Ani Williams, one of the world's most celebrated harpists, with 17 albums to her credit, has done seminal work in the study of sound healing and the relationship between the Music of the Spheres and the human voice. She does sound healing through seminars and one-on-one counseling, and leads sacred tours to Egypt, England, and Ireland, where her groups experience the transformative power of sound.
We have had the incredible experience of listening to and singing with Ani Williams on a Southwest Pilgrimage with Drunvalo. We think that you will really "resonate" to what she has to say here.
"The sky and its stars make music in you."
How did you begin using sound as a healing tool?
Through many years of playing musicsince
I was six and more intensely since I was 15I noticed that it
brought me great joy and did the same for others. I also saw that
music could be a creative medium in that it could bring you up, bring
you down, mellow you out, or de-stress you.
About thirty years ago, I began studying eastern traditions. In the Hindu text called the Mahabharata, it said something to the effect that listening to sacred sound (shabda) was the quickest path to conscious awakening.
Those words really hit me as the truth. I then came across the Sufi teachings at about the same time, and read a wonderful work called Music, by Hazrat Inyat Khan. In it, Khan said that the voice is a barometer of the soul, and by listening to someone's voice you could tell the state of his physical, spiritual, and mental being.
With further study of ancient and indigenous cultures and the Egyptian use of sound, I found that, indeed, sound could be a way to regulate one's life. Those people arranged their rituals around nature's cycles, and they had specific songs and dances to help create celestial and terrestrial harmony.
In Egypt, in the temple of Dendera, you have the depiction of music carved in stone. You have harps, drums, flutes, singers, and Hathor, the goddess of music and beauty. Then in the same temple you also have the Zodiac portrayed on the ceiling. And on one wall there is a hieroglyph that translates, "The sky and its stars make music in you."
Then I became aware of a movement during a period of the 1600s to 1700s in Europe, where scientists and mathematicians were practicing something called musica speculativa, which means "music as a mirror of creation." One of these researchers, Johannas Kepler, said, "The Greek word Kosmos means a creation that is harmonically and artistically arranged with elegance and beauty divinely ordered."
Through my study of these things, I learned that we have some natural speaking patterns and tones in our voices that come out more than others. Each person has a unique voice print, and in this voice print there's a story, a history, a genetic patterning that can be read. It is a pattern of how you are physically and how you are emotionally. It can even show up creative potential and blockages. You can also say that the frequency patterns in the energy body or aura and in the physical body can be read through the voice.
What's really, really neatand the reason I mentioned the musica speculativais that not only is the human voice a mirror of the person's current condition, it's also a mirror of the Cosmic print at the moment of birth. For instance, if Saturn is in the east, Pluto is off to the west, and the Sun is overhead at the moment of somene's birth, you can take all those positions, and the positions of the rest of the planets at birth, ascribe tones to them, and map the frequency patternsand this map will mirror the individual's voice tone.
Ani: Yes, it is wild. So this whole thing about the Music of the Spheres is very real. It is tangible and something we can hear in ourselves.
Goethe, the famous German mystic philosopher and poet, at one point said that architecture was "frozen music." So that's another way of looking at this celestial sound patterning as it comes into the terrestrial realm. All the ancient architecture that was built in a sacred way mirrored the Cosmic cycles.
Many of the angles of architecture in the temples in Cambodia, the sun and moon pyramids at Teotihuacan, and the Egyptian pyramids are based on 72-degrees. We also have the number 72 relating to the human heartbeat and to the cycles of time. Every 72 years the precession of the observed star patterns drifts one degree. So again we have the mirroring of the celestial patterns on the Earth. The number 72 is also very important in astrology.
What about the Bible verse which says "In the beginning was the Word"?
The idea that God "spoke" the universe into creation?
If you go to the Bible, it references a Word, but it's more than a
Word, it's a vibratory rate created by ancient mantras and languagesound
plus intention. That's the ancient alchemical formula for creation,
"sound plus intention." In indigenous cultures, the sound is always
It's really funny that scientists in this modern technological era have reduced the sound of creation to a Big Bang!
Diane: So are you saying that we could actually tone, chant, and sing our creations into manifestation if we knew how?
Ani: Absolutely. Quite a few years ago it dawned on me that all Creation stories begin with a sound. I thought, What the heck are we doing going along blindly without utilizing this tool of Creation, this creative force? So instead of looking at the Creation stories as something that occurred a long time ago, I began to hold every moment as an opportunity to choose a new reality.
But its interesting. In zero AD, the Druids practiced something called "perpetual choirs," where they were constantly feeding harmony into their realm to maintain the natural order. The same thing was done eons ago in China. In today's world, The Tibetans, among others, still maintain that practice.
At the time of the changing of the ages from Aries to Pisces, sound became very important in many different traditions to create a new paradigm for the New Age. Now we are coming into the Age of Aquarius. In the system I use, the tone ascribed to the sign of Aquarius is A-sharp, which is related to the nervous system and the electrical fields. It is also the tonality of 55 hertz of electricity.
