The trumpets sounded and with a great shout, it was said, the walls of Jericho came down. The Lyre of Apollo was received by Orpheus to tame wild beasts and soothe the souls of men. The Pied Piper was able to lure both the rats and children out of town with his musical charm. Why? What did they know about the power of music and sound?
Whatever type of healing practice you may have, creating healing environments is not just about basic sensual aspects or furnishing aesthetics. We must also consider vibrations, sounds and energies impacting upon persons.It is worthwhile for any persons working with music and sound in the healing arts to gain a bit of insight into its potentials and power to help them facilitate with precision and intent according to the client’s needs. We will explore this and more.
What affect does different instrumentation have upon persons? Each instrument family has distinct timbres and aspects of instrument design that lend themselves to affect various body regions. Some of what we understand of such affect is due to how and where we use the instruments to play, others the materials they are crafted from, their resonance and the nature of the sound they produce. Explore this and more at this workshop
Is the ear the only mechanism involved in the perception of sound? How else are we affected?. We will explore experientially. What is consciousness? What is state change? Explorations of the nature of being and experiencing.
What special magic can music bring to our physical emotional mental and spiritual wellbeing? Is there a key to this magic? We will look at the special magics of music opening our mind and heart to it’s true potential and power.
What are the links between ambient environment sounds and health? how do sounds in the world soundscape affect health and wellbeing, not only of ourselves but all species? Included in this workshop is a brief overview of sound and health and interspecies ethics from the perspective of Acoustic Ecology.
How much of the way music affects us is due to individual bias and how much is due to elements of music and greater principles? Explore this and more in this intensive one day workshop
Reference manual is included. Book soon, maximum numbers 8 due to space restrictions
MUSIC & SOUND IN THE HEALING ARTS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
TRAINING FOR THE HEALING ARTS PRACTIONER
©CATHERINE MEESON 20.9.2013
Avolokiteshvara the Buddhist Avatar of Compassion is known for their role in listening to and responding to the cries of the world. And within this philosophical And cultural framework is the notion of the bodhisattva, a being on the path to buddhahood that embodies the teachings of the dharma and the commitment to love and serve all species all life. This is one of the beautiful flowers of the cultural garden, a distinct sounding symphony originating from within the Orient.
The Indigenous of most nations are known for their roles as Keepers of Lore and traditions which place emphasis on the role of listening, heeding the voice of all relations. They know that their actions effect the generations to come and consider this is all actions. They have always strived to live in balance and close to their conception of the creator and guiding beings/ ancestors. This worldview is embodied in sayings such as In La kech, I am another yourself, and Miyayuke, Oyasin for all my generations for the next seven generations, as I understand. These are other flowers in the cultural garden of being, keynotes of the larger symphony, from many places around the globe, the Nth and Sth Americas, Africa, Australia, Alaska, are the many voices of cultural wisdom saying the same things, but in different ways.
The symphony of Oneness is an expression of the life of Planet Earth, the sounds of time- An Interspecies soundscape. Acoustic ecologists( a field of study currently inspiring me), speak of the voices of the natural world as geophony (sounds of earth, wind, water, volcanoes, etc), biophony( the sounds of animals and I wonder plants?), and anthrophony (the sounds originating from mankind or in relation to our activities and inventions). The Soundscape is the total sounds of place at any given time.
Our current predicament suggests our Orchestra of being, of harmonious relationship is out of order, out of tune, out of key. The voices of anthrophony reign supreme, the voices of biophony fade as habitat is lost and monetary value eclipses relational worth. The sounds of geophony, are regarded as non essential for survival , not so core in our educated industrialised paradigm. We are not dwelling in caves anymore, so why listen for predators, or howling winds heralding storms, (maybe we are the predators?). We block out , we tune out, we choose ‘to what; we will attune. But do we ignore our ancient instincts oriented around sound, and bring about our collective destruction in our haste to live the modern life and not take heed of the ancient knowings? Do you enjoy the voice of birds? How does the sound of the ocean make you feel? What of the sounds within a forest? Do you hear them or do you have plugs in the ears to generate your own sound cocoon? I do it , many do it. How often do we do it? How often do you have conversation with others? Are they physically present of virtual? Being needs being.
