Sound has played an important role in the ritual practices of all religions. Its sacred and ceremonial use can be found at the heart of all spiritual teachings. Whether it is through music, group chanting or vocal intonation, the powerful effects of sound are used throughout the world as a way of shifting consciousness or even of changing the vibrational rate of physical matter.
In her early years, writer and expert in the ritual use of sound Chloe Goodchild suffered from a variety of illnesses which also led to a period of partial deafness at the age of four. From this, she found herself deeply changed—so much so that some years later, she lost interest in all of her academic studies and instead spent her time organizing school singing competitions.
From this, she expanded her interest in the subjects of music and education and went on to study them at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.
Following a period spent teaching in a tough North London school, she moved to Bristol where she taught music at a school in a similarly deprived inner-city area.
Both of these jobs left her feeling disillusioned with the education system and what she saw as its antiquated policy regarding teaching music to youngsters so, in 1981, she left and started ‘The Avon Peace Education Project’, where she taught vocal and choral techniques as a way of assisting in conflict resolution.
Following a trip to India some years later, she met several spiritual masters who instructed her in their own ancient tradition of sound use. When she returned to the UK, she founded ‘The Naked Voice’. This was a voice training program which continues today with musical events, workshops and seminars.
In her book, also titled The Naked Voice:, Chloe Goodchild explains how, by discovering our own authentic inner voice, each of us can unlock our true self.
She explains how
Once found, it relaxes your mind, reduces stress, opens your heart, and inspires practical, mindful, and courageous ways to give voice and love in the world.
Chloe Goodchild opens her book by stating that the initial stage in this process of unfoldment through sound is not directly through it but via a close atunement to silence.
She explains a little more fully what she means by this by saying
Silence plays a central role in bringing the vocalist into an intimacy with his or her own unique sound.
Part one of the book (‘Transforming Your Listening: Sound Awareness’) begins with a description of how you can learn to listen to yourself, to your inner stillness and as a result, connect to your deeper wisdom.
Here, the author also begins the first of a series of practical exercises which are aimed at helping readers to develop the listening process within themselves.
It also includes breathing exercises as a way of instigating stillness, along with advice on how to intone vowels as well as the techniques for holding conversations with your inner self.
Later on in part one of the book, Goodchild introduces the ‘Five Stages of Tesgingoso’, which is one of the fundamental components of the Japanese system of body movements called ‘Shintaido’.
Each of the five stages of Tesgingoso includes specific instructions on how this process—one which the author perceives to be
…the most complimentary partner for the naked-voice practices—works.
Here, she offers exercises for each stage that are part-based on yoga and body movement and mantra intonation.
Mantras also form an important part of chapter three. She describes the four levels of consciousness that exist within the AUM or OM mantra.
From there, the book looks at the ‘Seven-Chakra Mantra’ where the author explains how she first discovered the exercise whilst staying on the Island of Crete in the late 1980s.
Part two of the book (‘Transform Your Communication: Sound Intellugence’) opens with a look at the close connection that has always existed between sound, or music, and the emotions of love—an understanding of which involves the practice of heart meditation, devotional singing or sacred chanting.
In her ‘Meeting the Piegan Wisdom Elders’, she tells the story of her meeting with their repressentitives of this North American plains tribe and how she had to prove her spiritual credentials by singing to them. When she did so, and in the ancient Sanskrit tongue, they were amazed by the similarities in the sounds that she was making to their own vocal tradition.
The author then returns in her discourse on the effects of sound on the psycho-spiritual centers of the human body by revealing the wisdom behind what she calls ‘The Seven Sounds of Love’ along with the effect of their intonation on the chakra energy centers. She includes the specific techniques that she uses to vibrate each tone.
The practicality of vocal training features throughout the final parts of the publication with further lessons into ways that the reader can awaken the Voice of the Soul.
Part three summarizes the philosophy behind the key elements of the book and extends into the realms of sound as a tool in political and social change, including a personal account of her experiences of 9/11.
The book closes with a reading list, acknowledgements, index and personal bio.
Very occasionally, as a book reviewer, you pick up a publication, leaf quickly through its pages and almost instinctively know that you have in your hands a book that stands head and shoulders above almost everything else you have ever read about spirituality.
The Naked Voice by Chloe Goodchild is one of these!
The book’s core subject—one which centers upon the power of the human voice to heal and transform—is not, in of itself, any great revelation. Anyone who has an interest in any field of spirituality will be aware of the degree to which music and singing play an important part in a wide variety of holistic practices.
However, in The Naked Voice, Chloe Goodchild takes you on an intense, revelatory and sometimes emotional journey into the diverse world of sound and, along the way, reveals the immense impact that the human voice in particular has in initiating spiritual transformation and inner healing.
Chloe Goodchild’s book is an extension of the work that she has been doing with her charitable foundation ‘The Naked Voice’ since 1980. It features a wealth of knowledge and insight that the author has gleaned over the past thirty-five years of research into, amongst other things, the effect that sound has upon the finer, psycho-spiritual levels of the human psyche.
Through these workshops, Chloe has helped others to discover their own true voice, shown them how to intone its resonant frequency and to bring about powerful changes in their own destiny.
She is equally generous in sharing her knowledge and insights in this book—a publication that contains so much practical advice, it is almost a workshop manual in itself.
Along with the practical exercises, the book also features a wealth of personal stories and experiences, gleaned from working with groups of indiginous peoples from all around the world and being instructed in the secrets of their sacred traditions.
These stories add considerably to the readers’ appreciation of the fact that whilst many areas of the world are losing connections to their esoteric traditions, Chloe Goodchild has, through her work, preserved a great deal of their knowledge and understanding regarding the tribal use of sound.
So, in summing up, I would say that The Naked Voice is simply one of those few publications about metaphysics that genuinely astounded and thrilled me!
By the end of reading it, I was left feeling that it had been a real privilidge to have been invited into the sonic world of its author and to share in the wisdom that she so freely brings to those whose lives she touches upon.
Chloe Goodchild is a remarkable writing and singing talent and the combination has resulted in The Naked Voice—a book that has been magnificently breathed into manifestation rather than just simply written as an intellectual exercise.