A professional article in the association’s journal Lachesis No. 48:
Voice as a healing path
Vocal apparatus & womb space – an ancient sacred connection
My journey with the voice began early: I can remember that I always loved music. When I heard it, I was in another world. It helped me to survive. I listened longingly to the neighboring children practicing their instruments. My longing was not seen or recognized. Music or culture played no role in my family. My parents were so preoccupied with their own survival that they were oblivious to the needs of three little girls. However, I dreamed of singing at an early age and saw myself on stage.
I was a lively child, cheeky, loud and laughed a lot. I liked to provoke my father, who, however, could not take a joke. As a refugee during the Second World War, my father fought for his naked survival. What he saw there did not let him go until his death. He described these images over and over again. He had gone hungry a lot as a child and his relationship with his own father was extremely strained. This laughing chirpy girl my parents could not stand. Traumatized parents cannot stand children who are bursting with liveliness because it reminds them of their own lost liveliness. So there was a situation with my father that caused me to stop laughing and talking and realize the seriousness of life. This was the cornerstone of my thyroid dysfunction, but also the belief that I should not be allowed to laugh and feel joy.
The consequences of transgenerational trauma transmission are developmental, attachment and symbiosis traumas.
Biggest and strongest wounds are in creative expression.
So it is no coincidence that I work today with the voice that I myself lost as a child at about 4 or 5 years old. My own expression was deeply wounded. I began to be silent and to suppress my whole being. That was the beginning of my survival program. Not being seen and not being given your own space to develop lead to a wounded creative expression. This is exactly what happens in attachment or symbiosis trauma. The child’s needs are not adequately met early on because the mother cannot establish emotional contact with the child due to her own traumatization. The child keeps trying to make contact with the mother and gets no response. One could also say that life begins with the song between mother and child. The child sings the song again and again and gets no resonance. It always goes outside with its contact and runs into emptiness. This also means that it loses the contact to the inside or to itself very early, because the contact to the mother is essential for survival. To get this, the child leaves itself and loses itself in the outside. Without a mirror we have no possibility to grow and mature. Often these children take on the role of their parents and emotionally provide for mother and/or father. In doing so, they completely forgo their own needs and become incredibly overwhelmed and lonely.
Prof. Ruppert speaks here of a collective trauma, of a traumatized society.1 I can only confirm this and believe that almost all of us are more or less affected by an attachment or symbiosis trauma. Many who are particularly severely affected later find themselves in helping, social, healing or therapeutic professions. Attachment or symbiosis trauma is also characterized by patterns of dependency or even co-dependency. Prof Ruppert said in an interview that about 95% of the people working in the above mentioned fields are co-dependent. Thus, the survival pattern is continued in the professional context.2
Singing is pure self-care!
What we all have not learned is to take good care of ourselves. When I started singing again, I felt it nourish me, and from the inside.
I stopped searching and started finding. This was an important reversal in my life. I began to satisfy my hunger for aliveness, joy and lightness by singing. Part of this conversion was the path inward that I began to walk through my voice, and I also learned that the voice needs space for its sound to unfold. There are no techniques or methods that can only train the voice. Voice training starts in the body!
The word trauma contains dream and SPACE: T-RAUM-A
I understood, trauma is a never ending dream and lack of SPACE. Without space, there is also no in-between space. Without space and in-between space we are identified with the traumatic
experiences (of our parents, ancestors, …) and have not yet realized that the time of TRAUMAS is over.
