The Wheel of the Year

I’ve written about this drum before – the journey from beginning to making and now, finally, to enlivening has been a lengthy one this time! – but today I brought her in from ‘the cold’ of the workshop in the barn, where she’s been drying and tightening quietly by herself since I finished crafting her on the 2nd August and she’s been enlivened in her first playing.

She’s quite an unconventional drum in some ways! The hoop is 18 inch oval oak and the hide is boar hide, both traditional enough – and very complimentary, since wild boar live in oak forests! – and the decoration inside the hoop was sketched in pencil, pyrographed and then highlighted here and there with acrylic paint (there’s more pyrography on the outside of the hoop but it’s hidden under the hide – intentionally! Some things are private between me and a drum I’ve crafted so we keep our secrets to ourselves). Normally I use part of the hide to make the stringing that tensions the hide on the drum, and the reason for that is that because they’re made from the same material, they dry and contract at the same rate and with the same force, providing balance and minimising the wear on the hide and stringing through the drum’s life.

The Wheel of the Year didn’t want that. She wanted to be strung with rainbow-coloured paracord – a synthetic woven cord, as non-traditional as you can get. I didn’t even know rainbow-coloured paracord was ‘A Thing’ until I got my instructions and started looking! Stringing the drum at the beginning of the month was quite a tense (sorry) job for me as I had no idea how the hide would react as it dried and tightened against a non-stretchable synthetic cordage with no give… but it’s worked beautifully! I’m thrilled with her voice today, she’s pure and bright and rings out clearly.

The paracord also looks stunning.


As you can see she’s strung Native American style, with twelve holes in the hide, one for each month, and then the stringing further tensioned by being bound into four groups of three, representing the four seasons of the year.


The face of the drum is completely plain – whether she’ll want more decoration in the future I don’t yet know. In a sense, a shamanic drum is never completely ‘finished’ – they have lives of their own and evolve over time as their human partners do.

Here she is being enlivened this evening amongst my varied animal companions here at the Croft:

Due to changes in my personal life, I’m once more ‘open’ for teaching and crafting to commission, so if there’s anything you want by way of a drum, healing and/or some runes, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line or comment! 

2 thoughts on “The Wheel of the Year

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    1. They did! All the horses rested their noses on her – it doesn’t show on the video but the mare and filly in the barn got their turn after I’d turned the camera off and approved of the new drum, too. She’s up on the wall with the other drums, now.


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