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Drum Care and Feeding for Your New Shamanic Drum

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weaver is a sacred drummer, drum maker, musician + visual artist. She has been birthing sacred drums + teaching others for over 30+ years…

drum birthing photo by drumweaver

drum birthing photo by drumweaver

How to take care of your rawhide drum…

To those who have birthed their sacred drums with me... below is some information on how to take care of your drum...

with much love + light, weaver x (((o)))

Your drum was birthed and created within sacred space – so work + play with it within sacred space as much as you can... bless him/her... with honour and respect... when you do this with mindful intent – you are also respecting our blessed earth mother and your dear self...... your sacred drum can and will reflect back to you... so, be aware of what she is showing and teaching you..... build your relationship which will be reciprocal....

Rawhide (and the wood frame) is a natural, living material and is thus extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity... and, sacred drums, when birthed, will come into their own voice. We cannot change this... as every drum is unique, with it's own purpose + journey when they are 'rebirthed' as our Mother’s sacred voice...

Drums, if they become or feel dry can be conditioned with olive oil though I prefer using pure Shea butter (sparingly) or i've heard lately, bear grease. I find though, that it’s not usually needed. If you do use it, go easy + sparingly so as not to over-do it to make the hide sticky – if you think your drum hide is becoming dry, to apply... put a bit of shea butter or oil lightly on your hands first and then gently rub into the hide - bit by bit...

Personally, I never put anything on my drum and never have. You can gently wash your drum with a damp clean cloth to remove any dust or accumulated dirt and then buff dry with a clean, lint free cloth.

one of my custom rawhide drums

one of my custom rawhide drums

IMPORTANT... EXTREME TEMPERATURES and your drum...

Overall, never allow your drum to experience harsh extreme temperatures – hot or cold (or freezing temps)… Never leave your drum in a hot or cold car (place).....or in direct sunlight! Find a shady cool spot in the car and/or cover the drum with something impenetrable by the sun or cover with something to keep warm in cold weather… Don’t leave alone overnight out in the car... Would you like to be left out in a car overnight?

Remember... we would never leave a child or pet in either a overheated or freezing car or similar environment... same with your dear drum... please don’t risk it... it’s not worth it...

In the house ... Do not store or hang your drum near a heater, stove, fireplace, or in a location with direct sunlight. Drums look great......hanging on the wall as a beautiful decoration though, as we know – your sacred drum is much more than that.... If on the wall..... Make sure you choose a spot away from forced air heating vents, heaters and fireplaces. I choose to place my drum on the wall in a special honouring place and also accessible so I can easily take it down to play.... Do make sure that the drum is secure on the wall so it won't fall and break...

the back cord lacing of a rawhide drum

the back cord lacing of a rawhide drum

You can adjust the tone of your drum—if you do so with care...

It’s okay to slowly warm your drum up temporarily by a heat source - just be careful to not leave it too long in case of burning or scorching the hide or wood. Around campfires... heat from a fire will cause the hide to tighten and that can happen quickly if it’s a hot fire... Watch it closely and don’t let it get too close to the flame or sparks - which can burn thus break or split the hide…

Heat causes the wood of your drum to expand and the hide to contract and sometimes you’ll hear it... like a sudden snap or crack sound. I always think the drum is talking to me or urging me to play... Initially, this will raise the tone of your drum. Over exposure to heat over a long time or in extreme can cause the hide to crack and tear.

The gentlest, safest way to raise the tone of your drum is to use a hair dryer gently (with caution – not too hot or close too long!) or use a heating pad on low or place your drum in a sunny (non-direct) window for a couple of minutes or in front of a gentle fire from a safe distance - though never unattended – always check how it’s doing in front or near any heat source.... never leave unattended for a long period time - you may cook you drum!

Moisture (extremely humid days, and climates with high humidity, rain, etc...) causes the hide to ‘drink’ water and to loosen and the tone to deepen or go flat. If the drum is sounding too high or tight, the safest way to deepen or lower the tone is to mist with water on the back side using an atomizer spray bottle, or take the drum into the bathroom near where you shower (not in!)..... If the tone becomes too deep or goes flat, apply heat/warmth briefly to dry out.

Also... if your drum is always sounding flat or too high - where is it living in your home?... if it’s always too flat, and living near the bathroom, laundry or even the bathroom (with a shower)... it’s possible it’s drinking water... And, if it’s too high in tone, it may be in an overly warm or hot space thus causing the hide to tighten... The best is finding a neutral space (not too hot or too humid) for your drum to live...