We are the dominant species , but our domination is destroying ourselves and all life. Realisation is the key, yet can only come through love and balanced relation with. Consciousness is able to ascend into greater aspects of being, as the capacity to love all and serve all grows within us, we understand; but for many it is very hard to attend to this knowing these exalted levels of being if we are bound to survival in our daily lives. It is not impossible to act on realisation in such a circumstance but much more harder, requiring different aspects of human ingenuity ; one thing that we are very good at. If knowledge is confined only to a discipline how can its teachings, its realizations benefit the collective . Realization is intrinsic to being, yet the specifics like pieces of the pies or atoms of the molecule, needs translating into the many tongues of the human community, of the common humanity. Therefore it is the responsibility of those that do understand , who do have aspects of knowledge that relate to the whole to be stewards of all life, to act from great beneficence and to be the voice of sanity to the policy makers, economists, those of might and power within the halls of high courts, who hold the reigns of civilisation tight.
The symphony will play on regardless of our efforts, for we are not its only players, yet we are fast eclipsing the players who do not conform to our vision of reality, (other life forms, the Indigenous nations, third world etc)., the symphony of wilful egoist greed. We need to be guided by love and the higher principles common in all cultures. Principles of order, and relation. Symphony members come and go, their skill levels voice and performative capacity vary. They have different hearing capacity, occupy different places in life and within the frequency domain., At times for many reasons being s, players; become dissonant as a result of misuse of knowledge motivated by greed. There can be no one unity of being within such diversity of population when the ground of being is cast aside- the fundamental of our symphony, which allows us to sound, to be Sound and to perceive sound; as earth and the elements within it which allow sound to propagate. We abuse these elements and therefore ourselves. We are all related, we are all made of the same cell stuff, the elements which constitute life on earth have been found elsewhere in the universe, of course!
Just because we can does not mean we should. Our modern Symphony conductors are economists, and corporations, military and governments, who manipulate the masses and the elected governments with their resources. The songs that they sing, the tunes, alluring like the Pied Piper of Hamelin- appeal to the base instincts, appeal to the essential needs, the senses, and there you then have people as a “Maestro manipulating music and matter alike”.
This may appear cynical, it sort of comes with age, but it is a perspective on our collective predicament, a specie hood critique if you will, of which I also am a player. I endeavour and many like me, to play a symphony all will like, where all are welcome because the concert is never ending, and the tickets are free.
The Symphony of Oneness an Interspecies Soundscape is the reality of the Sound world of Planet Earth. It’s nature changes over large spans of geological time. Change- modulation is a constant on the systemic level, but when human agency has wrought in 200-300 years changes which will echo on in the valleys of future mountain ranges of earth for millennia, what are we to do?. The modes of thought that got us here are what need to change, our view of reality our fundamental sonic , upon which all of our assumptions are built and that sonic is our modern civilization, the flower of the model from Ancient Greece, and Rome. If we truly understood the nature of what we were doing , if we heard clearly, we would realise the need to rewrite our symphony at the level of players and actors, actions and directions for our collective species hood orchestra.
We must step outside ourselves for a while and step into the feet of other species, into the cell, the soul of the world. The trunk of the tree growing, the wings of the bees labouring for the Queen. There would be no toxic pesticides in my colony. Everywhere in the natural world supreme order and harmony of relations is mirrored, is sounded, is sung in the dance of the symphony that modulates between concord and discord.
The collective stories and myths of the Great flood, the tale Of Noah, tells us we have not changed much, each round our desire nature must be transmuted, or great change will make us. We become as children, forget the high ways of civilization before , and we progress down the same road manifest in a different way. Noah embodied the repository of wisdom, listening to guidance and making preparations,, and realizing the bigger picture is worth labouring for. He became , so we are told; steward to all life, protector; his role was to be the arc reaching from the old world to the new, the one to come after reconfiguration, after cataclysm. The world was repopulated so we are told, species hood again evolved and diversified. We had had great loss , we had better make sure we remembered into the future, so how will we do it, Through art, story, song, myth, all over the world..
