Survivor Lightning Drum

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Survivor Drum


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Wind Horse Lightning Drum


This Lightning Drum Is The Quintessential Symbol of Defiance Against the Odds...


...of hope when there is none. 


...of the hidden spark when the apparent light expires. 


Its name is its life story. And its mission. 





Drum Frame: 

Made from a Lightning-Struck Hickory Tree, reinforced with numerous interior splints and an oak hitching form on the bottom to secure the lacing. (Learn more as Shaman Bob recounts the Survivor Drum story in the audio file, below right, beneath the video.)



About 9 – 10 inches across and 12 inches long. Drumhead size measures approx. 7 inches wide by 8 inches long. Circumference about 33 inches. 



5 Lbs, 14 oz. (Heavy for a small drum) 



Horsehide tied with Elk and Buffalo lacing.



The Tiara: More than 100 Copper spacer beads (2x3mm each) and two goldstone beads (which are made from glass and copper) envelope white deer lacing, which holds an original artwork comprised of a lightning-struck cherry wood pendant with an entwined leather Celtic Knot. This knot represented many aspects of existence to the Celtic peoples, and is featured to represent the concept of eternity, i.e. survival, on this drum.



A Thunder Valley Drums nameplate of authenticity is on the inside of the Survivor Drum, there to also protect emerald chips buried into the frame, a TVD shamanic tradition.


(Learn more in the "About This Beautiful Drum Ally," below. OR if you have questions, please email Bob at your convenience.)



Survivor Drum with Drum Stand


  • Sold Out

More About This Beautiful Drum Ally



Constructed from a combination of Eastern red cedar (made from recovered fence posts that survived for more than 100 years in Kentucky), and recovered Black Walnut. Thick hemp cording forms a soft top on which the drum can rest.


Measurements: 12”x16”x12”



A Pendant in Each of the Four Directions

(Hover over photos, right, to enlarge)

  • (Top) A hopeful copper smiling sun wears an “Indian Bead” (an ancient shell found in Kentucky and other parts of the world) topped by two copper beads and a copper cap.
  • (Bottom Left) A hand-glazed pottery bead (not a TVD original) is flanked by copper beads and symbolizes keeping our feet on the Earth.
  • (Bottom Middle) A red Trade Bead (not a TVD original) with two picture jasper beads suggests the fire of determination and life.
  • (Bottom Right) A copper pendant (not a TVD original) is symbolic of shamans, the "wounded healers" 

The Anatomy of a Wounded Healer


As shamans are often referred to as "wounded healers," so sometimes too are their drums. The Survivor Drum, made from a young hickory tree, reveals many signs of its hard existence following a lightning strike. 


The missing sections of the body (see the upper part of the photo) had to be removed because of the strike. Visible too is at least one of the more than 15 prosthetic hardwood splints placed into the frame to reinforce it. Various scars, pits, discoloration and exit holes offer evidence of predation by natural forces and animals.


As a result, Bob fashioned an oak insert on the bottom to assure the drum's structural integrity and to provide the only sure way a player could hold it. And to bring it all together, many lengths of lacing, some looking like sutures, were necessary.


Obviously, the drum needed a lot of help, and has the unsightly scars to show it. But for those with eyes to see, beauty is far more than skin deep.



Please note the curious dark brown inner ring circumscribing the hickory's center. That is the key hint to understanding the shamanic power, and the beauty, of this wounded healer. To find the key, listen to the inspirational audio story about the Survivor Drum on the Thunder Valley Drums site.


Bob's Final Notes About The Survivor Drum


1. This beautiful drum was made in the old ways, and as such, it provides the opportunity for you to stay in contact with the lightning-struck wood of the frame while playing it. This is my preferred method of sacred drumming with such a rare instrument. In days gone by (mostly), many shamanic drummers were not so particular about the sound their drums made, as the point was to connect with All That Is through repeated rhythm. 


Modern Americans, and probably people of other cultures, seem nowadays to prefer loud booming drums. Fine. But with this drum, the sound will vary according to the weather. Wet days, and it will sound flat. Sunny, dry days, and it will have a taut tone. In between days, mellow and rounded voice. So if sound is all that matters to you, and particularly if you live in a wet climate, you can expect that the drum's voice will fluctuate. 


It is a lovely part of owning an all natural drum that one becomes aware that a drum partner needs love and attention, just like you do. It will become a beautiful part of your sacred existence to care for such a wonderful friend and ally. And believe me, your drum will return the favor! Should you be a shamanic practitioner, you probably know what I mean. 


Otherwise, if you live in a wet climate, this may not be the drum for you, even though it's pretty easy to keep a drum in tune by gently heating it via the sun, a hair dryer, a light bulb, or even (and the best!) hugging it to your chest to share some body heat.


Aho & Namaste,



See Other Rare Lightning Drums