Vocal apparatus & womb space – an old, sacred connection
Many years ago I had an experience that showed me what my work with the voice is really about. I was at a training weekend in overtone singing. Overtone singing was my introduction to singing again. It was as if a window opened and I was in a state where I realized that everything we are looking for is already within us. This state lasted a good two weeks. I saw much more colorfully and everything shone with bright light. I heard, smelled and tasted much more intensely. It was as if I could see properly for the first time and perceive with all my senses. I was deeply rooted to the earth, was very deeply connected to my uterus and pelvic floor, felt the strong connection between the uterus and Mother Earth. I felt like a child of Mother Earth, the great Mother. There was peace, deep calm within me, no anxiety at all, all bodily functions were working unrestricted. I no longer had any symptoms or discomfort regarding my thyroid gland. It was as if the plug was back in the socket and all the connections in my body were reconnected. Not only were the networks in my body balanced again, but I experienced myself as part of the universe, as if I were connected to the forces of the universe. There was no separation of any kind. I was the tree and the tree was me. I understood that God does not exist outside of me, but I am God, everything is God, every plant, every tree, everything. I learned that if there is such a thing as God, God is to be found within me. I also understood that death does not exist, we only change form. I understood that paradise is already there and I can see it now. The colors were so colorful, so intense, the music so beautiful. This must be what people who have a near-death experience experience, I thought. There was only the NOW and I was in agreement with everything, with my past, my present and my future and above all with me. I could completely accept myself as I am. The fight, the war against me stopped. It was indescribable, unforgettable and I was completely there, completely in my presence, completely grounded and at the same time connected to the universe. It took me years to understand what was happening to me. When I told my medicine woman about it, she cheered and said to me: Come Iris, we have to celebrate this! She had never explained to me what was happening. My experience is that the shamans with indigenous roots do not talk about things. What I did know was that I had come home and that this had to do with the connection between the vocal apparatus and the womb space, because I was completely free and remembered who I really was. Shortly after, I received the message that the voice will be the most powerful medicine of the future. It is the oldest medicine and is now being remembered again.
Coming home through the voice …
My voice work today is about restoring the sacred connection between the vocal apparatus and the pelvic floor (womb space). Basically, it is already there, we just need to remember it. I have tried many methods on my healing path, but nothing has been more effective than singing or tinting; the voice takes us into absolute depth. It is able to dissolve deep-seated old patterns and its effect is still completely unrecognized. Often it is seen as an accessory or as a supporting medium for another treatment. The connection between the vocal apparatus and the womb carries the greatest potential for transformation, remembrance and coming home. Healing for me is nothing other than remembering.
Parallel organs and parallel processes
Female sexual organ and vocal apparatus
The similarity between the female sex organ and the vocal apparatus is striking. There are not only parallel organs here, but also parallel processes. This means that when I work with the vocal apparatus, parallel processes happen in the womb space and vice versa.
There are the following parallel organs:
Inner ear – Ovaries
Eustachian tubes – Fallopian tubes
uterus – oral cavity
Cervix – Mouth
tongue – clitoris/glans
larynx – vagina/penis
Parallel organs include parallel muscle groups and fascia.
The male sex organ is ultimately just turned outward, which is part of the male characteristic. The male goes outward and the female goes inward. However, men are missing a crucial space and that is the uterus, the first and most important relationship space. That is why women feel more responsible for the relationship than men.
Singing nourishes us and takes us back to prenatal time
When we become aware of this important connection between the vocal apparatus and the womb space, it becomes clear that singing inevitably leads us back to our own prenatal time. Not only that, when the larynx is free to vibrate unimpeded, it enters this state that can be compared to prenatal time and holds the potential of being cared for, nurtured, protected and self-regulated. This means that in this state he is able to give us exactly what we have been looking for for a long time, and what we sorely missed in attachment and symbiosis trauma.
The difference is that we got this being nourished and protected from our mother in her womb. In singing, we give it to ourselves. Regardless of how the relationship between baby and mother develops, the child is nourished through the umbilical cord, it floats in the water and all processes regulate themselves. In the mother’s womb we were in a state of suction – not for nothing there is the word infant, which reminds of sucking.
My voice work is always about applying sensory stimulation of suction, so that we return the larynx to its original state of suction. The child is connected to the mother in her womb and is cared for by her. Otherwise, the child would not be viable. Prof. Hüther says that in chronic diseases it is so important to link back to the prenatal period, to a time when there were no negative wiring patterns.3 However, this is exactly what singing does, which is why singing is of elementary importance, especially for chronically ill people. Neurobiology has researched that negative wiring patterns and synapses are formed in the first years of life, depending on what experiences a child has in his or her environment. It has also been found that the body shapes the brain and not the other way around, which is why we can only achieve new circuitry through the body and new experiences. In my Voice-Balance© process work exactly these factors are taken into account. The neurobiological effect of singing is particularly evident in neurodegenerative diseases.
