Windhorse, or hiimori in Mongolian, refers to personal spiritual power.  When I spent 4 years at Martin Prechtel’s school of spiritual ecology in New Mexico, he often referenced Mongolian culture, language and music in his teaching. So books about Mongolian Shamanism found their way onto my bookshelf.  And in Chosen by the Spirits, by Sarangerel, I met the concept of windhorse.  Now many years later a drum has appeared whose image goes by this name.

So what can I learn about windhorse from this drum?

In a section titled “Living with Windhorse” the author states “Windhorse enhances a person’s ability to tap into the spiritual part of his being.”  Even in the earliest sketch of this painting on the surface of the drum, the eye “appears to perceive things beyond physical realty.”

I am always careful to find the “eye” of the drum painting first, and to alter it as little as possible.  Its clarity is a manifestation of the drum’s ability to focus spiritual energy.

“Psychic abilities are a manifestation of windhorse. as they are an expression of powers that all spirits possess.”  In art, the ability of the mind to make sense of  lost and found edges feels like a version of this manifestation.  We fill in what we know to be present but unseen.

Windhorse can be added to by “acts of generosity, healing, and respect for nature and other humans, living things and the spirits.” The reverse handhold of a drum is a symbol of relationship that one holds when drumming.

The “gateless” Celtic interlacement pattern on the drum’s reverse has only a single knot where unwelcome energy might stick.  As windhorse can be depleted “through selfish and harmful deeds,” the protection associated with this magic hexagram symbol helps deflect unwholesome thoughts when riding this good horse into alternate realities.

The author states that “the ideal…is not the unattainable state of perfect goodness but, rather, a balanced state of benevolent responsibility.” Just as a drum is a physical balance of stiff and flexible; its voice is a balance of dependable and responsive.

Windhorse is increased by “doing things to help other people and restore balance in the world.”  Art, and shamanic drumming, is a way of helping others experience directly, without the need for words.

May we all be in balance: in art, in life, in the wind.

You can listen to the windhorse being played with a felted drumstick by clicking on this youtube link: