Working with Sound and Light

Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation - Sandra Ingerman MA, Hank Wesselman Ph.D. 2010

Working with Sound and Light

The fact that sound can heal has been known since the beginning of time. Shamans all over the world have used songs and chants to heal illness. Vedic chants, icaros in the Amazon, and the mantras of yogis all are used in healing. The great Egyptian physician and architect Imhotep, the “man who became a god,” created a temple designed for sound divination and healing near his step pyramid at Sakkara almost 4,000 years ago. And today Navajo healers sing long healing prayers over their patients—whose conditions then improve.

We can even see in the creation myths that many different cultures teach that matter and life were formed through the sounds and words of some creative force. You may be familiar with the biblical teaching in Genesis that says, In the beginning was the word (sound) and God created the world with the words “Let there be light.”

For the past forty years, Westerners have been rediscovering the power of sound to heal. For example, vocal “toning” and using Tibetan singing bowls, crystal bowls, and tuning forks are all being explored as ways to heal emotional and physical illness. The same holds true for monotonous drumming and rattling. Working with the vibrations of sound—whether from a musical instrument or from the toning or chanting of one or more voices—has been revealed to be a way to restore harmony to the body.

The musician Robert Gass, who has written on sound and healing and has made extensive cross-cultural sound recordings, observes that the healing power of the harmonics of sound can be seen as the “light” in music. He also states with conviction that one of the definitions of healing is to make sound.

In support of this, Hank Wesselman adds that the name of the Polynesian healing god Lono (“Rono” or “Rongo” in the southern ocean) means “to listen” or “to make sound” when it is expressed as a verb: ho’olono.

We have observed that the subconscious body-soul is very impressed by anything physical. So when a sufferer sits in the center of a circle and receives ritual sound vibrations that amplify the person’s own healing intention, the body-soul (whose job is to restore and repair the physical) goes to work with an enhanced sense of power and purpose.


Many of us who serve as shamanic practitioners work with drums and rattles in our healing rituals. Over the past decade, numerous scientific studies have been published that demonstrate the enhanced health benefits, such as positive immune system changes, provided by exposure to recreational music-making, especially drumming.

For example, a 2001 paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine by a cluster of investigators headed by Barry Bittman, MD, demonstrated that group drumming definitively strengthens the immune system. To be precise, statistically significant increases in the activity and number of cellular immune components called natural killer (NK) cells, which seek out and destroy cancer cells and viruses, were seen in the subjects who drummed.1


We have observed that a shaman is a person who learns to move his or her ego out of the way so that the power of the universe may work through and within them. For this reason, the shaman is often described as a hollow bone or empty reed. To move their egos out of the way, shamans traditionally use singing and dancing to build their connection with this universal life force, and they frequently sing and dance for many hours before they do any journeying or healing work. Singing is an extremely powerful tool, and Sandra Ingerman teaches that when you truly sing with passion, energy moves from your head into your heart:

The forceful breathing associated with the singing allows oxygen to flow through us, saturating our tissues and brain, affecting our arousal centers, and awakening our entire body. In response, we may feel ourselves being filled with power. I have found that singing is an extraordinarily potent way to relieve depression or feelings of powerlessness.

However, many of us were told as children that we were not good at singing or our voices hurt the ears of others. In accepting this belief, we lost our power—for we are powerful when we sing. Everyone can sing, and it is a great way to activate and experience our own healing process.

Finding Your Songs

Shamans have power songs that they use for different healing ceremonies. To find your own power songs, you might first do some drumming and rattling. Listen to the sound and allow your awareness to shift until you begin to achieve inner focus—and then allow your consciousness to travel inside of yourself. Notice if you are feeling any vibration in your body and let that vibration surface. Find your voice and allow this vibration to express itself as a sound, chant, tone, poem, or song.

It is easier for some people to find their song while they are alone in Nature. You might sit by a tree and hold the intention of having a song sung through you. Or you might find that by taking a walk and incorporating some movement, a song will flow out of you. Often a song begins as a repetitive humming that grows and increases as we continue to hum. Sometimes words begin to take form as phrases.

Notice the energy you start to feel in your body. As you continue to sing, you may find feelings of joy returning to your life.

