Rattles connect birth and death – from the baby rattle to the “death rattle” that is heard from those crossing over the final passage. Rattles are one of the most ancient of musical instruments and occur naturally in such forms as dried gourds and seed pods. They are used in most all cultures, and are used to call in spirits, break up “stuck” energy and are associated with the west on the Medicine Wheel. Rattles were used for healing and often they are used by shamans and students of shamanism for healing and journey work to help the healer go into trance state to connect with the spirit world, where they are guided or given advice on what to do to help those in need. Of course, they are also great rhythm instruments.
Each rattle we make here is made with the same respect as are our drums. We make the rattles with the scraps left over from the drums, and choose the thicker hides that are firm enough retain their shape. We fill the rattles with corn, a traditional material used in ancient rattles.