According to Hopi legend, Grandmother Spider descended upon the Earth and wove a song over the land to animate all living things. Thus, the first song was born, and in turn, birthed all of creation.
The power of sound and its vibrational qualities has always been known to ancient cultures. From Vedic chanting in India to the use of the Djembe in Africa, and the flute by American Natives – the sacred quality of music can create profound healing and states of altered consciousness that can lead us to greater revelations about our surroundings and ourselves.
While Indigenous tribes around the world have induced altered states through rhythmic sound for thousands of years, western science has only recently started to explore the transformative power of music.
A study conducted at Stanford University found that subjects who listened to continuous rhythmic drumming experienced “loss of time; movement sensations, including pressure on or expansion of various parts of the body and body image distortion, “energy waves,” and sensations of flying, spiraling, dancing, running, etc.; feelings of being energized, relaxed.” These altered states emerged during conscious journey work, as the brain’s waves gradually changed into a Theta wave state (which tend to emerge during states of meditation and light sleep).
A trance state is not always the intention of sacred music however. Listening to repetitive music, sounds of nature, bi-aural beats and ceremonial chants can induce relaxation, stress relief and promote healing. The vibrations of the music interact with our energetic bodies, weaving through our auric fields to clear blockages and gently prepare us to open to new possibilities in our lives.
With the endless waves of distraction in the modern world, making time to listen to an album of sacred music can help instantly clear away the mental chatter, and help us turn inward to that which is calling for attention and healing.
The beauty of sacred music is that it can be used to mentally escape a traffic-jammed commute or to add richness and depth to a day in a sterile office environment – or it can be used with greater intention – as the center of a daily meditation practice to journey inward and explore the psyche.
Two albums we’ve been enjoying as of late are Sandra Ingerman’s, Shamanic Visioning Music: Taiko Drum Journeys (which provides specific instruction for using the drumming music for journey work), and Heart of the Shamans – Ceremonial Medicine Songs by Liquid Bloom described as a “sonic prayer, a lovingly-crafted ritual transport into the heart of the universe.”