The Hidden Majesty of Lightning
Wood in Shamanic Ceremony
By Shaman Bob
I used to live in a mountainous area in West Virginia that seemed to attract lightning. I’ve seen some real “doozies,” as we used to say back in the hills, when the bolts would scatter across the sky like wicked fingers before dashing to the ground in blistering streaks. When I was a child, a tornado and a phalanx of lightning once ripped through our farm, blasting trees and tearing the timbers and boards from the spine of our barn like vicious animals attacking weakened prey. It seemed we were always removing wild cherry trees and limbs downed by lightning and winds from the tree-lined fields where our cattle grazed, as wilting cherry leaves were poisonous to them.
On many occasions lightning found mischief to be done around my own house when I became an adult. There were several ponds around the place, and the water seemed to draw down lightning like a conjurer. Strikes happened all the time! I once lost a TV, telephone, refrigerator, answering machine, VCR recorder, an entire length of electric line extending to an exterior light in the yard, and one of the largest, most beautiful silver maple trees on the planet from one bone-jarring strike.
I made drums from that tree, including my personal drum.
So, over time I had come to learn a lot about lightning and its sacred nature. As clients reported improvements over time, it became evident that an inherent relation existed between natural elementals like lightning and lightning wood and their contribution to spiritual healing. So I have come to use lightning-struck wood in nearly every shamanic tool I make. In the shamanic sense then-- every Lightning Drum I make and offer for sale is connected with lightning,
because nearly all adornments, tie-downs, carvings, and splices I use in a drum come from wood I know to have originated from a lightning-struck tree, as you will see reflected in the various descriptions. In a sense, then, every drum I make is lightning-struck, as sure as a graft of one tree onto another becomes unified into one, often resulting in sweeter fruit.
What really turns these into shamanic healing drums are the sparks of your intentions and a familiarity with what to do with them in a shamanic context. In addition to the many other mystical attributes a shaman may connect with lightning, in my eyes it is primarily seen as a helper that can light the way while energizing your intention to be of service when the drum is activated in ceremony. A more refined principle in action that is sometimes required during a shamanic healing session actually unites a high energy charge of one’s intention with the intrinsic awesome power of lightning into a brilliant light. Powerful stuff.
And finally, a guiding principle of lightning is this: It serves the function of dissipating dangerous built-up energy that causes imbalance in the atmosphere. And just as it works above, it also works below on the human level when incorporated into shamanic ceremony. Lightning helps to restore balance.
That is, if you can give up your fear about it and connect with its spirit. So that's why I've written a little eBook about it. You are free to download it if you would like to know more. It's about Lightning and the wood it empowers.
Aho & Namaste,
(excerpted from the "About Page" with additions.