A medicine man from the Blood Indian Reservation, Brother Rufus Goodstriker…picked up the shofar and looked it over. “Ram’s hom,” he commented. “We use a whistle made from an eagle bone. May I blow it?”
He blew a few loud notes through the ram’s horn, handed it back, and simply said, “Of course, it’s much better than cow.”
For a moment I thought, “Better for what?” But Brother Rufus was a medicine man. He knew that you blow animal bones to blow the demons away, to clear the air, to connect with God, to bring about change, to say to the sleeping soul, “Hey, there, wake up! Pay attention!”
My response reminded me of the common element of all religion, the inner experience which transcends external variations and differences. As Reb Nahman of Bratzlav said, “The Holy Spirit shouts forth from the tales of the gentiles, too.”
– Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
From “The Shaman Blows the Shofar”
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Pronounced: sho-FAR or SHO-far, Origin: Hebrew, a ram’s horn that is sounded during the month of Elul, on Rosh Hashanah, and on Yom Kippur. It is mentioned numerous times in the Bible, in reference to its ceremonial use in the Temple and to its function as a signal-horn of war.