It ain’t spring until music starts playing in your head as soon as you wake up. To go with the flow and to entertain your urge to move following the sacred rhythm of your inner being, having a pair of rattles can be quite useful. Rattling and drumming are the first prehistoric forms of music humans have developed, and it is no surprise those sounds have followed us since the caves we walked out of. Their vibration is rooted deep into the core of our being, and they are often found as key instruments in many different pagan practices. Sure, you can buy a drum or a pair of rattles, but there is something special in creating your own because we always project a piece of our energy into material objects we are creating. Ever since Ostara and the beginning of spring, there is movement inside me that wants to be expressed. Since I couldn’t find my old rattle (there are no coincidences in this Universe), I had to make a new one, hence a short DIY tutorial on how you can make your own pair of rattles.
When creating a rattle, follow your own instinct and play with different fillings until you get the sound that you want. You can make rattles on wooden sticks like I prefer to do, or you can hold them directly in your hands. I found that having them on sticks gives me more range in sounds, and even a gentle shake can be heard as opposed to having them in my fists.
When choosing the casing for a rattle, wooden containers would be ideal. If you are in no such luck to acquire wooden ones, plastic ones will do just fine. I often repurpose plastic objects as much as I can and give them new meaning instead of just throwing them out. Those three Rs (reuse, recycle, repurpose) are important to keep in mind. Don’t worry, the sound is lovely, and you can decorate your rattles in any way you wish, so you won’t see those plastic containers anyway.
- 2 wooden sticks 20-30 cm long depending on your preferences
- 2 small plastic containers (I used those from nail polish remover)
- fabric of your own choosing to cover the containers
- wool, thread, or rope
- decoration such as a different kind of fabric, beads, paint to color the rattles, feathers, etc. (I used another fabric and two wooden beads)
You can decorate your rattles with different materials, sew beads on them, glue and/or tie feathers around them, but you can also choose to paint your rattles and draw symbols on them. My previous rattle, the one I, unfortunately, cannot find at the moment, has feathers and a symbol of Earth element on it.
What should I fill my rattle with?
Whatever you like. Keep in mind, though, that lighter materials produce quieter sounds. You can fill your rattle with dry plants only, but it will be almost silent. That doesn’t mean that its vibration won’t be lovely, of course. It all depends on how loud you want your rattles to be and with what kind of frequency. The smaller the material is, the more shushy it is, and it will resemble the low frequency that the sound of leaves has. Bigger materials will have more of a bang when they hit the walls of your container.
Another factor that you have to consider is the amount of filling you use or the amount of your container that you will fill. The more you fill the container, the more shushy it will be because the material won’t be free to move and hit the walls of the container. Let’s take, for example, that you use rice. If you fill the entire container with it, pieces of rice will gently rub against each other, but they won’t have enough room to move, hit the walls of the container, and make a loud sound. On the other hand, if you put two marbles in your container, you will hear loud banging each time you move your rattle.
I used four different materials for filling each rattle: 3 grams of salt, 7.5 grams of cloves, 25 grams of quartz crystal, and 25 grams of black sand. Tiny black sand is really shushy and allows the rattle to have a low-frequency sound when moved gently, while quartz crystals are a bit larger and heavier, and the rattles can be loud if I want them to. As for the cloves and salt… Well… Let’s just say that I put salt in everything, and cloves are magical and go with salt fantastically. As for the amount of filling, I filled one-third of the containers. Some people prefer to use more filling, and some prefer less. As I said earlier, you need to play a little and see what sounds work best for you. Don’t tie and/or glue your rattles and finish them until you’ve tried them in your hands and felt what kind of movements are required for what kind of sound intensity or frequency.
When you fill your containers with filling, close the hole either by glue, your wooden stick, or both and be careful that it really is sealed and nothing can come out. The hole was just a bit bigger than my stick, so I glued some wool around the stick and then glued it to fit tightly in the hole. Now the decorating part comes in. There are no limits when it comes to your creativity. You can decorate your rattles in any way you wish. They can be simple, or they can be shiny and colorful. As usual, I went with green colors and decorated my dark green rattles with light green wooden beads and another light green fabric. Oh, and did I mention that the wooden sticks were painted green too?
Move to your inner rhythm
I never liked that saying, “Dance like nobody is watching.” It presumes that I should dance differently if there are or aren’t people looking at me. We should strive to be free in our expression in front of people we are around. If you can’t be comfortable with your people, maybe they aren’t your people. Consider finding yourself another group of humans if current ones are holding your spirit down. You can move, you know? You are not a tree.
While we are on the “you can move”, try it. Rattle away and let your body follow. Relax and let go of the social construct that it has to look good. It really doesn’t. Move your arms, legs, hips, and every part of your body that you can. Listen to it and perform movements that are easy, natural, and do not hurt or feel uncomfortable in any way. Feel the rhythm moving you, and feel how you yourself are moving the rhythm.
Interested in more crafts and projects?
When a pagan utters the word Craft, they usually mean the conscious governing of their life and influencing the world around them, controlling it in a way, and co-creating it. It really is a special skill and a craft to be able to control yourself and then in extension, your influence and coexistence with other creatures of the Universe, humans, plants, and animals. Craft includes…
All photos are taken by me. You have my permission to use them with the proper credit and the link back to this site.
Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again my dear pagan soul. Rejoice in life, and life will rejoice in you. May God and Goddess bless you in everything you do and spirit guides follow you wherever you go.
In love and light,