But what we stand to lose this time is immense, whether through just human agency or the forces of larger spans of geological change sped up, Do we think our sciences are evolved enough to re engineer?, revive all life forms because we have genetic repositories, because we are mapping genomes? I don’t think we are that far along yet, despite the science. We are still Mr Frankenstein in the lab making monsters, like Monsanto cross breeding species and forms, waiting for the results of future mutations and experiments to get out of hand. What would these species sound like? Are we to be the progenitors of tomorrows symphony, do we even deserve to be? Do we know what divine will is? Do we know what it will sound like fifty years from now, a question Murray Schafer asked? Maybe it will just be a gentle wind blowing over the bones of the forgotten race. A slight melodic variation, due to holes in the bones of the humans. Maybe distant visitors will come, and reseed the earth and clean it up, maybe their knowledge and capacity to love is greater.?
The collective will of all species is to life. Most people given the facts and the truth, if it is within their ability to understand, will choose the will to life. To love to harmony. It is the great composers who govern the collective symphony as revealed in the daily song, the yearly and future forecast levels of governance that must be brought to account. They orchestrate the belief systems and social fabric, the norms entombed in the courts of the land as Law. The gnosis transmitted in the schools. They is us. The laws were revealed by all great teachers in all cultures . The laws are revealed in nature herself. If we have indeed been nurtured, seeded from realms above and beyond this one, what is it that you think the higher forms of intelligence would want for us? What would the gods? Angels,? Avatars say, now? How would they guide us?
Haven’t they all along? Is it us who fail to understand the message and listen? Maybe the greatest teachers are those species around us who sacrifice themselves so that we may come to realization and knowledge. And within it, what symphony will we play into the future? Will it be a symphony of Oneness?
I do hope so.
Blessings Catherine Meeson
By Catherine Meeson © August 2014
TAPPING THE ANCIENT INSTINCTS TO REVEAL ESSENTIAL TRUTHS.
WHAT DOES SOUND OR THE LACK OF TELL US?
How does sound reflect the community of life?
The presence of sound is a revelation, a revelation of relationship. It demonstrates what is and what is not. What is active and what is passive. It demonstrates ecological balance or lack of. It presents a picture of the life of a given region , or globally of the world. It presents the preoccupations and outcomes of its inhabitants, and of the earths primary causative agents and forces. What does sound tell us? Listen. What does the lack of tell us? Listen. Take heed, come to our senses. Sounds are a prime creative force, a tool of creation. We must ask what is sound creating, what is sound revealing? How does sound reflect the community of life. I will only narrate a version of events, as I see it. The seeing is up to you, the realisation is up to you. I can do no more than sound and resound the voices of the world which wish to be heard.
Scenario 1. 3am and one is awoken by the howling wind, raising the tin roof and slamming it back down again. Distant dogs bark, and an eerie sense of the ominous pervades, am I safe one considers? One feels on edge. It is just the wind. Hope the roof holds and the trees down fall on the house. The mind races into scenarios, movies play out in one’s mind, the brain cycles faster sleep does not return.
Scenario 2. 4 o’clock in the afternoon, looking forward to the end of the working day, a jackhammer starts just out the front. One jumps out of their skin, on edge, not only is it loud, one can literally feel it through ones feet. Uneasy, irritable and angry and has trouble finishing ones required duties. Is one safe? Objectively yes, there is not threat, but the peace and quiet is gone, the headroom necessary for work. Yet why does the body still respond when the mind knows there is no physical threat to ones person? For sound is implicated in our survival at the deepest levels.
‘Sound acts as portal, sense as signifier’. Barry Truax called “Sound Signifier of relationship”, in his brilliant work Acoustic Communication (1). R Murry Schafer before him did an extensive study of the world soundscape in his pioneering book ‘The Soundscape’ (2). Both men helped establish a field of study into nature of sound and its influence on the sphere of all life in a field called Acoustic Ecology. Acoustic Ecology as I understand it examines and reflects upon the relationships between aspects of local ecologies, places and the sounds inherent within and produced by them. Another member of the field Bernie Kraus, penned the terms Anthrophony, biophony and geophony. Geophony examines the sounds of earth, water, wind, earthquake etc etc. Biophony:- the sounds of animals. Anthrophony:- the sounds of persons and the technologies and artifacts created by humans.