NOTE: If you find your drum is sounding flat, too low or 'dead' and the above recommendations don't work to raise the tone of your drum, there is a possible remedy you could try (before resorting to taking your drum apart + rebirthing)... please see my other hubpages post called “Why Does My Rawhide Drum Sound Flat” for more information and a possible quick fix - See link at the end of this article >>

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your drum is a living breathing being… photo by weaver ©

your drum is a living breathing being… photo by weaver ©

Sacred Drum 'Feeding' Your Love and Care... Building a Sacred Relationship..

The drum is spiritually connected to our earth Mother and the pulse of her heart’s crystal core… the sacred drum is our blessed earth Mother’s sacred voice... treat your drum as if she is your Mother... We would never “hit”… “beat” or “strike” our Mother… during our drum birthing sessions, i often share about how we speak + think about our Mother… our blessed earth Mother has endured so much abuse and violence... including womyn all over the planet for far too long… it’s time to change our mindset/language and mentor others....

I always suggest to be mindfully aware of our words in regards to Her and the drum… I work (play) within sacred space with the sacred drum by mindfully connecting to our blessed earth Mother while playing…. i choose to “play” and “sound” my drum with my “mallet” or my hands - i choose to never intend to “hit” or “beat” my drum with a “beat-her” though with a mallet…

I choose to call my drumstick a mallet or stick instead... I have learned this info a few times from the wonderful Djembe drummer, Ubaka Hill and other teachers.

By shifting and changing our mindset on the words (vibration) we choose - where, the energy that goes out of our mouths along with our thoughts, fueled by our emotions, from our hearts - that vibration returns back to us ten-fold and… by choosing our dreamings of what we desire and intend – through words, thoughts and vibration (emotion) along with the sacred sound of the drum, we can help change the world by first changing ourselves from within …our heart-love goes out into the world and then the world changes, shifts and reflects back around to us…

I suggest that to begin a relationship with your new drum is to make sacred time for your drum + you at least once a day or... find whatever consistent time works for you + your schedule... Find what works for you as this is a spiritual practice and path... Your drum is energetically, a living, breathing, being of spirit – your sacred altar/mesa that connects you to our blessed earth Mother… If treated with respect, your drum will teach you in return and offer many blessings and respect back…

If you haven’t received yet... humbly ask your drum for it’s name while in meditation or journeying…

Mindfully “feed” your drum often and during times within sacred space and ceremony - offer your love, your prayers and intentions - by gently smudging, giving offerings of spirit, sacred smoke, your music, your voice and sound, (bells, chimes) flowers, etc…

Place or house your drum in a sacred place to honour her where it won’t be picked up by others and/or bothered by pets… Dogs especially can be attracted to the smell of the rawhide and may be tempted to chew your drum… Cats tend to be very curious and respectful of the drum and will often connect with your drum with much interest… and of course... children are a magnet to drums and get very excited with an instant desire to play it as soon as they see it... teach them how to respect and honour your drum and our Mother earth too..... they will also teach you too!

Consider covering your drum with a special beautiful cloth (watch for dyes that could stain) when not in use, to give your drum a rest (a time to be a 'closed drum') - offering respect for your drum, which honours him/her… I have learned that drums are deep vessels (energetically), and act as a container which can pick up energies when left open…

Also know, that we as drum carriers don’t ever ‘own’ our drums... that mindset is of the old paradigm, old thinking that we can ‘own’ something that really isn’t ours to own... We can’t ‘own’ the spirit of a drum, the voice of our great Mother... we are simply ‘caretakers’ of Her sacred voice...

Most important, connect with your drum, play with your drum and she/he will connect with you and teach you! You are embarking on a medicine spirit path with the sacred drum.... don’t forget to enjoy and have fun!!! As we know drums are beautiful expressions of joy and sacred sound that vibrates!

If in doubt about any of the above, don’t hesitate to give me a shout anytime…

Bright blessings with much love and light to you...

i do hope our paths cross again soon.... i have been so honoured to have been your guide to birth your sacred spirit drum…. my heart is full ... with much gratitude and appreciation!!!!

weaver x (((o)))

Why Does My Rawhide Drum Sound Flat? >>


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 weaver

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