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If you are just joining me in these posts you can catch up on the chapter-by-chapter book review of Awakening to the spirit world through these posts:

Chapter 8: Working with Sound and Light

Welcome back. First I want to say that I did finish the project from Chapter 6, Dreaming: The Dream Circle. It is a painting, created to safely access the World of Dream. It was a work in progress and I will post a few photos this weekend so that you can get a better look at it. The Dream Circle will be part of the evolving body of work that I had planned for the collaborative show in August… which is “evolving” on its own and becoming a bit more than I had anticipated. Anyway, as I said, details are to come.

This chapter is about Sound and Light. I assumed that sound would come along eventually as sound, ceremony, and ritual are generally brought together for altering our state of consciousness, bringing people together into a group mind or energy field, and to call in the helping forces and spirits that one wold need. These are a few of the ways in which sound compliments healing or magickal work.

The chapter begins with historical and cultural stories of first sounds and sound healing deities and then moves into topics like:

  • Drumming and Healing
  • Gods of the Harp
  • Power Songs, and finding your power song
  • Singing and Healing Patterns

Tom Cowan, in the Gods of the Harp part, writes:

“This is keeping with other cultures that we see the universe as something vibrational or something created by a voice, song or sacred word.

In an old Irish myth, the goddess Boann (later her name become Boyne, on of Ireland’s sacred rivers) gives birth to three sons who become harpers. As each son is born, Boann’s husband, Uainthe, plays music on his harp to accompany her experience. The first birth is difficult, so he plays a lament or song of sorrow; the second birth is joyful because she realizes she is having another child, so he plays a happy tune; and she falls asleep during the third delivery because she is tired, so he plays a lullaby. When the boys become harpers, each specializes in the type of music he heard when he came into the world. I think of them as the gods of the harp.

(Later) …A simple way to  use this matrix for healing is to hum these three strains of music for someone as a kind of prayer. Visualize the person in distress or pain and hum a low tone, then watch the person’s face begin to smile as youmove up a couple of notes on the scale, then see the person in total peace as you move the hum up a coupel more notes (C, E, and G work well). This can be done in one slow breath as you exhale. Then keep repeating this as a kind of breathing-humming meditaiton for several minutes in which ou send out healing with your breaths and intentions. Not surprisingly, you’ll find that this brings you too into a wonderful state of peace”

~Tom Cowan, Awakening to Shamanism, Pgs 162-163

Although I personally find the harp relaxing, I find the toning to be an interesting of simple sound therapy. I don’t know much about toning or sound therapy as a medium for healing, I have benefited from experience.

My friend Jamie Bechtold is a great Sound Therapist and recently performed at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, during the Autumn, Spring, and Summer Equinox’s. Three powerful planetary gongs accompanied by four crystal singing bowls, and two sound healers. Phenomenal!

I attended the Spring Equinox Sound Bath among revelers, and friends old and new. Initially the sound was overwhelming. I don’t to say it was scary or distracting but the power of the gongs and bowls are overwhelming. It is a “bath” of sound. The beat, pulse, and vibration took me deep, and then into a state of release, before brining me back to (that moments’) present. The only other time I can think that I have experienced something like this was with drumming.

Back in 199*mumble* I attended a small circle in San Francisco. We all had various instruments and I, a small hand held drum. I was nervous about the chanting and drumming because I am a perfectionist about certain things and I didn’t feel that my voice was very harmonious… and I think the last time I had played on a drum, I was five. Irregardless I joined along with the drumming, and kept my chanting to myself. Somewhere in the rhythm we were generating, us four, I got lost. I’m not sure where but I had one of these fall into the ecstatic states. I can recall plains tribes, being an old woman with a long life and a deep sorrow, singing a song for those who had passed.

No wait, I did sing it. I not only sang it but I took the lead in the circle and sort of dominated it with this painful song. I was a little embarrassed but the people I was drumming with, after a moment of shock (which makes me laugh at this point) were pretty supportive.

Sound has a profound and amazing effect on many things, not just me. 🙂

This section continues into something entirely interesting, which I want to call weaving tapestries of sound and light, but it isn’t really an exercise. There are exercises in the chapter to explore the world of sound in making song and working with the “song” of things. One exercise helps us to find the song of a plant. Jose Stevens worked with the Shipibo and their use of healing through song. This is where I draw the feeling of tapestries of sound and light.

“According to the Shipibo, everyone has a song, everyone can sing, and Spirit gives  everyone song upon request. All that matters is that you are willing to sing.”

~Page 166

You’ll need to pick up a copy for his full telling of the Shipibo’s use of song in mystical work, it’s fascinating stuff!

Though you may  not sing or use song in your work, you can use music to find altered states, to accompany your journey. There are albums created for healing, dream, and shamanic work (and more) that you can find to work with. These may or may not be healing songs, but they can provide stepping stones into the world of sound and singing.

(Dead Can Dance is one group of artists that can quickly take me into altered states and I often use them for meditation, sessions, and magickal work).

Personally I recommend finding a rattle, drum, or other hand held instrument that you can use at home. Try some rhythms, find what feels right. It shouldn’t be complex. State your intent and begin to make music with the intent as the meaning of the sound. When you are comfortable with that level of work, trying sining along. It may or may not have words that make sense, it doesn’t need to vocally make “sense”. In moments I’ve found that just singing the language that comes to me can be a powerful thing in cleansing the house, calling in helpful spirits, or vibrating the energy that we wish to bring into the space we are working in.

The later part of the chapter begins to focus on light. Not the light of the Sun, or color therapy, but the light of spirit, the white light, and the light of our spirits.

  • Working With Stones of Light
  • Working With Light
  • Exercise: Transfiguration
  • The Human Spirit
  • Maintaining A Spiritual State
  • A Journey To A Descendant

If you are reading along and you have or are working with the “Transfiguration” exercise I would love to hear about your experience(s). This process involves using the Light to shift, or transform parts of self, illness, or thoughts (for example) into lighter forms of being. Imagine shifting a stagnant form that you find within your journey work that is stuck in pain, in the past, or in the type of darkness that does not serve us.

We’re coming into the three final chapters of Awakening to the Spirit World, The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation. As I wind down I’m going to begin to incorporate more of the experiences and lessons from The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft, Christopher Penczak, to continue the work.  I hope that you will join me.

Until then, enjoy the Journey.

– – –
Be well,

Scott K Smith
http://lifencompass.com

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