Sound Ritual: Healing Through Ancient Indian Song
The collection of curative songs of ancient Native Americans on Folkways Records shows only one of the dimensions that nature uses to heal: music.
For millennia, shamanism has been central to the traditional medicine of the Indian cultures of the Americas. Many of these knowledgeable men and women found their healing methods via dreams, that state of sensitivity that Artaud described as an “alchemical virtue.” Through the dreamlike visions, the shaman could cure diseases, predict fate and console the anguish of the human unconscious. In the realm of dreams, healers introduced songs and mantras to alleviate illness and distress.
Since 1907, ethnographer Frances Densmore devoted herself to researching and collecting these songs throughout North America. Her collection amounted to some 2,000 recordings of distinct Indian lineages that’s remained part of the archive in The Library of Congress. According to Densmore, these Indian doctors used sound frequencies as methods of healing. “Spirit to spirit” vibrations apparently connected with “secret sounds” discovered in dreams by the shaman.
Densmore warned that the shaman would listen only in isolation, as this was how they increased an awareness of nature and a feeling of empathy with every living creature, and this allowed them to heal. In fact, a shaman claimed that his or her “source of power” was usually an animal (a bird or some other creature known for its implacable strength) or another natural element that connects with the body though vibrations (such as air or water).
Folkways Records, dedicated to rescuing the original spirit of American folklore through sound, collected Densmore’s recordings onto an album in 1965. Healing Songs of the American Indians can be heard on the Folkways site.
When ancient rituals became religion
The emergence of religions irreversibly changed the history of humanity. It’s therefore essential to ask when and how did ancient peoples’ rituals become organized systems of thought, each with their
Seven ancient maps of the Americas
A map is not the territory. —Alfred Korzybski Maps are never merely maps. They’re human projections, metaphors in which we find both the geographical and the imaginary. The cases of ghost islands
An artist crochets a perfect skeleton and internal organs
Shanell Papp is a skilled textile and crochet artist. She spent four long months crocheting a life-size skeleton in wool. She then filled it in with the organs of the human body in an act as patient
A musical tribute to maps
A sequence of sounds, rhythms, melodies and silences: music is a most primitive art, the most essential, and the most powerful of all languages. Its capacity is not limited to the (hardly trivial)
The enchantment of 17th-century optics
The sense of sight is perhaps one the imagination’s most prolific masters. That is why humankind has been fascinated and bewitched by optics and their possibilities for centuries. Like the heart, the
Would you found your own micro-nation? These eccentric examples show how easy it can be
Founding a country is, in some ways, a simple task. It is enough to manifest its existence and the motives for creating a new political entity. At least that is what has been demonstrated by the
Wondrous crossings: the galaxy caves of New Zealand
Often, the most extraordinary phenomena are “jealous of themselves” ––and they happen where the human eye cannot enjoy them. However, they can be discovered, and when we do find them we experience a
Think you have strange reading habits? Wait until you've seen how Mcluhan reads
We often forget or neglect to think about the infinite circumstances that are condensed in the acts that we consider habitual. Using a fork to eat, for example, or walking down the street and being
The sky is calling us, a love letter to the cosmos (video)
We once dreamt of open sails and Open seas We once dreamt of new frontiers and New lands Are we still a brave people? We must not forget that the very stars we see nowadays are the same stars and
The sister you always wanted (but made into a crystal chandelier)
Lucas Maassen always wanted to have a sister. And after 36 years he finally procured one, except, as strange as it may sound, in the shape of a chandelier. Maassen, a Dutch designer, asked the