A few posts ago, I talked about my hesitance to work with a rattle during a trance exercise suggested in a book. Something about the context didn’t feel right to me. It just wasn’t for me. Well, I attended the Central New York Pagan Pride Day on September 17th and had an opportunity to try a rattle as I danced in a drum circle. It happened by chance – I was merely trying to encourage my daughter to try something and join me in the dance.
After the fact, I researched the instrument and found that it’s called an ekpiri rattle. It was comprised of a wooden handle and various hard shells strung around it. It made a satisfying woody rattle. It’s apparently a common instrument in Ghana.
As the drummers worked their magic, I danced with my daughter and some old friends in the circle. I won’t say that I went into any sort of deep trance – certainly not the kind I experienced at a Wellspring drum circle a few years ago – but I did find it remarkably easy to release worries and feel connected with the moment. I have a vivid memory of looking up at the tall oak tree above the circle. I admired it as I spiraled below, playing that beautiful African instrument.
As I rattled and focused on the oak here and there, inspiration struck – why not make a rattle in a more Druidic context? I imagine utilizing wood found in Celtic lore- perhaps apple to represent sweetness and the Otherworld, or rowan for protection? I imagine the percussive sound coming from acorn caps strung about the wood. And this is leading me to research rattles and their ritual uses in European cultures. Perhaps I should revisit my bell wand?
This could be the start of something personally transformative… My trance studies are once more meeting with my casual love of dance while also appealing to my creative side.
One thought on “Trance 1: Rattles and Dance”
I’ve always been more of an ‘inside’ dancer than elsewise. I love that you’ve discovered something in the rattle. Drums and rattles have always been something I’ve had an ear for but never explored myself. In fact my penchant for dissecting music and playing music video games has led many around me to say “You should have been a drummer.” A rattle though… Can’t help but say I never thought of it… But I certainly am now.
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