what you just got yourself into.

This is the second in a week-long series of posts that combines many things I love. Not everything I love, but at least a bunch. To wit, in no particular order: (1.) I love to make shamanic drums and other sacred tools for spiritual seekers, like shamanic rattles, lightning sticks, shaman’s jewelry, things for your altar, shamanic spirit shields, and the like, mostly from the powerfully charged wood of lightning-struck trees (you can see ’em all on the Thunder Valley Drums Website here); (2.) I love old comic books; (3.) I love teaching, talking / reading, and otherwise engaging in shamanism; and (4.) I love learning from other spiritual seekers like you. So the series combines all of these things into a sort of fantasy I’m having about what it would be like if superheroes were to suddenly become seekers, too, and what their comic book appearances may look like, as sponsored by Thunder Valley Drums. Cool, eh? KEWL!

Oh, that last ingredient in number 4, you, is up to you. I’d love to hear from you! You can comment here, of course, or send along an email: livefree @ naturalshamandrums.com

So now, on with the show! Here’s Day Two of the TVD Spiritual Superhero Week! Sha-zaam!

Mary Marvel and rattle

Aho & Namaste,


Lightning and Thunder Shamanic Drums for Sale

In the previous post, I outlined the shamanic hoop drums I offer. Today I’d like to share some Lightning and Thunder with you!

Thunder Valley Drums began when I started making lightning-struck drums, and only years later did I expand my work to include hoop drums with lightning wood grafted to them. I can’t recall how many lightning drums I’ve made over the years, but I am working on two more to be introduced early next year.

We’ll start with a prince of a drum!

Celtic Prince lightning-struck Drum
The Celtic Prince is such a playful ally!

The Celtic Prince Drum is made from a red oak that was struck by lightning sometime in the 1990s. It’s a fanciful drum, based on an original fictional story of a Celtic clan leader who wanted a drum made for his young princely son.

It is certainly a high energy “fun drum” to have around! It features carvings of a fishing expedition (photo, left), a dragon, a woodpecker, apple wood slices, emeralds, and a very special hammered brass medallion, all of which were made for the leader’s son in honor of the clan’s traditions.

This is not a drum you will see everyday! Fact is, I suspect many people are surprised to learn that it is a drum in the first place, that it was made from a real lightning-struck tree, and otherwise that it was loved into existence in such a playful way. Moreover, they are surprised to discover that such drums are made by hand in the old fashioned way of the ancients. I can certainly understand their mindsets, given that everything today is made by robots and other machines. So these drums are major retro!

The lightning-struck Celtic Prince Drum from Thunder Valley Drums
The brass medallion was originally a cow bell from the 1950s, and used on the farm where I grew up!

I believe this is more of a collector’s item than it is a drum for use anywhere other than in sacred ceremony (where we have used it many times). The 10″ drum head is small, so it doesn’t have a big voice. It is a lively voice in the drum circle, though!

Here (photo, left) is a close up of the engraved, hammered brass medallion I made for the Celtic Prince Drum. It features engravings of a stag between the outline of an oak tree, fish, sun, moon, stars, a bird of prey, and Celtic Ogham script that stands for “Live Free,” the motto of Thunder Valley Drums. In context, though, the medallion represents that which is most sacred to the fictional Celtic clan. And lastly, the medallion is beautifully displayed on the drum as the centerpiece of a braid of hand-spun locally grown sheep/alpaca wool and hemp cord.

You can see a lot more photos, watch a video and generally learn more while listening to this collector’s drum on the site.

The Eagle Drum from Thunder Valley Drums
The Eagle Drum was made from a lightning-struck maple tree, cowhide, deer lacing, natural shells, beads and wooden tree limbs, all from right here in Kentucky.

Next in the lineup of lightning-struck shamanic drums is the Eagle Drum and Drum Stand. The Eagle is made from sturdy and quite resonant maple.

Its slightly elongated shape lends an interesting tonal quality to the strong voice, and you will hear different tones depending on where you strike it. Very interesting! This is standard for a drum made from a real tree, and another reason why I love these drums. (There is an emerald buried in the frame of each drum, a sure sign of love and the transmission of loving energy.)

The Eagle is tied in a traditional style, with crosspieces on the bottom that form a cross shape and a natural handle, just as with most frame drums. You’ll find many feet of sumptuous deer lacing around the drum and on the bottom, accented with ancient sea shells.

It comes with the sturdy stand pictured here, which is made from some lightning-struck and other wood I’ve gathered over time. Fly on over to the site to visit the Eagle Drum.

As I said earlier, I’m working on other lightning-struck drums and will have some ready in early 2014. They sell pretty fast, because, frankly, they are very personal drums. I simply make them, for whom I generally do not know. More often than not, it seems as if once a drum is made, it sends out messages to the owner, and the union is made, often after a long period of waiting. It’s all very beautiful and mystical, but just right for a spiritual medicine drum and the healer who will use it. That is Spirit in action. (I admit that on limited occasions, I have had some inkling of a drum’s future owner while I’m working on it, but certainly not every time.)

