When we hear the word rattle we often think of a). A baby’s toy or b). A musical instrument. But the humble rattle extends beyond these common stereotypes delving instead into the healing and ritual practices of shaman from both Africa and the Americas.
The gourd rattle is one such rattle whose purpose before any other was used in pathworking and healing rituals, rattling and loosening the grip of disease from affected souls. Both sound and movement are focal in the shamanic use of a rattle, movement stirs the subtle energy surrounding the subtle body and the sound sifts through that energy, warding off the negative and stagnant energies.
The gourd rattle consists of a hollow gourd or calabash, covered on the outside with a net of seeds, beads, shells, or any available material. “The gourd is a functional creation of nature with a wide variety of uses and traditions in cultures around the world. A fruit of varied shape and size, it commonly grows on a vine not unlike the squash, but there are also varieties that grow on bushes and trees.”
The simplest form of a gourd rattle is the gourd itself with it’s own seeds.
Rattles have a special place in mine and my families practice, just writing about their healing potential warms my heart.