Listen to our drum circle at the beach.
We always have a “Sacred Eagle Sound Ceremony” outdoors, as part of the sound therapy training program. This time was no exception. In preparation, I searched out a couple of spots that would be quiet and secluded. I didn’t want to attract a crowd of intrusive onlookers.
When the day came, it was a warm, sunny summer evening. Perfect! We headed out with all our instruments, crystal bowls and drums to Cattle Point, by the ocean. Upon arrival, I realized we’d left the mallets for playing the bowls at home! Since it was only 5 minutes away, I returned to get them, leaving the others to set up and get started. “Trust things to all work out,” I said over and over like a little mantra.
When I arrived back at cattle point, traffic had slowed, as 3 buses of tourists slid into the parking lot. (Oh no! “Trust it to all work out” . . . ) As I walked towards our little spot, I heard the most wonderful drumming and chanting. Walking towards my students, I started my camera rolling. And then I noticed I was not the only one doing that. Hundreds of tourists had been attracted, and they all had their iPhones rolling too! We were an instant tourist hit! I really got a good laugh at myself. There was my idea (quiet, secluded spot) and then there was God’s plan. “Trust it to all work out”, I kept happily reminding myself.
Our joyful sounds continued for quite some time. We were delighted that people enjoyed the fruits of our love and learning. Babies in strollers, people from around the world, elders, young’uns, all enjoying an uplifting moment of unity and love. They asked, “When is your next gig?” At that, more happy laughter spilled out of us. All were blessed by the joy and love. “Trust it to all work out”. Eventually, the tourists drifted back to the busses, and we had our private moments of sacred song and story as the sun descended.
First Nations peoples summon the Eagle when we are about to embark on a challenge, a life change, or a creative endeavour. Eagles encourage us to be courageous, reach higher and to grow beyond what we think we can do.
1) Connection with the Creator and the Spirit World
2) Courage to fly high
3) Ability to gain perspective
4) Association with East winds, symbolizing the coming of spring, dawn, rebirth and new beginnings
5) Keen sight and visionary insight
6) acute hearing—both physical and spiritual
Since 2007, I have been an honorary member of the Tlingit Wooshkeetaan Eagle clan of SE Alaska. My spirit name, Kaasay, was given to me by elder Mary Brown. It means “Higher Voice”. I feel honored to be part of her multi-ethnic, Tlingit, Baha’i family that now spans the globe, demonstrating the Oneness of the human family.
As the sun set, a man with a lovely professional camera sauntered by. We snagged him to take our photo. The sunlight was at just at the right angle–of course. “Trust it to all work out”. I think there may be a song about that. . . Anyone?
Here is our meditation on trust, courage and transformation. We’re posting this on our fridges, as a daily reminder. Maybe you want to do that too? Trust me, it works!
Trust is having faith, hope and a positive outlook. Trust is believing in someone or something. We have confidence that the right thing will happen without trying to control it or make it happen. Even when difficult things happen, trust helps us know that there is some gift or learning in everything that happens.
I rely on my Creator. I release fear and worry. I trust that I will be guided and my needs will be met. Trust gives me the courage to fly high and explore new endeavours. I know that there is some good to be found in everything that happens, even hard things. I am thankful for the gift of Trust in my life. It renews my strength. Adapted from the Virtues Reflection Cards by Linda Kavelin-Popov.
On May 29th I headed to Whidbey Island for a 10-day personal retreat. My time there included 3 days of advanced training with Chloe Goodchild, founder of The Naked Voice. Each time I practice with her, I dive into an ocean of soul- light and bring up more pearls.
This time, when we sang her 7 Sounds of Love in various keys (or modes), I found myself attracted to the Dorian Mode. It's a scale where joy and sorrow embrace. It starts in a rather dark mood and then rises to a sweet resolution. Much to my surprise, it helped me release old grief that I wasn't even aware was still trapped in me. Singing the tones of that scale shifted me back and forth between despair and joy and moved physical energy as well. Finally I released deep sobs. This healing process continued for several days, as I surfed the waves of emotion. Eventually I felt much lighter. My body was energized and less inflamed. My spirit was calm and serene. What a relief!
