Sound Archetypes

With the open day for our new course, “Sound for Personal Transformation” with Steve Balsamo coming up in November (news of that to follow!), we thought it was time for another post from our guest blogger, sound healer Gail Montague. Now, Gail herself says that this might be “a little whacky” for some of you, but hey, let’s find out! 


Sound Archetypes

“Origins of sound archetypes go back to the Paleolithic period when all humans were hunter-gatherers. In this long period humans were closer to nature and their understanding of the sacred was very different from the current understanding of the sacred in the western culture. …The sound archetypes were imprinted in ancestor brains by the shamanistic rituals of chanting and dancing. We all carry remnants of these imprints in our genes and in our collective mind. Chanting and dancing still have powerful effects on humans. Kiirtan is a modern version of the sacred dances of the Paleolithic times. The Sufi dances are the same. Rhythmic repetitions of certain sounds take us to our beginnings. Basically, we are reaching the deeper layers of our brain, the parts that deal with raw emotions and even deeper layers, the so-called primitive brain where involuntary body functions are performed. The sound archetypes are to be found at this layer of the brain and in the corresponding layers of the mind which is the collective mind of our species.”


Extract from: Origins of Sound Archetypes by Suresh Emre

If you would like to try this and see how this type of sound affects you on all levels – try chanting the sound HU (pronounced WHO). It is a very ancient word for God and it is found in some form in almost all of the ancient cultures on the planet and the sound is still present in many words used today – the obvious one being human! It is in fact part of us, soncially speaking.

It is a very powerful sound to make and to use. It resonates the chest cavity. It is also a sound with a high vibrational rate and, when you chant HU, you will find that you are more able to connect on a deeper level with the real you – the confident and knowing side of yourself. This would, of course, benefit you as a performer!

It is said that chanting HU positively raises the vibratory frequency of every cell in the physical body and it may be sung silently or out loud, so you can do it without other people knowing you are doing it! Also, a great many people have said that chanting HU brings peace to your thoughts and a feeling of warmth and comfort. It would certainly be a beneficial exercise to do before a performance to create a peaceful and calm state of mind. Even a few moments will help change the way you think and feel.

I have to say that when I was first advised to start chanting I was of the very firm (not to mention uninformed) opinion it was a seriously strange thing only done by weird New Age people and I wasn’t going to do it at all… not ever! However, when I finally tried it, I knew I had been completely and utterly wrong. Perhaps the big clue should have been that people have been doing it for thousands of years. They would have stopped centuries ago if it hadn’t been helping them in some way!

Since then I have found chanting to be enormously beneficial on many different levels, especially when treating or dealing with stress, tension or anxiety in its many forms, and I would recommend the practise to anyone now…

And, of course, I am quite often seen as one of those mad New Age people I judged as daft! As I know better now, I always hope that anyone judging me in the same way will come to know how useful chanting can actually be just as I eventually did.

Chant Exercise

  • Sit with your spine straight and silently say to yourself that you want the sound you make to create peaceful and calm state of mind.
  • Now find set a breathing rhythm breathe in – pause – breathe out – pause and relax into the breathing pattern. If you can make your out breath twice as long as your in breath, this will enhance the relaxation process.
  • Now simply chant HU softly and gently without straining in any way. Sing as if HU is a beautiful lullaby. Don’t project your sound as you would for a performance, just let it almost float out of your throat on your out breath in a peaceful way and use the note which is most comfortable for you at the time you chant. You may find it will be a different note each time you chant. This does not matter. It is simply the sound you need at the time you chant.
  • Elongate the sound so you are making it on the whole of your out breath.
  • If your mind wanders, bring it back to focus on the sound of the chant and carry on for as long as you need to create a relaxed state of body and mind.
  • If you are using the sound to relax and have any tension in your body when you start you can visualize the tension being released on your breath and just floating away with your sound.


Have fun! Or at least have a nice, relaxing time…

Gail Montague

Sound Healer

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