Shamanic Drumming Blog

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sending Out a Sound

Sound is regarded as one of the most effective ways of establishing connections with the spirit realm, since it travels through space, permeates visual and physical barriers, and conveys information from the unseen world. Sound, therefore, is a means of "relationship" as well as a "transformation" of energy.

Sound does not just travel out into oblivion. There is a call and then a response. When Iroquoian people of present-day central and upstate New York discuss "sending out a sound," they mention blowing on a conch shell and using the turtle rattle to attract attention, signaling the start of a ceremony, notifying the community, and drawing the Creator's participation. The conch is sounded at the beginning of important rituals because the sound is believed to have the ability to drown out any negative words or noises that might disturb or disrupt the harmonious atmosphere. The sound of the conch is understood as the source of all existence -- a cosmic womb, for when the conch is blown, it is said to emulate the primordial sound from which all else emanates.

According to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), when the turtle rattle is shaken, "the earth stops to listen." The turtle rattle is a symbol of the world on the turtle's back, Turtle Island. The Creator is said to have loved snapping turtle best. When Mother Earth hears the sound of the turtle rattle, all of creation awakens and moves to its shaking beat. The crack of a turtle rattle, which shakes the earth, draws the attention of the spirits at the beginning of a ceremony or meeting. "To Shake the Earth" is a metaphor often used in Iroquoian communities to describe the purpose of the turtle rattle.

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