July 16, 2024
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the magical use of sound

The Magical Use of Sound

Everything in this world is vibration. While this truth may not be immediately relatable as it applies to you, or your dog, or the building you live in, it is much more readily apparent when it comes to sound. When the objects on a table shudder with a thumping bass, or when we press a finger to our vocal cords, we have a direct experience of sound as a series of vibrations set up in matter.

Not all of these vibrations are audible to the human ear, which can only receive within certain fairly defined limits. Most people cannot hear the supersonic cry of a bat, for instance, and many feel more than hear the lowest notes of a pipe organ.

The intensity of sound is measured in terms of decibels, and there is a threshold of these past which the level of sound becomes dangerous for the human energy system. Indeed, the conditions of some of our largest cities come very near to and sometimes exceed this danger line; yet while many of us find this noise disruptive on the physical or mental level, we do not consider the far greater impact of this disruption that is occurring at the subtle levels of our cells.

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It is important to realize that although we hear sound by means of ears, we are actually bathed in the sea of the vibration that is sound all the time— even when our ears or minds do not register it. The sound which strikes upon our eardrums is only a small part of the actual sound vibration, and it is this greater part which is striking both upon one’s body and upon the surrounding surfaces. To the ordinary person this may seem meaningless, but to the Magician, who understands that everything is made of vibration and energy, this is quite an important consideration.

Sound Healing

Sound does not only travel through air but also is transmitted through water, earth and all material substances, as scientists have found through investigations of the ocean floor and the depths of mineral caverns in the earth. For this reason, sound can be used as a healing tool, since it permeates the human body so easily.

Sound baths— which use sound frequencies as a medicine to balance and heal the body— date far back into the ancient world. In a sound bath we are immersed in the frequencies of powerful healing instruments such as singing bowls or gongs, allowing the reverberation of these carefully chosen tones to permeate our cells, tissues, muscles and bones. Our cells respond immediately to the changes in the magnetic field of the room when such sound is introduced, and this catalyses changes in our nervous system, emotional state and physical bodies.

This phenomenon happens by way of entrainment. If you press and hold down the key of a piano gently enough that it does not sound, and then simultaneously strike another key, the first key will sound at the same note as the second, even if they are octaves apart. This is entrainment. When an opportunity is created, one vibration will entrain to another so that both reverberate at the same frequency.

This applies not just to instruments, but to anything— since everything is vibration. Just as musical instruments can fall out of tune through use, so can our bodies fall out of vibrational harmony. In this case we can use the powerful coherent frequency of a singing bowl or a gong to entrain with. The holistic practice of sound therapy has been known to work wonders for various ailments including insomnia, anxiety, menopausal discomfort and chronic pain. This is because the body is recalibrated by the influx of sound, whose vibrational pattern it adopts and internally reflects, such that balance is restored.

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Magical Names and Words

In all ages and in all parts the world we find the idea that there are certain names and words which possess magical power.

It was an ancient mystery teaching that God spoke and the worlds became. One example of this is found in the Old Testament, when God brings creation into being by naming each aspect and calling it good. The creator then gives a name to the first man and then that first man giving a name to the first woman. All the animals are also brought before Adam and by whatsoever name he called them, that was their name; this naming ceremony was an integral part of their very creation.

In the folklore of many nations the use of Words of Power for charms and spells is found. Many stories tell of great changes in fortune—whether for good or for ill— resulting from the utterance of certain magical words. Such words range from “abracadabra” to “open sesame” to the invocation of Mary or Jesus to a spell improperly blundered through or a critical name misremembered.

The gnostics placed very great stress upon the efficacy of names and sounds, believing that in the mystery of a name a man’s deification, regeneration or absolution was effected. In Native American traditions, after certain pivotal experiences in life such as a great victory in battle or a profound mystical vision, an individual’s name was changed to acknowledge and reinforce an existential change in being. Names are understood to have a magical power in these traditions as well as in the ancient Hermetic traditions; a magician had a special, secret name that was only used in ceremonial settings, the invocation of which brought forth a magical personality, altogether separate from his everyday personality, with distinct and ineffable powers.


In the East there has been built up a massive system of philosophy based upon the notion of Words of Power, and this is known as Mantra Yoga. The recitation of certain words was understood to induce exaltation in consciousness and illumination, almost as though the word itself was a key to a door that unlocks higher worlds.

The value of the Words and Names of power depends first upon their own intrinsic power as vibratory forms of energy. By their correspondence with certain cosmic forces, certain words act as the means whereby these forces may affect the physical levels. The very word ‘Isis’, for instance, has within its reverberations the very essence of the goddess Isis, and she herself is brought into the room at the invocation when this Name is uttered.

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The power of these words is amplified if a psychic charge is stored up in the thought-forms which are linked with them. In order to maximize the power of certain magical words, one may spend some time meditating upon this word while weaving a mental web of concepts, ideas, colors, sounds, scents or images associated with it. The more conscious one becomes of the attributes of the energy he is invoking through sound, the more of this energy will be summoned at the utterance of the word or the chanting of the incantation.