You might find your song(s) by journeying to your place in Nature—your Sacred Garden. Before journeying, try doing some drumming, rattling, and singing to move the chatter of your mind out of the way and to open your heart. Your journeys will be deeper and clearer when you take some time to prepare yourself before visiting your garden or connecting with your helping spirits.

As your conscious awareness “geographies” itself into this place—literally re-forming itself as though you are actually there—allow yourself to settle, then create your intention to “capture” a song and move into a state of deep listening. Just wait and let the song come to you. Once it does, allow yourself to hum along as it takes form. Repeat it over and over so that you won’t forget it.

As Hank has discovered, sometimes your song can come to you at an unlikely time or place, such as in a car:

I received my first song in the 1980s when I happened to be driving around the Big Island of Hawai’i. I was alone in the car visiting my favorite places of power that are scattered around the immense slopes of the volcano Mauna Loa. A song appeared in my mind as I drove—a repetitive rhythmic melody without words. I sang it over and over all day.

I held my focus as I drove on this largest mountain in the world (if you measure its height from the ocean bottom). I also focused my attention on the spirit who lives in this mountain, the one the Hawaiians call Pele. In the Andes, she would be considered an Apu, a tutelary spirit who resides within a particular mountain of great power. She has been one of my “friends” for more than thirty years.

On that day, I came to believe in and accept Pele as one of my protectors who also serves me as a teacher on occasion. The song she gave me is about power. I sing it when I need to power up. Because it was my first song, it could well be the last one that I sing to release my breath before I make my final transition into death.

I have also received other songs since that time—healing songs, for example, and songs for bringing myself “into alignment with.” I sing one of them when I arrive in a city, town, or place I have never been before. Singing is a way of making contact with the spirits of that place and of announcing my presence. It’s also a way of saying something about myself and my reasons for being there—but ultimately, it’s about “finding connection with.” It’s about correct protocol.

Gods of the Harp

Songs can be used to raise power, and they are also used as a way to perform a healing.

Tom Cowan points out that in the Celtic tradition, the idea of God or the Creator is referred to as the Òran Mór, or Great Song:

This is in keeping with other cultures that see the universe as something vibrational or something created by a voice, song, or sacred word.

In an old Irish myth, the goddess Boann (later her name becomes Boyne, one of Ireland’s sacred rivers) gives birth to three sons who become harpers. As each son is born, Boann’s husband, Uainthe, plays music on his harp to accompany her experience. The first birth is difficult, so he plays a lament or song of sorrow; the second birth is joyful because she realizes she is having another child, so he plays a happy tune; and she falls asleep during the third delivery because she is tired, so he plays a lullaby. When the boys become harpers, each specializes in the type of music he heard when he came into the world. I think of them as the gods of the harp.

In many myths and folk tales we hear about a harper who knows how to play these three strains of music as a healing technique. The harper plays laments and listeners weep, then songs of joy and listeners laugh, then the lullaby and listeners fall asleep. Later they wake healed of their sufferings. My take on this is that these three categories of music reflect the matrix in which we live, which is composed of sorrow, joy, and peace. I interpret the sleep/ lullaby music as a means for creating peace, not necessarily sleep. This is in keeping with the non dualistic (we are one with the web of life) teachings of the Druids. In other words, our lives are not just a tug of war between sorrow and joy, but also a yearning to move beyond these two states into something that transcends the dualism—and perhaps this state is peace.

I think of sorrow and joy as categories into which we can place all our dualistic feelings, thoughts, emotions, and situations that occur in life. While we might think that the healing solution is to move from the negative into the positive, we know that everything contains its opposite and will revert to it at some point. So moving the distressed person into joy is only temporary. The real healing solution is to move beyond the dualities to a place of peace—a more abiding state that can be present whether one is in sorrow or joy.

A simple way to use this matrix for healing is to hum these three strains of music for someone as a kind of prayer. Visualize the person in distress or pain and hum a low tone, then watch the person’s face begin to smile as you move up a couple notes on the scale, then see the person in total peace as you move the hum up a couple more notes (C, E, and G work well). This can be done in one slow breath as you exhale. Then keep repeating this as a kind of breathing-humming meditation for several minutes in which you send out healing with your breaths and intentions. Not surprisingly, you’ll find that this brings you too into a wonderful state of peace.

