My mentors Godfrey, Grandma, and Philip often spoke about how the sacred ceremony songs contain very deep and powerful spiritual knowledge. They were adamant that I learn how to sing the songs correctly, and to learn what they truly speak of.
My uncle Philip was one of the best vocalists I’ve ever heard and he became my role model on how to sing. He was the driving force in how I advanced. When I first began to sing he would often tease me about my lack of understanding, “even though Sal sings really good!” It took me a few years but with the help of Grandma Chipps, I was able to translate the songs and begin to truly learn what they communicate. This learning continues even to this day. I constantly understand deeper and deeper knowledge about these songs!
In the book, A Man Among the Helpers, I write what Philip taught me about sacred songs and what it means to be a Sacred Singer. The following is an excerpt for A Man Among the Helpers:
”From Philip, I learned how to sing with my entire being. Philip had taught me not just to sing a song, but to become the song. From him I learned to be the voice rising to the heavens. He taught me that we have to go beyond just repeating the words; we have to be sacred singers. To be a sacred singer, our entire beings must resonate with the vibrations of the music, and through the sacred tones we become the prayer. In this way, a singer becomes an instrument of prayer—like the drum, the Canupa, the altar, and the Medicine Man.”
I recently went to Germany to teach a 4 day workshop on sacred songs. There were 12 dedicated participants who sincerely wanted to learn the songs.
Over the course of 4 days the participants were transformed. The understanding that the songs provided allowed the participants to begin to see the world in a new and powerful way. The songs taught the participants how the energy of spirit manifests physically and how this energy moves though us, above us and below us. They came see that there in much more to the world and life then they previous had experienced. They also began to understand the responsibility they carry as human beings living on the Earth. This is the power of the sacred songs!