Whenever one phonates, a reaction in the body of energy is begun, pulsating and ricocheting off of bone, muscle and sinew. One of the best ways to experience this situation is by placing one’s top front teeth on the bottom lip and making the sound “VVVVVVVV”. Immediately one can feel the cheeks, lips, nostrils, chin and neck vibrate. This sensation warms up the body, giving one the feelings of vitality, frivolity and silliness—all rolled into one.
Whenever I feel like I need a pick me up, I’ll phonate the “VVVVVV” sound to one of my favorite Beach Boy tunes, “Good Vibrations.” I especially like the escalating chorus (the lah-lahs before the big AH) toward the middle of the tune. Now, anyone who sees and hears you do this will think you have absolutely lost it. Yet, it’s so worth the pleasure it gives, not only from the good vibrations themselves, but from the peculiar looks on the faces of those who observe. If one day you feel a bit slow but a tad risky, try it. “VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV!!!!!!!!!!”
The Banshee of Irish folklore was primarily a harbinger of death. Whenever one heard the cream of the Banshee, they knew that death was eminent. I’m mostly of German heritage, but a small part Irish nonetheless. In German mythology the messenger of death was the Valkyrie—a chariot-riding daughter of Wotan sent out to snare the dying hero at his moment of death and transport him to live with the gods in Valhalla for eternity. The Germans are much less aural that the Irish, even though both the Banshee and the Valkyrie are potent images of death and dying. As a voice specialist, I prefer the myth of the Banshee, screech and all!
Dr, Janov was on to something quite powerful when he developed his primal scream theory. Although it was used primarily to release a person from the residual effects of the trauma of childbirth, a good hearty scream can be a commanding threshold toward healing. I have had a head cold for the last three days and am so “done with it,” I could scream! That got me thinking; why not scream and see what happens? Albeit, the experience was less Banshee-like and more in the mode of Munch’s famous painting of The Scream. Yet, scream I did. I had little or no voice left due to my swollen glands, but I gave it a “go” just the same.
The cold had to die—to escape from my body on the flight of the Banshee’s screech. I am still blowing my nose, and I have no idea how much longer I will suffer with this bug, but I do know that I feel better having released all my pent up frustrations of being ill by allowing the scream to spew forth from my innermost being like the scream of a shryk on its death mission. Being proactive about this head cold in such a base and tribal manner also helped me to understand that in order for health to arrive and regenerate my system, death was necessary—death of my negative thinking, frustrations, obsession with cold medications and sleep interruptions from coughing. Renewal of life is quickened by the cry of the Banshee death scream: “YAAAAAAHHHHHH—HEEEEEEEE!”
My experience with voice has been a journey really: sometimes joyful and sometimes dark and saturated by shame. I do know that the voice holds much of whom we are—it is our connection to breath and emotion and possibly a conduit for the expression of the imagination or the soul. To add soul or soulful expression to our lives allows us to find more potential to our humanity and in turn more meaning to our experience of living—more expression, more wisdom, more meaning, more joy and peace, more creative action, more satiation. Who we are is not altogether pretty or well trained. The creative imagination can be noble, delightful, comic, and a thing of extreme beauty. Yet, it can also be mean, diabolical, tragic, dark and ugly in every conceivable way. The voice carries that expression and can give a person insight into what may be truly going on within the inner recesses of one’s soul/shadow.
Humming holds within it the powerful promise of transformation. Air from the deepest recesses of one’s soul travels up the windpipe, causing the vocal folds to vibrate, which in turn gives the entire body a most deserved massage. This vibratory impulse quickens the nervous system, revs up one’s circulation, and the flow of one’s being is met within the flow of the universe. Then a tone emanates—either familiar or created in that instant. The phoneme rides the raft of emotion on the river of the imagination, and all for that brief moment seems right with the world.
Some people find the same thing to be true when they whistle, or sing nonsense syllables such as tra-la-la or doo-be-doo. I prefer the hum. My voice trembles with the sounds of the insect world, the breathing pattern of my pugs, and the electrical current running through my refrigerator. I hum an accompaniment to the life within my home and feel its spirit of warmth and aliveness within my soul.
Objects have energy, and when I quiet my mind and listen carefully, I get in touch with the hum of that power. I hum fragments of old tunes, catchy commercial jingles and made-up little ditties. They are usually either warm and caressing or spirited and lilting. My body quivers in harmony to my hum, and I feel it from the soles of my feet to the ends of my head hairs. I am abuzz with the power of all Creation.