Make Rattles, Take Journeys

An All-Day Gourd Rattle-Making Workshop

April 24th, 1999
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

491 Broadway, 6th Floor
New York, N. Y. 10012
Cost $95

Space is limited so register early.
$40 deposit. Send check or money order to
Stephen Williamson
788 Columbus Ave., Apt 7P
NYC, NY 10025
212 866-7240
fax 212 866-1275

(Day of the workshop number
Hollis Melton at 212 219-1898)

Each participant will make a gourd rattle. All materials--gourds, beads stones, paints, wood burners and other equipment--will be furnished.

Large choice of gourds. Dozens of different materials to put in the rattles to make unique sounds.

I use a lot semi-precious stones in my own rattles. I like the idea of lapis, turquoise and quartz materials, but more importantly semi-precious stone chips have the right variety of shapes and hardness for good rattle material. Working with their irregularities gives you great control over the sound.

I will work with each participant to help them find the right sound for them.

The workshop will consist of:


An overview and history of rattles, the sistrum and shamanism. Demonstrations of rattles, sistrum, click sticks, journeying sticks, spirit knives and 'wands'. Participants will get a chance to handle and experiment with some of these more exotic constructions.

Each participant will spend the better part of the day making and decorating their own gourd rattle.

We'll discuss and share ways of shamanic journeying, listen to examples of shamanic rattling & drumming, and discuss the use of tapes and drumming and rattle techniques.




Then we'll take two journeys using our rattles.

A short journey Walking the Rim of Consciousness which uses shamanic techniques for meditation and centering.

And take a longer journey. I use the term matrix or locus to describe what is often called the upper or lower world by traditional shamans. We will visit one of the ancient places.

Each participant will be given a packet with three articles:

"Technology of the Sacred"
"Sounding the Shaman's Journey " on the use of glossolalia or shaman's language in journeying.
A guide to Internet shamanic resources.


A lunch break. Soup and bread, teas and coffee will be served.

Stephen Williamson began making his uniquely designed rattles in 1992. Hundreds have been made since, each one original. They are now in use on every continent excepting, perhaps, Antarctica.

He makes a great variety of rattles, some purely decorative, others designed for musicians or shamanic journeying, and he makes them out of many materials--gourds, plastic, leather, even metal. In 1994 he developed a new idiophone made of cherry and walnut wood, a pair of joined 'click sticks' that can be used for dancing or journeying. In 1996 he began making revived and original versions of the ancient metal disk rattle,the sistrum. He has taught gourd rattle making at work- shops and roundtables at Jean Houston's Mystery School for five years. He has presented and shown his instruments at Shamanic conferences.

Steve is the coeditor of the Motley Focus Locus, an Internet hub of five magazine and six forumsor "Committees of Correspondence." He is an editor oftwo Internet e-zinesBlack Raven: A Magazine of Myth and Symbolic Studies and Open Tradition: Shamanism and Western Gnostic Tradition.