How do we as women show up in the world? How do we claim our presence as unique individuals, as well as part of a very important movement into greater feminine consciousness? Our voices are not only about creative expression, they are also a very real vocalization process that engages the core of our sensory beings. To discover true voice, we begin here, in our own bodies.
Start with the word “voice”. Say “voice” out loud. (Yes – out loud.) What do you hear? Notice any judgments that come up about the quality, tone, or volume of your own voice. So many women retain internalized criticisms and deeply embedded silences from personal hurts and patriarchal edicts. These are small and big traumas that get lodged in our bodies and voices.
For now, see if you can simply let go of judgments, and listen with curiosity to your own voice. Allow the sounds to come through. Feel the vibration of your vocalization. Let the words come out slowly. Let the “V” vvvvibrate through your teeth and lips. Say the “O” round and resonant. Go into the “I” (like an “E”) nice and wide. Then let your tongue pearl into the “S” like a snake, hissing its way to the end of the word. V – – O – – I – – C – – E. Try it a few times. How does it feel? Where do you vibrate? Where does the sound move in your body?
This experience of vocal resonance brings us into closer connection with our bodies. This is what your body does. It breathes, it moves, it sounds. It is YOUR sound, coming into the air, and waving into the world.
You can bring a song to it too. Sing “voice”. This is a lot easier if no one is around! Do it in the bathroom, the car, or in your room or office when you are by yourself. Notice emotions that may arise with this exercise. Listen to yourself with kindness.
Now say or sing “my voice”. Try this a few times, with different intonations, then stop and listen. What do you sense? What do you hear? Try this with the word “Her”. Say or sing “Her Voice”slowly. Repeat it several times. Perhaps a chant emerges, and you can sing these words over and over.
Her Voice is your voice, and the voice of every woman who has ever been.
The Her we honor is the unique expression of the vast array of the feminine, from personal to universal. From your great-great-grandmother to your as yet unborn great-great-granddaughter. From your own childhood self to your future self. From the handmaiden to the madonna. From the beggar to the earth mother. From the moon to the stars. And so much more.
Do you feel the hunger pangs of the homeless ‘bag lady’?
She is the sister of the pregnant priestess with a feathered cloak.
Do you see the beautiful face burned with acid?
The blue shawl of Guadalupe wraps her in stars.
Do you feel the aching body of the rape victim?
The wise woman offers her warm hands and heals the wounds.
Do you hear the girl crying in her closet?
Sing her songs of the goddess.
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna.
Opening our voices is opening our ears. Sometimes listening is the hard part. Although some on the spiritual path would like to open their ears only to angelic choirs, the cries of hurt women all over the world are in the symphony of women’s voices everywhere. So are the goddesses of the world. Our own voices know pain as well as beauty. We know how to sob for the abused and keen for the dead. We also know how to sing sweet lullabies to children and majestic arias to the world.
Her Voice is your voice. The personal is the universal. I know of no more powerful connection to soul than the breath and sounding of our own beings. In our vocal presence, we find our deepest selves. We also find our most expansive spirit. Alone or in the strength of community, expressing ourselves vocally connects us with the most spacious and textured sense of who we are, and what we are capable of. It is a direct experience of our agency and vital energy.
The world is changing. Women’s voices are essential in this time in human history. We can no longer be silent.
So where do we begin? How do we give body and substance to who we are as women? How do we honor what is emerging in the world?
Right now, breathe.
Feel the ground of Mother Earth beneath your feet.
Let a hum come through your throat.
Let the hum become a tone.
Let the tone become a song.
Let the song become a chant.
Chant your name.
Chant Her Name.