TPH: You've said that singing, chanting, toning, prayer and healing are all the same thing. You're obviously going a bit deeper than just singing in the shower or humming a tune in the car.
NORMA GENTILE: Yes and no. Actually it's more the intention behind the sound that I tend to work with. So, yes, you can be singing in the shower or in the car and if you have a bit of an awareness as to how the sound's affecting you, then that is exactly what I'm talking about. If you're creating a sound and you realize you're getting angrier and angrier, the question is, are you using that as an opportunity to look at what's going on? Or are you just blaming someone else for what's happening?
So in your workshops you use sound to intensify and release energy patterns.
Exactly. More typically this will happen if you're in a space where there's a sound happening that you can't control. TV is a perfect example. Isn't it interesting that we can play "our" shows at top volume but if it's "someone else's" TV show impinging on our sonic space that's another thing. And so the question is, what pattern is that intensifying in us? And can we figure out what we need to know from it so we can move through to the point of releasing it?
But the act of singing itself isn't necessarily a form of release?
It usually is with most people but it's not necessarily a conscious form of release. I think many people are aware of what's happening with but not at a spiritual or holistic level. As people become more aware of the connection between body, mind, emotion and spirit, that's when they start connecting music or just sound in general with how they perceive their reality, with how they're functioning in their world.
Judging from your Web site, your work has a metaphysical aspect to it. On the site are quotes from Rudolf Steiner about primordial sound and Marsilio Ficino and music of the Spheres as well as channeling and remote viewing.
I've always been torn between music and medicine. The two things are beginning to come together now. I've been able to see auras most of my life. I didn't know what I was seeing, and there weren't people to talk to about it, so I just shut up, because if you say too m any strange things you get that feeling like, Oh--we shouldn't talk about that. But after I finished getting my music degrees, I started exploring what this aura stuff is, what the energy aspect is. And as I've done that, it's opened up my ability to connect with Spirit more and more, and my clairvoyance, my intuition. I realize a lot of people find the word "channeling" to be a red herring. I simply use it as meaning that I connect with Spirit in a conscious manner. I think we all channel al the time. The only question is what are we channeling. So when I use that word it simply means I'm going to really, consciously look at what it is that I'm giving voice in my body or expression to and attempt to let that be as clear as possible by simply acknowledging those parts of my personality.
Do you sense this in concert?
Yes. I just noticed there was this energy, and whenever I focused on where that energy was spatially in relationship to me, which was directly behind me, the singing went incredibly well. And whenever my attention wavered and went out into the audience or maybe I started wondering about this or that, the singing didn't go nearly as well. And about a year later I finally woke up and thought, Oh, that's channeling. [laughs]
Many jazz musicians talk about how they feel on a god night, that the music's coming through them.
And that's what happens with the candlelight meditation concerts, too. The whole room begins to vibrate, especially when the audience members join in. I give them some specific pitches that are harmonically compatible with the pieces I do. And as they generate the sound, their bodies vibrate physically, they get more connected into whatever energies are flowing in the room. And the room itself becomes a container, a lovely sort of crucible for whatever's happening.
Hildegard's music works well in that type of setting, but you can't just hum Bob Dylan tune and get the same feeling. These particular frequencies that Hildegard identified and wrote have a certain potency to them.
Yeah. I think that each type of music has its own potency, yet what you're noting is true. Humming a Bob Dylan tune is going to get you into a different state than Working with the Hildegard chants will.
That's the neat thing about music--something written 900 years ago can speak to us today. Music, being a type of language, is a way of communicating, which is a sense is what channeling is for you.
Exactly. It just heightens for me the experience of making music. Hildegard called the beings that she connected with during her visions angels and then she wrote her music according to what she was hearing during the visions. So for me I feel like those angels, or whatever you want to call them, are still available to all of us. It's just a matter of finding the wavelength they're on and connecting with them. When I'm singing Hildegard's music, it's very easy to do that. And I believe that that's how most of this stuff works. It heightens the artistic experience, it heightens the spiritual experience, it gets you more into whatever creative endeavor you're working on.