Chapter Eighteen – Crow Rattle

I walk into a room, a jaguar is in front of me pressing his third eye to the floor, he looks up as I approach. Standing by the jaguar, I find I am cradling a huge crow in my arms. The crow then sits up, places its forehead on mine, the beak pressed so hard against my nose I fear it might break. Our third eyes merge and I receive Crow medicine.

My conversation with the universe continued to intensify and one night I dreamed of a rattle. In the dream, I dug up with my hands, a red rattle from the soil, under the oak tree where I meditate. It was clear to me that this rattle wanted to be made. I began to gather the parts but did not make it straight away as I sensed something was missing. A few months later I returned from a music tour and went to sit under the oak where I hadn’t been for a couple of weeks. There, in the centre of the worn patch of grass where I sit to meditate, was a pristine Jay feather. This, I knew, was for the rattle. The next day I returned to meditate and this time in exactly the same spot was a pristine crow flight feather. I was delighted and sat down and meditated with this gift, which I sensed was also for the rattle. When I got up, I took just two steps and found another, so now I had a matching pair. Following this I went for a walk with Dougal in the woods about a mile away and found a third identical crow flight feather! All these feathers seemed to begin an initiation into the element of air and in my dreams great winds would blow around me.

About a week after I sat under the oak and began to carve my rattle handle from a piece of evergreen oak I had found at the foot of the Cathar castle of Peyrepertuse. That night there was to be a super-moon and I returned later to the tree to put out some crystals for cleansing. I had a feeling as I approached the tree that something was there for me. I looked down and once again a pristine crow feather, this time a covert, perfect for tying to a rattle! A few days later I went to meditate in the woods. During the meditation I saw the spirit of a crow and a ‘real’ crow came and sat very close, cawing incessantly. When I returned to my house, placed on the doorstep of the kitchen was a fourth crow flight feather, so now I had two matching pairs. In a dream I found myself walking with two crow flight feathers in my hand and shapeshifting into a crow-man. That night I dreamed of standing in our field as huge winds gusted around me. Although there have clearly been some spectacular phenomena associated with my journey the result has been to make me aware that divine communication is constant and that Crow reminds to look everywhere for the magic.

Two days in a row I found a dragonfly trapped in my workshop. The door was open but each time they were reluctant to leave. They were huge, six inches long and stunning emerald green. They reminded me of a dream from years before where I had caught a turtle in a lake using a fishing rod made from a dragonfly. The dragonfly is all about transformation. I helped these emerald beauties out through the door with greatest care. I hope the same will be done for me some day. Outside I stood, with my arms raised to the sky and gave thanks. Above me in the circle of blue sky visible through the trees, a hawk appeared and spiralled above me. The next day, as I was meditating outside, I went very deep, but eventually was drawn back by a repetitive knocking. I opened my eyes to see a woodpecker in the tree in front of me. His red tail feathers like the kundalini Shakti, his beak tapping on the tree like a shamanic drum. I walked with Dougal, I found some exquisite down feathers. I walked on and pondered the manifestation of shamanic tools into the world; a crow flight feather was in front of me on the path.

In a powerful dream experience I saw a feather floating down to earth. Then I saw a chair in a field. There were metal wires sticking out of it on which pieces of meat had been speared. They had been placed there as offerings to the huge raptor that was spiralling overhead. I went and sat in the chair and held up some meat for the raptor, which came and landed on the back of the chair. I was scared and I kept my head down, afraid to look at it. I eventually walked away and then turned back to look. As I did the raptor turned towards me and spread out its great wings. I felt I was being told to keep feeding higher consciousness, keep making offerings to Spirit. Curiously that night Michèle also dreamed of raptor feathers falling from the sky in front of her. At the new moon I again saw the tree and was filled with spiritual energy, I heard wolves howling three times in my head.

I eventually found the time to finish the rattle and decided to bury it under the oak tree and re-enact the dream of digging it up. Again there was a super-moon and I decided this was a perfect time to do it. On the day however there was a lot of tension and conflict around me and I was reluctant to do the ceremony with this kind of energy. That morning I decided to do some gardening and whilst clearing a patch I found another crow feather. Later in the afternoon as I was still pondering what to do, two crows flew close by me talking to each other. As the evening drew on I decided to take Dougal for a walk. As we approached the oak tree I said half jokingly to myself, OK universe, if there is a feather under the tree I’ll do the ceremony. When I got there I couldn’t believe that there was indeed a feather. Again Crow, and in such pristine condition it must have fallen only minutes before. So, that was decided and that evening I buried the rattle under the oak tree praying that it would absorb the knowledge of the underworld, become a link between heaven and earth and a conduit for healing in this one. The day after was the final super-moon of the series and I went at sunset and performed a ceremony for the rebirth of the rattle. I thanked the deers that had given the rattle head and the sinew, I thanked the Crow and the Jay for the feathers, I thanked the tree for the handle, I thanked the stones, seeds and crystals I had placed inside. Then, I began a journey to meet with the spirit of the rattle. As usual the Tiger came and off we went. I began to see flowers and the bees, at first I wondered why, then I remembered the beeswax on the handle and realised I’d forgotten to thank them, so I apologised and thanked them profusely. Eventually the rattle spirit flew down, my wild self came to the fore, I bared my teeth, I hissed like a snake. When I opened my eyes the silver moon was fully risen above me.

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