Chanting and Magick
“In the beginning was the Word,” the Bible says. According to Christian tradition, the voice of God is the instrument of creation, the source of all that exists on earth and in the cosmos. The Hopi believe the universe was created by Spider Woman, who sang the sun, moon, earth, and stars into being, then animated earth's creatures with her voice. According to Sufi mythology, God fashioned the first human from clay, then asked the angels to sing the person's soul into a state of ecstasy so that it would enter and enliven the clay.
These creation stories express the power of the voice and the magick inherent in sound. Witches and other magicians often chant, sing, and intone special words or phrases to create the circumstances they desire. Most spells and rituals involve affirmations, incantations, prayers, or invoking spiritual beings for assistance. Chanting can also dispel unwanted energies and break down obstacles that might otherwise impede a spell's success.
Some shamans even use chanting and singing to reconnect the soul with the physical body after a trauma has caused a separation. Singing to the missing parts of the soul/self is believed to create a pathway or bridge so the wandering parts can find their way back home.
As musician Steven Halpern puts it, sound is the “carrier wave of consciousness,” capable of transmitting information from one life form to another. Sound can even carry intentions between the visible and nonvisible realms.
In a magickal setting, chanting can be done solo or in a group. In a group setting, chanting provides the additional benefit of uniting the people in attendance and charging their emotions at a concurrent rate. This process generates what's known as a cone of power, an energy field that the attendees will send out toward their goal.
Words of Power
Spiritual and occult literature abounds with references to the power of the human voice. For millennia people have been reciting magickal words as a way of invoking supernatural forces and petitioning them for assistance. This is usually done by calling out the deities' names. Speaking someone's name is said to be an act of power, giving the namer influence over the named (which is why in some belief systems, individuals have “public” names and “private” names that are kept secret). In the Genesis story, Adam was allowed to name the animals on earth and thus was given dominion over them.
Witches and magicians recognize the power inherent in some words, incorporating them into spells and rituals. Abracadabra, for instance, is universally associated with magick, by the public as well as occult practitioners. But the word isn't just part of the stage illusionist's repertoire. Derived from the Aramaic Avarah K'Davarah, which translates “I will create as I speak,” it expresses a magician's intention to manifest a result. As long ago as the second century the word was written as an inverted pyramid and used in amulets to protect the wearer from illness.
One of the most powerful and sacred statements is also one of the shortest: I am. This magickal combination connects you with your divine essence for creative purposes. You can intone the words to balance your vital energy, center yourself, and generate power, much as you might chant the word Om. Or you can consciously choose to form a magickal sentence that begins with “I am” in order to manifest a desired condition.
Be very careful how you use the phrase “I am.” Whatever follows these words will be charged with magickal energy and intention. Never say hurtful or derogatory things such as “I am stupid” or “I am ugly” — these statements can materialize as unpleasant conditions.
Many witches end spells with the words “So mote it be.” This phrase (like “so be it”) seals a spell and instructs the universe to carry out the witch's will. If a witch wants to banish an entity or energy, he might order it to leave by saying, “Be gone.” The expression “Blessed Be” is a favorite greeting among witches and a magickal exchange of positive energy.
Resonance and Vibration
Because the universe — and everything in it — is composed of vibrations, all sounds produce effects. Sound healers have demonstrated that the body's chakras can be balanced by playing certain notes on the musical scale. Don Campbell, musician and author of The Mozart Effect, believes he healed himself of degenerative bone disease by “making thunder” — singing, dancing, and vocalizing a loud, long, extended tone that expressed his deepest fears, tension, and joy.
On his CD Holy Harmony, sound healer Jonathan Goldman presents a compilation of nine powerful frequencies that are believed to be “related to the Creator's ancient musical scale used in creation, destruction, and miraculous manifestations ….” Goldman had special tuning forks cut to produce these frequencies, which align and heal the body's energy centers and transform consciousness.
Witches tap the power of resonance to raise energy, cleanse sacred space, focus the mind, and empower spells. Whether you use your own voice or a drum, gong, bell, tingsha, singing bowl, or other instrument, sound can increase the effectiveness of your magick and add beauty to your rituals.