So here we are in an age where there is a prevalence of electrical fields in our environment, and we have that same frequency of A-sharp which relates to the Age of Aquarius.
Each Age has its dominant tone. It all relates to frequency and mathematics.
Diane: It seems to me as modern technology advances that the European races have lost their indigenous music.
Yes. And with the decimation and
genocide of indigenous cultures, you also have the destruction of
For example, when people would come to see a Zulu medicine man, he would not ask when their symptoms first occurred. Instead, he would ask them when it was that they stopped singing!
The whole cosmology of the Australian aboriginal peoples is arranged around songs and the landscape and how the hills rise and fall. These songs form wave patterns which correspond to the sound of that particular place. There's total harmonious union or "entrainment" between the sound of the place and the ancestor representing the placethe shape of the land and the shape of the song.
Every ancient culture was based on sacred harmonics. The Ancients understood that if you forgot the songs, you forgot how to live in the environment, how to be healthy, how to maintain a harmonious social structure. You forgot everything.
Diane: I've heard so many times about how in order to attract the essence of a place you must sing its song.
Ani: That's how aboriginal women would pull in a husbandthey'd learn his song. But that's delving into some questionable magic.
Diane: I think the woman who are reading this just perked up.
Ani: (Laughs) I found a study in a tabloid in England where they were comparing the effect of the song of a male warbler bird to the popularity of rock stars. The warblers that had the strongest song attracted the most females. You know, it's a funny way of putting it, but it is actually true.
Also, when people have not been expressing through their voices and consciously connecting with their bodies and spirit selves, their voices are normally thinner. They lack depth and resonance. You can hear it in the speaking voice. If people are not grounded, they can have a thin quality of voice, or even talk in a higher register. I've worked with people who were victims of severe abuse or rape and the voice stayed like that of a child. It never matured or deepened.
Japanese monks say that when you chant daily you develop more harmonics and resonance in your voice, so that every time you use your voice you're healed, other people are healed, and all your communicative interactions with others come from a place of more harmony and centeredness.
In some of the research we did several years ago at the University of Washington and Mexico City, we found that within a minute of toning or chanting a mantra the brain state totally altered and went into deep Theta, which approximates deep meditation. Even thinking about toning brought on this state. The colors in the energy field and the aura changed into beautiful, deepening tones. Where there was imbalance before, now there was a balancing of the auric field and tremendous changes in the whole system.
Toning and singing synchronize the brain rhythms with the heart rhythms, which ultimately increases immune function. So whether its humming, chanting, singing, or doing mantras, some kind of toning practice every day is really essential for health. It's an ancient practice for health and connectedness.
Within cultures like the Yaqui of northern Mexico and southern Arizona, it is said that "song is the intelligence of the universe"it's the way we connect with all of creation. The Yaquis used song to make daily connection with all aspects of nature.
The Hopi do this as well. In the summertime, they sing the songs of the rain for the crops. It's just basic to their lives.
Indigenous peoples used to navigate their canoes in the Northwest and the South Pacific by singing songs. Seven rounds of a particular song or chant might mark the time it would take to get from one place to another. Also, watching the stars or feeling the change of water temperature would assist them. They would use all of their sensory connections with the elements.
Diane: How does modern music affect the body?
Ani: It depends on what kind of music you're listening too. Since we're so stressed out in our technological age, there has been a growing polularity of music for relaxation, a need for quieter, more soothing sounds.
Would you say that whether a particular kind of music brings great
pleasure might be different from race to race and culture to culture?
I'm thinking about rap music, for instance.
Ani: Basically, any music that is coming from the solar plexus and down to the base chakra is going to awaken and stimulate those centers. It's going to create anxiety, and it's going to keep the body in a ready-to-roll state. The brainwaves are in Beta, almost a fight-or-flight mode. The body is releasing cortisone, which creates high stress and a ready-for-action state of being.
People can listen to any kind of music they want. A depressed person might need to listen to upbeat music.
What we need in the world now is music that will refine the energy centers and allow them to openmusic that opens the heart so that we can change the state of our world.
Diane: How does it affect us that so much of our modern music is digitally produced? A lot of recordings don't even use instruments any more.
Ani: It's true, and it's an important question. If you have a digitally produced tone, one that's not from a real instrument, and you listen to that constantly, and you also listen to rhythms that are mechanically produced and not naturally varied like those of a human drummer, you can become an automatonyour moods can be regulated and your body can be regulated. And that's the danger of a lot of modern music.
The most destructive aspect of digital music is that it is arranged mathematically without the naturally ringing harmonic structure. When we pluck a string, we have a natural overtone that rings out and essentiallyif you want to consider the mathematical principlesgoes on forever.
We also have the most perfect harmonic in sacred music, which is the 5th, and that's also one of the dominant harmonics from a naturally plucked string that makes it sound so beautiful. The 5th harmonic is what relates most closely with the harmonic structure of Creationthe shape of sunflowers, branching trees, and so on. You can't get that sound as precisely in digitally produced music. They are getting closer to it, but they don't have it yet, and I don't know that they ever will.
