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James D'Angelo
Category: Sound Healing

Book Review by Grethe Hooper Hansen - Seed Sounds for Tuning the Chakras: Vowels, Consonants and Syllables for Spiritual Transformation

by James D’Angelo

Destiny Books, division of Inner Traditions International


Pb, 118 pp  £12.99

ISBN 978-1-59477-460-7

          James D’Angelo is one of those writers whose love of sound and all things musical resonates through his prose, making it a delight to read.  His new book Seed Sounds for Tuning the Chakras, complete with demonstration CD, offers a practice that is a delight to do, tuning oneself as a spiritual instrument, an inner adventure that is also a ritual pathway to healing and transformation through the vibratory powers of vowels and consonants.

            The book is erudite but short and practical.  He first creates a context with an intriguing explanation from Hindu theology of the story of Creation and our place within it, the vibratory nature of the universe and the importance of sound and language as a corresponding means to work with energy.   Man is portrayed as a microcosm of all-that-is, a soul linked to a physical body by a chakra system that is a means to life as well as our primary instrument for creation and self-regulation, which can be tuned by the vibratory power of word.   Seed sounds, central to the Tantric tradition, are formulae to awaken energy within us.  Ancient languages such as Sanskrit and Hebrew carry this spiritual function, but all language can, by intention, emotion and desire, be used to stir into life deeper levels of our psychology and spiritual possibility.   There are many fascinating examples of the hidden meanings of words.

          Each chakra has its own small chapter describing its function and purpose at different levels, its specific vibratory triggers and the energies associated with it.   Music brings the vital element of number and harmonic ratios for further organisation of sound.   After explanation of how-to and some technical discussion for musicians, the fun begins, which is the inner exploration.   It is clear from the CD that this is not just man-made construction but a faithful reproduction of genuine relationships and conditions: the toning that James demonstrates does indeed resonate the targeted chakras. 

          Musical therapist Alfred de Tomatis also claimed that the ear organises and supports the nervous system and that specific sounds open our spiritual ears.  This is what palpably happens as you rhythmically repeat the seed syllables and continue into silent repetition of that encodement of energies, listening deeply to the no-longer-audible, finally succumbing to the vast space of silence and feeling your whole-body attunement to the mysteries within it.   The heart opens progressively wider and attention become more and more acute; you feel intelligence expanding and at last, you are fully linked back to source.   This is an intense spiritual practice bringing harmony to the soul, and a deep sense of connection.

          There are many appendices for those who wish to ‘extract all the therapeutic juices’ of sound: preliminary exercises to prepare the voice; breathwork; finding your own tone; different musical scales that can be applied; vowels and consonants to experiment with, and even a discussion of the shapes of letters of the alphabet.   But you do not need to know, learn and labour, just to do and feel – and that is miraculous.

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