Don’t Know What To Do? Or

Sing A Song, Baby, Now

Most spiritual traditions feature music and song in some form or fashion. In some spiritual systems, especially among indigenous peoples, song, singing and sound are sacred, the very essence of life. I knew this. I lived it as an Aztec dancer and as a participant in the Native American Church; singing is a constant in any ceremony.

But I really didn’t know singing’s true potential.

There was an elder woman that we helped to heal. We were celebrating her wellness with 10 brothers and sisters that hadn’t been together for years – a unity celebration of wellness, one could say.

At the end of the ceremony, at the moment of the final blessing, the good lady’s eyes went white as they vibrated larger and larger; her mouth snarled in twisted shapes, sputtering curses and groans. Half the people there were non-believers, who had come only for Mom, fretting and chattering. The believers were looking at me, shocked. Luckily, one of lady’s daughters was a doctor and a believer, and attended to her that way.

And I, the shaken Curandero, could not, in any way, show the newly arrived evil that I was shitting in my pants. I had no idea what to do about this situation. So, I acted like I knew what I was doing and started singing a song from our dance tradition, over and over: rattling a slow, solid beat with my voice full of all the sincerity I could muster.

Soon after, as I continued to sing, I felt a true calm and saw the clamor of the people around me also settle. I was able to attend to the good lady a few moments before the ambulance took her. I had to let the chamuco, the demon, who took her, know that we’ll see him soon. However, the story of how we freed that lady from the chamuco must wait for another time.

After that moment when the singing changed the entire dynamic of what could have been a disaster, song became a staple of our practice. When I sang, or rattled or drummed, I knew I wasn’t missing anything with my patient. What I couldn’t see got seen by the music.

When I had no idea what to do, the sound of a song in supplication, or in command, filled in the blanks, supplied the power and performed the healing!

I say and do things when I sing, that I can’t even imagine accomplishing without the song and sound. When I sing, it’s like the best of me, the true self, perhaps, comes through where regular old me won’t dare to go.  I have a relative who sang her way out of drug addiction, but that’s also a story for another day. Start singing and making sound if you want to


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