Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tools: Sistrums, Rattles, and Drums

A sistrum is a percussion instrument from ancient Egypt, used in the worship of the Goddesses Hathor, Bast, and in later times Isis. Sistra can some in a few styles, from little metal disks on bars that move when shaken, to movable metal bars that clank against the frame of the sistrum. Depending on how the sistrum is shaken the sounds it makes can be anything from a light jingling to a loud, sharp clanging sound. In some ways, the sound can be similar to that of a tambourine.

(Two sistra, both of the metal disk variety.
Above: A naos, or shrine, shaped sistrum, with the image of Hathor.
Below: A simpler sistrum with a rattle attached to the base.)

Rattles and drums are more commonly known instruments. All three can be used in meditation and trance work. A simple and repetitive beat will help one in attaining an altered state of mind for otherworld traveling, and different rhythms and tones will have different effects. Some may prefer a quicker, higher tone, while others have better experiences with a slow and low beat. Additionally, some find benefit in actually using the instrument, while others prefer to listen to someone else playing - either live or as a recording. (A recording of your own playing can also be used.)

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