Beltane at Thornborough Henge in North Yorkshire

And introducing Moon Drum!

Jenny, Keith and I had a rare day out on Sunday, travelling down to the Central Henge of the Thornborough triple henge complex for what has become the annual celebration of Beltane. Despite leaving quite late (as usual) we managed to get there just as the ceremony started at 12 noon and I had my first chance to play our new ceremonial drum – Moon Drum – in the procession that started the ceremony.

Moon Drum was made by the fabulous Dave and Jayne from Marcus Music based in Tredegar House, Newport, Wales.

Jayne putting on the first coat of paint

The original plan was for Dave and Jayne to dye the drum skin black so that I could have an all-black bad boy of a drum. Dave emailed me to say that sadly the dying process, being a bit hit and miss with the skin being a natural product, had not ended up black but had dried out to a grey colour. I didn’t mind as I still thought the drum looked great, but when I opened it and saw the skin with my own eyes it looked amazing – it had so much character and, as Jenny pointed out, looked just like a full moon – so the name Moon Drum was given!

The original plan was also to attach copies of the Stanwick Bronzes to the top of the drum (you can read more about the Bronzes here) but although the original bronzes had been designed to go on some form of wooden vessel, this must have been a bigger circumference than Moon Drum as they did not fit the curve of the drum, plus they would have got in the way of the drum’s tensioning ropes. Dave had the inspired idea to put them on a leather strap and locate them at the base of the drum, which was the perfect solution as it looks incredible and gives the flexibility to have them on the drum with a little bit of extra weight or to take them off to make the drum slightly lighter, or to polish them.

The drum sounds fabulous, a really resonant and rich tone. Moon Drum is a magnificent beast of a drum and will be used in ceremonies, Wassailing and as an accompaniment to Mari Briga‘s shennanigans when we finally get her finished. I would like to thank Dave and Jayne and Mike Shorer who produced another set of bronzes for us so much for all they have done to turn our idea into a reality.

Liz and Moon Drum at Thornborough Central Henge. More Fozzy Bear than Animal, really,

We all had a terrific day, after the main ceremony we took part in a beautiful smaller ceremony with The Heart of Brigantia Coven and then had a look around the many stalls around the outside of the Henge, drank some lovely mead from Hawky who runs the Lancashire Mead Company and sat by the fire listening to the excellent story tellers. Hail Brigantia!

by Liz

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