Sacred Sounds: Magic and Healing through Words and Music by Ted Andrews (Llewellyn Publications, 1992. 16th Edition 2013)
Sound in our world is constantly “toning us.” I recorded some of the sounds of a home and found the blower was 221 Hz, one hertz sharp of A below middle C. This tone when brought up 43 octaves correlates with orange light. These vibrations affect our electro-magnetic bodies and are all around us. Sound and vibration can be positive or negative or neutral.
This 30-second sound recording has two layers: one is the continuous blower and the second comes in as a sine wave at 221 Hz and closely approximates the house sound. Our environment is shaping us and the ambient soundscape is an important part of our experience.
World Listener has a site where the natural world is recorded. It is a very nice collection of sounds that, if you listen closely, you will begin to discern the songs in our environment. With all of the unconscious input into our vibrational environment, it becomes more important to add conscious sound to our daily routines. Just like a strong singer can carry a group, as we add strong sounds and toning to our routines, our ability to remain in balance is enhanced.
As we add consciousness, we have the power to transform our sonic environment. In our scientific world where something is not ‘real’ unless it can be replicated, there is not a mechanism to account for human/individual intention. Physicists come closest to this understanding with the particle/wave experiments where, when looking for particles in light, particles are found, and when looking for waves, waves are found.
Andrews reminds us that we are surrounded by vibration. From the cover page he writes:
Sound, in Any of its Forms, is a Source of Energy.
As a source of energy, it can be used to interact with other energies. Sound – whether through music, voice, or other sources – is effective as a tool to alter the electro-magnetic fields and impulses of an individual or an environment.
He also says that, “All words and sounds are essentially magical, and yet the paradox is that they must also be rendered magical.” (Pg. xii) This also comes back to the work by Joy Gardner and Jonathan Goldman where the intent is essential for the power to be present. Andrews speaks of how the Egyptian choruses and orchestras were used to move the heaviest stones while building. When working on Maui I was honored to hear stories from Uncle Charlie, a Hawaiian Elder. He spoke of how the people of Easter Island moved the great stone heads by toning them into place.
The first part of the book is a fantastic overview of the principles of sound, their interactions with the Chakras, the relationships of tone to the different houses in astrology, and the occult power of words. He notes how advertisers have used mass ‘word magic’ to penetrate our natural mental deflectors to work with our body image, thoughts, emotions and ideas. He speaks of the power of intentional words. “Our brain waves are electrical. … Every word we speak makes a thought-form in the etheric and astral energy around us. …” Our words crystalize into some form of material manifestation.
He shows how certain words create predictable forms. He cautions about using words that are contradictory such as “awfully good.” On the other hand, words like ‘love’ create harmonious forms. On page 102, Andrews gives an excellent explanation of the power of prayer and visualization. A couple of key points are that prayer, “…is not the emotion of desiring, but rather the emotion of anticipating.” The importance of vocalization is also emphasized. Another section speaks of mantras as alignment and powerful tools to create harmony. He specifically addresses “OM” and the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum.”
On page 195 he speaks of the “healing hum.” As a teacher, I would often be irritated by the ‘hummers’ in the class. These children had a constant sound coming from them. He writes, “The humming sound is a powerful tool. It carries the sound internally. It establishes rapport with our spiritual aspects and our emotional/mental and physical aspects.” What I realize is that these children were instinctively balancing themselves within the essentially unbalanced educational system. ‘Humm’.
Part Two is called “The Renaissance of Bardic Tradition.” The early bards were the healers. The use of sound, song, chords, words, and ancient knowledge was the main form of creating a healing environment. The ancient stories were the framework to change patterns of thought and bring balance. Ted Andrews creates a picture of how the ancient traditions can be integrated into a modern healing practice. There are many practical examples for chakra balance, group healing and the use of specific chords and intervals to integrate story telling into the healing imagery.
Sacred Sounds adds another layer of understanding to the traditional and contemporary use of sound in the discipline of healing.