This healing process reminds me of Khalil Gibran's wisdom: Joy and sorrow are inseparable...together they come, and when one sits alone with you...remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
What are Musical Modes?
Different musical scales or modes have different expressive characteristics, allowing us to experience and convey a variety of emotions. We can also utilize different musical modes to change our mood. We can identify the mode of our speaking voices as well, and gain insight into the feelings behind the words.
The 7 musical modes that I practice and teach are recorded on Chloe's CD--Sound Awareness. Try singing along as a daily meditation and see what happens for you. Which modes are you attracted to? Does your favourite shift from day to day? What soul journeys do the various modes take you on?
The musical modes are named for geographic and ethnic regions of ancient Greece. Some of the Greek modes are:
IONIAN—C major scale
DORIAN—D, mixed light and dark. Feeling confused, indecisive. Helps you engage creatively with the unknown. [Greensleeves, Scarborough Fair]
PHRYGIAN—E, dark Kali, our shadow side
LYDIAN—F, has open, bright “Ma”. [Sound of Music]
MIXOLYDIAN—G, Blues 7th “NI”. Used by Hildegard of Bingham [Norwegian Wood, Beatles]
AEOLIAN—A, Longing, lamenting feeling. [Summer Time]
The writings of Plato and Aristotle include large sections that describe the effect of different musical modes on mood and on character formation. For example, from Aristotle's "Politics",
“The musical modes differ essentially from one another, and those who hear them are differently affected by each. Some of them make men sad and grave, like the so called Mixolydian; others enfeeble the mind, like the relaxed modes; another, again, produces a moderate or settled temper, which appears to be the peculiar effect of the Dorian; and the Phrygian inspires enthusiasm.” The effect of modes on character and mood was called the 'ethos of music.' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_mode) Plato believed that a change in the musical modes of the state would cause a wide-scale social revolution. The Chinese believed this too, and they therefore limited the types of music that were allowed. What do you think? Do musical trends affect society and behaviour?
In a couple of days, I’m off to Whidbey Island for a 3-day intensive with Chloe Goodchild, founder of The Naked Voice. And I’m going to share what I learn with you, dear readers!
Chloe is a genius at helping people come home to their Soul using various holistic energy movement and vocal activities. This is my third workshop with Chloe. I can’t wait to see where this one leads. The last time I was with her, it was utterly transformational. I got clarity about the Tlingit name I was given—Kaasay—and began to use it publicly. I also began to consciously embody its significance. I even created a song about it. Soon I’ll tell you more about that.
So, here’s one of the assignments she gave us to get ready for the retreat (homework already?). Chloe says, “Your relationship with your own inner-outer voice is one of the most intimate you will ever have. … I invite you to begin unravelling the story of your very own voice more deeply…”
I’m very curious what will show up when I write the story of my voice. How about you? Here we go...just 3 EASY STEPS.
THE STORY OF YOUR VOICE (p. 75-78 in The Naked Voice: Transform Your Life through the Power of Sound).
Step One: Reflection
This reflective writing practice will require at least an hour of your time to really benefit from it. Its aim is to deepen your adventurous intention to explore and bond with the original sound that is your true voice. When you look back to your childhood years, how did you most easily communicate, both with yourself and with others? Were you more at home alone, in communion with your inner voice of silence, or was it through your speaking voice that your true authority emerged? What part did singing play throughout your life in revealing your essence to others?
Imagine writing a vocal self-portrait that describes your relationship, from the inside out, with your voice as you experienced it in all its forms, e.g. hidden, reserved, vulnerable, dull, frightened alienated, empowering, true, passionate, charismatic, overwhelming, transformative. As you journeyed from childhood into adolescence and adulthood, what enabled you to communicate yourself most authentically, in your raw naked truth, without censorship or self-consciousness? Which situations made your blood run cold, causing you to retreat into yourself?
