Within shamanism and witchcraft, there are some practitioners, myself included, who excell in the use of a rattle to move energy. Sound is considered to be part of the Air Element, therefore any instrument, the rattle included, are considered to be tools that are for use in an Air Elemental way. As such, they are excellent for the purpose of moving energy. There are many different types of sounds that can come from rattles, anything from the sound of gravel stirring around to the sound of the wind or waves. I prefer the rattles that have the wind and wave sounds mostly because of how I put it to use. Those sounds are conducive to shamanic journeying. They bring our consciousness into a bit of an hypnotice state where we can access all levels of consciousness, what many refer to as the Middle, Upper and Lower World or Realms.
When we access these realms of consciousness we are able to “journey” through them to find “medicine” (that which will serve to enhance our experience on our earth walk here and now), insights and inspirations. We will be able to access our conscious connection to spirit animals, spirit guides, angels, gods and goddesses and so on. Some traditionalists insist that in order to access these you must go to the CORRECT world, be it the Lower, Middle, or Upper world. I have personally found, though, that Spirit is not restricted in the same manner that humans are. For us, we are either on the main level of the house, or upstairs, or downstairs etc. Just like we can travel from one level to the other in our house, Spirit can travel from one level to the other in the many realms. But, unlike humans, Spirit can exist in ALL LEVELS AT ONE TIME. So really, we may start out going in one direction to find and answer to a question when doing shamanic journeying, but Spirit will find a way to us regardless of which direction we have taken initially.
The swirling rattle serves to create a sound wave that helps us to access these many realms. It can also serve to move energy when doing Ceremony, Ritual, and Healing. Chakras can be spun in the correct direction for their flow using a rattle. Energy blockages can be moved out of an energy system using a rattle. When doing space clearing, a rattle can be use in call on Spirit for assistance, and it can be use to clear out blocked or negative energy pockets in a room.
The rattle really is one of the most versatile of witchy tools. When finding or designing and creating a rattle, I encourage you to go for the ones that have a softer sound. The others, although powerful, can also irritate energies and thus create chaos as you use them. Whether you purchas a rattle, get gifted a rattle, or build a rattle of your own, feel free to decorate it as you choose. There is no real rule about how one must or must not decorate a rattle. Make it so that it attunes to you and your energy through your creativity. And feel free to change it up when necessary. Just make sure all decorations are secure, as they will fly off while in use if they are not.