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This listing is for one personal Drum Sounder, by Niamh Criostail of The heART of Ritual.

All of the Drum Sounders I create are medicine bundles (or as I like to call them - cocoons). That is to say, these Sounders have a collection of personal prayer offerings inside them, and the cocoon is then woven around them forming the head of the Sounder.

Drum Sounders are the masculine, projective, active aspect of the whole. The Drum is the feminine, receptive, inactive aspect of the whole. Together the Drum and Sounder represent both aspects of the whole.

Most people see the Drum as the instrument and consider the Sounder as a mere accessory. Unfortunately this is right across the board, both via those who build drums and those who consciously work with them for healing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Simply put; without the Sounder, the Drum is nothing, without the Drum, the Sounder is nothing. So as with everything in life, both aspects need to be in place for the music to happen, or in other words, both aspects of the whole need to be acknowledged and honored equally - this includes the masculine and feminine aspects of drumming and is something I am passionate to see balance restored in where ritual drumming is concerned. In sharing this perspective I'm hoping this will provide food for thought. I honor the masculine aspect of this colleague just as much as the feminine, a reflection on how I consciously strive to maintain harmony and balance within mySelf in each moment. This is why the Sounders I birth are just as ornate and meaningful as the Drums themselves.

​Birthing Sounders in this way also means alot of play, play is the essence of Sol/the Sun and nourishing the inner child. Play and the Sun both relate with the Solar Plexus center, which also happens to be the sacred center relating with Self Worth, Trust and Connection with Self/Source. So not only do Sounders make the drums voice heard, but Sounders also povide us with medicine for the Solar Plexus, enabling us to connect with and hear our own voice - the voice of our Ascended Self. Is this something that should be treated as 'flyaway' as it is by most?

As someone working professionally with sound healing, and someone that appreciates and integrates the finer details, I have to say that being able to bring additional elements to drumming as a healing tool is a wonderful gift. I have birthed eight drums for groupwork in our community space, each Drum relates with the energy of a specific Celtic festival, tree, direction and element within the Celtic Wheel of the Year. I have however, more Sounders birthed than drums, the reason for this is that some of the drums needed more Sounders. Let me explain. The 'Polaris drum' has two different Sounders - the first one that came through was relating with the Narwhal, white and golden spirals of light - very much relating with cleansing of the water element (emotional body) in the ancestral bloodline (ancestors are North). That was what was required as the framework for the Polaris drum to come through. The second Sounder that came through was a Polar Bear/Ursa Major and Minor one, the energy of the drum evolved the more we worked together, as did I, and as such, new medicines were called for by way of a new Sounder. I still work with the first Sounder when it is called on for a client, and sometimes it pairs itSelf with the womb drum (the Crystalline Heart drum here in our space), so I guess in many ways this is a flexible colleague that brings its own special resonance.

Additionally, while we can work with the drums by drumming in an element or direction on those specific areas of the drum head, or by drumming elemental rhythm, I have found that Sounders allow me to incorporate even more medicine in both a literal and symbolic way. I prefer to actively intergrate this into the active principal (Sounder) and let the feminine principal (Drum) bring through its own medicine, it feels alot more natural and harmonious to me.

Custom Drum Sounder (for Medicine Drums)

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  • As a way to illustrate this, take the Bealtaine Sounder here for instance: in Irish myth, it is the fox that gave the gift of fire to humans. Fox is a fire element animal. Southerly medicine. Bealtaine is the festival that marks the beginning of summer - the season of the fire element, again, the south. It made perfect sense to me that fox came through (fox also happens to be a life companion, so it was nice that it came through here and I had the opportunity to visually honor it). This Sounder incorporates Hawthorn, the Celtic Tree relating with Bealtaine. I gathered snow fallen Hawthorn in january 2019, so really it could be said that this Sounder began its journey back then. The foxgloves and fly agaric only came forward as needed during Samhain, six months later. Foxgloves refer to magic, my respect for the 'banes', and these happen to be in bloom all over West Cork during May and June each year. One could say the fly agaric again refer to the banes, but it goes deeper with this for me personally. Fly agaric is one of the botanicals I personally work with during the Autumn, right up to and over Samhain. This is integrated into my group work in the lead up to Winter Solstice, when I speak about its festive lore at our storytelling circles, Solstice ceremony, or via the MOONBOX files, but on the whole, fly agaric is what has come forward to assist deep grief in recent years. Bealtaine is the polar opposite of Samhain in the Celtic wheel of the Year, Samhain is the transition into the dark, Bealtaine is the transition into the Light. And it is true, fly agaric certainly brightened those days of sadness and grief following the death of a loved one...both for Mama Marls and I. Being out on the land and seeing these beautiful mushrooms quite literally lifted the blues, no surprise then to discover the medical research being conducted into their use for depression. All in all, this Bealtaine Sounder marked the return of the Light for Mama Marls and I that May, so in this way it all makes perfect sense. As this one appears to have come through as a personal Sounder, it will not be available for others to use in the studio, but I am sharing this moving image so you have a visual touchstone for The Work, its meaning, potency, and its relevance.

    I often speak about our relationship with Drums and how both we and they evolve together. The evolution of the relationships with Sounders is one part of this and relates with both the Sounders relationship with the Drum (and vice versa) and our own relationship with these Sounders. It's a triad, or as I prefer to call it - a healing Triskele (the Celtic triple spiral).