These frequently asked questions will continue to be added as time goes on. If you have additional questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What typically happens at one of these events?
A: For the long Heart Centered Sound Circles that happen on Sundays, they are scheduled for 2 hours. We arrive at 1, and together we socialize, catch up with each other, and set up the community altar. Around 1:30 we start the ceremony with the opening song. After that, it becomes very fluid, and we all get to pick and choose what songs to sing. Sometimes we go off of the song sheets, sometimes someone introduces a new song, sometimes we make up our own songs. After we’ve sung ourselves silly for about an hour (break adjustable), then we sing the closing song, take home excess energy/send it into the earth, pack up the altar, and head on home.
Q: What is meant by “Heart Centered”?
A: There are many different ways to look at this, but to break it down simply, there are three “main” consciousnesses that we have. There’s the head, heart, and gut. The head is where we go to think, to plan, to dream, to create. This is where inspiration comes in and how we communicate to others in the world. The gut is where we react, we manifest, we respond (most people talk about having a “gut feeling”). The gut is also where our safety and security come in, as well as feeling grounded. When we feel “off center”, our gut is usually not in alignment. The heart is the connection between these two. We can communicate with others, but we can lack empathy until we connect our hearts. We can create meaningless things in the world that we pour our energy into but don’t get “enjoyment” out of it because our heart isn’t in it. All great power is mediated through the heart, and the process of awakening our hearts is to find out who we truly are in the world. To not know who we are, what our gifts are, and to live a life that is “half hearted” would be considered an abuse of power in a shamanic civilization. Our job is to find what makes us full hearted and to take off those layers and to live fully in the moment. That’s what heart centered means.
Q: I really don’t have any experience and I’m intimidated on coming to this, but I want to try this out because it sounds interesting. Do I have to have experience?
A: Of course not. There’s many different experience levels that come to these events. You don’t have to be a music major, or even a drum master. The main thing is that you’re always welcome to experience and ask questions. We will try to explain things as they come up, because occasionally we will have many people that show up from different religions or pantheons. Once we started singing mantras, and even though I’m not versed in them, we attempted them anyway. We’re all open to new experiences, just come and have fun. Meet new people.
Q: Can I bring other instruments besides drums and rattles?
A: Sure! We’ve had someone bring a didgeridoo and talk about bringing in stringed instruments. Just as long as you’re able to play it and “zone out” with the rest of us, and still keep an ear out for the change in tempo when it comes up.
Q: Why do you guys keep singing songs that repeat the same lyrics over and over?
A: Sometimes when we get so stuck in our head or stuck in one area consciousness wise, it’s hard to break us out of that paradigm, and we need help shifting our consciousness. Using sound, or music is a wonderful way to do that. Repetition is a great way to bring us to a light (alpha) brain wave state (see this link if confused) to induce a light altered state of consciousness. Some other chant circles will sing “rounds” for hours. This is obviously an abbreviated version with songs lasting anywhere between 4-10 minutes.
Q: Is it okay that I choose not to sing along directly with the lyrics?
A: As more and more people join in, the main thing that this group focuses on is to enter into our heart consciousness. A lot of people won’t sing the main chorus and overlay another chant they know, or they will add harmonies. If singing isn’t your jam, then shake a rattle and dance to get in your body. The point is not about escapism, it’s about living. If you choose to hum, or dance, that’s your process. And it’s honored here.
Q: What if I feel really weird and awkward and I don’t know what you guys are doing?
A: No worries, you can sit in a corner and draw/paint/journal. Being in the same room can be just as impactful on the energetic body even if you’re not participating.
Q: Is this a pagan ritual or something?
A: Although a majority of people that come happen to be pagan, no this is not a pagan ritual. The only intention is to hold the space for us to honor ourselves and what makes our heart sing. How many times in life do we do things half heartedly? The intention here is to find out what makes our heart happy. Even if it’s just meeting other people that like to bang on the drum all day. It’s more a ceremony to honor our heart. No religion needed. We do give honor to the ancestors and helping spirits and set up circle so that as we expose ourselves and become vulnerable, no bad juju will enter the circle.
Q: Why is there an altar or shrine?
A: The key to having an altar is to have a focal point for grounded energy to come through. We make sure to honor all of the elements, the ancestors, and any deities that call to any of the participants. This is a community altar that you can feel free to add to 🙂 If you believe in ghosts or the things that go bump in the night, then that means you believe somewhat in “spirits”. We give honor to the spirits, because even though we can’t “see them” doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
The main thing about the sound circles is to HAVE FUN!! Where are we in life if we can’t laugh at ourselves and join in fun with other like minded people?