Sonic Alchemy – the Song of your Soul

SoundHealing

As I have several Sonic Alchemy workshops coming up, I figured it would be a good idea to talk about Sonic Alchemy a bit, and explain exactly what it is.

If you know me at all, you know I love singing.  When I am singing clearly and powerfully, I feel completely free. It is as though my soul is breaking through the struggles and strife of the world and soaring among the clouds. This unfettered feeling of liberation gives me a vantage point that I don’t have when I am mired in the struggles of a sometimes heartbreaking world. For a time, I feel exalted, and from this place of exaltation, I gain insights that guide my life. The gift of song is one of the great joys of my life.

I want to share this with you.

Sonic Alchemy was created so that you can experience the power of sound in a more intimate setting than performer-audience. Rather than being carried on the current of the performance, Sonic Alchemy facilitates your own experience of singing, and of music in general. Sonic Alchemy is a way for me to share just how deeply sound and music can grace our lives.

Sound moves energy. We all know this.

We’ve heard about vocalists shattering glass with their voices.

We’ve seen how specific resonances can create geometric patterns out of salt crystals.    

We’ve heard accounts of sound’s ability to harm, or to heal

But how often have we stopped to consider how sound might be used intentionally to shift what is stuck in our own lives?

Consider for a moment the catharsis of crying to your favorite song.  How the music moves you to tears you’ve been needing to cry, and how refreshed you feel afterwards.  

Sonic Alchemy is a gently guided journey through our inner landscapes, where we open, deepen, confront roadblocks, release, discover, and commit to our deepest desires.

In Sonic Alchemy, we use sound to orchestrate breakthroughs that may have been inaccessible otherwise. We can feel the resonance of sound in our bodies, which is why it can move us so profoundly.  Through opening ourselves to song, we can gain perspective on aspects of our lives that we may have been too enmeshed in to see clearly before.

Sonic Alchemy uses singing, drumming, percussion, Tibetan bowls, and Acutonics tuning forks to create a symphony of sound crafted to gently open us. We set the stage with Tibetan bowls, to ground us and call us to center. In alternating periods of singing, meditation, journaling, drumming, meditation, and more journaling, we surrender ourselves to sound. We let it stir us and shift things inside us. We allow it to fortify us for the journey ahead. We write about it so we do not forget. By singing together, we bring ourselves into resonance with each other, instilling feelings of empathy, compassion, and camaraderie. We feel seen, and we feel less alone in the world. We complete the session with the humming resonance of Acutonics tuning forks, to ground us and seal sound into our bodies.

At the end of the workshop, we take what insights we have uncovered, and make one commitment.  We choose one action we can take to bring our insights to fruition in our daily life. Each participant will be given a token of remembrance for their altar.

You will leave a Sonic Alchemy session with more clarity, more energy, and with a feeling of rejuvenation and renewal. You will feel closer to yourself and your community. And you will most likely have a renewed sense of conviction about some of the things that matter most to you.

We can use sound to orchestrate our own lives.  We can craft our lives to be a symphony of  meaning.

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(Next Sonic Alchemy workshop: 

January 16th 8-10pm
The Sacred Well
536 Grand Ave
Oakland, CA 94610
$45
Focus on intervals and their effect on us, via Acutonics tuning forks, Sonic Soul Alignment, and “coloring” our voices for the purposes of spell craft and shapeshifting.

Preregistration required.
For pre-reg, call the Sacred Well at 510-444-9355.

Want to learn more about Sonic Alchemy?

Try these:

Experience Acutonics Tuning Forks with this FREE Sonic Alchemy meditation

An amusing little rant about singing together.

An early article on Sonic Alchemy and the healing qualities of sound.

Song Magic

I recently returned from our annual gathering of the tribes and have spent the bulk of my day in a very inspired place.  There were two key events for me this year at Pantheacon: The first was encountering Patrick McCollum’s world peace violin and the subsequent talk we had about shaping the world by doing what others say is impossible, and imbuing our lives with meaning through symbolic action.