We have come to understand the inherent link between sound and health and how sound impacts the body mind and spirit of all orders of being. Studies exist demonstrating the effects of thought, intention, spoken song, vibrations, frequencies, wavelengths both sub and infrasonic on living beings and matter states. From plants to animals, water, people and other inorganic matter. Studies also demonstrate sounds negative and positive effects and its primordial link with survival. We would dismiss our innate body sense as an evolutionary artefact from a Neanderthal hunter gatherer era survival mode. But we need to take heed , as the world is becoming louder, mainly with discordant stress producing anthrophony, and the life enhancing sounds of biophony and geophony we have evolved with and their relationship to co evolutionary development are becoming more apparent, as they fade into memory. We are drowning out the natural world and causing ourselves immense stress, leading not only to hearing problems , but to nervous system, heart and stress related disorders, relationship problems, mental health issues such as anxiety, depression post traumatic stress etc. Yet what concerns me most is that everything is about us humans, and few are attending to the voice or place of other species , of their right to be within the web of life, and so they are, in increasing numbers fading into oblivion, ie, becoming extinct.
SOUND IS PORTAL TO OTHER WORLDS
It takes us through time, through memory into thought and feeling. Out of our body (physical) and into our energy bodies as well as initiating shamanic soul flight. It reveals the mysteries of creation of form (cymatics) and the geometries of creation. It’s visible affect exhibits pictures of consonance and dissonance in various matter states:- water , sand, plasma etc.
Sense as signifier tells us it is supreme storyteller, it teaches directly through our embodied form- our body. Our soul may comprehend or it may not. Yet even if it does not, the senses still signify, sound still acts as portal. We still receive, information at an unconscious and supra-conscious level.
Together sound as signal – is sound as revealer of source. Follow the sound reveal the source, reveal the nature of the created. Is the signal harmonious- is the sound in harmony with life? I ask for you to contemplate. Sound has already taught me many things and I will remain an eager student for the rest of my life.
Sound as portal takes us through the mists of time to previous civilizations and cultures, to perceive as they did for a time, as they encoded information and knowledge within the structures they built and occupied , instruments, dolmens, temples, architecture, adorned caves and ceremonial sites. This take us into the realm of archeo-acoustics and the supernatural. The archaeology of sound. Considering both the technologies of former times and the perceptions of the psyche of the living.
So What does sound or the lack of tell us? How does it reflect the community of life? If time is a construct of the congealing of forces in space what relevance does it have now?
For us now more than ever in history we need to tap the ancient instincts beyond the level of mind to reveal the essential truths, truths relevant to all orders of being. It is no good for the goose it is no good for the gander. We need to come to terms with what ‘is’ and reflect deeply, than we must act.
Our obsession for power as expressed through sound as well as other media knows no bounds. The consumer can now buy systems capable of producing exceptional wattage to power audio systems within homes and vehicles. Legislation does exist, to protect persons and property but is it being enforced? Where is the department responsible for sound damages. Where is the Ministry of Sound? Make no mistake sound creates and it also destroys, our legends tell us this, our modern science demonstrates. Our love for the loud and the pounding is assaulting not only us, but the community of life, and our actions in this context are immoral. Forests do not wish to be assaulted by screeching machines cutting down trees and blaring techno parties. Birds do not wish to be terrorized out of the trees. Who asks about what they hear, what they feel within their bodies? Who asks and understands that we affect their mating patterns, their instincts their home? I have gone to and played at these outdoor parties, yet no one I have met speaks for the community of life in such events. They are often not isolated in broadcast reach and they are taken into forests and places where wildlife exists and damage is done. People are literally sonically blasting their bodies, they are being levitated off the ground. In boom cars they are reconfiguring the cellular matter of their bodies by sonic assault. Once sound reaches a certain level it will kill. This is why the military and police forces have researched its affect and incorporated it into their arsenal as a non lethal crowd control mechanism. At certain frequency ranges and decibel levels it will cause harm, often temporary ranging from nausea, headaches etc, to extreme anxiety, trouble thinking etc. Normal functioning recommences when the sound generator is removed or turned off. It does not need to be audible, as the range of sound as a frequency goes both above and below the level of human beings and as such its hz cycle rate is only a small part of the sound/ frequency spectrum.
