Of Bees and Bears. Part 2. Making the Drum.
Continued from Of Bees and Bears Part 1:
I recently read that bees, like shamans are able to travel between worlds, and that in many cultures the world over they once held the belief that have the ability to connect the beekeeper to the ancestral spirit realms, acting as a bridge between the beekeeper and the spirit world.
And so it was that as soon as I returned home from the Collage of the Melissae I sat with my piece of now dry bear hide which was soon to become my drum and journeyed to learn the story of this bear and how best to honor her.
I learned more things in this journey that I could have ever imagined, there were many lessons in this for me, that literally took an entire year to process and sort out. Patience has been one of those lessons, but waiting between each journey came easily once I understood that it was for the best and why. These are a few of the lessons I learned from my spirit guides and the bear:
Most animals cross over the moment they die. Some, very few, stay because they loved their lives and are too attached to their bodies, or are angry about how they died, fewer still are attached to humans and they are rarely attached to each other.
This bear loved her body and was still here, but was ready to go now.
It was explained to me that when working with an animal that has left/crossed they often look like ALL the animals in their species.
I was shown a polar bear, then a grizzly and then a black bear. If they are STILL HERE here they will be specifically the same animal they were when they died. I was also told that this bear wants to work with me and was wanting to leave and willing to go in order to be able to do this work, once this happened I knew I still must wait, just a little longer–somehow this felt like a big part of the process…
And so I waited for a month and a half month, knowing that the next piece would be reveled in it’s own time….. I have found over the years that when doing shamanic work that the pieces of the puzzle work themselves out in their own sweet time and forcing the issue only makes it harder for me, and somehow seems to make the matter take even longer!
During this time I continued to ponder the deep connection I was feeling between the bees and bears, it was a conundrum to me since bears adore bees, but they usually destroy the nests to get at the sweet buttery larvae and the bees are none too happy about it. But this adoration on the part of the bears was what I have kept coming back to, because I too, feel the same adoration and love for them. It is the bee that brings us a little sweetness in life and makes things feel better when life gets us down. A soothing cup of tea with honey, sweet cakes eaten and shared in times of celebration, and of course the poetry of the sweet honey comb and the powerful elixir mead that is made from honey–I literally could go on and on! I too feel like the bear in the image below shown hugging the bee skep, and of course who can forget pooh bear whose great love in life is sweet honey!
Art by: Julianna Swaney
Yes bees and bears go together like it or not, and I like to think that the bears give back in their own unassuming way, as they feast on berries in the spring and summer dropping the seeds all over the place in their scat to create new blossoms for the bees to pollinate the following year, as is such in the great circle of life…
Over the past year this bear has come with me to Courtnay and back-my big plans to make her into a drum there foiled because I brought the wrong size of frame, she has waited and waited for me to feel that the timing was right, to make sure that I honored her in the right way and then finally the day came when I knew she would wait no longer–her drum needed to be made! I nervously prepared everything, found the perfect size of frame and held my breath when she was dry, as I have never made a drum with a hole in it before–did I mention that there was a large hole in the face of the drum? This too was to be a big part of the process, the reason for the drum included this hole, Ijust did not know exactly why, yet……
Once she was made and as soon as she was dry and ready to be woken up, I tentitivly played her softly at first and then louder and louder with complete delight and awe that she sounds SO amazing!
The year meandered on slowly, with pieces coming to me as they will in their own time, and now that the drum was made I had the great opportunity to play it and journey with it, finding deeper meanings in what the drum was for and my role in it all.
For now all I can say is that I am still integrating it all, slowly letting it seep into my bones and working on painting the spirit bear on the front, which it would seem is also to be a slow work in progress.
Here is a photo of my slowly evolving bear drum, the imagery is changing daily at this point, and I am sure what is here now will be entirely different by next month, but I am enjoying the process immensly.
Also in this photo you can see the hole or as I have come to understand it, a “spirit hole” at to the side of the bear, this has great meaning for my work with this drum and my new spirit guide bear.