I saw a very interesting article this morning on what is purported to be the “most relaxing song ever created.” I highly recommend reading the whole article here, but to summarize with a quote from the article,
The band worked with sound therapists to get advice on how to make the most effective use of harmonies, rhythms and bass lines. The result on listeners is a slowing of the heart rate, reduced blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
This proves, once again, that our environments have profound effects on our brains, and thereby our entire bodies. If a song can slow your heartbeat by entrainment (the process whereby our hearts beat at the same pace as what we’re hearing) and if low tones put you in a trancelike state, then it’s no wonder witches rely on such techniques as drumming, chanting, or humming when performing magic or ritual. Once again, science has confirmed what magical practitioners already knew.
Researcher Dr David Lewis-Hodgson said, “Brain imaging studies have shown that music works at a very deep level within the brain, stimulating not only those regions responsible for processing sound but also ones associated with emotions.”
If the implications of this are as fascinating to you as they are to me, I highly recommend you check out a book I acquired for our magick line that just came out last month, Brain Magick by Philip Farber. This book can be used by anyone who practices magick, witches and Pagans included. Here’s a snippet from the intro:
Elements from a variety of theories and models, ranging from neuroscience to voodoo, are offered as clues to understand the phenomena we find in our magical experiments. There are many different styles and practices of magick, in every culture, on every continent. By identifying some of the common elements, we are better able to separate out the magick itself, the techniques and practices that really work, from the content of the rituals that relates to specific belief systems. In general, many techniques of magick are the same everywhere, with their intent aimed at different results and deities. This suggests that the rituals and practices derive from the commonality of human experience; this is how our brains work when we do magick.
Just some of the cool stuff included in this book are explorations of states of consciousness and state-dependent memory, and how you can use that in magick; how to create anchors to easily re-access those particular states, energies, or feelings (the way we often do in ritual by using the same cues to produce altered states); how to create and move through evocations, to better and more easily connect with gods or goddesses specifically aligned with your purposes; creating a timeline and moving through it; instant empowerment; and much more.
I seriously can’t say enough good things about this book, and any advanced witch should consider seriously working with the 56 exercises in the book. As the study mentioned above shows, there are simple and practical ways to change not only your brainwaves, but your brain chemistry, your state of consciousness, even your hormone levels. If you want to apply that to magick, this is the book that will show you exactly how to do that.