Across all time and in every culture, persons of power have traveled to alternate realities on the vibrations of a journey drum.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

New drumstick with rattle from Journey Oracle

I have been building drumsticks for my shamanic frame drums for many years, and just like the interlacement patterns on the backs of my shaman drums, my drumsticks keep becoming more elaborate.

 Adding the felted beater head changed the range of and quality of drum sounds.  Now my drumsticks have two heads--one of wool and the other of padded smoke-tanned leather.

Next I added different styles of sailor's hitching on the stick shaft, which is both decorative and also carries the memory of those who were willing to journey away from land into the unknown.

Now I am experimenting with adding rattles to the drumstick.  This set of 5 deer toe bones is on a removable collar that can be used, re-positioned or removed, depending on the drummer's intention. Five represents to me the five layers of time as taught by Martin Prechtel.

This means the sound, which  is a quiet clicking accompaniment to the harmonics of the drum, is traveling through all time. As if a snake companion was sounding its warning of approaching healing and transformation.

If you would like me to design a custom drumstick for you, contact Kristen at  See more of my drums and the Journey Oracle cards at

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Walking horse shamanic frame drum

This new 14" drum from the Journey Oracle--of blacktail doe hide on a spruce wood frame is special for lots of reasons.  I very rarely receive a doe skin from the Cortes Island hunters who bring me hides.  Doe hide is much thinner and so the overlay of harmonics is quite amazing.

This wonderful horse has been present to my gaze since the drum first dried, but I could not figure out how she was standing. This is because she is not standing at all, but walking right out of the Mystery toward the drummer.  Yes, I know horses' eyes do not look forward, but spirit horses can look in any direction they want.

The interlacement pattern on the reverse of the drum is the Octagram.  Barbara Walker says this"gateless design is achieved by extending all eight sides of the two squares until they meet at the points of an eight pointed star.  On contemplation it seems mysterious that a figure with an even number of termini should be formed of a continuous line, which may account for the magical implications so often drawn from the Octagram."  

This motif  is said to be a symbol of regeneration.

14" spruce wood frame
Blacktail doe hide
Cedar fittings
elk leather whipping

shipping additional

If this is your drum contact Kristen at

To see more of Kristen's drums and art go to and visit the web store

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New drums from Journey Oracle

Here are two new frame drums from the Journey Oracle.  Before I paint a frame drum I pay attention to the story in the deerskin, and also to the choices I make while assembling the drum.  In this case, the story of two drums in one deer skin.  This is very rare since the deer must be big, long bodied and young--not a usual combination for our small Cortes Island blacktail deer.  The deerskin also had quite a few scratches on the hide, the result of the animal rubbing against trees.  This was an interesting connection to the image I saw when I first gazed at the inner side of the raw hide, before I began to remove the hair and flesh, and saw the image of a tree trunk with deer teeth marks on its bark.  So the deer "playing" the tree is a strong message for me.

The last time I made two drums from one skin was to create a pair of drums called water sister and lightening brother, who in their images told part of the story of the Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun, written by Martin Prechtel. In their deeply patterned surfaces these drums are also joining together to tell a story and I find myself calling them old sister and young brother.

The image of a rattlesnake is quite clear to me in young brother.  Find the three rattles in the lower center and you too will see the snake coiling upon itself in a tight ball of energy. What a powerful symbol of healing and transformation.

Old sister is more of a puzzle.  I see the face of an old woman with a sweet grandmotherly smile in the left center, but what is she holding? I think this is Ixchel, the Mayan Jaguar Goddess of Midwifery, so then she is likely holding a rabbit.  And if this is so, and the rabbit is food for the rattlesnake, then the two drums together tell a story of regeneration--of death and rebirth--in both heaven and earth.

The interlacement patterns on the back of these two drums echo this message.  The old sister drum has a pentacle flower, which represents heaven and earth, while the young brother drum has a handfast of the magic hexagram, which represents protection from spiritual danger.

I think, sometimes, that the most fun of painting a drum is before I paint a frame drum.

14" frame drum of blacktail deer and Spruce wood
Cedar and copper fittings
Magic Hexagram interlacement pattern
$300. unpainted
shipping additional

12" frame drum of blacktail deer and Spruce wood
Cedar and copper fittings 
Pentacle Flower interlacement pattern
$250.00 unpainted
shipping additional

If one, or both, of these drums are yours, email Kristen at

Learn more about Kristen's drums at