Rattle

I have no idea what to write about for K. I have done very little knot magic, not nearly enough to write a decent sized blog post about. I have never worked with or felt any connection to Kali, and I am not sure where I stand on the whole Karma debate. Those are the K words that popped into my head. I havent the slightest idea what to write about. So in the place of a Pagan Blogging Project post, I decided to write about my latest crafting project, which I am very excited about. This is something that I first dreamed about when I started on my more shamanic path.  I wanted to make my first shaman’s rattle. I have always wanted a drum, but I just cant afford the parts to make one right now, and listening to rattle recordings are just as effective to me as drumming. The rattle is much cheaper as I only had to pay for the rawhide amd it really only requires common sense to make.

So I decided to set out upon this journey. I originally thought that it would be cheaper to get my hands on a gourd to make a gourd rattle, even though I never really pictured a gourd one in my head. I asked around on twitter and facebook. Then someone in a facebook group recommended getting rawhide from the pet store. They sell cheap dog bones that are decent quality beef rawhide.  So I bought a couple rawhide rolls. I have a number of lengths of wood stashed in my dad’s garage for use as walking sticks and such. I re-found a beautiful piece of sycamore that I have had for a long time. I found it years ago on my family’s property and kept it. I originally intended to use it as a besom, but as soon as I had it in my hand the other day, I knew what it should be used for.  I cut off the piece I wanted and I still have a good 2 feet for another project.  It was rather dirty and dried out, so I oiled it up and now it shines beautifully.

The piece of sycamore that I used. I love the pattern that was made on here. I found the branch this way, I did not alter the wood at all except to cut it to size and oil it.

Once I had my wood selected it was time to make the head. I soaked the rawhide in water with one my my cayenne peppers from last summer. I did this to add some fire and life to the rattle.  After a couple hours, the rawhide had loosened up enough to work with. So I unrolled it and cut out the pieces that I needed.  Once the sun went down, I sat down to sew it all together.  A couple hours and multiple finger injuries later, I had it all sewed together.  I had to use a heavy duty canvas needle and some pliers to get through the rawhide.  I got all the pieces together and turned it right side out. Once I was satisfied that it wasn’t going to fall apart, I stuffed it with clean rags and tied the handle in so it could set overnight.  The rawhide took about 12 hours to fully dry.

The next night, I set up a crafting altar in my basement.

I had selected the filling for the rattle during the day while the head dried. I decided upon mostly corn, but I added a single turquoise bead and a piece of quartz that I found in Arkansas when I first dreamed about the rattle.

I put enough in until I decided that I liked the sound. I also added a handful of corn to a small jar as an offering that I would take outside once I was done with the assembly. I also added a shot of the scotch that I was sipping to that jar. I put the filling into the head and began the process of binding it all together.  I hummed a bit and I tied it all together.   This was possibly the most magical part for me. I fell into a bit of a trance state as I wrapped the cord around the head. I bound it in several layers to assure that it would not come apart any time soon.

The rawhide head with the binding.

a close up of the handle. I still love this pattern.

I added a turkey feather that I had found on my family’s property.  I had it lying around my room for a while and it was eager to be put to use on the rattle.  I also added a string of 3 turquoise beads.

So here she is, the final product.

Me holding my rattle to give you an idea of its size.

She turned out beautiful. I love her.  She let me know as soon as she was sewed together that she had fire in her.  I tend to personify some of the tools, especially ones like this.  She is a great piece of work and I am very proud of her.  I may want to paint the head, but I am going to journey with her a couple times before making that decision. If I do paint her, I will do another post with pictures of that.

I hope you all enjoy my work. It was a lot of fun making her. I would love to make more like this just for the joy of crafting.

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About Iolair

My name is Iolair. I am from Northern Ohio, but I'm currently in the Caribbean going to veterinary school. I have a fascination for nature and the Old Gods. My blog is an exploration into the winding path that I follow. Shamanism, herbalism, folk lore, and witchcraft of all kinds are just some of the topics that I love to explore. Always open to chat and learn all that I can. View all posts by Iolair

18 responses to “Rattle

  • Joseph Magnuson

    THAT was a great post. So nice to see the pictures. Big congratulations!

  • sara magnuson

    I love this post so much, Ben! It’s so great to read how you crafted her and I can tell it was really a joint effort between you and the materials. Nice work and may you enjoy many mystical experiences with her!

    • Iolair

      Thanks Sara. I think that the magical crafting is one of my favorite parts of being a witch. I love getting to know a material and immersing myself in it to bring out something great. I definitely want to craft more like this.

  • Seillean

    Simply Beautiful Ben! I loved this post. It’s a tool to be very proud of for sure. Thanks so much for sharing the process with us. Very inspiring!

    • Iolair

      Thanks Rick! I love the process, it is probably the best part of most projects. Getting to the finished product and pour your energy into it to make it unique and magical. So much fun. If I wasn’t going to be a veterinarian, I could be happy doing things like this professionally.

      • Seillean

        The process itself it my favorite part too. Every time you put yourself into a created object for your work it is a type of initiation in and of itself.

        Oh gods yes, I’d do things like this professionally in a heartbeat if I could!

      • Iolair

        Agreed. I think I will do a post about the process. It is worth it. There is just so much magic in those intricate details that make projects like this so much fun. I envy Sarah Lawless for what she does and how much she is able to do.

  • geraldinefirequeen

    Thankyou Ben, I much enjoyed reading that, and thanks for the tips on how to make a personal rattle. I might just have a go. The stitching looked the hardest part.

    • Iolair

      You are most welcome. The process is definitely the best part of crafting. I love it.
      As far as the stitching, that definitely was the hardest part. If you hit a thin spot in the rawhide it could rip when you tighten the cord. And you have to be careful because when the rawhide dries, it shrinks. If your stitches aren’t tight enough, it will gap. Mine is a bit gapped, but not enough to be problematic.
      I am glad you enjoy the project. Good luck making yours and keep me updated as far as how it goes.

  • This Week, in Awesomeness | The Crossroads Companion

    […] My friend Iolair shows us a rattle that he crafted himself. Combined with his Cernunnos plaque that he made, the result is simply astounding! […]

  • Anne

    I’ll make a post on my blog with it’s photo – it’s HUGE. Yours is delicate, and looks like she’s melodious.

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