Ever look up into the trees and think you see a face or critter in the leaves and branches; only to discover it was a trick of the eye? Folks have “seen strange things” in the trees for all of human history. In ancient days, the Druids attributed powerful influences emanating from the trees, sometimes one would spend a great deal of time in the woods to gain insight,attributing their inspiration to the trees. Buddha sat beneath a Bodi Tree when he gained enlightenment, Oden hung himself from a tree when he developed the Runes. Aside from burning wood for warmth, wood has been an intrinsic part of our society for as long as we have been aware: we descended from trees, we build our homes, our furniture toys and great works of art. Some of the oldest beings on earth are trees.
In my own experience, I found great comfort amongst the trees: the might Sequoias of the west coast are impressive both in height, age and majesty. In one of my excursions into the forests of the great North West, I thought I saw “someone” high in the branches. I couldn’t identify who or what it was and so pursued what I mistook as a being. I even climbed up into the branches only to find “nothing there”. Later that day I saw it again, only in another tree. Squirrel? Not that big! It was when I was relaxed and “not paying attention” that I began to understand what I was “seeing” was the essence of the tree: something vaguely aware, coming from the forest itself. Comforting yet removed, alert yet extremely slow and paced, the Forest itself has a presence.
My attempt to “capture” this in art I developed: The Tree Spirit Amulet. A noble tree with spreading branches, exposed roots alluding to how such a being is rooted both into the earth and the spirit world. In the branching of the tree is a small deer head, alluding to Herne, a being in the forest that is both a part and transcendent. The amulet may be worn as a pendant, but I have also created the Tree Spirit Necklace by adding hand made leaf chain and earrings.
The Tree Sprite Amulet is for those who love the Trees for what ever reason, but most especially for those whose imagination have lead them to the truth about our Living World.
Of all the sculptures I have created thus far, the Fire Drum is the strangest. This sculpture is a bronze Djembe including ropes, rings and a goat skin head (all in bronze of course!). In the center of the drum head is a bonfire where dancers move with the rhythms of the circle. Below are the guardians, protecting the scared space; each facing one of the four directions.
The Fire Drum was intended to represent the entirety of the Drum Circle. In a real sense the observer is the drummer: by seeing the drum and all of the various participants you view a manifestation of what the circle is: the community coming out to celebrate music and movement, all of which is the wellspring of life itself. The drum holds the foundation: the beat and rhythms of the community. The Fire is the heart: ever changing, transforming the raw materials gathered into light (truth), heat (nourishment) and smoke (the Mystery obscured by the material world). The dancers move about the circle, keeping the time; weaving the sound into new music with every gesture.
Herne is present, with his head adorned with the stag horns that representing the Old God. Here Herne manifests are “The Lord of the Dance” as often said in song. Below Watches and Guardians do not allow themselves to become entranced with the Mystery of the Drum Circle, they gaze out from the circle, protecting the community from harm and keeping the Sacred Circle protected from the Ill Will of those that would do harm.
I once attended a drum circle where to enter it one had to pass a sign where it read:
“You are entering Sacred Ground, leave your problems here” and there was a small pot with salt. Beside it were a collection of small objects: rocks, twigs woven into twisted figures and the like. When I entered the circle I noticed the burdens people carried, the squabbles and self doubt seemed missing. I turned around to see the back of the sign: “See, you really didn’t need all that after all”.
The Fire Drum is dedicated to the Drum Circle itself, a manifestation of what beauty a community can create with care and love: ever reaching out to those of Good Will to participate and enjoy the fruit of Joy and Companionship. This sculpture is a one of a kind piece now in a private collection.