Singing to Survive, and Singing to Thrive

I'm a passionate person.  I have always cared deeply about people, about my world, and what I do in the world.  So naturally, when I take note of all the problems in my community and the world at large, it's really easy to get spun up, upset, and overwhelmed.  The full force of these feelings hit me hard as a kid, and when they hit, my breathing would get rapid and shallow, and I would begin to cry.  If my mom tried to get me to take deep breaths to calm down, I would fly into a rage.  She quickly figured out that the best way to get me to calm down was to get me to sing a song.  When we sang together, I was able to pull myself together, and we got to have some bonding time.

Music has pervaded my household since before I was born.  Both my parents play instruments, and met in their church choir.  My mom sang with a women's ensemble called the Vanderbelles when she was pregnant with me, and she knew she could always calm herself and me by listening to the opera Carmen.  Early cassette recordings of me showed an uncanny vocal facility; my early cooings as a baby could be downright operatic.  As a kid, I sang at the drop of a hat.  I made up songs about everything.  Growing up the weird kid, it was a pressure release valve for my feelings that kept me from harming myself.  In high school, as a closeted queer kid in a military town, singing in Concert Choir, Madrigal Singers, and Barbershop Chorus and Quartet was a lifeline.  I credit singing with my surviving to adulthood.

There is actually sound science behind this phenomenon, and since I'm every bit as much of a scientist as I am a mystic, it behooves me to share it. Singing can increase our resilience for dealing with the world and with our own life stuff.  When you sing a phrase, your body naturally releases a long, drawn-out exhale.  This turns off the fight or flight response in your nervous system, and turns on the rest and digest response.  The vibration in your vocal cords stimulates the ventral vagus nerve which bolsters your emotion regulation and immunity, increases resilience, and lowers your risk for heart attack.  In short, singing is good for your health.

Magically speaking, singing is an excellent way to focus your intentions and give your invocations an extra oomph.  I employ singing quite often in my Priestessing, as I find it creates a powerful lens to focus my intention and my actions.  You don't have to be a classically trained singer to do it.  You don't even have to carry a tune.  Your focus and intention and heart is what is most important.  Singing with a group has a way of connecting all that focused energy into something that is far greater than the sum of our parts, creating a ripple effect through the group and out into the world.  Singing with a group is also a profound reminder that we are not alone.

In the wake of the domestic terrorist attack in Orlando, and the shooting at the vigil in Oakland last night, we really need our resilience more than ever.  Coming together in song by itself won't change the world, but if we raise our voices in song together and use it to galvanize our intentions for action, we can be a powerful force for change.

So let me ask you this:  What are you grateful for this past moon cycle?  What do you wish to manifest in the coming moon cycle?  During this upcoming Singing Moon, we have a potent opportunity to transform our wishes into focused song, and use that energy for healing and change.

Blessed Be.

Ravensong Phoenixfire, Wildflower Initiate