Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How to hold a drum

How to hold a drum?  This was an important question when I first became a drum maker since I understood that the fastening at the drum back was in fact the drum maker's signature.  My inspiration was this cedar withe found in an old style lobster trap in Nova Scotia, when I was first thinking about making a drum.

The ring became my signature for many years, until I noticed that the space inside the ring is like a bead.  I learned from Martin Prechtel that a bead is really the hole and not the material surrounding it to show its shape and size.  So what to do with the hole that is a bead?

Fill it with something magical.

Every space is an Oracle of potential meaning, and its journey is never-ending.
Even the simplest thing ends up involving the Universe.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What to do on Solstice eve

This is what I am doing during this solstice eve at the end of time.  
I am putting out on the ground my sacred stones and my sastun to be in the returning light of this most precious new day. 

 I am making cookies for the birds to hang upon a wild solstice tree.

 I am honoring with light the spirits that guide me. 

 I am honoring my family with prayers. 

 I am getting up this coming morning at 3:31 am to sit in meditation, asking to be in loving kindness for the world.  I am sending all blessings to my readers of these Journey Oracle postings.  Happy Solstice!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oracle Card workshop

I am preparing for a Journey Oracle workshop in Edmonton, Alberta this January 2013.  Although I have given several workshops about my divination cards there—this is a workshop with a difference.  I understand that this is the card workshop where, using my participants’ sharing of experiences and readings, I make my final decisions about the form and content of the Journey Oracle, and then proceed to enlisting a publisher for this long-time-being-born Oracle with the support of my dear friend and patron Ann Mortifee.
My Journey with the Oracle began in 1992, and one of my first pieces of writing was this Preface to the Journey Oracle. I recently found the page again and realize I am describing quite precisely my own adventures across these 20 years.

 Are you willing to work for revelation that is truly yours, instead of receiving someone else’s version of spiritual truth?  Are you willing to journey into authentic self-discovery?

The word work in this opening passage is the signature experience of both creating the Journey Oracle and conducting a reading.  Not work in an arduous way but work that requires engagement and commitment to go deeply.

The usual experience with most Oracle decks is passive, after the act of choosing a card is accomplished.  It becomes easy to receive pronouncements, easy to hear similarities, and easy to forget these.  This is because there has been no investment in discovery, in seeking connection, in self-education. It is not easy to look beyond what we think we know about ourselves to glimpse the mystery of who we really are.  It is not easy to fracture the acceptable truths of our situations so that revelation can emerge.

Across these 20 years I have discovered that spiritual progress is not supposed to be easy.  Right now is the time in the Earth’s unfolding story to commit to doing the work we came here to do. Now is the time to not be lazy.

The Journey Oracle is a symbolic and actual journey into life’s situations.  A journey takes time, and if we are to learn from the time spent traveling, it takes attention.  When we are truly attending to a new view, we often initially feel overwhelmed and confused.  Little makes sense according to our usual perspective.  When we pause to absorb and process information we discover new understanding that both extends and expands our attention, and we literally see with new eyes.

When creating these oracle cards my deepest struggles and satisfactions have been about how to create something with which others truly connect.  It is like these 20 years have been one long reading.  To honor this insight I just now drew 5 Oracle cards to reflect back to me the journey I have been taking. If you read in sequence the questions and phrases of these cards, while gazing into their images, you will have a guided tour of my Journey with the Oracle.

The Journey Oracle will reward your time and attention with revelation.  This is not easy, but the wisdom is unforgettable.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Meaning of symbolism in a drum

 Every part of a drum I make tells a story and while each part is just itself—the wood and skin that gives spirit a body and a voice—each part is also a symbol that means something more. This drum is a custom order using a hard to obtain doe skin and I discovered meaning at every stage.

The BC spruce wood hoop is laminated from 4 pieces that represent the 4 oceans, 4 rivers, 4 mountains, and 4 winds of the world—all the bones and blood and breath of this world.  And one of these pieces of hoop wood broke.  The tiny diagonal line will not be noticeable when the drum is dry, but I know that something broken in this reality will become something whole in the alternate reality and since this piece of spruce is in the “heart” of the hoop—the bones of this drum will mend a broken heart.

I am superstitious about counting the number of holes in the rim of the drum skin, especially since this number in turn controls the number of thongs that tie into place the inner ring.  Some fundamental meanings of the symbolism in a drum have to be left to the drum itself to determine.

The 4 directions and the 4 solar holidays of equinoxes and solstices appear in the lacing that ties the drum head to the hoop—and therefore ties the voice into the drum.  I sometimes tie on a drum head with 3 thongs for the three lunar seasons, and sometimes 5 for the five kinds of time.

This inner ring of this drum became tied with ten thongs which in the Tarot is the number of manifesting success through perseverance on this earthly plane. The person who commissioned this drum wanted the inner ring filled with the magic hexagram, a symbol of protection, because it offers no “gates” through which an evil spirit might enter.  .  The broken rim wood, number of thongs and pattern of lacing in the inner ring now make another layer of symbolism in the drum.  The drummer holds the sign of protection, which extends outward in rays of success, to a strong heart in the spirit world.

Some meaning of symbolism in a drum is just for me.  Many years ago I had a ring break after a drum had dried, and the special skin presented to me by a MicMac elder could not be re-soaked for repair.  Soon after this I lifted a wounded snake from the road to a warm, round rock in a mossy bank. The snake opened its mouth wide and held my gaze, and I saw the snake as if on the surface of a stone drum, wrapped around the holding ring.  Although that drum, and the snake, died—ever since I have honored their teaching by securing the cedar ring with a copper snake.

All of the symbolism in making this drum disappears beneath the rim as the drum dries.  But what appears is even more magical.  Now the never -before -seen faces and forms of creatures begin to emerge in the patterns of the drying skin, and the drum transforms into a journey oracle of the spirit world adventures which await the keeper of its voice.