Friday, December 27, 2013

Create a winter solstice celebration

Happy Solstice from the Journey Oracle.  My partner and I had a untypical winter scene this year on Cortes Island as we celebrated all those creatures and plants that keep us alive during the year.  In our winter solstice celebration we begin by finding a place in nature for a fire that is sheltered from the wind and close to the water for safety.  The beach gravel near our oyster lease made a perfect site.

Its helpful to have a helper that knows how to make a fire burn well the first time, especially in the snow and west coast drizzle.  The little tepee acts like a chimney to pull the flame to the back log.

Once the fire has reduced to coals we feast with one of each kind of creature that keeps us alive--under the ground, on the ground, above the ground and in the water.  This is also a great opportunity to get properly messy like when we were kids since we don't bring any utensils or hand towels...just one pocket knife to share between us.

After our feast we decorate a tree for the birds and animals in our area with ornaments of bird seed and popcorn  held together with suet and peanut butter, so that others may have good food in a full tummy today.

May we all have good food, and a warm dry place to be, and a safe place to sleep during 2014.  Happy New Year and every blessing to our families, in all their 10,000 forms.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter Solstice decorations with spirit paintings

The Winter Solstice is a high holy day for me and I like to create winter solstice decorations by using spirit paintings. When I have bits of hide left over from making a drum, I sometimes mount these within a rough hoop of unpeeled cedar, and gaze into the dried disk until images appear.  These images are then painted with raw earth pigments.  This is the way I first created the paintings of the Journey Oracle cards, by gazing into surfaces of deer skin and also ammonites and agate.

These paintings tell stories from every angle.  I hang them in doorways so they move in the passing air currents like slowly turning snowflakes.   Sometimes they seem like a spirit call made to the other side, with the phone accidentally left off the hook, so drifting snatches of conversation float back through my awareness. 

For my winter solstice celebrations, my partner John and I go out into the forest for the shortest day and have a wilderness feast of every kind of food that keeps us alive--so we can savor each one and say thank you.  And yet these northern Cortes Island forests are also home to the apex predators of wolf and cougar.  It requires lots of my courage to spend the day in the woods around a scent-laden smokey fire roasting pieces of beef, chicken, pork and salmon, knowing that we saw cougar prints only last week on the driftwood steps coming up from the beach. 

And yet I remember a wonderful quote from a book I am re-reading after many years:  The Sacred, by P Beck and A Walters.  "Do not be afraid of the animals.  They do not dislike you."
Happy Solstice from the Journey Oracle. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The purpose of a shamanic drum

When I finish a new drum I like to do a Journey Oracle card reading, asking to be shown the drum's purpose for coming in this shape and at this time and for this person who ordered it.  I am just completing a new drum I featured on last week's blog so here is my reading with the Journey Oracle cards.

This card of the South was drawn to represent the situation of the drum at this present moment.  I see a creature who is both wary and seeking, moving from an area of rigid form into an area of clear space.
The South is the direction of home to me, and this means that this drum is looking toward home. And yet the clear space indicates that "home" is not yet filled in with form and detail.

This card of Stars represents the experience this drum is having, and therefore the experience it will bring to the person for whom it is a spirit companion.  We need the darkness to see the stars, and within the clouds and vapors there will be places where we can see into heaven.  This drum will bring clear sight, as when the darkness parts and the stars appear.

This card represents the change that will come with this drum. This is the card of the January full moon, so the change coming with this drum will arrive at its new home before then.  More importantly, this is the change of ice which asks, "Will the rim hold if the center falls out?" We may seek spiritual guidance when it seems that some center of our life has fallen out--and this drum of the ice full moon will be able to hold the rim together until we are able to collect back our center to ourselves.

This is the card of Whole Self, which is the solution brought with this drum.  Our whole self  always looks directly at us with the spirit reality eye, even if our ordinary reality eye is barely registering what there is to be seen.   This drum will bring solutions of clarity without judgement.

Of course this is only one fourth of a Dream Journey reading from the Oracle--the part that draws the cards and sees the pictures--if you want the whole reading you will have to buy the cards for yourself.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How to finish a frame drum

As a frame drum dries, its never-before-seen-face emerges in patterns and shifts of color that until now only the Spirit world could see.  Because the deer hide is soaked in a lime solution for 7 days, most drums have cloudy areas on the skin that are the result of weakness in the skin or uneven submersion in the lime.

Sometimes it is the back of a drum that first indicates the energies that will be coming to its call.

During the grounding ceremony I conduct with a newly made drum, sometimes a tiny passenger climbs aboard and sticks to the wet skin in such a way that the energy dries with the skin.  This autumn-frosted red huckleberry leaf brings an ancient lineage of service as food to the animals and people of the BC coastal rainforest.

When the thongs that make the interlacement pattern for the drum's back holder are woven into place, the energies present may become framed in such a way as to jump up into awareness.

After the hide is completely dry, I finish a frame drum with a coat of raw Shea butter.  This is worked into all outer surfaces of the skin as well as the lacing.  The Shea butter lifts the cloud of the lime solution, so the patterns remaining belong to the drum and not to the process. Each step in this way to finish a frame drum is really about lifting the veil between us and Mystery, so that revelations emerge.

As a birthday gift to a new drum, I recently have begun using my Journey Oracle cards to conduct a reading about how the drum might be coming to be a spiritual companion--see you next week with a new Oracle card reading for this drum.