We want everything bigger and louder for our pleasure, more powerful, without thought without understanding the nature of power, of the nature of sound and its affect on living systems/ life. Sound can be potentially just as destructive as a bomb and expect the creation of weapons of war unthinkable as yet, for they will come .
And so what is sound or the lack of telling us? It is telling us to listen, it is demanding our attention, to listen beyond our species, to the great die off the sixth great extinction. It is indicating how we are affecting the community of life, as we grow parasitically as the dominant species changing the face of the earth. It is indicating how we are affecting the community of life through our actions. The sounds of severe weather events due to climate change could parallel the old gods displeasure. Storms cut over land to clear the air, waters cleanse by flood. What do they reveal? They reveal the attempt to rebalance and maintain homeostasis for the larger life support system that is the earth:- that of balanced relations. Sure the sounds of nature an catastrophe be natural phenomena , but with many different purposes when one questions the nature of being.
Life in native ecosystems or communities in health reveal a diverse range of voices, of sounds, dependent upon the local geography, topography, and climate, and the type of community it supports i.e., desert, river, forest, tropic, swamp, intertidal zone, deep ocean, etc. Once upon a time the gods were embodied and implicated in the sounds and health of the world around us. Pele Volcano goddess, Neptune the Sea God. Tempests , volcanic eruptions and other such demonstrations of natural phenomena were the displeasure of the gods. We know better now don’t we? In the rationalist post Darwinian era? There exists the term, anthropomorphosize to describe placing human or divine attributes upon things. An Angry father figure, a vengeful goddess, a mischievous Djinn. Our symbolic unconscious has always drawn associations that link between forces and things, that it did not comprehend rationally. I believe that in the dark mists of pre history we suffered major trauma of a sonic nature that have never fully left us The traumas are encoded in our genes. The knowledge of sound as agent of hurt as well as of healing is deep within the genome. Sonic warfare, warfare with sound as a by product, natural catastrophes such as 300db meteor strikes, so embedded into the realm of myth and scripture that now they only remain as stories that whisper of such times. But such times were, such times are such times be again, such times approach, times of tearing the sky in two, of earth being rent, of catastrophic force at the hands of the humans. Most of the predators are gone or controlled and restrained. We are the biggest predator subjecting the world to many warfares including sonic warfare as a by product of human activity. Everywhere the noise is incessant within the cities, the din (djinn) mischievous spirits of the machines grow louder by the day. Tales exist and dreams reveal the patterns of yesterday. Atlantis rises – the ether is penetrated, The akashic records open, the technologies poor onto the planet manifesting the mind of days gone by. We did not learn the lessons of misuse of power the same souls are reincarnate.
If we listen to place, place will tell us everything about it. What voices are present, what voices are dominant, what voices are absent? What dwells there, what no longer dwells? The tragedy of species loss revealed by sound, is not beyond our senses or our sensibilities, and surely not beyond the open compassionate collective heart. Enter sound as Portal- Sense as Signifier of Relationship.
If you would like to know more information about this or engage in dialogue please contact the Author
Truax, Barry 2001, Acoustic Communication , 2nd ed., Ablex Publishing, Westport, Conneticut, London.
Schafer, RM 1977, The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, 1994 ed., Destiny books, Rochester, Vermont, United States.
Tame, D 1984, The Secret Power of Music- The Transformation of Self and Society Through Musical Energy, 2nd ed., the Aquarian Press, Wellingborough, Northhamptonshire.
A passionate human being and avid sound current devotee