Singing and Healing Patterns

In Chapter 7 we shared how the Shipibo use icaros, or songs, for healing. José Stevens, who has studied with the Shipibo, has experienced shamanic healing though their songs first-hand:

During an all-night Shipibo healing ceremony in Peru’s upper Amazon, the presiding shaman healer whispered to me that I had a growth in a specific location of my body. Although I had mentioned this to no one, I had noticed a hard lump under my skin in just that location, and it worried me some, so I was startled when he mentioned it. He said, “Let’s take it out,” to which I readily agreed. He proceeded to sing several icaros, or sacred healing songs, and he passed his hands over the spot and then blew smoke over me. The next morning I checked the spot and noticed to my great relief that the hard little lump was totally gone. To this day it hasn’t returned.

In contrast to removing what should not be in the body, the Shipibo also utilize icaros that can have a positive healing effect or create a cocoon of protection. Indigenous people know that inside the body there are vast open spaces, plenty of room for things to go in or come out. One of the things that can travel in and out of these open spaces they like to call mal aire, or bad air, or cold. They believe that the icaros can be inserted into these spaces as well. This is not in contradiction to the understanding of quantum physicists and neurobiologists who are beginning to uncover how empty the human body actually is at the subatomic levels. Inside the human body are vast reaches of space—just as in outer space. Shamans say that these spaces are not empty but are filled with patterns like radio waves. These waves can have a positive or negative impact on the person. In these terms, mal aire inserts itself in the body just as song patterns that penetrate the subatomic structure of the body and impact it at the subtlest of levels. As the shaman removes the mal aire, he or she burps long and loudly to help release it. The burps are a great metaphor for getting rid of whatever is not good. Burping, which, like song, is another sound vibration, makes the release real for the body.

According to the Shipibo, each icaro has a subatomic pattern with a specific purpose. When this pattern is sung into the body with intent, it begins to create a set of outcomes that would not have occurred had it not been inserted. The icaro is intended to stay within the body for a long time—sometimes even permanently. A shaman or healer can actually see the icaros in the body. They say, “Oh, I can see the icaro placed in you by Shaman X or by me six months ago. It is still there working away.” In order to reinforce the inserted icaro, they might sing into a bottle of water and tell the patient to carry this water with them and drink a little out of it every day or two. They also might provide the patient with a bottle of icaro infused with perfumed water to sprinkle on the patient’s head. Or they might give the patient some mapacho (tobacco) with icaros sung into it to be smoked a little each day and blown around the body. Anyone who knows about the latest research into water understands that water responds to chants and prayers by changing its molecular structure. Although this has not been scientifically proven, the same is true for tobacco.

Healers and shamans actually create changes in reality by singing their intent into the “now point,” or what quantum physicists call the quantum field. Shipibo healers use their heartfelt intent and subatomic vibratory patterns carried by icaros to extract negative or disease-oriented patterns from the body, and they replace them with positive harmonious ones. They are effective only to the degree that the patient goes along with the program. If the patient does not believe in the process or does not accept the healing, they can easily counteract the effects of the icaro and remain sick. This is the bane of some people who say, “How could that work?”

For the Shipibo, the universe is made up of songs that the healing plant, animals, and elements teach them. One can make a point of learning these songs and then become a co-creator with Dios, or God, in shaping reality. Thus, the Shipibo culture is filled with singing just as is true for most of the indigenous peoples of the world. Many shamans say that because we have lost touch with our songs we are experiencing grave troubles. For those in the know, it is anathema to go songless, for then one has no capacity to shape his or her world and one is at the mercy of delusion and less than beneficial forces.

I asked the Shipibo to help me learn to sing, which has always been difficult for me since I am so intellectually centered. They provided me with a cloth embroidered with specific icaros, which I was to wear over my shoulders in ceremony to help me learn the songs. Then they sang some icaros into me that would help me learn more rapidly. At first I had doubts, but I was amazed at how quickly I began to learn. Songs started flowing through my head morning and night, and I found myself singing them over and over even when I tried to stop.