This reflection encourages you to turn over every stone of your life: significant others, parents, siblings, elders, friends, strangers, animals, ceremonial events, accidental disasters, initiations, achievements, obstacles, and challenges. Were there passive voices of contempt and disempowerment, imagined voices, neglected voices left behind, unfulfilled dreams, voices of self-protection and denial as well as wise voices, courageous and fulfilling, that instilled hope and possibility?
You are now invited to write your vocal self-portrait, the story of your voice—silent, spoken, and sung–in no more than 4 pages. The aim of this vocal exercise is to build a clear, courageous and openhearted relationship with your life and the voice that has brought you to this moment. The practice will enable you to let go and forgive old stories and to build the courage and honesty to restore honor where required to your family and your community. The practice invites you to remember the true voice of your soul, your naked voice, the authentic voice of your life.
Step Two: Preparation
To creatively arouse the story of your voice and remember as many details as you can,
brainstorm, make notes, speak into a recorder, move your body, draw, tone or sing.
Step Three: Completion
Set aside a relaxing space and time to sit down and write your unique vocal self-portrait. (Up to 4 pages).”
Two weeks ago I introduced the idea of "coherence" and how I was using it in sound therapy with Alchemy™ crystal bowls. Physiological coherence happens when there is synchronization between heartbeat ECG and alpha rhythms in the EEG, as well as harmonious activity of the body’s subsystems. I promised to teach you the HeartMath Institute's Quick Coherence Technique. Here it is:
QUICK COHERENCE TECHNIQUE—3 SIMPLE STEPS
This method is completely portable! You can do it anywhere, any time. Here's a YouTube video that shows how to do it.
Step One—Heart Focus: Focus your attention on your heart area, and breathe a little deeper than normal—in and out for five seconds each.
Step Two—Heart Breathing: Imagine breathing through your heart. Picture yourself slowly breathing in and out through your heart area.
Step Three—Heart Feeling: Activate a positive feeling as you maintain your heart focus and breathing. Recall a time you felt good inside, and try to re-experience the feeling. Remember a special place or the love you feel for a close friend, relative or treasured pet. The key is to focus on something you really appreciate.
How do you feel? Do you notice a greater sense of ease, well-being or relaxation? Want to go even deeper? Try incorporating greater appreciation into your life in these simple ways:
1. Appreciation Breaks: Take two or three appreciation breaks each day – ideally in early morning, during work, school, returning home or before bed. Just follow the above simple steps. It takes as little as two minutes to achieve mental, emotional and physical balance.
2. Appreciation List: Make a list of things you appreciate – people, places, activities, pets – and choose one or two each morning to hold in your heart during the day. Choose an item again at night to hold in your heart while you rest.
3. Appreciation in the Moment: Keep your Appreciation List close all day, in a pocket or purse, by your computer or elsewhere. In stressful moments, choose an item that can quickly evoke appreciation. It can turn a stressful day into one that flows – in 30 seconds or less.
From the HeartMath Institute
Want to try the coherence technique while experiencing sound therapy with Alchemy crystal bowls? Read more and book a session.
I feel very privileged to have been the trainer, mentor, and sound therapist for nine amazing students who participated in my training program April 13–15, 2018.
We became dear friends and learned much.
As the weekend unfolded, it became increasingly apparent how compassionate these participants are, and how keen they are to learn new ways of helping others. I threw them into the deep end with some fairly challenging exercises, and they didn’t flinch. We co-created luscious soundscapes and much love. As Jonathan Goldman says, “The true sound of healing is love.”
