Despite being a writer, I find speech difficult. I don’t think in words or pictures, but mostly in silent abstract ideas, which I must clumsily translate into words. Give me time to write, and I will find poetic ways to honour these abstract ideas. But in daily conversation, I am lost, unable to quickly translate what’s on my mind.
I have long loved to whisper in a ‘nonsense’ language, improvising speech and imagining that it means what my heart is saying. This is how the Tuvan shamans pray. Spirit knows the language (spirit knows what your heart is saying), and the sounds help to focus what you are thinking and praying.
It is my new morning ritual to sit outside and whisper improvised non-linguistic prayers to spirit, giving blessings and asking for blessings. It is better than anything else I have tried — the sounds are alive with energy, coming straight from the heart, not stilted by “trying to sound beautiful” — they simply are what they are.
Sound in Tuvan shamanism is very powerful. I have found that some things I enjoy — overtone singing and wearing so many charms and trinkets that you clatter when you move — is part of their tradition. I am still waiting for Spirit to show me how to use my beautiful drum, which I have kept reverently and patiently. I also love making and using rattles. These instruments speak for me, speaking directly to spirit in the most honest way possible.