So when we are just listening to digitally produced sound, there is a part of our being that is not getting harmonically hooked up or entrained or embedded with the natural harmonics of creation.
Also, wasn't there a time in history
when the church denied people the use of their voice, along with denying
them music and the theater?
Ani: Yes, that was at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, when the church fathers got together and decided who was spiritual and who wasn't. Women were considered not to be total human beings, and were banned from speaking or singing in church. Also, musicians, artists, and theater performers weren't allowed to participate in baptism. There was so much regulation, and it's been there for so long, that at this point it's in our DNA.
Even in today's time, we are told not to sing or speak as children and not to voice our true emotional feelings. When we finally get into school, we're told we have to be quiet all the time, and then we get into the choir and we're told we're singing out of tune. And it goes on and on.
Men get these prohibitions, but it's more common with women. I've been told so many times not to speak out, or that I didn't know what I was talking about. A lot of this is changing now, and of course I don't keep my mouth shut anymore. (Laughs)
But people need to be able to connect their true feelings and emotions with a sound and give them a voice. It might not always be appropriate in all places. . . We might have to go off in a corner or out in nature or out in the car with the windows rolled up. But there has to be a time when we can voice our feelings.
The sound of a voice expressing frustration is incredibly liberating. And after we get the ugly sounds out we can go to the beautiful ones. But sometimes we have to put the sound to the feeling just to make the connection. Then we can practice the more refined, subtle methods of opening gateways of consciousness with mantras and so forth.
You mentioned earlier about using music to heal and balance a person's
health. Tell me about your work.
Early on I studied with Sherry Edwards, a pioneer in voice spectrum
analysis, which is what we do in analyzing the voice. Basically, Sherry
found a connection between the voice tones of an individual and certain
trauma and stress that they had undergone. Certain tones were associated
with these traumas, and those same tones could be used for healing
We analyze the voice with a digital tuner or computer programboth are availableand we map the voice to see what tones are stressed or missing, and then apply those tones not only to release the stressful issue but to gain a strengthening of the system and an integration of tonality.
Let's say that a person comes for a session and you find they are missing half of the spectrum of toneswhich, by the way, is very common. Where would you begin?
You could start by narrowing it down to their chronic issues and their family's genetic tendencies. For example, if a genetic deficiency of magnesium is creating a tendency for depression or bone loss, you would apply the frequency that relates to magnesium, and also have them eat a diet rich in magnesium.
I studied with Oded Mamsura, a brilliant man who was one of the first to teach with Sherry Edwards in the '90s. Sherry had discovered that there was a correlation between voice patterning and astrological sun signs. Oded took the work of voice analysis a step further by putting what Sherry had done together with an ancient science called "medical astrology." And he found that they matched.
It's exactly what the Egyptians were saying: "The sky and its stars are making music in you." The patterns at the moment of birth are reflected in human voice patterns.
So after studying with Oded Mamsura, I found that even a stress between planets at the moment of birth would show up in the voice patterns. Let's say, for example, that a person has Saturn exactly squared Pluto. We look at the tones related to those planetary positions, then look at the voice, compare them, and come up with the most powerful place to work.
So in other words, if half the tones are missing in the voice, we no longer need to "hunt and peck" until we find the place to open more creative potential. In working with the planets, we can home in on the exact missing frequencies.
And then what happens?
For instance, you might be missing the tone of C. That relates to
being ungrounded, not being present in the body. It points to issues
that get into the body and the blood systemically, like candida,
and also cancer or AIDS.
By bringing in the C tone, you would first find that you felt more whole, powerful, grounded, and in control of your life energetically. So it works on an energy level first, but ultimately it affects the physical as well. And sometimes can get an instantaneous change in the physical, with reduction of pain and stress. Heart rate, pulse rates, and oxygenation rates can change instantly. Headaches go away, pain in the liver goes away.
To get a deep effect one needs to use this regularly every day. Doing it that way, there have been many cases of people reducing their brain tumors or disappearing cancer. It's tricky making claims like that, of course, because the medical establishment really balks at that sort of thing. But it has happened.
Diane: Cool. How would you sum up your work?
Ani: I'm learning and teaching how to use sound in specific ways, for personal and planetary healing. If you use sound consciously and with regularity, you can continually recreate your state of being.
Ani Williams does private one-on-one sessions, conducts workshops on Sound Medicine, teaches people to be aware of the sounds in their lives, and focuses on the use of specific tones and group chanting.
She also performs worldwide and records her music, including the "Songaia Sound Therapy" CDs, which focus on specific tones for bringing in one's stressed or missing tones. She is a regular contributing writer for Four Corners magazine, and many of her healing stories are included in the North Atlantic Books publication Earth Walking Skydancers.
Back to top of page
2675 W. Hwy 89A, Suite 1081,
Sedona, AZ 86336
2005 Ani Williams, All Rights Reserved
Design and Development by Galacti-Graphics, Avon, MN