Red Drums and the Divine Feminine
I have been enjoying the last of the summer sun, full well knowing that it will not last. Early this morning/ last night I watched the full harvest moon rise over my bedroom skylight to fill up my room with the most splendid silver light. There was not a lot of sleep for me, but as of late there has been some deep rumination’s and new lessons that have been waiting for me from divine feminine and of course her masculine counterpart. I think that a full moon night is as good as any to work on such a subject don’t you think?
Photo by AnaPontesPhotography
However, those musings are not the subject of my post today, but rather a deeper part of an ongoing process and deepening into my life work and of course linked. Today’s musings are all about red and drums, as recently I received another order for a large amount of red drums, and as I worked away on them my mind had time to ponder some musings of it’s own, the divine feminine being one of them. You see for me the divine feminine has always been expressed in the colour red for me. This was how I saw it in a shamanic journey many years ago. But the truth of it is, the divine feminine has been using and associated with the colour red for centuries, eons even!.
From the HIndu goddess Kali’s red tongue, to the red robes worn by Mary Magdalene, each goddess has an essence of red that she carries with her, and each of us carry within us and essence of all goddesses. This is our birthright as a woman, this is the red blood that we holds within our bodies that enables us to give birth to new life, and that which connects us to each other.
Artist: Kelly Bickerman
In that first journey where I saw red, it was a journey to ask for an image to place on a drum I had made. The entire journey was in red, my guides were red and when I saw a red drum placed into my hands, it was in this moment I knew that I was to make a red drum. Over the next months, giving away to years, the significance of the colour red would come to me in my work with the divine feminine over and over. Red has became the touchstone for my work as a writer, my business name, Red Moon Designs, this blog, Red Moon Musings, and for the past few years Red Moon Ceremonies. Not to mention our book Moon Mysteries, published by Red Moon Publishing. But one of the most humbling parts of my work has been in the making of Red Drums.
In her book When the drummers Were Woman Layne Redmond says ”The drum was the means our ancestors used to summon the goddess and also the instrument through which she spoke. The drumming priestess was the intermediary between divine and human realms. Aligning herself with sacred rhythms, she acted as summoner and transformer, invoking divine energy and transmitting it to the community.” These powerful words sum up so much about the role of the drum for myself and for many of the women who come to my workshops and purchase these red drums. There is much meaning to be learned from crafting and using a sacred drum.
The sound of the drum is said to be the heartbeat of the mother, likewise the roundness of the frame in the context of my work represents the moon, and the wood coming from the ancient tree of life. When I gather women together for a drum making workshop I play ancient sounds of the frame drum and together each woman handcrafts her own sacred tool. We begin with the frame, which is the foundation for the drum and as the woman work in creating the drum each piece is blessed and held close to her beating heart.
It is said that many of the ancient priestesses used drumming monthly, perhaps to facilitate her monthly blood flow and we know that in our older matriarchal cultures woman would drum while a woman was in childbirth allowing her to relax deeply and open for her child to be born, as the ancient sound of the heartbeat reminds her of her own birth. It is also said that it is this same drumming that takes us back t the heartbeat of the mother when we die, transforming us into the great spiral of life, death and re-birth. Ancient drums owned by woman were specifically painted red using Ochre to represent blood, menstruation and birthing rites. It is in the spirit of this ancient tradition that I too dye my drums red.
Using beets and pomegranates as well as a natural mixture of pigments that I have mixed up over the years, I have managed to achieve a deep scarlet red in the hide that I use. Each drum I make represents an ancient tradition of women drummers, of priestesses, of ceremony and the ancient pulse of the red, and the divine feminine that runs in every woman today. The woman in turn who either buy or make a red drum with me continually blow me away with the depth of their creativity, their passionate insights and willingness to dig deep inside themselves and see what resides in their beautiful red hearts. Below is a red drum painted by one woman many years ago, she used her intuition and the feel of the drum’s landscape in the patterns she saw to create her painting on it, and this is what came. The significance of her image of it held much power for her and I know she spent many hours playing and singing with her red drum.
It is in the spirit of this kind of creation that I offer my drums out into the world, that makes my heart sing for the work that I get to do and I am thankful everyday for the strength of the RED that runs in my veins.
Full Harvest Moon Blessings to you all!
This post is dedicated to my dear friend Janine Suzanne Weber, who after a year of walking with cancer, went to the heartbeat of the great mother.
Janine painted the Red drum above after one of my workshops many years ago. She was a gentle creative spirit and woman who offered the best of herself to her friends and loved ones. She will be so, so missed.