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Shamanic Sound Healing: An Introduction
What is a shaman, what is shamanic sound healing, what’s it good for and how does it work? Such questions are at the heart of this inquiry; in the process of exploring these questions we will unveil the healing power of sound, from its shamanic roots to its contemporary usage in sound therapy and holistic medicine, and ultimately reveal the potential of sound when guided by awareness and intention, to connect us to a well-spring of creativity and inspiration in order to manifest our dreams and have the deeply fulfilling life we all want and desire.
As the first in a series, we will start by defining terms. For the shaman all definitions are cursory, but they provide a necessary foundation on which to begin.
WHAT IS SHAMANISM, NEO-SHAMANISM, and UNIVERSAL SHAMANISM?
Shamanism is the primordial expression of spirituality found in man's ancient past. Shamans acted as intermediaries with the spirit world for healing, divinations, weather modification, to enhance power, resolve conflict, etc. Many cultures have a shamanic ancestry: examples include Amazonian, Celtic, Hindu, Incan, Mayan, Mongolian, Native American, Tibetan, and Toltec.
Neo-shamanism is the integration of global shamanic practices within our contemporary Western scientific technological society. There are a common set of views among shamans around the world (referred to as universal or core shamanism) that agree in many ways with new advances in biology and physics:
* All ‘things’ are relatively self-aware
* There are other dimensions beyond the senses
* Everything is vibration
WHAT IS VIBRATION?
Vibration is made up of 3 things:
Vibration can be understood with Einstein’s theory of relativity. Matter is simply energy vibrating at a very slow frequency. Einstein’s equation defines energy as E=MC2: energy = mass (matter) x the speed of light squared. So matter is energy, and energy is matter; a physical thing (such as your body) is simply an
accumulation of energy vibrating at a specific rate. In addition, quantum physics has confirmed that all things in the universe are ultimately a vibration made up of energy, are relatively self-aware, and are communicating through the exchange of information.
Vibration is measured in frequencies called Hertz (cycles per second). All vibrations including light, sound and your physical body are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is not a new insight, for example, the ancient Mayans called this spectrum the ‘rainbow serpent’. Some frequencies are good for your energy body and others aren’t. The scientific study of the energy body is called bioenergetics. Traditionally the elements of your energy body have been mapped long ago; examples include the Tantric Chakra system and the Qabbala Tree of Life.
Many sound vibrations form universal geometric patterns found throughout nature. The science of visible sound vibration is known as cymatics (visit cymascope.com for a profound view of this phenomenon).
WHAT IS SHAMANIC SOUND HEALING?
Shamans use various techniques and technologies including sounds, sacred plant medicines, fire & heat (sweat lodge), fasting & sensory deprivation (vision quest), and physical pain & discomfort (fire walking) in order to induce altered states of consciousness (or trance) to communicate with the spirit world to increase power & knowledge and for healing purposes.
Shamanic sound healing utilizes sound healing frequencies in order to strengthen and/or heal the energy body. It does this in 2 primary ways: through the sounds themselves and through inducing meditative or trance states to access non-physical realities or what shamans call spirit worlds. Healing can be preventative (keeping your healthy energy body healthy) or therapeutic (healing an unhealthy energy body). For shamans, all dis-ease is ultimately the result of problems with the energy body. The energy body includes mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual elements. Historically, Western medicine has focused exclusively on the physical to the detriment of the others; shamanic sound healing is both an art and a science, and takes into account all the elements that make up the energy body.
For the shaman, awareness and intention are just as important as sound. In fact, sound acts as a carrier frequency for the shaman’s healing intentions. To learn more about the shamanic use of awareness and intention in a sound healing context, stay tuned for next month’s installment of Shamanic Sound Healing.
About the author:
About the Author
Scott J. Simon, Ph.D. is a musician, educator, and shamanic sound healing practitioner in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Simon has recently recorded a Sound Journey CD featuring Tibetan singing bowls, Native American flutes, Buffalo drum, and voice. You can learn more about his sound healing courses, sacred site tours, and SoulSound® therapy at scottjsimon.com