According to the Shipibo, everyone has a song, everyone can sing, and Spirit gives everyone songs upon request. All that matters is that you are willing to sing. These songs may or may not have words. Often they begin with just a simple repeated melody that can be whistled or hummed and over time becomes more complex with words and content. Many icaros are dedicated to gratitude or honor a spirit helper. Others are used for establishing protection, requesting assistance, or giving direction to an ally to carry out a desired task. The Shipibo, like most shamanically oriented peoples of the world, believe that if one does not sing, even poorly, then one is prone to depression and fearfulness. They say we must sing every day without fail, and this will keep us healthy, happy, and protected from harm. If you wish to follow the shamanic path, then you will not be able to avoid songs, just as you will not be able to avoid Nature.

Carol Proudfoot-Edgar speaks more on how important it is for all of us to find a way to use song:

The use of sound in shamanic practice is as necessary as breathing is to human life. We can’t live without breathing, and we can’t follow the shamanic path without working with sound healing in some capacity. Sounding ourselves and sounding with others is part of all shamanic practice.

She shares the following way of working to start to incorporate this teaching into your work.


Find a plant in your landscape: it can be any plant, including a tree, suggests Carol Proudfoot-Edgar. In altered consciousness, sit beside the plant. Close your eyes, quiet your mind, open your ears, and listen to the sound or song of this being. Let that sound begin vibrating with you—rising up from the base of your spine through the top of your head. This is similar to sound rising through the stem or trunk of a plant. You will know when you have found and become the sound this being makes because you will sense a deep oneness. When you are done singing the song of this plant, tell it how beautiful its song is and thank the plant for sharing with you.


Crystals have been used in all cultures where they exist in the land. The Manang shamans of Southeast Asia call quartz crystals “stones of light.” Carol Proudfoot-Edgar, who has found crystals to be effective tools for healing, sometimes combines them with sound healing in her practice:

Crystals are great holders and conductors of sound-light. The main way I use them is to sing songs into the crystals, soak them in appropriate light (sun, moon, complete dark), then sing again. Once this is done, I place them in various ways on or around the body to bring healing. A special method is to use the crystal for spreading sound-light around the auric body (the energy field) of a person. Such activity seems to energize the individual and to bring forth their own light, their own sound.


In today’s world we say that we are a composition of body, mind, and spirit. But often people don’t understand what we mean by spirit. If you take away the body and the mind, you are left with the spiritual aspect of yourself. And that aspect is spiritual light.

For shamans and mystics, the visionary experience inevitably brings them into relationship with their spiritual aspect—“the light beyond the form.” Not only are we in relationship with this light, teaches Sandra, but we are spiritual light:

The light we are talking about here is a transcendent experience. In one of my past dreams, I met the Egyptian god Anubis, and he shared with me that the missing piece of my environmental work was transfiguration. This dream led me to stories about the miraculous healings that were performed when Jesus transfigured into light. Stories of mystics such as Ramana Maharshi, Krishnamurti, and Krishna transfiguring into light and affecting people by their luminosity are quite common. Iconic images of Christian saints are often portrayed with a nimbus—a halo—a symbolic expression of their ability to transfigure into luminous beings, into solar beings.

The most highly gifted shamans are masters in healing others and creating harmony between the environment and the people. These shamans have had a deep and powerful initiatory experience that comes through a vision, from recovering from a life-threatening experience, or through a near-death experience.

In this type of initiation, everything that keeps the shaman separate from the power of the universe is stripped away—the body and ego—so the shaman becomes formless and pure spirit. The shaman transcends his or her ego and allows the body, mind, and emotions to be bypassed by spiritual forces so she or he can be reunited with the source of life. This is called a shamanic dismemberment, and we talk more about this in Chapter 11. The dismemberment experience is a level of initiation followed by a feeling and vision of the body being renewed and by the acquisition of magical or healing powers.

After a shamanic dismemberment, Inuit shamans are filled with light, which gives them their psychic and healing abilities. During initiatory experiences among the Aboriginal Australians, a creator being in the Dreamtime gives these shamans their psychic sight by placing a crystal in their body. Experiences of being transformed by light are spoken of among shamans in Siberia, Malaysia, and North and South America. Rock art all over the world repeatedly shows depictions of shamans as human forms with solarized heads—with the head literally replaced by a symbol of the sun.