The other was lending vocal and drum support for the Morrigan devotional and then going right into my own performance with Pandemonaeon immediately afterward, still very much ignited by the fire of the ritual. This made for a potent experience, and got me thinking on song and magic. Both of these stories are worth telling, and I will tell each of them, but today I am going to focus on this latter.

The Morrigan devotional was beautiful and powerful. Kinship and sovereignty are both ideas that have been dear to my heart for many years. Also I have an affinity for the Morrigan. But more than that, this ritual really worked as a large clan ritual. Not all ritual themes are suited for large groups, but strengthening the bonds of kinship is among the best uses of large ritual, as far as I am concerned, and that was the key focus here. Also – magic happened, and these gates were still very much open in me when I took the stage.

Singing with the kiss of a God on one’s brow is powerful indeed, and has had me thinking all day today about song and magic, and how central to the practice of magic singing seems to have been to our forebears, based on what writings we have been able to find. It is said trained bards had the ability to raise boils on the face of an enemy, to raise one up to the ranks of the heroic with poetic praise, or to shatter a reputation with satire and scorn. There are tales of mythic creatures and witches alike who sing their hapless victims into an enchanted slumber, and tales of songs used to excite one to battle frenzy. Scandinavian and Germanic people have song magic in the form of galdr, wherein they sing the runes of their language as an invocation of magical will. Outside my own ancestral traditions,  history and lore are rife with tales of drumming for possessory trance, for healing, and for traveling between worlds.

Yet, for all the references to the magical power of singing, there is very little written on techniques for how to develop this. As with most of ancient Pagan tradition, we are left to rebuild with what few shards we can find. But after all, tapping the creative forces underlying the manifest world and wielding them to create something new is what we do as magic workers. We test and try, envision, experiment, and keep what works.

There is a Gaelic phrase, Oran Mor, which translates to “the Great Music”. This is the closest thing to a Celtic creation myth that I have come across, and tells of the mighty song of creation, singing the world into existence in perpetuity, always changing but never dying out. This idea is not unique to the Celts, of course – many cultures have similar stories. This concept gives us a place to start when contemplating how we can use song as a magical force. If we think of magic as the creative force underlying all life, emanating first as a primordial consciousness and then taking various forms and shapes as individual qualities coalesce, we can easily see that tapping this great primordial music and giving it shape via Will and skillful projection of voice would be a potent act. If we seek to wield magic of a specific quality, such as the essence of a tree, we can sit with that tree, open ourselves to it in meditation, and let its song pour through us. If we do this often enough we begin to take on a harmonic resonance with the tree  – or rune, or Deity – and we begin to master wielding that specific force.

We can gain skill via traditional magical practices such as meditation, visualization, and concentration. Meditation is key, in that we must learn to get our thinking minds out of the way in order to perceive the essence of something outside ourselves well enough to really know it.

In song magic, we’d need to add the practice of training the voice, so that we can shape our sounds to resonate with the character of the force we seek to wield. There is a concept called “synchronism” where 2 or more sound-making objects oscillating at similar or harmonic rates will synch up and begin oscillating in unison. Most of us have probably seen how ringing a bell can cause another bell in close proximity to begin chiming. Here is an example of how it works with metronomes –

We can apply this same principle to song magic, by listening for the “song” of a thing, and striving to bring ourselves into synchronization with it through creating a harmonic resonance with our voices.

This is what I experienced Saturday night at Pantheacon. After the Morrigan devotional, I was open and attuned to her, and the sound that came through me was…more than myself. I had access to immense energy. I was riding a current that I don’t usually tap when performing, and was likewise feeding it with sound. The tone had been set in the room already, so that pitching my voice in harmony with a current that I already feel an affinity for came quite naturally, and made for an experience that felt (at least to me) like touching the epic.

This isn’t a new experience, per say – I always go into performance having taken a moment to get centered and present, so that I can bring as much of myself as possible to an audience. And I always aspire to hold windows open to the Divine.  But it isn’t often that I go into performance from a place of possessory trance. It was very different and quite powerful. It has got me thinking that a more thorough and ritualistic invocation of intent before performances would be a good practice to adopt. This is not always possible of course, but acknowledging its value can help in planning for it. Bringing an awareness of the realms of the heroic into live performance, and wielding this with voice, can only enhance the experience for all involved.

It has got me thinking about song magic and what that means – not merely bringing our full presence to a situation but tapping into the vast reservoir of beings, presences, and spaces, and bringing this through with focused application of voice. And how this can be used to heal. Or to smite one’s enemies. Or to open gates to other worlds. Or to keen for someone who is grieving and finding the burden too terrible to bear.

This is using sound as more than personal transformation, as I teach in Sonic Alchemy, wherein we shift our stuck places and gain mastery of our own energies. This is true witchcraft, wherein we ride currents beyond our own immediate energetics, and the possibilities for wielding this power for the benefit of our communities has ensnared my imagination in a most intriguing way.

I am looking forward to exploring this more thoroughly in the coming weeks, and find myself awash with gratitude that I am part of such an amazing community of people, people who are willing to envision – and act on that vision –  to create a better world for all.

(I welcome sharing of this post – and all posts you find inspiring here).

Shaking the Soul of the World

You know that feeling when your heart is crushed under the weight of the world, and you think you will fall to your knees, or curl up in a ball, or hide under the blankets and never come out? So you drink 4 vodka martinis and watch X-files reruns until you pass out? But then you have to go deal with life, and you aren’t sure how you are going to do that because you aren’t even sure you can move, but you manage to crawl over to your ipod and find your favorite song, and then you hit “play” and you start singing to it, and at first it almost hurts because your heart is so jammed shut,  so afraid to feel anything,  but you keep singing and gradually you start to breathe more deeply, and your chest starts to open, and you feel a little uplifted because your blood is infused with oxygen, and it starts to become easier to sing, and then there’s that one part in the song where the melody is so sweepingly beautiful, and just the perfect range for your voice, and the lyrics just hit the nail on the head, so you sing along, and your heart cracks open and you start to soar, and then you burst into tears because you’ve been holding it all inside for so long and it is such a relief to just let go and let yourself be carried away by the power of the song, feeling all the emotion that the artist was feeling, and sharing that moment with the artist as you sing together in harmony and union, and the shackles of your self-imposed prison start to tremble and and then shatter completely, and you feel truly free again?

Well, I want to do that with you.

Sonic Alchemy, available wherever I go.

Upcoming:

In Santa Cruz, CA, April 20th – Feri Friday:
https://www.facebook.com/events/360626173975647/

In Denver, CO, May 15th:
http://www.livingearthcolorado.org/calendar/sonic-alchemy-class-with-sharon-knight 

Book a Sonic Alchemy Singing Circle in your Home: contact sharon@sharonknight.net

Check my tour schedule to see where I’ll be when. If I am not on tour, I am in the San Francisco Bay Area. And I am ready to sing with you. All the time, any time.

Stressed? Try This Free Sonic Alchemy Meditation

Acu-nicecloseup web
You’ve probably heard me talking about Sonic Alchemy for awhile now.  It’s where I take my love of music and my years of magickal practice and smoosh them together into a sound-infused playground to help you move through stuck energy and get to the breakthrough place.

Songs can change the world. I truly believe this. Sonic Alchemy is the way in which I endeavor to show you.

Rather than write a big long spiel about it, I figured I’d do just that – show you.

So here’s what I did. I recorded a musical meditation created with Tibetan Bowls and Acutonics tuning forks. It’s just over 11 minutes long, and I am going to explain how to get the most out of it right here.

First you’ll need to snag the sound file. Here it is. 

Ready to play it? Okay. Here’s how to use it.

Begin by getting comfortable, and grab yourself a set of headphones, or at least, be sure to listen on good speakers. My crappy laptop speakers drop the lower tones, and you don’t want to miss those.

Press “play” and start breathing into the tone. As each tone hits, breathe deeply, taking the tone into your body. Allow it find its natural resonance in your body, letting it settle where it will.  Most folks find that lower tones resonate with the lower parts of their body and higher tones resonate with the higher parts.

As you breathe in the tone, allow it to bathe you, and as you exhale, ride the tone, allowing it to sweep away any anxieties and tensions.

You’ll notice that gradually, higher tones are introduced, and then they fall way and allow the deeper tones to come into play again. This particular meditation is called a  Sonic Alchemy Alignment  and is meant to be used the way we would work with the Middle Pillar or a Triple Soul Alignment, meaning that the tone should bathe and balance you from the pelvic bowl, through the heart, out the crown of your head, and back down again. You will probably find that this happens quite naturally as you breathe each tone in and allow it to find its resonance in your body. I often joke that this is the lazy person’s guide to meditation, as the sound does most of the work for you.

You will notice a few places where there is almost total silence. Let yourself exhale fully in these places, emptying yourself of thought as best you can.

That’s it! Easy as pie! Repeat as often as you like, and feel free to take a nap. :+)

See? I bet you anything sound just changed your world!

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Do you like the Acutonics work? If so, come by the Sacred Well in Oakland on December 6th to check out the forks, and get a Sonic Alchemy gift certificate fro your loved ones!

What is Sonic Alchemy?

A colleague – and incidentally, promoter of one of my upcoming Sonic Alchemy workshops – has asked me to write a few words on what Sonic Alchemy is and why it is important to me.  So here goes.

Sonic Alchemy is a fusion of elements that have been both helpful and inspirational to me over the past 20+ years of exploration in the fields of alternative healing, music, and consciousness expansion. As some of you may know, I was a massage therapist for many years before I was a full time musician. During this time I developed a repetitive strain injury that made it very difficult to work. As part of a business course I was enrolled in, I met an acupuncturist who was using a system of healing based in Chinese medicine called Acutonics, which utilizes sets of tuning forks in place of needles to stimulate acupressure points via sound vibration. I was immediately enthralled and immersed myself in the study of Acutonics. The use of Acutonics in conjunction with massage prolonged my massage career by about 2 years, due to the fact that the sound vibrations so relaxed the muscles that I was able to get deep relief for my clients with considerably less effort.  This fascinated me, and even though I have largely given up massage in favor of the life of a touring musician, I have remained intrigued by the use of sound and music in healing, the experiences I have had in Acutonics classes and with my own clients, and my experiences with music, song circles, and ritual.  I have continued to explore these connections and utilize them as part of my own path. Of late, I have come to feel it is important to share this work.

As health care becomes increasingly cost-prohibitive and less accessible for many, it feels important that we as a human society find ways to support each other’s health and wellness as best we can. Massage and acupuncture cannot solve every problem but they have been known to significantly alleviate a variety of discomforts, many of which Western medicine has unsatisfactory answers for.  Allergies, anxiety, and aching muscles are three examples.

As we all know, music has a profound effect on our emotional states. We listen to Native American flutes or Celtic harp if we want to relax,  classical music if we want to open our mental centers, techno or metal if we want driving energy, such as for cleaning our houses. And these are just a very few examples. The subtlty of emotion that music can bring us is as varied as music itself, which is why we often crave to hear a specific song. In that moment only that song will bring us the exact emotion we crave.

We also know that medical professionals, with increasing frequency, are calling out the body-mind-spirit connection. I recently spent time with a doctor who specializes in the treatment of diabetes. Earlier this year she attended a national symposium on the disease and she told me the takeaway message from the entire weekend was that diabetes is best managed with diet, exercise, and stress reduction. Keeping one’s mind and emotions in harmony was crucial to mastering the disease.

It is my very strong belief, based on my own extensive experience, that we, like a musical instrument, can go out of tune, and this can create a sense of disharmony with ourselves and our environment. This disharmony, if left unchecked, over time can become illness. We can bring ourselves back into harmony by introducing tone into our bodies, by creating a symphony of sound that is unique to each individual.

We do this with pure tone from the Acutonics tuning forks, with our own voices, with touch, and with visualization and ritual. We feed tone into the body via acupressure meridians, trigger points, and chakras.  We radiate sound deep into the belly of each muscle. We ask our recipient to tone with us, that s/he may entrain their energy patterns to our own. And we have prepared ourselves before the session that we may hold a sacred space for them to attune to.

The tones of Acutonics are based on the mathematical formulas of the earth and the planets’ rotation in space. Inspired by Pythagoras’ “Music of the Spheres”, which is also the basis of our own western musical traditions, we use the tones of Acutonics as an aid in tuning ourselves to the cosmic harmonies of the greater universe. Thus does music help us in fulfilling our Great Work. Sonic Alchemy indeed!

Sonic Alchemy won’t set a broken bone or cut away a tumor. But, as with all complementary medicine, it excels in promoting a state of harmony and well being where truly radiant health can emerge. To give someone a Sonic Alchemy treatment is literally to give them a song, thus allowing a sense of poetry and inspiration to awaken within them. And therein lies that magickal ingredient that Western medicine is only recently coming to acknowledge as crucial to all healing – the intersection of body, mind, and spirit.

Sharon is offering Sonic Alchemy workshops in the following areas:

July 13th 7pm
Sonic Alchemy Healing Circle
Elements of Wellness
9715 Olive Blvd
Olivette MO
314-432-1778
www.eowmassage.com

July 14 – 17th
Wolvenwold Music Heals the Earth Festival
18629 Rocky Top Road
Elk Creek, MO 65464
$50 entire festival
http://wolvenwold.com/music_heals.html

July 20th
Ancient Road
Albuquerque, NM
SOLD OUT

July 23rd
Earth Haven Community
Private Home
Brighton, CO (address given upon registration)
$55 or $60 for workshop and concert
Details here:http://cotw.us/

Sonic Alchemy

For folks near Dover, DE, I want to let you know I will be offering this workshop in May. Also if you are curious about my Sonic Alchemy work this is a good description. This event is being hosted by Bell, Book and Candle, and a link to purchase tickets is provided at the end of the description.

Sonic Alchemy  and the Sovereignty of True Will

Friday May 6th 7 pm – 9 pm & Saturday May 7th from 10:00 am – 4 pm with breaks

This will be held at Seelie Court near Georgetown, DE – Not at the store – Directions will be given to registrants

What is True Will and how can we manifest it?  How can we bring a deeper sense of meaning and destiny to our lives? How can we use sound and music to empower the most authentic parts of ourselves?

Using symbol to invoke powerful ideas, and using tone and musical vibration to deeply imprint these ideas, we awaken the Mighty within us. In so doing, we  cultivate a sense of purpose and promote a life that lives like an epic journey, where a destiny uniquely our own unfolds before us.  This workshop incorporates elements of Sharon’s “Waking the Mythic Soul” and “Musecraft” workshops, and will explore mythic arcs such as the Stone of Destiny, the Hero’s Journey, and the Grail of Renewal, as well as sonic resonance and re-patterning in the form of toning, chanting, and acutonics.  Using song, movement, touch, trance journeying, and acutonic therapy (tuning forks used in conjunction with acupressure meridians) we will explore and deepen these mythic arcs within us. Together we strive to uncover and solidify the grace of our own sovereignty while promoting the rights of others to find their own.

Bio: Sharon Knight has been a magickal practitioner for over 27 years.  She is a professional musician and level 5 Acutonics practitioner. She has been combining the twin disciplines of magick and music for many years, culminating in this powerful and vibrant practice.  Sharon’s approach to practice is that of a modern day alchemist, striving to transform the lead of habitual thinking into the gold of illumined awareness via the use of symbol, sound, and ritual.  She teaches and performs nationally.
http://www.sharonknight.net/
http://acutonics.com/

I will also be offering private Harmonic Bodywork Therapy sessions (based on Acutonics) throughout the following week.
Learn more at http://www.sharonknight.net/acutonics.html

More information on these events can be found here:
http://www.bellbookandcandle.biz

Tickets are $150 for the event and can be purchased here:
http://www.bellbookandcandle.biz/shopping/pgm-more_information.php?id=147