I spent last weekend at the beautiful Primrose Haven, near Hay-on-Wye, which is an extraordinary hub for activities and trainings relating to the art of ‘sound healing’. I went because I have been feeling increasingly that healing through sound and music is what I can best offer in life, and wanted some practical ideas for how to hone this ability. We sung in a ‘Sound Peace Chamber’, half dug into the earth, one of 85 (if I remember rightly) throughout the world; sung for each other as we walked Celtic-inspired triple labyrinth with healing intention; ventured a little into the realm of plant spirit medicine and much, much more. You can find out more about what they offer here:
My biggest question to myself – and the universe – currently is how to pursue my training. Healing through sound can happen in so many ways, and must listen to the needs of the being being healed. Healing can happen incidentally, hearing someone singing as they cycle down the street, going to a concert, having a spontaneous jam, playing in a band or singing with others in a group over time… Haeling abilities can be ‘natural’ gift: but is it enough for me to offer healing ‘intuitively’? Do I need to train – and if so, via what pathway? ‘New-age’ Sound Healing? Music Therapy? Community Music Therapy? Singing Therapy? Is there even any worth in getting qualifications anymore? What actual skills would help hone my natural/current abilities? For me it feels like doing a course with a qualification at the end would give me some validation which would boost my confidence and perhaps make it easier to get work but ultimately I believe it is the content of what is learned that is important and the competence gained from this. I have learned things to get quakifications before and then forgotten them; what I am after is embodied learning – the stuff we remember because we fully meet it and take it in because it is vital to our being.
Alongside this I have also been thinking about how to present – and perhaps consolidate – the many strands of myself. In the past I have delayed doing things I am passionate about, particularly getting things ‘out there’ because of a bit of a perfectionist streak – so many times I’ve had ideas which I’ve sat in for too long and then seen other people make them happen! So, even though I am unsure of exactly how this blog and my healing-musician persona will evolve, I am committing myself to writing, sharing and being open to discussion, hoping that new insights and clarity around this will follow…
So what am I offering right now?
WILD NOTES: SOUND MAPS
This idea began on a whim at the Machynlleth Climate Fair in April (see earlier post) and turned out to be a wonderful thing. There’ll be the second instalment of the Wild Notes Sound Map/Map Sain Nodau Gwyllt (in Welsh) tomorrow at Gerddi Bro Ddyfi in Machynlleth in collaboration with ornithologist Ben Porter, who will be teaching us how to recognise bird song on a short early morning walk (6.45am), during which we will pay attention to our favourite sounds and their locations and depict them on a makeshift ‘map’ afterwards. Over time I am hoping to form an archive of sound maps from various walks and events to share a (very non-comprehensive but nevertheless enriching) insight into what we are hearing in our locale, and what people most value in our natural soundscape.
As I type this the birdsong coming through my bedroom window is incredibly rich – I am so excited to be on the cusp of learning how to better recognise which ones I am hearing.
Sound Map #1 @ the Climate Fair, Machynlleth, April 2019
‘Spontaneous sacred song’ in the landscape, to honour the moon cycle and tune into place; this fluid group has been meeting in Machynlleth for over a year and the sounds that come have often felt like musical spells, making our healing intentions heard in a beautiful alchemy of voices.
You can ask to join the MOONCHOIR group on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1438074339648689/
and hear snippets of past MOONCHOIR sessions here: http://www.soundcloud.com/13moonsofmusic
We have generally been meeting at full moons but I will be starting to run vocal improvisation workshops at new moons from now on too, so we can set our intentions for the moon cycle and to play with different ways of co-creating soundscape together… (see FB for details shortly/here a bit later on…)
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