Often, people choose a drum because they feel particularly drawn to it, or because of a strong feeling that they had when they saw it. Some people choose a drum because they feel called to a particular animal spirit with the hide or tree spirit with the wooden hoop.
Often I receive enquiries from people because it is not immediately clear which drum they should look to work with, and so are looking for advise on how to choose a drum. Here, I have compiled the following information with the hope that it can help you work through the questions you may have.
We have a wide range of sizes available at Heron Drums, starting with our smallest at 10" diameter up to our largest hand drum at 24" and largest ceremonial drum at 28" diameter. Smaller drums produce quite a high pitch sound, whereas the larger drums produce a very deep tone. It is common that people are seeking a drum with a deep tone, and this is most directly related to the size of the drum.
There are practical considerations, also, regarding the size of the drum that you choose as a larger drum can often be heavier. The majority of drums that we make and that we stock at Heron Drums are 14", 16" and 18", with 16" being the most common, maintaining the balance of weight while still having a deep tone. This makes them great drums for working with in healing and journeying.
Our newest Ovoid Shamanic Drums, because of their shape make it much easier to balance the weight of a larger drum as they are taller and not so wide.
By choosing a drum birthed with natural products, you invite the wisdom and medicine of the trees and animals into your life. Here are a few details about the common symbolism of the different hides and woods that make up our drums at Heron Drums.
The Guardian of the Universe. The Reindeer is a gentle spirit and a great healer. Just like the Reindeer in the Father Christmas story, the Reindeer represents the journey in the other worlds.
In Mongolia, there are carved depictions of Reindeer flying in the sky dating back to 3,000 years ago. Reindeer drums are often great journeying drums or personal drums.
Elen of the Ways, the Antlered Goddess, wore the antlers of the female reindeer and walked the migratory paths of the reindeer in this land and so many work with the Reindeer drums to connect with this ancient goddess.
Here is a recording of a Reindeer drum to listen to the sound. All drums vary, but it will give you an idea of the quality of sound that can come from some Reindeer drums. If there is a particular drum on our online shop that you would like to hear a recording of, please contact us. To hear the sound of the drum most fully in these recordings, listen with headphones.
To see the range of Reindeer Shamanic Drums that we currently have in store, please click here.
The noble lord of the forest. The stag is a symbol of strength, of standing tall and proud and pushing through adversity with those powerful antlers that carry so much timeless wisdom.
Working with the stag medicine, one maintains focus on their goals and plans, and with their head down and driving forward, can overcome all obstacles.
Stag is the the lord of the forest, the Horned God, and reminds us of our connection to nature and all the spirits of the forest.
Much of the quality of energy of Stag is shared with that of Deer - Gentleness and Innocence: The Deer is a gentle spirit and a great healer, They teach clarity and to be adaptable, and they also help to attune the senses. Deer live in close herds, and remind us of the importance of family and community. They remind us to honour our connection with nature and the spirits of the forest. Deer drums make great healing drums or personal drums.
Here is a recording of a Stag drum to listen to the sound. All drums vary, but it will give you an idea of the quality of sound that can come from some Stag drums. To hear the sound of the drum most fully in these recordings, listen with headphones.
To see the range of Stag Shamanic Drums that we currently have in store, please click here.
Travel Power Freedom. The Horse is a symbol of moving forward with power and determination. The Shamanic Drum is also known as the “Shaman’s Horse” as the Shaman rides on the back of the rhythm into the journey. As such, horse drums are often great as journeying drums.
Here are some recordings of Horse drums to listen to the sound. All drums vary, but it will give you an idea of the quality of sound that can come from some Horse drums. To hear the sound of the drum most fully in these recordings, listen with headphones.
To see the range of Horse Shamanic Drums that we currently have in store, please click here.
The wild boar is a symbol of courage, of strength and of protection. The Wild Boar connects with the ancient Celtic warrior traditions and with the Druids, who dubbed themselves as "boars" because of their solitary ways in the wilds of the deep woods.
To see the range of Wild Boar Shamanic Drums that we currently have in store, please click here.
As well as working with the animal spirits that have a traditional connection with this land in the hides that we choose for drum making, we also work with wood of trees that have a traditional connection in this land. Just as much as the hide, the trees share their particular strengths and qualities of spirit within the drum. Here are the common associations with the woods that we work with.
The Ash is a tree of healing, empowerment and enchantment. Within Norse mythology, the Ash is Yggdrasil, the World Tree, which connects us to the upper and lower worlds. By journeying with a drum made with an Ash hoop, we journey with all these powers and strengths between the worlds.
The Oak is the tree of life, strength and nobility. It is a living legend representing all that is true, wholesome, stable, and noble. There is a reason the oak is considered the king of green realm. The oak is generous with its gifts - just as any good ruler shares its bounty amongst the kingdom.
The Birch is the tree of new beginnings, journeying and of purification. In a number of Northern European traditions, it is associated with the world tree and the symbol of shamanic initiation, where the initiate must climb the branches of the Birch tree.
The Willow is a goddess tree, known as the Lady of the Waters, connecting us with our intuition and healing. Just like her branches, she teaches us gentleness and flexibility as we connect with the depths of our inner waters. Also, as a powerful healer, used in medicines herself, she is a great teacher for working with in healing.
Listen to your drum
The above are from common symbolism related to the different animals and trees and may help you to feel your way towards which is the right drum for you. However, as you connect with your drum and build your relationship with its spirit, it shares with you deeper insights, wisdom and medicine that is specifically for you. Your sacred relatonship with your drum is one of special importance, and through your journeys with your drums, you will learn a greater connection with the animal and tree spirits than can be shared in this article.
To order a Bespoke Shamanic Drum, click here
To order one of our Shamanic Drums from our shop, click here
To join us on one of our Shamanic Drum Birthing Workshops, click here
Wishing you all happy journeys.