Sacred Sounds, Sacred Places: The Harmonic Earth


The ancients believed the natural landscape all around us is ‘singing’ a song of it own, having an inherent musical or harmonic quality. Whether a Christian monastic site, a Buddhist temple or a megalithic stone circle, early sources all over the world frequently refer to sound and music being associated with certain places more often than others. The Celtic sources often use metaphors such as “the three perpetual choirs” of Bangor, Wales, for example, to emphasize this point about the sacredness of the land and the ‘constant music’ of the earth, as well as the Druidic ‘Awen’.

Ironically, scientists have now found that the earth itself emits a constant frequency—its very own resonance–and we will learn a bit more about the recent scientific and medical discoveries about sound, vibration, and harmonics. Although widely acknowledged in the eastern traditions, the west, too, has always had a belief in the power of sound. Certain places have always had traditions, myths and legends about sound or music associated with them. Many indigenous peoples today, including the Native Americans or Australian aborigines, still believe this (as did the ancient Celts) as music and sound are central to their shamanic traditions and religious beliefs.

carved-3-spiralWe will see slides of (and/or visit) some of the early Celtic sacred sites, such as Iona, Callanish, Orkney, Anglesey, Glastonbury, Avebury, and Stonehenge, for example, as well as Christian sites of worship and pilgrimage that were built on sacred geomantic points on the earth, such as Chartres Cathedral or Rennes-le-Chateau. Chanting, meditation, dancing, and painting our experiences of the sites will help us learn more about how we can connect to them in a more direct way, while acknowledging those who have been there long before us, to build such beautiful places. Presented by Dr. Karen Ralls (Univ. of Edinburgh), author of Music and the Celtic Otherworld (2000), Indigenous Religious Musics (2001), The Quest for the Celtic Key (2002), and The Templars and the Grail (May 2003).

(NOTE: Additional day field trips, or pilgrimage options available for a longer weekend workshop/retreat/tour; or, where Karen is a tour guide/lecturer on an organised tour to various sacred sites.)

Other topics can be arranged – see the Seminars and Books pages for topics and subject ideas that might suit your organisation or venue.

If you would like to bring Karen to speak about her books, or teach in your area, or if you know of an organisation that sponsors similar workshops and Seminars, please contact Ancient Quest for further details.