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    Shaman's Rattle Root

    The use of this root as a rattle/sound producer in tribal animistic rituals or Vedic Shamanism equals for spiritual and surpasses for animistic (body), the position that dry lotus pods hold. The seeds are ground up after the ceremony and the resin-like waxy mixture is smoked with tobacco or lotus petals in a traditional mix called Hokah or Gudakhu by the Shaman. The pipe is only passed to participants who request a smoke, and is never given or never taken except when seeking visionary guidance.

    Traditionally, this rare herb was also used as a dream catcher and vivid dream inducer. The user would shake the rattle 3 times over their head and then their feet in clockwise circles, putting the herb under their pillow after that to experience a truly deep sleep. This ritual is always accompanied by a half glass of wine that had rattle root soaked in it for three weeks. This reportedly causes visions and helps facilitate vivid dreaming. The Todas actually grind up the seed and pulp and make an alcohol specifically for this purpose.

    Rattles, are made for healing using materials that possessed healing energy, and others for spirit work. Some shaman rattles were made out of many different items such as turtle shells, plant pods, gourds and rawhide. Rattles were used for healing but more often they are used to help the shaman go into trance state to connect with the spirit world, where they are guided or given advise on what to do to help those in need.

    The Todas are a small pastoral community living on the 7,000 Nilgiri Hills in South India. They believe in 1600 or 1800 superior godlike beings, the two most important being On and Teikirzi. They along with the Aborginals of Australia are the only known people to use plant pods in ritualistic healing shaman rituals.

    Tribal specialists also used herbal remedies, cauterisation, divination and exorcism, treated the more intractable cases. These people were highly respected and had considerable social power.

    According to Rätsch, "Because the traveling herbs, as a rule, are utilized to increase shakti or to obtain secret information from nature, their use is usually not revealed, and to others."

    The Shaman's Rattle Root was used by Tantric alchemists as an aphrodisiac, and was also ground up for use in the manufacture of the native "Gudakhu" visionary tobacco smoked in Hookahs.

    A shaman's rattle possesses strong powers and is often kept in their own special medicine bag. Rattles, for those drawn to them, are very powerful tools and should always be handled with proper care and reverence.

    Department of Botany, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, INDE

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