'Talking Fox' drum
This is my Shaman's drum. I made it at a two-day drum-making workshop held by Jon Walksalone at Gordale Scar in Yorkshire. It's made out of a blue fallow deer hide from New Zealand and a hoop taken from a beech tree in Derbyshire.
The beater has a number of crystals embedded in the head and the ogham lettering on the handle reads 'Talking Fox'.
Fox energy is integral to my Shamanic practice and journeying, also appearing frequently in my everyday life. Not only do I have a special relationship with the archetype of Fox but I painted this drum following a particular event, in honour of a number of specific foxes.
I had purchased a second hand, Victorian, long fox fur coat from Ebay in order to use some of the fur in making some Shamanic artifacts. Upon receipt of the coat, I was unable to proceed until I had conducted a healing ceremony with the coat. Having opened sacred space and entered an altered state of consciousness, I soon encountered the spirits of the numerous foxes that had contributed to the making of the coat. I experienced their lives, born in captivity and kept in tight cages, and their deaths caused by a hot poker inserted in the anus to avoid damage to their fur. I was in floods of tears throughout and I apologise to you if you were not ready to hear what I have just written.
I had the opportunity to offer them healing, love, gratitude, release and, most of all, a sincere apology on behalf of humankind. It was an amazing experience and a very powerful ceremony. The foxes stayed around me for many months, visiting from time to time. They were so forgiving and loving in their nature. It was in honour of them that I named and painted this drum. May their spirits ever live wild and free under blue skies, may they play in wildflower meadows in the shadow of purple mountains.
After using the fur I needed, which had been successfully released of its negative energy, I held a brief funeral and buried the remainder of the coat in the earth.
The British female adder in the form of the ouroborus is a reminder that 'All is One in the Eternal Now.' It also reminds me to work towards uniting my higher self (the head of the snake) with my physical body (the tail of the snake) so that I may come to truly know myself.
My painting also encompasses some experiences related to my Vision Quest, completed under the guidance of Shamanic Practitioner and teacher, Robyn Fell.
There are three trees depicted on my drum:
The first is Holly for my birth name, Cullen, and my Irish-Celtic ancestral/blood roots. Cullen means 'Holly' in Irish.
The second tree is Ash for my Shamanic practice name, which is Ashen Penadur.
The third tree is Alder for my spiritual Tribal family, that of Llyr and Penardun, the tribe of White Crow.
The Alder branches are depicted with five rain-drops dripping from the leaves. When I was on my vision quest I had a bivvy under an Alder tree alongside a raging river, it had been raining hard. After the rain had stopped, rain-drops continued to drip onto the tarpaulin over my head, from the leaves of the Alder tree. I heard music in the rhythm and beat of the rain-drops landing on my tarpaulin as they fell from the Alder's leaves. The melody was in every sense complex, harmonious and perfect, one of several remarkable exeriences that occurred during my vision quest.
There is a rocky outcrop, an ancient gorsedd depicted on my drum, a place in Nature utilised by my Shamanic ancestors for their sacred rites. I imagine the fox family's den is beneath it. Of course, I could not fail to incorporate my love of crystals into the landscape too.
During the time I was making the drum, partly outdoors in the valley of Gordale Scar and partly inside a tipi, a most impressive thunder and lightning storm swept through the valley twice!
How powerful the energy felt and how honoured was I to experience such intensity entering my work as my drum was birthed into existence. Even the shape of the tipi served to channel the energy into the drum. It is, therefore, of no surprise that I depicted the lightning flash on the front of the drum to capture that energy.
Much of my Shamanic practice seems to focus around the elemental energy of Storm, including my Vision Quest. Storm energy encompasses all the elements but chiefly Fire and Water. Storm energy is my primary potency as a Shamanic practitioner.