Seed Sounds for Tuning the Chakras: Vowels, Consonants and Syllables for Spiritual Transformation
review by Susan Hale for www.soundtravels.co.uk
There is a wonderful new book in the Sound Healing Field. Seed Sounds for Tuning the Chakras: Vowels, Consonants and Syllables for Spiritual Transformation by James D'Angelo is the rare book that speaks to both the beginner as well as the seasoned sound therapy practitioner. The book, published by Destiny Books of Rochester, Vermont, includes a 66 minute CD. Filled with both traditional, time-tested methods as well as original inspiration, D'Angelo's book is a mixture of the sacred and the silly. For example note his unique word play on vowels and consonants. He assigns "H" to the Throat Chakra and says this consonant can relfect Heavenly Harmony but also be used negatively "when we Heckle, Hector, Hiss, Hoot, Holler. Haggle. Haress, Harangue and, in general, get Huffy."
Though I have been working with music therapy and toning for 40 years, I read Seed Sounds and sounded along with his CD with a beginner's mind. Not only does he give many different exercises I was familar with, but he expanded my awareness by assigning each sound a different number of pulsations per minute, giving a low 36 to the root chakra and a faster vibratory rate of 108 for the crown. "The principle," he says, "is that the throbbing of the vowels emulates the source of the chakra vibration that is to be resonated, awakened and re-tuned." The other new experience for me was to end each exercise with whispering the pulsating sound with the breath. I found this particularly profound in the efficacy of the exercise.
I also loved his concept of "extracting the juice" from each exercise. This vivid metaphor reflects that sound is a form of deep nourishment. He also suggests the use of the older, more multi-cultural pentatonic scale for sounding the chakras then the more common C Major Scale found in most books on Sound Healing. This brilliant intuitive leap gives the exercises a different flavor and feel. (He starts with F and ends with G.)
I stayed with James for several months when he was writing Seed Sounds. Not only was I impressed with his extensive library and research but also his daily discipline of meditation and sounding the chakras. He is someone who embodies what he teaches and has refined his own consciousness through his practice.
Seed Sounds for Tuning the Chakras is a book to return to again and again in your own quest for using sound for meditation and healing. To order this book go to www.DestinyBooks.comSeed Sounds for Tuning the Chakras: Vowels, Consonants and Syllables for Spiritual Transformation
Reviewed by Grethe Hooper-Hansen for Caduceus Magazine
James d’Angelo is one of those writers whose love of sound and all things musical resonates through his prose, making it a delight to read. His new book Seed Sounds for Tuning the Chakras, complete with demonstration CD, offers a practice that is a delight to do, tuning oneself as a spiritual instrument, an inner adventure that is also a ritual pathway to healing and transformation through the vibratory powers of vowels and consonants.
The book is erudite but short and practical. He first creates a context with an intriguing explanation from Hindu theology of the story of Creation and our place within it, the vibratory nature of the universe and the importance of sound and language as a corresponding means to work with energy. Man is portrayed as a microcosm of all-that-is, a soul linked to a physical body by a chakra system that is a means to life as well as our primary instrument for creation and self-regulation, which can be tuned by the vibratory power of word. Seed sounds, central to the Tantric tradition, are formulae to awaken energy within us. Ancient languages such as Sanskrit and Hebrew carry this spiritual function, but all language can, by intention, emotion and desire, be used to stir into life deeper levels of our psychology and spiritual possibility. There are many fascinating examples of the hidden meanings of words.
Each chakra has its own small chapter describing its function and purpose at different levels, its specific vibratory triggers and the energies associated with it. Music brings the vital element of number and harmonic ratios for further organisation of sound. After explanation of how-to and some technical discussion for musicians, the fun begins, which is the inner exploration. It is clear from the CD that this is not just man-made construction but a faithful reproduction of genuine relationships and conditions: the toning that James demonstrates does indeed resonate the targeted chakras.
Musical therapist Alfred de Tomatis also claimed that the ear organises and supports the nervous system and that specific sounds open our spiritual ears. This is what palpably happens as you rhythmically repeat the seed syllables and continue into silent repetition of that encodement of energies, listening deeply to the no-longer-audible, finally succumbing to the vast space of silence and feeling your whole-body attunement to the mysteries within it. The heart opens progressively wider and attention become more and more acute; you feel intelligence expanding and at last, you are fully linked back to source. This is an intense spiritual practice bringing harmony to the soul, and a deep sense of connection.
There are many appendices for those who wish to ‘extract all the therapeutic juices’ of sound: preliminary exercises to prepare the voice; breathwork; finding your own tone; different musical scales that can be applied; vowels and consonants to experiment with, and even a discussion of the shapes of letters of the alphabet. But you do not need to know, learn and labour, just to do and feel – and that is miraculous.
The Healing Power of the Human Voice
What resonates long after finishing James D’Angelo’s The Healing Power of the Human Voice is D’Angelo’s spiritually inspiring and physically embodied message that the human voice contains the seeds of healing. Reminding us that ‘at the spiritual level we are all connected to the One Sound of Sounds, but cut off from its full impact, ’ D’Angelo invites the reader on a journey of re-discovery of their own inner and outer pearls of sound vibrations.
Starting with breathing techniques for a healthy and connected sound,
he assures the hesitant it’s not the quality of the sound that
matters as much as the intention behind it. He then enticingly invites
us to re-connect to our inner source of sound in a childlike spirit,
by starting with the natural sounds of our emotions such as yawning,
sighing, wailing, which, he emphasises, are ‘intended by nature
to be purifiers.’ Within this context, it is not surprising
that his exercises are literally rituals, with guidelines for starting
and finishing mindfully, implicitly acknowledging the spiritual potential
of vibrations to penetrate our being and allowing us to be our own
James’s own glorious baritone bubbles through,
conveying his love of words and their meanings, together with drops
of wisdom from the deep well of his personal spirituality.
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