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Drum Paintings by Joska Soos

In certain shamanic traditions, the shaman's drum is painted with symbolic figures which have a special meaning to the shaman.

Sometimes the drum is also 'initiated', that is, it undergoes a ceremony during which the drum 'comes alive'.

Joska painted drum for those who requested it. The symbols he used where based on his light-sound experiences.

Joska's description of the symbols he used for his own drum:

(from the book I Don't Heal, I Restore the Harmony)

"My drum has a diameter of 50 cm. It's an initiated drum , that is to say it has been initiated with a special ritual, during which the potentialities of the shaman arise in the form of images. These images, for example, a certain tree or an animal, give by themselves strength, and can be called upon. In this way guardian spirits can also present themselves. When I had my drum inaugurated in 1976 there were immediately five guardian spirits, and a few weeks later there were two more. Now there are twenty-seven.
This initiation can occur at three levels; initiation to knowledge, initiation to be able to do, and initiation to come into contact with one's own potentiality. There are also other possible initiations such as the initiation of the fourth dimension or a parallel universe, but in the present  context the initiation of the drum serves to evoke the images of the potentialities, just like in the East they call up the image of the mandala.
My drum is painted like every shaman drum. Horizontally, there are three areas, under the earth, on the earth and above the earth. At the lowest level, under the earth, and under the water, is the fire that is represented by the primeval atom, and instead of water, a water animal ,a polyp, has been painted.
At the level of the earth are the people. I have made ​​an ideogram of a man and a woman.
Above it is the sky, the sun is above the man and the moon is above the woman. The sky is really the superconscious, the subterranean is the subconscious and the middle plane is our human consciousness.
The highest levels are indicated by the Polaris star. The Polaris star represents the seventh chakra. Here you see a wheel in the form of a double swastika, one side turns from right to left , the other from left to right.
In the middle is a vertical axis , that is the harmony , the backbone of man, and the line of his development. Because horizontal knowledge is infinite, but true knowledge is vertical , connecting with upstairs and downstairs. The vertical line is the axis , the harmony and the spine . On the religious level, it is the tree of life, and on the cosmic level it is the cosmic tree, which runs from the human to the Polaris star and then even further. In shamanism, the Polaris star was considered the great door to the divine.
We need to focus on only the sun and the moon, as you have a sun cult and a moon cult. Because there is also a higher cult, the cult of the stars and especially the Polaris star. That cult existed long ago and was forgotten later on.
The energy comes from both sides down, left and right, coming together in the sacrum and goes from there through the axis upwards . That is the cycle of the two wheels , and the three levels. That's why I always say that you must work on the total human: body, soul and mind, the conscious , subconscious and superconscious.
On the drum are also the five colors. On the left, the female side, is the color black, the symbol of the earth, on right side the white color of foamy waves, which is the male. Above is the blue color of the sky and below the red color of the fire. The fifth element is the yellow color of the mind or the sun, the power that makes everything experience."


Joska Soos and his drum


Joska Soos with original drum

picture courtesy of Frank Morant


Joska Soos with drum

This was Joska Soos' very first drum, made in 1975-1976


Joska Soos and his drum


Drum painted for one of his students.


Joska Soos drumming (1970's)

photo courtesy of Frank Morant 

Drums Painted and Initiated by Joska Soos


The Drum of Eric Theunis

His drum was imitated during a shamanization (Nov. 5, 2003) in which Joska used several ritual instruments, such as the conch shell, the mala, the skull-drum..., and then blew life into the drum.

(Eric is also sharing text and pictures of Joska here)

The Drum of Eric Theunis     The Drum of Eric Theunis

Description of the symbols:

In the middle is the sun, surrounded by the stars

At the bottom is the moon

At the top is the Polar Star

Left is the female aspect (with animus)

Right is the male aspect (with anima)