For me, the high point was Sunday morning when we traveled to Gonzales Observatory and held our Sacred Eagle Sound Ceremony overlooking the ocean. As we began to chant, deer came by, birds sang, and eagles circled overhead. It was pure magic, taking us on a journey to spiritual realms that cannot be expressed in words.
By the end of the weekend, I noticed a visible change in each person. They had arrived tired, with the cares of the world on their shoulders. They left with twinkling eyes, renewed energy, softer smiles. For me, this is such rewarding work. I’m grateful that my students make it possible.
Now they are back at home doing their practicums, which include such things as personal practice of toning, humming, soul singing, and chanting the Seven Sounds of Love. In addition, some are offering healing sound sessions and some are doing group sound baths.
Already one student has reported, “I brought my bowls to my office and have been playing them every day, making a deeper connection to each of them. It’s like having a conversation with dear, trusted friends.” I can’t wait to hear more about that!
Here is what the April students want you to know:
What a blessed experience! When folks have been asking about the course, I have found myself fumbling for words to convey the power, the love, the transformation. I just loved the outdoor experience. That, and my personal sound bath, were peak moments in my life. —Jacqueline Gautier, RCC, Somatic Experiencing Psychotherapist, Nanaimo, BC
This is powerful personal work and a joyful, unique heart-opening experience. —Sherrill Miller, Intuitive Coach, Inspirational Speaker, Victoria, BC
The voice is so powerful. Having my name sung to me was very healing. —Shelley Chamberland, Burnaby, BC
A perfect blend of receiving and practicing the techniques. Kaasay is a gifted intuitive leader. I have so many beautiful sounds in my head and heart now. —Kristin Mabry, Yoga Teacher Trainer, Mountainside Wellness, Juneau, AK
I learned to listen within; to allow my voice and heart to open. It was one of the best experiences of my year. —Kelbey Saruk, Sound Artist, Music Producer, Yoga Teacher, Vancouver, BC
It was the most wonderful journey I’ve ever experienced. A highly-recommended sound experience, with crystal bowls, mantra and voice. —Kathy DeKramer, Yoga Therapist, Aurora, CO
I am still floating on a cloud. I have been chanting/singing every morning. It makes my soul sing. I feel completely serene and at peace. —Becky Nakamura, Shamanic Reiki Practitioner, Waves of Ki Energy Work, Calgary, AB
I experienced visions of unity and much release during my personal sound bath. Try it. You’ll like it! —Peg McKnight, Sound Therapist, Choose Happy Vibes, Yucaipa, CA
Amazing training! The three-day workshop with Kaasay was inspiring and transformational. What was so great was the hands-on experiential approach. I gained a new awareness of creating a healing space with alchemical crystal bowls and a deep connection with my authentic voice. Much gratitude, Kaasay! —Elaine Ohama, Educator, Everyday Ceremonialist and Heart-Centered Coach, Calgary, AB
Your next sound therapy training opportunity is July 13–15 at the Sound Sanctuary in beautiful Victoria, BC!
Kaasay (Nancy Watters)
Did you know that crystal singing bowls can be used to produce "physiological coherence"? The bowls emit pure sine waves that wash through the body and entrain heart rate, breathing rate and brain waves to healthy, calming frequencies.
I’ve been studying the extensive scientific research of the HeartMath Institute and am excited to see the intersection between their work and mine. I find their simple tools an excellent way to boost the power of the sound therapy that I do. For example, I guide people in the Quick Coherence Technique while they are listening to Alchemy™ Crystal Bowl frequencies.
Your heart generates a series of electromagnetic pulses that creates the largest electromagnetic field in the body. It’s about 60 times greater in amplitude (ECG) than brain waves (EEG). The magnetic component is around 5,000 times stronger than that produced by the brain. It is not impeded by tissues and can be measured several feet away from the body.
This energy is transmitted to your brain and to every cell in your body. Your heart’s energy field interacts with other people’s, producing cardio electric communication. You can use simple, quick techniques to teach the heart to synchronize and calm all your bioenergetic systems. And your state of calm will affect those around you.
