Shaman’s Staff

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This antler staff was commissioned by a healer after she saw one of the two pieces of Pere David from which it is made. That piece had a natural deformation in it that hard formed when a part of the antler had broken away while still on the deer, long before it had been naturally shed – judging from the resulting shape of the stubb it must have been quite early on in the antler’s formation when this happened, as it formed a minature perruque, a shape formed in soft antler. In adult deer this can sometimes form a canopy like shape over the deers head instead of antlers, however, in this instance the antler manifested a face contorted in a laughing lob-sided grimace, very much like the masks of the false-face societies and spirit masks of the indigenous Americas and Inuit peoples – it was this face that captured the healer’s attention and subsequently brought about the entire carving.

At around 60cm long this is a healing tool that is both quite complex and elaborate in its carving, and deceptively versatile as a functioning piece.It has many animal, bird and plant allies carved it, as well as a feathered serpent! There is an energy flow in their composition that accords with their individual medicines to some extent, but, which unites them to form a unity within the form that directs the energy flowing in from the top, down the feathered serpent’s tail on one side and through the shaman’s head on the other, converging at the center and flowing down the lower part of the staff. The lower part, the blade like part, is made from a seperate piece of Pere David antler.

There are secrets about this piece that are to be kept hidden, known only to the owner and myself as maker – however, the open secret is in the feathered serpent’s tail. A flash of blue irridescent fire is provided by a beautiful blue tourmaline stone that has been set into the antler. Hard to see in the photos for its clarity and crystalline qualities, this stone, nevertheless, is a thing of mystery and exquisite energy, somehow fittingly otherworldly and beautiful…..and, befitting of a working shaman’s staff, multifacted and bringing many things together from the different worlds.

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