Mumbo-Jumbo Trigger Warning: I am completely sympathetic to skepticism surrounding my following assertions; I welcome anyone who is interested to learn about multi-tonal singing, throat singing, and to attempt the methods that I describe here for themselves.
A Little Context: The ancient Egyptians, among many peoples of that age, knew the powerful impacts of specially tuned vibration; this is evidenced by their healing temples, which echoed a waterfall into differently shaped rooms, each resonating at their own set of pitches, where the sick could go to perform stretches while immersed in functional sound. The Giantess’s temple in Malta is another example of such ancient sound-temples, resonating clearly and quite specifically at 111 Hz, at which frequency neurological scans reveal radical shifts in subjects’ brain activity.
Those are not my claims — rather, I claim this: A particular method of multi-tonal singing is depicted in the carvings of the Pharaoh on the Temple of Amun-Mut-Khonsu (the “Temple of Man”) in Luxor, and when one succeeds at singing in the places of the sinus being described, these sounds cause the skull itself to resonate, and trigger a specific, DMT-like hallucination. After eight months of practice, I succeeded twice. The effect is immediate, stark, and it lasts for about two minutes. Among the changes induced: every surface takes on a mossy green tint. I looked down at my own hands, and I was green.
The hallucination begins with a ‘rumbling’ that is identical to the come-on of a DMT trip. It feels like the whole world is a jetliner taking off, and you have no way to strap yourself down. It’s like being tumbled and tossed under the pressure of a great wave. Then, textures begin to wrinkle at the finest scale, everything looking like it is made of a subtle, slowly shifting fingerprint. And, it is as if those writhing vines are what glows green. You feel as if you are hovering just slightly above the ground, and your limbs move with a kind of disembodied drunkenness. That dismorphia was the last aspect of the hallucination to pass. Yet, what made me leap out of my chair, startling a few housemates nearby, was the opposite-world effect: anything that was far away suddenly looked as if it was tiny and incredibly close, while anything I held close to me seemed as if it was enormous and distant! I had never experienced anything like that, in any other context.
Let me explain how I stumbled upon all of this:
I am a mathematician with a modest interest in the field of cymatics — the patterns of pressure and stillness that occur in an object as it vibrates at any particular frequency. Each resonant note forms places within an object which do not vibrate at all — ‘nodes’. Other locations oscillate strongly, being amplified. This led me to practice Tuvan throat singing for many years.
When throat singing in certain ways, I was immediately aware of the effect on my mood: certain low tones are calming, while other rasping, gurgling mid-tones have an energizing quality. High notes bring about sadness and longing. There are also places within the body which vibrate significantly more during singing — by slowly moving through the scales, I could feel the vibration-points migrate down my shoulders to my elbows, as well as through my esophagus past my lungs into my belly.
On a few occasions, I learned that this can be dangerous: when singing loud, and moving from a certain low-mid to a deep pair of tones, I passed over a particular spot adjacent to my heart. When the note vibrated there for a moment, I felt a ‘pop’ in my chest, like someone had flicked my heart with their finger. I stopped singing the first time that it happened, thinking “huh, that’s odd, I’ve never…” and I woke up on the floor. The second time was intentional, and had the same effect. I decided to avoid it, though I accidentally trespassed there another time and cut the side of my face open on the coffee table. Don’t interrupt blood flow while standing.
The Step Left: So, when I was watching Anthony West’s documentary, “Magical Egypt” and saw the diagrams carved into the Temple of Man, something struck me. The Pharaoh is shown at the location of the Temple which corresponds to the pituitary gland in the brain, standing as a child in front of the ‘Tree of Life’, the tree that Osiris was trapped within when his coffin drifted to Byblos. Later in the temple, at the knee of the floor plan, the Pharaoh is again before the tree of life, yet he is an adult kneeling. There are other details that I will describe in a moment. Just look at these two, and see if anything pops out:
That tree, which held Osiris, is the salt cedar found in Lebanon, the tamarisk. If you see one growing wild, you’ll notice that it is quite bushy, with stray branches forming wedged tufts like a surfer’s hair. Its overall growth is as twained columns, or a more lenticular shape. No tamarisk is so rounded as the ones in these carvings, with all its branches terminating in a smooth silhouette! Someone trimmed those hedges.
So, considering that there was intention to their shape, trace it: you see at the bottom left a low tuft extending back away from the tree, and dipping inward from there, the perimeter curves gently outward again, rounds over the top to the right, and then cuts inward, leaving a gap where an instructor points with a stylus, before the branches below fill out the form. This is a profile view of a human skull, and those branches and leaves are the veins and musculature of the head, from the shoulder’s trapezius muscles at the lower left, all the way around to the muscles around the eye, cheek, and jaw at the lower right. In the second tree, the core trunk is gone, replaced by many parallel branches, and in particular, one branch juts out from midway along the right side of the skull-tree, analogous to the optic nerve. That tree represents the nervous system and brain. The entire architecture of the Temple of Man is well-known by archaeologists to correspond to the body in this way — I am merely pointing out an additional correspondence that had gone unnoticed.
The Sounds of Each Age: In the first carving, the child Pharaoh holds his hands forward, cupping dishes at two locations which we can place within the skull, using the tree as our map. The more extended arm is holding a place just behind the nostrils in the sinus — I recognized this place and the other as primary resonant points when doing higher-pitched multi-tonal singing. Forming a resonance at that spot requires making a high, airy whine, like a small child saying “awwww, but I wannaaaaa!” This is why the Pharaoh is shown as a child, for that tree.
The second Pharaoh, as a young man, would know of a different sound: when we hit puberty and our voice cracks, the squeak of it happens at a place in the back of our palate — which is exactly where the other dish is being cupped, in our diagram. Yet, the Pharaoh begins by standing, and holding both of these sounds, and ends by kneeling, holding forth a single sound resonating forward in the sinus. And, at that new resonance place, three tiered baskets hang. That is the echo traveling up the front of the face. It feels like a subwoofer is picking your nose.
The method that these two figures describe is simple to feel, but incredibly difficult to control. I knew something was there almost as soon as I began, because numerous harmonics would jump out suddenly as I shifted positions. Yet it took me months to balance between those two resonant points properly; all errors and missteps manifested as cracking, discordant hissing and chirp-tones. Many of my housemates insisted that I only practice it when they were not home.
Sing-Along: You begin as if you are a sad child, whining gently, almost mewing. Then, with the softest expulsion of air that you can manage without losing the note, slowly pull your tongue back in your throat, ‘kneeling gently’ with it, leaving a small gap with your palate that fuels the resonance. You will move the resonant point toward that teenage-squawk, and the goal is to keep the infant’s whinny going as you do so. By merging the two and slowly increasing the volume of your voice, a powerful beat frequency forms — that is when the thumping begins to move up the front of the nose, and the temples and jaw feel like they are clay being smooshed from side to side. You are literally using sound to squeeze your brain until chemicals come out. Maintain that resonance for a full breath, and you’ll be rocketed into the other world, a green man. Just one of the many initiations of Osiris.