Monday, April 5, 2021

Something About the Sistrum

Shaken, not stirrup.

One more instrument! Really. The sistrum was a sacred instrument in ancient Egypt used in dances and religious ceremonies. Wikipedia says it was popular in the worship of the goddess Hathor, with the U-shape of the sistrum's handle and frame seen as resembling the face and horns of the cow goddess. Elsewhere, Isis, in her role as mother and creator, was depicted holding a pail, symbolizing the flooding of the Nile, in one hand and a sistrum in the other.

You might recall one of Isis's offspring was Horus, whose statue form reminds Professor Childermass of the mascot of the Goebel Brewing Company in The Trolley to Yesterday (1989). Now, back in ancient times, can you imagine Isis fussing over her son and his sistrum lessons? I remember my daughter’s piano lessons growing up and Sandrine loved to fight the black keys. Horus seems the prankster type and more interested in popping over to Athens, Aleppo, or Constantinople for a quick jaunt with friends than giving this any serious shake. Or rattle. Or roll.

Now to see whether anyone plays lead electric sistrum.


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