So if you haven’t connected with one of these drums, perhaps it’s because I haven’t made it yet. Many customers have told me they find their drum within a few days of my posting it on the Thunder Valley Drums Website. They report being led to their drum, and in some cases to actually hearing it before even seeing it. Pretty amazing…

Aho & Namaste,


Copyright 2007-2014 Thunder Valley Drums. All Rights Reserved.

A Truckload of Lightning

load of lightning
A fresh load of lightning

The body is tired, but the heart is strong! Today we cut and brought home a truckload of lightning!

The lightning-struck tree I’ve been writing about for the past two years is now fully ready to complete its transformation into sacred drums. The remainder of the beautiful logs cut from the towering maple were carefully scored and sawed, then loaded onto our little  Subaru for the 30-mile trek to my home. I am honored to welcome these spiritual ally medicine drums, all 27 of them, weighing in at roughly 800 pounds! They join the five I’ve already turned into drums, so the family is growing! It is the most potential drums I’ve ever recovered from a single tree. Obviously, this maple was eager to complete its destiny.

While we were working, I recalled a hickory tree we cut many years ago. It was smaller, but still produced about 17 would-be drums. However, many of the rounds we had cut would later resist becoming drums. They would break my tools, or split wide open, or simply fall apart rather than to be fashioned into something they were not. That was back when I was learning about the nature of these warriors, and their own sense of knowing their individual destinies. That was a big lesson for me: Not all drums I cut want to be drums.

Much has changed since then.

Today, as we cut the rounds, I loaded most of them, one by one, pausing to be with each and to lay my hand on them. Each has a personality, and this was a way I’ve learned over the years to connect with them, sort of like a handshake, but more. It is as if I am laying my hand on their hearts, and opening my heart to them. It is the first step in building a relationship and in preparing us to know each other. Their predecessors had taught me to do this in order to engender mutual respect.

It is probably safe to say that not all 27 of these possible drums will choose to serve as such. Of the 17 that came from the hickory, only five or so chose to make the step into service as allies for shaman healers and seekers. The others were returned to the spot where the parent tree had once grown, there to meld back into the Earth to help produce new trees for the future. Likewise, any of these that prefer to serve in that way will also be returned to their point of origination. It is the way of things, and I am thankful for the lessons these friends have taught me over the years.

Right now, though, there are more than two dozen unique teachers waiting for me. They each have a story to tell, a decision to make, and a destiny to fulfill as we get to know each other. I am most eager to be with and to learn from them, and to honor their choices. Twenty-seven beautiful journeys await.

I will update you along the way.

Aho & Namaste,

Copyright 2007-2014 Thunder Valley Drums. All Rights Reserved.

Make Your Own Shamanic Tools For Powerful Spiritual Healing


Using your hands to help your heart
There’s nothing like making your own sacred shamanic helper tools.

I’m gradually adding more and more focus with Thunder Valley Drums on helping you to make your own shaman and spiritual gear. There is nothing more satisfying— and empowering— than making something with your own hands from the gifts of Mother Earth.

During healing ceremonies and while connecting with Spirit in your own way, these things you make just naturally fit better in your hand, are imbued with your own special energy and medicine, and are infinitely more capable of helping you to more quickly accomplish your goals because you know their history, know their place of origination, and you can thus feel and guide their energy better. They are your tools. A healer’s tools.

So I have begun offering kits you can assemble yourself, as well as writing a series of eBooks and booklets with step-by-step instructions for aiding you in making your own shaman gear, including suggested ceremonies and other activities you may want to
incorporate into your items to energize and attune them with you.

Oh sure, I put great love into the things I make for you. I know no other way. That was part of my original vow to service, which I continue to hold to quite joyously. That was a life changing event! Further, I realize that many people truly don’t have the means to make some of their tools, and that is why I continue to make and offer such things as shamanic drums and worked wooden expressions. Modern life sometimes places people in small city apartments, and who has room for a table saw? Moreover, the chances of finding a lightning-struck limb or tree are mighty slim if you live in the desert. Many customers overseas prefer some things that are American made or grown, too. Great!

But many things require nothing more than a counter top or the kitchen table in order to make them, no matter where you live. And that’s where I’m beginning to place emphasis. You can make such things as medicine bag necklaces, items for your circle and altar, wrapping a special feather for your drum or other use, making a spirit shield— goodness sakes, I could go on and on. The point, though, is that you will be amazed at the difference when you make it yourself.

Here are a few links to the free articles and some very inexpensive eBooks and booklets you can use to get you going. And once you find out how thrilling, how deeply spiritual, how invigorating and yes, how inexpensive it is to make your own shaman gear, you’ll need not depend on someone else, including me, from then on. You will be exploring a deep and wonderful part of yourself and of Spirit that can yield great revelations.
sun graphic

Start with something small, and you’ll instantly see what I mean. After all, Creation itself started small. And just look at how beautiful and expansive its handiwork has become! Its perfection is everywhere if you look for it. You can start by peering into a mirror!

Bright blessings to you and to all of those around you, seen and unseen, here and there, All That Is.

Aho & Namaste,


Copyright 2007-2014 Thunder Valley Drums. All Rights Reserved.