The Power of your Voice
The Song of Power is a very powerful tool of realizing your magic or shamanic will. I have used several ways of attaining an own power song. The ways I know are presented in this article.
The simpliest way of achieving a power song is making a journey to it. If you have a good contact to your spirits they will provide you with instructions, maybe some cryptic ones. Instructions like "roar like a deer", "howl like a wolf" or "sing like the wind in the trees" are among the more understandable ones. Perhaps you learn a melody from your shamanic teachers or they say to you, you have to sing like you want. The songs you are learning in this way are your power songs. They may not sound like any song you have heard before in your life. Often power songs transcend or don't fit into the common, acquired artistic taste. Strange and unusual melodies or even animalistic sounds are within the reaches of a power song as well as most beautiful tunes.
If you are not versed in the techniquw of the shamanic journey you can choose other paths of achieving your own powersong. Take yourself a little time at the evening, when your neighbours are sitting in front of the T.V., and ignore their protesting callings and knockings for a while during you are singing whatever is springing in your mouth. Experiment with your vocal chords and make some noises which are rather uncomfortable or sounds like animal voices. Don't overdo this exercises to avoid problems with your vocal chords. At the first signs of stress or fatigue stop and allow your voice to rest for the rest of the day. Some day you will find sounds or tunes fitting to your intuition and your being. You can easily learn about the virtuality of your current musical taste by listening to traditional, classic music from korea or from the inuit or other cultures. To offer the song of power a way of becoming more organic, you can implant sigills, symbolizing your sentence of will, too.
Power songs emanate something natural. They are extremely individualistic and cannot be copied by other practitioners, although you can sing them to feel their unique powers. Within powersongs semantic elements do occur on occasion. Sometimes these can lead to complete stanzas in rhymes. Powersongs are changing with the practitioner, reflecting the development and personality of its owner.
The powersong is a useful tool, I mentioned this above. It is a kind of fingerprint or identity card of the shaman. Shamanic practitioners can read the powersongs and know about the powers and point of development of the singer. Of course the same can be said about the spirits in the spirit world. It can be used to call spirits in general and it can be used as a kind of carrier wave for the intentions of the shamanic practitioner singing it. The intention of the singer is carried in the physical universe to find organic manifestation there.
Traditional power-songs are being used to induce trance states. A nice example is being handed down from the ghost dance movement around the native american prophet Wovoka. This powersong was sung for hours during the ghost dance. Melody and text are very easy and after short time do their work on the minds of the singers in a vision dance. I learned this one in the Foundation for Shamanic Studies.
I circle around
The boundaries of the earth
Wearing the long wing feathers as I fly
(Each line repeated)
Of course your own power song has the same trance inducing effects, if not much better than the traditional ones. To enter trance the singing of your power song is an excellent way of achieving this. By the way it is much fun to sing powersongs and any other song, anyway. A really advantage to the drum is obvious: you can never forget your voice. You always have it with you.
It is not uncommon to possess more than one power song. Some specialized songs may count to them, too. During the years of shamanizing the practitioner continues to follow his own path and the power song changes, too. The old power songs are still powerful and may possess some unique features, perhaps they are evocative or especially trance-inducing ones. I myself use more than one power song, three at least. I call myself spellsinger because my voice is a vital part of my shamanic practice. My own technique is a special technique of singing with two or three voices at once. It is called choomey or overtone-singing.
Choomej - Singing in Overtones
In Tuva and in Mongolia there are two famous bands which are well-known throughout the world for their excellency in khoomei, the siberian way of singing overtones - Huun Huur Tu and Egschiglen. Khoomei is traditional in central Siberia and there are many styles and songs known. In Europe Stockhausen developed the vocalic style of singing overtones, which emphasizes the formants in the various vocals of our langauge. Michael Vetter and Christian Bollmann are the most famous Masters of these techniue. Both styles, the european (or western) and the siberian have their own characteristics. I am practicing the siberian khoomei and only use occasionally the western styles.
Steve Sklars pages on khoomei and overtone singing are very good for learning on the physics and the technique of singing in overtones. Another starting point for research is the Site of the Friends of Tuva. Please refer to these pages when you want to learn khoomei. There is no necessity to do things twice. One technical hint I am giving here, however: It is said to learn Khoomej you should stand in front of a waterfall and listen to the waters roar. The nature is full of overtones. Every bird singing is using the natural overtones, the wind singing somewhere does it in overtones. Everywhere you can encounter them. An easy musical instrument - the jew´s harp - can be utilized to learn various positions of the tongue to produce some overtones. The monochord (or a synthesizer) can be used to make the overtones audible. Of course you have to practice the khoomei style, as any other musical instrument, too. Attending a seminar on overtone-singing is just the beginning.
A second voice can be heard over the first, the base-voice. It is said that this voice is the spirits voice, through which the spirits get into contact with us. It is a bridge between our world and the world of the spirits, made audible.
Those among us actually singing khoomei will agree on the following facts: The awareness is being influenced strongly by singing khoomei or overtones. Physically and physiologically this can be explained by the sinus-wave of the overtone vibrating in the entire body-structure of the singer - the bones, the blood, the muscles, the brain. Neurotransmitting substances are being influenced and intensifying awareness and even hallucinogen effects can be experienced during and after singing overtones. This effect is similar to the effects of monotoneous drumming, but much more intense. Singing Khoomei influences our awareness - a clear entheogen effect, without use of any mind-altering substances. Synesthesia and other hallucinatoric effects are common. Therefore a warning: Never drive a car after singing overtones. Green colors can in reality be red colors and so on. Stay away from those activites until you earthened the energies by a meal or a walk.
There exists many various styles and techniques of choomej. I have taped two styles as mp3 to demonstrate two of the significant styles, known to most people, fascinated by chomej. The first example is sung in sygyt, the whistling style. Hearing the example explains why it is called 'whistling'. The other two examples are sung in kargyraa. In example 1 and example 2 you can hear even three voices overlaying. Kargyraa produces the deepest tones the human voice apparatus can create.
Shamans which use overtones in their technical repertoir are extremely individualistic in utlizing them. It depends on the spirits, the traditions and surroundings of the shaman using them. You can use overtones for healing, to call the spirits, to interact with them, as a medium for your intention, to banish, calm down or cleansing, as a energizer or way of consecration, as musical entertainment and form of art.
The vocalic overtone technique is a part of central european traditional magic's secret lore of the power of voice and vibration. Israel Regardies recorded attempt to emphasize the formants in vocals of divine names proofs a secret transmission among the ceremonial magicians. The vocals a,e,i,o,u were and are holy for the practical cabbalist and in the hebrew scripture these vocals are only hinted as dots over and under the consonants.
At last I want to share three examples of my own overtone singing. The first one is a meditation in Sygyt-style and the second one another one in Kargyraa-style, mixed occasionally with another style. Both were recorded at a concert in a church with excellent acoustics. All three examples are part of my power-songs.
A shamanic Session