This transformation of the physical being into light is seen everywhere as a spiritual rebirth in which the visionary becomes a luminous being who has access to the spirits and spiritual realms. Knud Rasmussen, a well-known Arctic explorer, shares that the Eskimo shamans believe that the light within the Shaman’s body enables them to see in the dark, into things that are hidden, and into the future.2

In case after case of miraculous healings, the message is quite clear: true healing is not about encountering luminosity but rather embodying it. By transfiguring into divine light, we convey the luminosity needed to heal others and ourselves, our societies and our planet.

The light that is in us, Hank points out, is the light and love of the universe:

To make the direct, transformative connection with our immortal spiritual aspect through the path of direct revelation is to experience a sense of extraordinary perfection accompanied by an overwhelming feeling of love. When Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed, “I am the light,” the message was actually, “You and I and all of us are the light.” Our immortal soul aspect is the light and the love beyond the form.


To experience this divine state of your own immortal light, it is good to do some preparation. It can be experienced in a myriad of ways. According to Hank, many discover that it is like a tightly woven basket or cloud composed of lines of light that create an elongated, orb-like luminous field. For some it is the bright darkness of the void. Some will see this field visually; others simply sense utter peace and tranquility in which they often feel the light expand within themselves or perceive it behind their closed eyelids. But each person will have a unique way of experiencing it.3

First, find some music that you can listen to that will relax you but also give you a sensation of expansion. You can use the audio included in this enhanced eBook.

It is important not to feel burdened by ordinary reality. This means you want to let go of all that you have to do, where you need to be after the experience is over, what is going on with loved ones in your life, etc. You can release constraining thoughts by doing some singing, dancing, or walking—always with the intention of letting go of anything that is burdening you.

Sandra uses her imagination to find relaxation:

I often use the metaphor of a ship going to sea. Unless you take up the anchor, you as the ship will not move. It is good to use singing, dancing, or walking as a way to let go of thoughts that might anchor you into ordinary realms through your concerns.

Hank also uses the metaphor of the ship because it can help us in envisioning ourselves moving outward and upward:

This is a good metaphor because the anchor leads downward, connecting us to our memories, habits, and our everyday habitual behavior patterns held in the body-soul. In this journey, you are not going down into “your stuff.” You’re going within yourself to connect with the seed of light that was planted within your heart by your transpersonal god-self when you drew your first breath. By turning your focus within and toward it, you are activating that probe and letting your own inner light shine through you. Then you are going to focus your intentions on going up.

We can think of the connection as being similar to the string of a kite. The string is a line of light that leads upward, a connection from the light within your heart to the spirit (the kite) that hovers over you—the self-aspect the Hawaiians call ’Aumakua, or your immortal oversoul.

After you have done some preparation and let go of burdening thoughts and everyday concerns, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Make sure you are in a space where no one will come into the room to disturb you. Make sure your phone is off, then put on the music you have chosen or use the last track of drumming on the audio.

It is important to note that in this experience you are not journeying outside of yourself into another world. You are actually traveling within to experience your inner light so that it can shine through you. Many people actually perceive it as a luminous visual phenomenon against the darkened field of their closed eyes.

You might begin the journey by repeating the following intention: “Thank you for taking from me that which keeps me separate from my spiritual light, my divine perfection, the source, and the state of oneness.”

This intention at the journey’s onset tells your helping spirits and the universe that you want to transform the form of your body and the thoughts that fill your mind. This, in turn, will bring you into a state of oneness with your source, your personal creator, your god-self, and beyond that with the god or the goddess, the power of the universe, or whatever you wish to call the source of all things.

As you repeat your intention you will find that your helping spirits may help you create a way for your body and mind to dissolve so that you may begin to experience yourself as pure spiritual light. Keep breathing and experience this wonderful state. Soon you might feel a change in the vibration of your body. You can stay in this state for the length of the drumming, or for anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes while you are listening to the music. This is enough time to truly give you the experience of transfiguration.

When we keep up our transfiguration work and have an experience of our inner light, we also start to find our eyes shining—reflecting that we have touched into the place of inner joy and inner wealth as the indigenous shamans do. In this way we bring more light into our own lives and the world.

The direct experience of your spiritual light can be greatly transformative because you have touched your own divinity, and through it, the greater divinity beyond. Whenever you experience this inner light, it is good to give thanks for the experience and to feel your awareness coming back into your body while you, at the same time, hold onto the light shining through you. With practice, you will find you can hold a bit more of this light throughout the day. And it is in this way that you will be a light in the world.