WHAT IS "COHERENCE"? AND HOW DOES IT HELP YOU?
Physiological coherence is when there is synchronization between heartbeat ECG and alpha rhythms in the EEG, as well as harmonious activity of the body’s subsystems including the endocrine systems and the two branches of the autonomic nervous system. The time interval between each heartbeat varies in a complex manner.
These variations in electromagnetic energy, sound pressure, and blood pressure waves are “felt” by every cell in the body. Invoking positive emotions increases coherence. Coherence is made visible when the heart shows sine wave patterns in its rhythms.
Coherence increases efficiency in fluid exchange, filtration, and absorption between the capillaries and tissues, as well as increased ability of the cardiovascular system to adapt to circulatory demands, resulting in increases system-side energy efficiency and conservation of metabolic energy. Increased coherence is also associated with improved cognitive performance, mental clarity, emotional stability, stress reduction, positive attitudes, blood pressure reductions, reduced depression. Coherence can happen spontaneously during sleep and deep relaxation. It can also be taught.
Next time I’ll teach you how to create coherence in your own heart and mind.
Kaasay (Nancy Watters, MA, RCC)
From “The Energetic Heart: Bioelectromagnetic Interactions Within and Between People”, Rolin McCraty, PhD, 2003, HeartMath Institute
Since 2010 I’ve been using Alchemy™ Crystal Singing bowls for meditation, toning, relaxation, group sound baths, and individual therapy sessions. During the course of giving over 100 community presentations, I learned about the effects of the bowls by asking participants about their experiences. The settings were diverse, including a pain center, a cancer care center, adults with disabilities program, children’s programs, churches, meditation groups and yoga classes.
People consistently described their experiences in similar terms—they said they felt mesmerized, like they were floating, in a timeless state, transported to other realms. Some had visions of coloUrs and light. Most said they became deeply relaxed, almost asleep, but still conscious. They said their experiences of profound peace and joy couldn’t really be described in words. This piqued my curiosity. Was there any research about sound-induced altered states of consciousness? As it turns out, yes!
Lyz Cooper MA, MSc, FICNM, Founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, conducted experiments and reported her results in Sound Affects: Sound Therapy, Altered States of Consciousness and Improved Health and Wellbeing. Her subjects' experiences mirrored the effects that my participants described. Especially strong and statistically significant effects included transcendence of time and space, feelings of joy, muscle relaxation, slow steady breathing, a feeling of floating, visual imagery, and heightened insights. She compared the effects of live acoustic sound with recordings of the same. The live music seemed to be more emotionally moving, while the recorded music evoked deeper introspection. The sample size was very small, so further investigation is needed.
WHAT IS MEANT BY "ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS"?
Consciousness is the awareness people have of themselves and the environment around them. Different states of consciousness include alert wakefulness, relaxed, sleeping, dreams, meditation, trance, hypnosis and unconsciousness. Altered States of Consciousness (ASCs) are temporary changes associated with different brainwave frequencies. Everyone cycles through various brainwave frequencies continuously, so various states of consciousness happen naturally. ASCs may also be induced by illness, drugs, meditation, sound, and hypnosis.
Sound therapists make use of various sound frequencies to entrain clients to specific brainwave states. These brainwave states create specific effects (see chart). They help clients relax, reduce anxiety, get better sleep, increase mental clarity, and increase energy. There are biofeedback tools that show what brainwaves are being emitted. And there are simple tools that measure coherence between brainwaves and heart rate. This coherence greatly enhances health. More on that next time!
Interested in seeing how crystal bowls work for you? Book an appointment for a consultation or sound therapy session.
Find your perfect "bowl-mates" every time! Here's how to find your way through the maze of choices, step-by-step.
