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 in turn each of us also carries within us an essence of all the goddesses. This is our birthright as a woman, for it is the red blood that we hold within our wombs that enables us to give birth to new life, and it is this aspect that connects us to each other, as we all cycle through the aspects of life, death and re-birth...
Many years ago now, in a shamanic journey that I first saw the red drum. Initially it was a journey to ask for an image to place on a drum, but instead my entire journey was in red, my guides were red, the landscape was red, and when I saw a red drum placed into my hands, I knew that I was to make a red drum, and that the colour red WAS the symbol-the symbol of the Divine feminine...
Over the next months, giving away to years, the significance of the colour red would come to me in my work over and over again, teaching me and showing me a constantly unfolding path... Red has became the touchstone for my work as a writer, my business name, Red Moon Pathways and the Red Moon Mystery School.
Our book Moon Mysteries, was also self published by our company 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 our drum making workshops 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 also 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 to 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, and priestesses, that tap into 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.
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 is greatly missed.