Each and everyone of us has a spirit, a soul, a complex expression of spirit that contains essence that sustains and fuels us. It’s so easy in shamanism to have all of our attention on the spirits of the land, the spirits of nature, our helping spirits and guides and those found within the hidden realities that we often times neglect and forget that we too are spirits. The difference between us, and them, is really that we are bound to the physical world–to ordinary reality–through the vehicle of our bodies.
Though it’s important to merge and work our helping spirits we cannot be forgetful of our own. The Soul Song is a very interesting aspect of core shamanism. What it does, through the medium of singing, is enable the Soul to be expressed to its fullest capacity in a given moment. We drum and rattle with an intention for our Soul to give us a song, to have it expressed. This song can change, because we too change, you could sing it now and five minutes from now you could sing it and it could be completely different.
What the Soul Song, and Soul practices really, do is enable our Souls–the core of our being–to be expressed, undiluted and unfiltered. Our Soul lain bare for the world to see, for our helping spirits to see. For us to experience and witness. I enjoy the Soul Song in particular in my regular practice because it helps tap into my Light, my Spirit. In transfiguration work (which I’ll go over later at some point) by singing the Soul Song I am able to tap into my being, my Light, and send it to places in the world that are in need of healing and support.
The Soul Song’s primary purpose is to express the Soul and have the practitioner experience and feel the power of their own Soul. It’s deeply connecting, and often times quite moving. We touch and tap into the deepest part of our being where our essence is stored and found. We stir it up and in this process our Souls’ are bare and truly seen. It’s a powerful way to reconnect with yourself and find your power and essence.
The Soul Song isn’t particularly difficult to facilitate either. You can be sitting or standing, using a rattle or drum (or none of these). You begin with a simple, slow beat. If others are present this beat is to help get them intune with your own, with shamanism being a community practice it’s important to understand that those participating in ceremonies that this is not a competition. We rattle and drum in harmony, with one with the community and spirits.
This simple, slow beat is also a great way for you to ground and quickly reconnect with yourself. When you feel ready, and those who are present are in sync, you sit up and begin to rattle or drum more quickly. This can be a typical journey beat or it can be a particular rhythm you’ve decided upon. Either way, consistency is key here.
As you stand and quicken your rhythm you project a clear intention and ask your Soul for a song to sing!
Do not be discouraged if it does not come quickly, or at all. Simply allow yourself to experience what you are meant to experience and honor that experience. If you do feel a rise and bubble of song (or movement for that matter) do not censor this sound or movement. Be as authentic as you can be and allow yourself to be immersed in that authenticity. If you need to do a loud cry then do that loud cry! If it’s a simple monotonous vowel, do that! The importance is that you are not censoring yourself. You are surrendering yourself and your ego. Allowing yourself to simply be. This is much more difficult than it sounds.
Do not be surprised that in this process you feel the need to move! This is common. If you have a small group, the facilitator usually stands in the center either moving around the circle clockwise or counterclockwise (it doesn’t matter, just pick a direction). Many people feel the need to move in place, to express their Soul through dance as well through song.
If you’re in a group (because this isn’t really an issue if you’re by yourself doing this exercise) and your members feel the need to move beyond moving in place, usually what happens is that the facilitator simply moves to the center, and the members who wish to move do so in a clockwise or counterclockwise circle in the center. Thus you have three main components, you have the larger exterior circle, the middle circle that’s moving in a circle and the facilitator in the center of it all directing and guiding the experience.
You can do this exercise for as long as you need to, with a group it’s important for the facilitator to gauge when enough time has passed and those present have experienced their Soul. When the ceremony ‘feels’ complete it’s time to wrap things up. The facilitator should increase the rhythm, shaking their rattle or drumming their drum in a rapid and quickening beat. All present follow this rhythm. This is typically done for 30 seconds, or roughly half a minute.
The facilitator signals the completion by rattling or drumming four sets of seven beats.
Take the moment to breathe deeply and feel your Soul. What does it feel like? How do you feel in this moment? Feel its power, its essence. The connection you have to yourself. This is your Soul. This is your essence. This is your being.
The Soul Song is a powerful technique, though it may appear simple its power lies within that simplicity. To have your Soul expressed and bare, for the world, community and spirits to see and for you to experience is truly a gift. Remember that what you do in shamanism is sacred, what you apply is sacred. Treat your teachings and methods with respect and remember the sacredness of what you’re doing.