Purchasing crystal singing bowls can be a significant investment, so how do you know which ones are right for you? There are over 250 types of Alchemy™ crystal singing bowls available from Crystal Tones®, as well as crystal didgeridoos, tuning forks and pyramids. There are literally thousands of bowls to choose from, because each Alchemy™ crystal bowl is unique. They are hand-made individually, like pottery, so each has a unique "personality," a different note, height and diameter, and is made with different gems and minerals. When it comes to finding the right bowl, it can be overwhelming! Here’s how I help people find their perfect match. I hope these tips help you find your way through the maze of choices. If not, feel free to contact me for a personal consultation.
INTUITION AND MUTUAL ATTRACTION
The best way to choose a bowl is by playing it, live and in-person. If possible, go to a showroom where you can play them, such as The Sound Sanctuary. Look around. Are you drawn to a certain bowl or set? Play those first. What effect are you feeling in your body, mind and spirit? Watch for a sound that stirs deep emotions and touches your heart. It often seems to me as if the bowls choose their owners. I look for this attraction, and for the effect of the bowl’s vibration on the person. Sometimes they are so touched that tears well up.Most people think, “It can’t be that easy.” Still, after trying many other bowls, when they return to the bowl that called to them, they say it’s like “coming home” to a “soul mate.” After seeing this happen over and over, I believe there is a mutual attraction that happens. It feels like an adoption agency here at the Sound Sanctuary! I help people connect with their crystal bowl helpers. So, the first tip I have, is “Trust your intuition.” Then, use your head. Here's how:
HUMMING—Try humming or toning while playing a bowl. This magnifies the impact of the bowl sound. Look for a note that is comfortable for your voice, one that you can sustain without strain— a tone that feels good in your body.
HEALTH—Do you have health issues that you want help with? E.g. pain management, cancer care, anxiety, depression? Consider the energy signatures and healing properties of various gemstones, minerals and precious metals. Also consider the effects of various notes and tones. There are certain notes that assist the endocrine system, for example (consider a 5-bowl endocrine set). Certain combinations of notes create musical modes (moods). Intervals of a 5th are particularly calming and relaxing.
CHAKRAS—Do you want to enhance or balance the energy of certain chakras? Look for notes, gems and bowl sizes that correspond with each chakra. Consider a 7-bowl chakra set.
BINAURAL BEATS—Do you want bowls that create a Binaural Beat, for balancing right and left hemispheres of the brain? Binaural Beats take your bowl playing to a higher dimension. Choose any two half notes and play them together to get this effect.
VALUE— Consider “What is the value of these bowls in my life? How will my life improve? What is it worth to me to transform, heal and experience true joy?"
Are there crystal singing bowls in your future?
Let’s find out!
I would love to help you make your way through the maze of choices to connect with crystal bowls that capture your heart, give you joy and fit your budget. I love teaching about these amazing, transformative, musical works of art. I’m a Crystal Bowl Master™ consultant who has been working with the Alchemy™ bowls since 2010.
There are 2 consultation options. Have a look at them here.
"I want to thank you again for the lovely experience picking out my very first (and probably not last) crystal bowl set. As soon as I got home I was playing them, and played them with my western red cedar drone flute. Oh my goodness they couldn't be more perfectly matched! It was divine guidance for sure. I'm still stunned. Wow!!" (KM)
The mysteries of sound are coming into focus like never before! There are people and animals who see with sound. Sound can burn away tumours, levitate solid objects and change the taste of things. This 30-minute documentary, from the TV series "The Nature of Things, is astounding!
Watch the documentary on YouTube.
Nancy A. Watters, MA, is an expert sound therapist, professional singer, psychotherapist and Reiki master.
Site copyright 2012--2021 Nancy A. Watters. We never share your personal information with others. The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended for the mitigation, cure, or treatment of medical conditions. Luminous Tones and Nancy Watters do not provide medical advice or treatment. The information here is for general information purposes only and does not address individual circumstances or medical conditions. Always consult your physician or medical team for medical advice.