I’m a singer – and I always have been. All my life I have sung out loud without any thought of being shy or afraid. My earliest singing memory is about 5, when I was walking home from kindergarten singing Somewhere over the Rainbow at the top of my lungs. I came by it naturally – my dad and mom both being singers and quite talented. My dad is a professional musician and my mom these day still sings in a barbershop choir. I learned guitar at 12 so I could accompany my signing – so I could write songs. And I did – actually my guitar and singing kept me sane throughout my teens and young adult years – it was my best tool and also something that was (is) fundamentally a part of me.
But since my trauma, whatever it was that happening to me, or rather, the culmination of events that finally pushed me over the edge – where I lost myself for years and years and didn’t even know I was lost – made me put down the guitar and stop singing.
Now, when I sing, I burst into tears, pretty much every time. My throat wells up and tears come and I stop. If I push it and keep going I end up sobbing.
For years I ignored this – thinking I was just tearing up because the notes were so high – you know when you hear a high note that is so beautiful it makes you cry? I thought it was just that. But recently and in having done work on myself, I realized it was something much more strange than that. Me – not sing? Even when I really try to? That is weird.
The first time I had someone do a shamanic session on me she said, out of the blue, ‘I feel like you need to sing’. .. huh? sing? of all the things – oh yea I’m a singer – of course you’d say that.
So, sing then. Singer.
And then, I could not.
Now – in the East direction I just completed, one of our tasks was to compose a song and sing it for everyone. So I composed a little song and sang it … and it was like picking up an elephant. I can sing – I have a good voice and I’ve always identified myself as a musician – so something that in the past would have been like slicing butter, for me now is like tearing myself into little bits. In front of people.
Needless to say it was hard. I cried and cried and was directed to keep singing through it. My body was wracked with tremors. I sang.
During this time, over the past two years, I ran across Seidr (Norse Shamanism) – which, I was astonished to read, uses shamanic singing to cross over the worlds. I had remembered studying Seidr before but until this time I had not read anything about singing – which seems to be an integral part of it. I felt like the information was there for me only when I was ready to read it.
Then I had this vision of me wearing antlers and singing
oh god it was like I was singing the very Earth’s song;
it rose up and through me,
almost splitting me at the seams it was so mighty…
Am I supposed to sing – shamanically? Is that where I am being guided? And here I always thought I would be a rock star one day. Maybe not in the way that I thought.
This week an old friend lost her son in a car crash – he was 15. I was asked if there was anything I could do or tell them, to help them deal with the pain, shock, the endless nightmare of grief (that I know all to well). I told them to talk to him everyday and to keep him close – that he was with his ancestors but that he would want to feel close to them still. I wished there was something more I could do – then I came across this article today. This woman is a shaman, who performs laments:
…when in 2010 Aarnio had to say goodbye within a few months to both her father, who had become seriously ill, and her grandmother, she was almost crushed by grief.
Fortunately, laments existed. When staying up beside her father’s bed had become too hard, Aarnio had started studying to become a teacher of the Viena Karelian lament tradition and modern laments.
During the course, Aarnio and the other participants sang Karelian laments in which men were taken to war and dead children and lost loves were mourned. When she was able to put her grief into words, it felt easier to cope with.
“Long ago, laments were a way for women to survive everyday life. It was a communal form of care, which allowed people to cleanse themselves, to let go of the sorrow,” Aarnio says in her house in Nuuksio.
This is very intriguing – terrifying – but non-the less intriguing.
Regardless of what it all means, My teacher has told me that I mustsing, to clear all of the blockages. So I have been – but not as much as I could be. Then the other day I found a guitar pick on the ground – right in front of me as I stepped off the bus.