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  • Karen Hamilton-Viall

Soundbath Experience

Last year, I attended my first soundbath, with Dean Carter, at the Avalon Community Centre in Glastonbury. I had no intention of attending a soundbath when I planned my break with friends, but was pleasantly surprised by the experience, and pleased that my friend had convinced me to try it.

We entered the small hall, nervously clutching the cushions and blankets we had bought with us and were encouraged to lay down on the floor and get comfortable. I had no idea what to expect. I'd seen large gongs set up at mind, body, spirit fairs before, and had wondered if that would be our experience. Set out at the front of the hall, was an array of crystal bowls, and other instruments. I lay back on the slightly uncomfortable floor and wished I'd bought extra padding, but I tried to ignore the pain, and concentrate on the sounds. I was very open minded to the experience. I listened nervously to the other attendees around me. "What do you do for a living?" one guy asked. "I'm a psychic," she responded. Not the usual sort of conversation I hear in my own, rather sedate, conservative village. Already, I was intrigued.

Very soon, Dean started to play, and throat sing, and the soothing sound of the crystal bowls vibrated around the room. I'd never heard anything like it before, and I found the sound very pleasant and ethereal. To my amazement, even though the room was heavily darkened, I could see rainbow waves of colour, rippling across the inside of my eyelids. "Well that's pretty cool," I thought. As Dean changed to a new instrument, each one appeared in a different way. Very soon, I saw images appear in my mind, quite clearly. A wild looking woman, who could have come from the days before history was recorded. A strange astrological clock. Some golden people with short blond, bobbed hair. What these visions were, I don't know. Probably just my mind conjuring up images, but I enjoyed seeing each one. All the time, I knew I was awake, as the hardness of the floor niggled, and annoyed my bad back.

When Dean switched to the ocean drum, the colour images instantly changed, and it appeared as if I were lying on a river bed, looking up. Swirling rainbow water appeared above me and I even saw fish! I clearly remember giving a mental, "Wow!" as they swam over head. When he switched to the rain stick, it suddenly changed again, and the rainbow colours appeared like sparks raining down. At the time, I was unaware what these instruments were called.

Very soon, the session, although an hour and a quarter long, came to an end. People gradually stirred from their repose and Dean advised us to drink lots of water. All around the room were full glasses. He said it was because otherwise we could get a headache and we needed to release the toxins that the sound had stirred up. I guzzled down the bottle of iron tasting water that I'd gathered earlier at the spring, but still I wanted more, and drained two more glasses. He showed us what he believed was happening to us during the soundbath, by bringing a bowl, half full of water around the group, showing us how the sound affected the water, and stating that he believed it was doing the same thing to us. You can read my interview with Dean, explaining how he believes it works, and how it helped him recover from ME here:

That evening my friends and I, chatted about our experience together. I was the only one that had any sort of visions. We ate a supper of home made apple crumble, made from apples we'd picked in the community orchard on the slopes of Glastonbury Tor. Despite being gluten free, I think it was the best crumble I've had. I was filled with a tremendous sense of peace and contentment, and was the most chilled I'd been in a long time.

I had something slightly similar happen to me at a shamanic ‘Journeying with the ancestors’ workshop, where, with the sound of the drum, I saw the audience as gold & brown figures sitting in waves of rainbow colours. I guess sound just works really well for me, as I've since had similar experiences listening to various recorded meditations and sounds, but nothing quite as vivid and wonderful as those beautiful rainbow fish.

Photo from Pexels by Merlin Lightpainting.

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