Nearly every spiritual tradition connects with sacred sound or song in some way. From the rhythmic chants of Native American rituals, to hymns sung in churches, to the sacred mantras of India, to the utterances of prayer at Muslim temples during the call to prayer, sacred sound and song have long been a part of connecting to the Divine. The Amazonian plant medicine traditions work with powerful medicine songs called icaros that call forth the spirits of the healing plants, as well as guides and ancestors, which amplify protection and healing forces within the work. As plant medicine work has grown beyond the edges of the Amazon, it has come into contact with different cultures, different ways of life, and different needs for healing. As in the case of many traditions that have leapt from the original culture and context, plant medicine work has changed to meet the needs of those cultures and contexts. Indeed, the sicknesses of modern western culture are quite different from those of the traditional life in the Amazon.
Icaros are still essential to this work, but now it is not uncommon to experience sacred songs from many cultures, spiritual traditions, and languages during a ceremony. The chants, songs, music, and mantras shared during ceremonies guide the journey, and contain profound messages, opening the heart, initiating deep release, creating powerful new understanding, and centering the mind in timeless wisdom.
Angela Blueskies, Creative Director of Heart of the Mother Retreats, has dedicated many years to the study of sacred sound and vibration, and her own lifelong journey as a musician was transformed through working with plant medicine traditions. She is the founder of Sound Medicine Journeys, which embraces the idea that sound and vibration have an incredible capacity to facilitate the healing process. Sound Medicine unites the pure energy of sound with the intention to create a healing environment for the body and mind, and embraces the idea that when vibration shifts, healing and integration can occur, and states of deep peace and rejuvenation may result. When combined with the energetic expansion of plant medicine work, it is possible for participants to become particularly “porous” ~ able to receive the vibrations in a much deeper way than in everyday awareness ~ and as a result, it may bring about powerful shifts in body, mind, and spirit.
Bringing contemporary understanding into this ancient healing tradition, and uniting sacred sound and medicine songs from many spiritual paths, the healing music during our ceremonies and throughout Heart of the Mother Retreats is often one of the highlights for many participants:
“Oh, the music… Every time these angels sang it seemed they had answered my request, whether for rest or guidance… add in the power of community with like-minded souls, with fellow pilgrims, and the excursions to sacred sites, and you have fertile soil for amazing growth.”
“Filled with heart opening and expanding music from start to finish, trips to powerful sites in Peru’s Sacred Valley and ceremonies which offered me exactly what I needed”