You may well be familiar with the practice of ‘tuning the chakras’ by toning the major scale. Common to various sound therapists this technique seems to work in various keys even though it is most commonly practiced in C setting the key note at 256Hz or 128hz for a male voice. In this practice toning each note of the ascending scale, often led by an instrument or a recording, for anything between a few seconds and one full breath balances the energy in the 7 chakras, clears minor blockages and harmonises their energy. There is a huge difference between simply receiving sound healing and participating in it. Using one’s own voice to create the notes harmonises personal will with the experience deepening the effects.
The strange fact that it works in different keys appears to connect with the fact that we as human beings are amazingly adaptive, accommodating and flexible in our relationship with the world. Once we know what our key note is for this moment we accommodate our needs to it in a similar way as we accommodate our personality to the varying situations we are asked to be productive or creative within in everyday life. There are many reasons within a person’s experience and within their personal karma that can affect their chosen base note and while the C scale seems to offer an archetypal pattern the interval structure itself appears to touch the relationships between the chakras. For the purposes of this discussion I am going to relate my descriptions to the notes as intervals. Thus from a keynote of C (128Hz) you get D as the “2nd” E as the major third, F as the 4th G as 5th and A & B as 6th and 7th with C (256Hz) as the return of the keynote. You might wish to transpose this as you find useful for your instrument or your purposes.
This simple sequence of notes climbs from one to the next, a series of full tones and semitones that has found such a central place in our culture out of its relevance to our present soul structure. The sense of completion that arrives with returning to the key note at the top illustrates that the 7 chakras are a system within a system. The 8th chakra vibrates at exactly twice the frequency of the base chakra, whichever that note is, pointing to the fact that alone the I am is not complete, only when I accept the other as equal to myself do I discover my true nature and rise to my potential. Less frequently practised but in my opinion just as important is to then re-tone each note in descending order. Rising up through the chakras is a self-awareness exercise. Descending through them is a self actualising process.
Toning the intervals with two people, one holding the keynote and one sounding each of the other notes in turn really helps to experience the space between the chakras, the system of awakening in the body. Doing this one can also begin to get a feel for what such intervals as the minor third do, what they touch in us.
The big Lyre Bowls are mostly tuned to arpeggios, keynote, third, fifth, repeat up the octaves. When stroked from one side to the other the tones first descend through two or three octaves, reach the keynote, descend one further interval then rise again (listen). The effect of this is huge. Everyone with any sensitivity to their internal state of being is moved by this. The world looks brighter, the inner feeling is cleaner, more hopeful. A sound bath like this can last for months, for some can even be a life changing experience. The first person to try this tuning was Zambodhi Schlossmacher, a client in Gloucestershire working with special needs youth. We quickly established the importance of having that one interval below the key note, it changes the whole feel, adds a sense of depth and strength to the sequence. It was from here that I began to watch how the sub-frequencies from the keynote affect the minor chakras.
We all know the 7 chakras. Major portals of etheric energy in the body they act as both balancing points and as sense organs. Without these chakras we would not have any feel for how we as independent organisms relate to the life-world around us nor the freedom to make our own choices within the context of our human life. But these 7 major chakras are accompanied and assisted by a host of minor chakras.
Every joint in our limbs for example is kept healthy and feeds us responses through minor chakras swirling over their every movement. The palms of our hands and the soles of our feet host really important chakras that give and take energy to and from the earthly reality we work in. Our presence in these chakras helps us to maintain our own soul health and part of the sickness of the modern age arises from the fact that the palm and sole chakras are blocked from ill-use. Each time we make something, fix a meal from real ingredients, sketch a drawing, even bounce a ball or play catch the palm chakras rebalance themselves through communication with reality, both interpersonal and between matter and intention. Each time we walk a distance the sole chakra experiences the rhythm of contact with the earth as an attunement. If we are walking on a man-made surface, concrete pavement or tarmac this is slightly reduced, if we are walking in plastic soled shoes this is also reduced. Barefoot on soil allows a swift and full re-attunement especially if the walking takes a rhythm over several minutes. Spending our time tapping keyboards, manipulating a mouse or with our feet stretched out over a synthetic floor actually divides us from the reality we came here to experience. Thus divided, we who regulate reality by our relationship with it begin to experience a chaotic reality, from a lack of vibrant health to weird political events. Even the health of the weather systems of the world is subtly linked to our personal chakra-health, to our maintaining a creative relationship with reality and with each other. There are practices that balance and attune the 7 chakras but many typically only do this in ascending order. Attaining self knowledge requires rising out of ourselves to review who and where we are. Being effective in the world requires coming down into ourselves to realise, to make-real who we came to be, the gifts we brought with us. Re-toning the 7 notes in downward sequence can help with this.
In ancient practice an assumption that lay unquestioned behind everything was the understanding that what we call ‘self’ is an apparition arising out of deeper spiritual truths. In modern thought it tends to be an assumption, inherent in Newtonian and Darwinian thought that the sense of self is a product of biological processes. Whenever we seek ‘scientific proof’ of the efficacy of the work we do with sound we need to notice whether we are subscribing to this materialistic world view. Materialism creates the idea that we need to create our experience rather than notice or uncover it. Once we go down this route all meaning in existence fades. Only when we begin to realise that we are here as an emissary of a higher level of consciousness, a Self seeking experience as part of a human family do we begin to relate to our lives and to the earth out of real compassion and care. In playing their notes from high to low and back up again the big Lyre Bowls create a subtle reminder of our origins in something higher, of our intentional presence as part of the Earth Experience and of our individual intention to lift up the earthly experience towards Love, towards a common good future. When we ground this by touching and awakening the lesser chakras, particularly the soles of the feet we assist more strongly than before in making ourselves real, empowering the gifts we came to bring, embodying our spiritual experience, fulfilling our karma.
A Sound Bath with a large Lyre Bowl goes so deep exactly because it goes further than the 7 major chakras. Touching the G below the keynote, the 5th of the octave below. Effectively this is similar to toning the octave then returning to keynote and toning down three notes of the same scale when doing this you might notice that the knee, ankle and sole chakras respond. This G below C gives a real feeling of being grounded. Activating the sole chakra from its shoe-bound torpor, reminding us that we are here for the earthly experience. There are many exercises and techniques for refreshing the ongoing relationship between body and soul but this full descending and ascending arpeggio with its extra depth-note is more effective and longer lasting than anything I have encountered.