It’s always so great to see what other seekers can do with a rattle kit from Thunder Valley Drums. This comes from Randy, a Floridian, who purchased the kit a few months ago. He chose a natural approach to leave the gourd unpainted and to show its own beautiful patina. He even made it so that he could loosen the handle in order to change sounders, thus changing the rattle’s voice whenever he wants, a very neat idea! I’ll let him explain
more (excerpts from two separate emails):
“Greetings Shaman Bob,
“I finished the ‘Owl Rattle’ and attached a couple pictures. I kind of did my own thing though. Sounders are fossil sharks teeth (found in the Peace River), one turquoise nugget, one emerald chip, some gourd seeds and a bit of whole leaf sage. Wonderful entrancing sound. The cross pieces are bamboo and are removable so the handle can come out and the sounders could be replaced with a different mix if need be. There is a thin hemp line running from one cross piece to the other which are strung with turquoise and “cheerios” found in the Peace River. ‘Cheerios’ are natural bone or pebbles with a hole in them. They are believed to have been worn by local Native American tribes over the ages. On top of the rattle are two bigger ‘cheerios’ bound by leather lacing. There are two feathers placed in bamboo twigs and strung on hemp line with turquoise, bone Owl totem beads, turquoise Butterfly totem bead, bone Turtle totem bead, and a hand rolled Pipestone bead.
“I enjoyed the process. No birds were harmed as they had passed on to the other world. Ceremony was performed to honor their gifts to this world. Purely to honor them and their spirit.
He mentions the “Cheerios” on his rattle, which were believed to be worn by Native Americans like beads. The same beliefs can be found here in Kentucky, where there are lots of such fossils in local streams. I believe their scientific name is “crinoids,” which the University of Kentucky (link to article will open in new window) says are also called “sea lilies.” Some still grow in the world’s oceans, according to the U of K.
Great job, Randy, you made a beautiful and sacred gourd rattle. Thanks so much for sharing your photo! (I added the special effects to the photo, by the way, that seemed to put the rattle in motion.)
I am so thankful to our friend Ruud, who lives in the Netherlands, for updating us with progress on his experiments with gourd rattles…and the Wheel of Life they offer. He planted some seeds from the gourd kits he purchased (from Thunder Valley Drums), and just look what’s happening! He has treasures growing right outside his door! He will never need to purchase another gourd, and is now officially off the gourd grid!
If you’ve ever cleaned a gourd, you know that everything that tumbles out of them looks pretty lifeless. When you first start scraping out the interior, there’s a cascade of thin, fluffy, silky material that can quickly take to a breeze and turn into a blizzard. But next, ah, NEXT comes the payoff. Gourd Seeds! Lots and lots of ’em, a veritable garden full!
But man, do they ever look pitiful. You may even think there’s no way that they can actually come alive. But pop ’em in some soil, and wait for a wonderful surprise! Gorgeous blossoms! Beautiful fruit! THEN— birdhouses and herb containers galore! And a choice one can become a sacred partner for your spiritual journeys. Perhaps several can become rattles for loved ones. Such a glorious friend is the ever-giving gourd.
Here’s a brief picture story of Ruud’s Rattles.
Thank you for sharing, Ruud!
I can’t stop without mentioning that you, too, can learn how to make gourd rattles. I am offering a $2.99 eBook with step-by-step instructions and many sacred ceremonies you can do to prepare and activate your rattle ally. Look for the information at the top of the column on the right. If you’re interested in buying a rattle kit, you can get the eBook free! Click here for details (will open a new window on the Thunder Valley Drums site.).
But you don’t have to buy a kit. At this time of year, gourds are plentiful at farmer’s markets and other locations like roadside produce stands. So help out a farmer and buy a gourd. Then turn to your favorite tree or shrub and ask it for a handle. There is probably one lying on the ground beneath it. From there, prepare for an incredible experience as a gourd rattle maker!
It’s not nearly as difficult as you may think. And it will serve you for the rest of your life. There is NOTHING like making your own sacred tools for the journey ahead. Just look what Ruud did!
Aho & Namaste,
Copyright 2007-2014 Thunder Valley Drums. All Rights Reserved.