Shamanic rattle, shaker, noise maker— no matter its moniker, this sacred tool is a valuable ally in a shaman healer’s intention of service through sacred rhythm. Like a shaman’s drum, the rattle is used to aid in achieving the “altered state of consciousness,” (ASC), that brainwave frequency measured between 7-8 Hz which is the threshold to journey work, reportedly in the Theta/Alpha range. That is roughly the same as the Earth’s natural frequency, known as part of the “Schumann Frequency” range that I’ve written about before. The lowest in the range, according to Wikipedia, is 7.83 Hz.
But here’s something new to add.
I know this is tangential to my subject, but it’s so cool. You can actually hear Mother Earth’s heartbeat. There are a lot of amateur radio buffs who monitor the Schumann Frequency range, which results from lightning strikes around the planet. Once on the site, you can choose to listen to lightning strikes from many places. Associated Websites are also listed so you can learn more.
Estimates are that lightning strikes the earth about 100 times a second from an average of around 2,000 thunder storms occurring on the planet at any one time. That translates into more than 8 million strikes a day! And that is what helps produce the Earth’s measurable heartbeat at 7.83HZ, the same frequency you need to enter into the altered state. But don’t worry, you won’t need quite that many beats on a drum per second to do so!
In fact, no one knows the perfect number of drum or rattle beats per minute (bpm) needed to entrain the brain to hone in on the altered state of consciousness and thus to lock in to Mother Earth’s frequency, as estimates vary widely from 200 to more than 300 bpm. After many years of journey drumming and rattling, though, it seems to me that as long as you maintain a rapid beat for anything over 10 minutes, you will at least begin to flirt with the ASC. Some people require more or less time, of course, so you will have to experiment to find your optimum.
I’ve found my preferred beat, and you can download it here if you like. I made the recording while playing my Lightning-Struck drum.
But it is a fact that the rattle, like a drum, works to help your brain tune in to this frequency range while playing it rapidly.
You can use a rattle for many different purposes, too. For example, a Hopi healer teacher taught me that she uses her rattle to summon powerful spiritual allies while simultaneously warding off negative energies that can’t tolerate her rattle’s sound (frequency). A logical extension of that is where healers will also use their rattles to cleanse an area and the people within that area during ceremony.
To many modern day people, this may all sound rather strange. But if you are willing to try it, I think you will find a whole new experience of awareness awaits you. (You should, of course, provide yourself and the immediate area and people around you with loving intention and a smudge protection before you start any such ceremony.)
I’ve often wondered if humankind has always known the value of rattles, but only recently has forgotten their spiritual value in modern times. Like, why do we automatically buy a rattle for a new baby? Oh, sure, modern psychology suggests it’s good for helping the baby learn about sight, sound and tactile experiences, but humans have been making rattles for their babies for a LONG time, long before psychology developed, by knowing the instruments hold the power to provide comfort and contentment. A baby rattle was discovered in an Indus Valley town that dates back to 3,300 BC. In those times, the shamanic tradition was all that existed to help people heal, so the rattle was also a sacred instrument. Giving one to a baby, then, had to hold extra significance.
Whatever the case, you should hear a rattle before buying it, as you definitely need one that is pleasing to your ear. That will help you find a comfort level and open the way to your own connection with the heartbeat of All That Is.
Aho & Namaste,
Links to ancient rattle info:
- Article link to Rattle shown in above photo
- 2500-year-old baby rattle (another article)
- 2010 article
- Rattle photos on Pinterest
Final Note: Even better than buying a rattle is making a rattle! There is nothing better than making your own sacred shamanic tools. Look in the column on the right for an eBook about how to make your own rattle, and even how to get it free with the purchase of a Rattle Making Kit from Thunder Valley Drums!
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