I have a buddy who lives in New Mexico named Leroy Anderson. Leroy has delved into the very heart of primordial arts immersing into Native American techniques and rituals. A few days ago I received a package from Leroy. In the box was a dream-catcher, an Ojibwa rattle and some key rings made from bear hide. The dream-catcher is made from the seedpod of a herbaceous species belonging to the genus, Proboscidea, commonly called “devil’s claw.” The dream-catcher is now hanging over my bed. But the item that enthralls me is the Ojibwa rattle. The handle is made from spalted dogwood from Tennessee. There is something magical about the little rattle. From the moment I started rattling it I felt a connection to something I was familiar with, something I have heard. Being a scientific sort I wasn’t going to relegate that feeling to anything mystical and eventually concluded it reminds me of the little cicadas that provide an almost continual background, white-noise, in the Brushlands during the summer. Perhaps, but then maybe there is something more? Could it be it reminds me of a time past: A conduit via that collective unconscious transporting us into the lives of our ancient ancestors?
Here’s what Leroy says on the subject, “My belief around the rattles is [that] when you sit in a quiet place and rattle the rattle, a sacred space forms around you. You then can either allow emotions to release or you can take a question within knowing you will get a picture that you have to interpret. So I do think that you are feeling the energy that is connected to the rattle.”
The rattles are made from dew claws and they have a pleasant, indeed tranquilizing sound. Leroy just got back from the Sundance ceremony in South Dakota. “I talked to an Ojibwa woman at the Sundance and she said that the rattles are tools that you can use to help one’s self,” Leroy said.
Well, I sure as heck can’t explain it. Other than to say I like to rattle that little device because in some mysterious way it calms me. Now don’t scoff. Some people have to smoke a cigarette or take a drink or a lot worse. I don’t smoke or drink. I just roam the woods and oftentimes sit for hours in the deepest brush. And now I think I’ll take my little rattle and maybe call out to those who roamed these sleepy woods long before I arrived.
Each time I give something,
I do it freely and willingly.
There are no expectations of something in return,
for it is in the giving that I receive my fulfillment.
The INTENT of the give away is the GIFT.
The gift that I have given cannot be
returned to me in any way at all.
If I receive a gift from the one I gave to,
it is their gift that they give and it is
given in their way, whatever that may be.
They alone place the limit on the fulfillment
they receive in their give away.
I am thankful and blessed for the many
opportunities given to me to give fully
in a free and willing way.