We have emphasized more than once that the goal of the authentic mystic, both tribal and modern, is to access the true transpersonal archetypes—the “lights beyond the form.” Within these numinous experiences, mystics say they also perceive a sound. Like the spiritual light, this sound is perceived and interpreted in different ways according to the psychological framework of the perceiver, but all spiritual traditions converge on a singular truth—a deep understanding that this is “the sound that creates all.”

The monotheistic religions conceive of it as a primordial word of a fatherly mono-god, the Logos, through which this deity created everything in the universe and all at once in a singular event. Others affirm that the primordial creative vibration was actually a sound, such as the Om of the Eastern traditions. Still others affirm with equal confidence that the first sound was the breathing out of the universe, an extraordinarily long breathy whisper—Huuuuu—a whisper that went on for eons, the echoes of which can still be perceived today by mystics, shamans, and by astronomers using radio telescopes.

In Hawai’i the name of the healing deity is Lono, a word that as a verb—ho’olono—means “to make sound” as well as “to listen.” Hank provides some information from the mystical Polynesian traditions whose traditional wisdom sheds light on who and what we really are:

The kahuna wisdom-keepers of Hawai’i know that we, as embodied oversouls (Aumakua), are part of a still greater spiritual composite—the collective spiritual essence or field of all humanity. We often refer to it as the Human Spirit. The Hawaiians call it Ka Po’e ’Aumakua (the great collective of human oversouls, or the ancestors).

This greater human spiritual field is often perceived by the kahunas as a vast, borderless sea of brilliance that has a drawing power, a luminous expanse compared to which all other lights are pale expressions. It can be thought of as an entity or being, a collective mosaic of billions of oversouls that carries within itself the composite spiritual essence of our entire species, Homo sapiens.

The psychologist Carl Jung thought of it as the “collective unconscious”—a hidden field of awareness to which all of us theoretically have access—a field that contains within itself the so-called Akashic Records, an Eastern concept of the collective wisdom and experience of all humanity in our long journey across time. Contact with the greater Human Spirit is achieved through our personal oversoul, a smaller spark of that still greater light.

Interestingly, these insights of the kahuna mystics are very much in alignment with those of the quantum physicists who claim that each human being (our physical embodiment) can be thought of as a “particle” that exists within a greater personal wave-field (our oversoul) that in turn exists within the still-greater collective wave-field of the Human Spirit.

From this view, several conclusions can be drawn—conclusions that can be verified by each of us using the shamanic journeywork method. First, each of us is truly a microcosm within a macrocosm; second, we are all interconnected to one another forever; and third, when we are embodied, each of us exists as a point of focus within which heaven (our spiritual oversoul) and earth (our physical aspect) achieve unity to become one.

From the kahuna perspective, through our personal god-self, each of us can thus make contact with an unlimited sea of energy. This is the power that shamans, mystics, and medicine makers have always been able to access through the spirits. This is the energy that Hawaiians often refer to as Ke Akua, Teawe, or what we call the Source.

In monotheistic religions, this power is usually thought of as God, YHWH, Jehovah, or Allah. In the shamanist traditions, it is considered to be the life force itself, highly dispersed throughout the universe, and found within everything everywhere. The life force is not a being or personality to be worshiped, nor is it a thing to be revered. It is not a noun; rather, it is a verb, a process that flows through life everywhere and forever—an energy in action with which we all may come into a more intimate relationship through the shamanic path of direct revelation.

This life force that the Hawaiians call mauli ola is available to us at all times, providing us (on request) with access to tremendous energy—enough energy to heal any illness, from aggravating chronic afflictions to serious life-threatening conditions.

In relation to this, it is important to return from a journey that provides us with a transfiguration experience in a way that enables us to function once again in the world. We need to learn how to ground ourselves in ordinary reality—yet without totally disconnecting from this transcendent light. We want to continue to embody this light as we go on with our lives because by embodying and experiencing our light throughout our days, we change. And as we change, this will also change all those who come into contact with us.

This light, flowing within and through us, creates a vibration that ripples throughout the entire web of life, ultimately healing us, those close to us, the rest of society, and even the planet itself.