The larynx – a miracle
The larynx is an autonomous organ and is connected to all functions of the organs. During voice-balance process work, feedback occurs between the larynx and the tissues. Understanding the feedback as resonance becomes so important. In attachment trauma, resonance to the child’s song is missing. In my work, resonance now occurs throughout the body, so that the relationship between the different organs and networks is remembered. When it becomes clear that everything is in relationship to each other and in the same way nature works, it becomes clear that with attachment trauma we have not been able to learn and maintain relationships (especially with ourselves) because we have not been given a space of our own. Relationships are nothing more than in-between spaces. However, this requires individuals, people with their own identities and lived autonomy. The larynx, as an autonomous organ, can make these in-between spaces tangible, so that we actually feel our tissue becoming more and more alive, we come into our joy and we empower ourselves with it. We experience that through the voice we can immediately and easily change our sensations. It leads us into an autonomy and aliveness, because trauma is nothing but the lost aliveness.
Creativity and Expression
Creativity resides in our uterus. Sexual organs stand for self-realization. The throat area stands for expression – self-expression. The two absolutely belong together and cannot be considered separately. That is why I believe that pure womb space work will only help us to a limited extent. It absolutely needs the connection of both. When it becomes clear how much we have been hurt in our creative expression, the expression cannot be neglected and where do we express ourselves most densely and deeply – through the voice!
In the womb space sits our life energy, which we control through our tongue. If we do not give ourselves expression, we lose our life energy. And the tongue represents speech. There are proverbs like “Biting off your tongue …” It’s not just about finding our voice again, it’s about raising it!
Standing and raising
When the larynx vibrates quite freely and one does not try to influence it, because it cannot be controlled at will, then not only does the unfolding of its potential in the tonal sense occur, but we have the greatest access to our potential and creativity. This requires a pelvic floor that is restored to its original function of support: For example, one exercise with the pelvic floor is to bring the tailbone inward and pull up the pubic bone while sounding. This leads to the fact that an internal straightening of the spine happens, the diaphragm is relieved and no longer has to take over the task of support. With a pelvic floor that supports again, we have a firm footing and are grounded. This is only possible if the psoas muscle is stretched and mobile. The psoas muscle is also called the trauma muscle and the seat of the soul. With the exercise described above, we can stretch it.
Then we come into a posture that corresponds to the natural gravitational pull of the earth. This leads to more space in the womb, which is also important for pregnant women, because only then the baby gets proper space in the belly and can arrive. With a pelvic floor that supports, we arrive at life. The psoas muscle group encloses and protects the womb space, we become free in our breathing and movement. In this connection womb space and vocal apparatus, not only is self-regulation activated, we are connected to a higher power and allow IT to sing through us. In this state we are in a constant creating and birthing. Pregnant women thus joyfully give birth to their children and others give birth to themselves and their light.
In this sacred connection, our creation is reflected and we come home.
1 Prof. Dr. Ruppert: https://www.rubikon.news/artikel/traumatisiertegesellschaft (this is an interview at “Rubikon – Magazin für die kritische Masse” with the title: Traumatisierte Gesellschaft from 1.9.2017).
2 Prof. Dr. Ruppert in an interview at the Online Self-Healing Symposium, focus on addiction by Anne Blumenthal.
3 Prof. Dr. Dr. Hüther, Gerald: Reactivation of self-healing forces from a neurobiological perspective. Source: symptome.ch – Symptoms and causes of diseases – blog with tips on health.
About the author:
Iris Hammermeister is trained in physiological voice training, singing, systemic family & trauma therapy. She is an author, voice & body researcher, singer & musician. Her special focus is on the connection between the vocal apparatus and the womb space/pelvic floor. Her concern is to guide people home and musicians to their creative potential through the voice.
Text © Iris Hammermeister
Graphics & Pictures © Petra Winkelhardt