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Instruments For Meditation And Ritual

Sound has been an essential part of spiritual practice for thousands of years, its use dating back to far before any written historical accounts.  Archaeological evidence of musical instruments has been found in many parts of the world, dating back as far as as 67,000 years ago.  Although we cannot say for sure if these ancient instruments were used for religious practice, we do know that the Sumerians were making wide varieties of different instruments as far back as 2600 BCE and were using them in ritual celebrations for their gods.  Many instruments were even said to have been invented by or given to man by the gods.  Pan is said to have created the first pan pipes, and Jubal, descendant of Cain was said to have been the father of both the harp and the organ.  This demonstrates a clear and direct link between instruments and spirituality.

Rattles and drums were likely the earliest instruments that were developed, probably due to the human motor impulse to add sound to emotional movements like dance.  Some cultures eventually combined music with ritual functions, and developed more complex instruments, such as flutes, trumpets and stringed instruments.  In particular, African cultures developed a very strong connection between drums and the sacred, but really, if you consider any ancient culture and their religious development, you will find a strong element of musical worship deeply intertwined with everything else.

This trend continued to spread until the present day, where we still find a tremendously strong link between music and spirituality.  From gospel music to Buddhist chanting, religious music is everywhere, perhaps because it allows individuals to express themselves spiritually and emotionally in a powerful communal way.

Sound is also essential because it has a very powerful effect on the human brain.  As we have now learned from research in to binaural beats, dual tones that effect our brains directly, sound can have very specific effects on the workings of the mind and body.  Sound has also been an essential part of religious healing in many cultures for thousands of years. Therefore, it can be a very valuable tool in personal as well as group practice.

Rattles are still used regularly by many different peoples.  They provide an interesting variation of sound and movement which can be very powerful for ritual or meditation work and can also most certainly alter the state of the mind.  Here at Spiritual Scents were offer hand-painted and carved rattles made for South American Curanderos, or shamans, and the participants in their rituals.  These amazing tools are all completely unique and have a wonderful sound that will definitely change the state of the mind, especially when several are played together!

We also carry Shaman's Rattle Root, a plant which is used both as an instrument and as a sacred sacrament for seeking visionary guidance.  This root has a beautiful, natural sound and can also be used to induce vivid dreams.  The individual shakes the rattle three times over their head and then three times around the feet in a clockwise direction.  This ritual is accompanied by a glass of wine that has had the same root soaked in it for three weeks, and is said to allow for powerful dream visions.  This rare plant is absolutely fascinating in that it shows very clearly the link between sound, shamanic trance, and plant medicines.

Finally, we are fortunate enough to offer several different varieties and sizes of singing bowls, including hand-beaten Tibetan meditation singing bowls.  These bowls are constructed of an alloy of seven different metals which produce a very resonant tone when struck or rubbed.  We hand-select our bowls for tone, and they produce a sound that is clearer and that lasts longer than any machine made singing bowl.

Singing bowls date back to the Bon shamanic tradition of Tibet and were used for ritual, meditation and trance-induction, as well as for healing.  They are unique because they create multiple harmonic tones at the same time due to the multiple metals that are used.  The sound they produce also improves with age!  Singing bowls are an amazing meditation tool, because the sound that they create lasts for so long, and can be used as a focus or an aid for your meditation practice.  The sound of a singing bowl clears and opens the mind, allowing one to be completely open to practice!

Of course, the instruments we offer here at Spiritual Scents are only a tiny, tiny fraction of the varieties of spiritual instruments available.  However, incorporating any type of sound in to your ritual or meditation practice is sure to have dramatic and powerful results.  There are so many spiritual instruments to explore, so many tones and sounds and varieties available, that you are sure to find just the type of music to suite your practice!

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