When we work in this way we are working with divine essence of all of life including the divine light of the planet. Once we tap into the divine, we go beyond physical and emotional pain. For when we transcend our body and its emotions we move into a spiritual state where pain does not exist. The shamans of antiquity knew this and drew upon it. It’s just that we have forgotten.


It can be difficult to maintain a state of spiritual light if our thoughts break our concentration. You might find yourself being in a true transcendent state—in both states at once, both here and there—and all of a sudden your mind invades your serenity with lists of things you need to do later on the day. The experience of mental chatter is a common problem in all spiritual practices.

According to Sandra, there are tools to enhance your ability to practice transfiguration:

I have found that by toning, you can deepen this experience of transfiguration. Toning is where you sound out a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) and hold it. Allow one vowel to flow into the next and keep the reverberation of sound going. Most of us are familiar with sounding out Om, or Aum. You can use the sound of Aum and hold that too. As we’ve mentioned, Hindu scriptures teach that Aum is the sacred syllable from which the entire universe is manifested.

When I teach the practice of transfiguration in my workshops, lectures, and conferences, I have the group stand up and tone once they are in a transfigured state. I find this helps maintain a divine state of consciousness while keeping out interfering mental thoughts. Try doing some toning and experience how the vibration affects your consciousness and state of well-being. This is a way to combine the healing power of sound and light together.


The use of sound and light is becoming more and more common in the healing modalities of today. Many healers believe that there will be a time when using sound and light becomes the predominant form of healing.

We can actually journey into the future and learn from descendants how they have evolved with their healing practices and how they incorporate sound and light for healing.

In the shamanic traditions, it is understood that when you journey into and through the Dreamtime you are outside of the time-space continuum of the physical world. This means you can journey back in time to meet with ancestors or even forward into the future to encounter descendants. Sandra, who leads these time-travel journeys in some of her workshops, loves to see what the future has in store for us:

Since the early 1990s, I have been leading journeys in which my workshop participants are encouraged to connect with descendants. This can be quite an experience—because our descendants may have evolved beyond where we are now, and in the process, they may have learned a great deal about how to thrive. In other words, we may find that they are a wealth of information.

Even if you don’t have children in this life, you will have spiritual descendants. So when you do this journey you are asking to meet with descendants on a general level.

Hold the intention to journey into a time in the future when life is good and harmonious. You might journey into a time where sound and light are predominantly used for healing. There might also be other advanced healing methods used in the future. Ask to meet with a descendant or a group of descendants who can show you how they use sound and light for healing. Then ask for something simple you can bring back into your practice today.

One time when I was journeying to descendants, they tried to show me a musical note to use. They felt that I would not be able to get to this pitch using my voice. They suggested that I get a tuning fork of the pitch A, which I could use in place of my voice. This is an example of something simple and practical the descendants shared with me.

I have led descendant journeys throughout the United States and Europe. People often report having similar experiences. They say that life has become simpler than the way we live now and that in the future people work together as a community when someone becomes ill.

Working with descendants can provide an abundance of information. It is a journey you may want to practice again and again. Try to build a strong and healing relationship with one descendant or group of descendants. They will keep sharing more information with you over time. They can be very joyous, and this will instill hope for the future of the planet. Remember that our descendants have an investment in our healing and our evolution of consciousness, for we are creating the world they will live in.

Hank, who has written about his experiences with one of his descendants, believes that the person he met in the future is actually an aspect of himself:

After a continuum of spontaneous visionary connections that I had over a twenty-year period with a man named Nainoa who lives in the future, I realized that he is actually one of my descendant selves.

My ability to make this claim comes from direct revelation, and as my journeys into the future deepened and stabilized over the years, the process became increasingly easy to access, creating the certainty that both Nainoa and I are embodiments sourced by the same oversoul.

Although these visions began spontaneously—much like lucid dreams in which I could act and think and maintain my own integration as a personality separate from him—both he and I were eventually able to bring the process under our conscious control.

I seem to have been given a glimpse of the future—the future that we are walking right into if we continue to do business as usual. And why would I be given this knowledge? This question has kept me awake many nights. My recent connections with the indigenous world have suggested that when “the hand that writes all” reveals the future to a prophet (shaman), it is for one reason only—so that this potential future can be changed.

Needless to say, this assemblage of visionary narratives is quite unique, further revealing what is possible using the shamanic method. On the path of direct revelation, there are no limits.