14 October, 2014

Creating a Rattle during the Full Moon Eclipse

What an intense few weeks so far! Mercury went Retrograde (see future post), the Full Moon involved a spectacular eclipse, and the veils between Worlds have felt much thinner (as we approach Samhain).

Since becoming a shaman Full Time (although when is it not full time? Spirits are always on and communicating), I have wanted to create a new rattle to honor my professional work and relationships with Spirits. I made my first rattle back in 2010, to coincide with the beginning of my education. It is very powerful, very loud, and moves a lot of energy very quickly. It has been used in years of Journeywork, individual and group Healings, and many House Clearings.

During the past 4+ years, some of the corn has exploded, and bits and bobs keep falling out during particularly intense ceremonies. It has a desire to "retire" and only "come out" for special occassions-- ha ha!

I began working on a new rattle during the New Moon on September 24th. I gathered materials, looked for different hides/pelts/skins, collected all of my stones gathered at different sacred sites (including special places at Gunpowder Park and Coba), and purchased artificial sinew, an awl, and leather scraps.
Lots of materials!
I began the actual work of cutting the hide and sewing it the day before the Full Moon Eclipse. My last rattle used a particularly strong and tough hide; for this rattle, Old Man Coyote himself wanted to be honored! It was nearly impossible to find a "hard-tanned" coyote pelt, as coyote fur is often used in fur coats, hats, etc. I got lucky, and found an "air-dried" coyote pelt on eBay (the sacred provider of spiritual materials). I created a mock-up of the shape that I wanted, and cut out the hide from the heart-region of the pelt (no better area for a heart-centered rattle of healing!).

So difficult to cut!
Now, in almost 99% of the time, the hide is shaved down, so that no fur remains on it. This keeps the rattle-head hide tough and strong and resonant. For my rattle, I decided to keep the fur on, both for the tactile aspect of it, and just to see what it would look like and how it would sound!

Soaking the fur and hide for the rattle-head
As the evening grew late, and the hide became pliable, I sewed my rattle-head and filled it with sand. This helped to shape it and expand it to its full roundness. I went to bed, and set my alarm for early morning (5:00am!!), so that I could complete the rattle before the Full Moon Eclipse began (at 5:40am).

Zip-tied to keep the sand in!
 I woke up at 5:02am, and went out to check my rattle.

It should have been completely dry.

It was still completely wet. Ugh. The coyote fur had insulated the skin, and it had not dried or hardened at all.

I took the zip-tied rattle outside, poured offerings, and made my prayers and intentions under the Full Moon, right as it went into Eclipse.

Poor camera resolution :(
I replaced the sand with Salt, in the hopes that it would dry out the hide better (sort of Ancient Egyptian), and went back to bed.

When I woke up later that morning, the rattle-head was STILL DAMP, although not as wet as before. I started Googling, to see if the Gods of the Internet would help me figure out how to dry my rattle-head safely.

No results.

I got a little worried, a little anxious, and a little crazy. I decided to "bake" the rattle-head in the Oven!

I followed similar directions for dehydrating meat, and found that finally, the rattle-head was dry and stiff enough for filling!
Almost done!
I put in all of my materials, dried corn, sacred herbs, etc. and began gluing the hide to my driftwood stick. I wrapped the ends with black leather straps, put on another zip-tie, and carefully arranged it on my counter-top to dry.

Each night of the Full Moon, I took it outside to soak in the energy. I also took it out into the Sun, to get a nice balance. And I have begun to use it in setting up Crystal Healing Grids for individual client appointments.

Coyote's rattle is complete!
I look forward to learning more about its power, how it moves energy, and how it puts me into Trance for Journeys!

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