Of female voice power & voice (honor) fear
Author: Saskia Baumgart
Category: Art / Music / Literature
Issue No: 90
The author takes an unbiased look at the myth of the sirens, their vocal power and their unknown realm between heaven and earth, where we can experience flow and inspiration. It is a wisdom that has been almost lost in the wake of patriarchy and the domination of nature. Through song and music, healing can occur, and with the sirens we can enter into the oceanic feeling of being alive.
Something is with her … So many prohibitions, regulations, rules and laws that exist worldwide, entwine around her, like a fence taming a wild animal. Equally great must be the existing fear, which, as an indefinite fear, encourages such measures, cross-culturally, through the millennia.
Prohibitions for women
Even today, women are not only not allowed to show their hair, but likewise their voices when they enter a Russian Orthodox church, which shocked me during a trip through Siberia in 2018. They wear a headscarf and have to remain silent. As long as they don’t raise their voices, they are welcome to engage there and serve for the whole community. That’s the deal. Likewise, it is still forbidden for women to sing in Jewish synagogues.
In the country of Iran and in many other countries, women are forbidden to sing in public, under threat of the harshest penalties. Female singers have to leave the country if they want to show their art and thus share beauty and cultural wealth. Part of the ancient singing culture, passed down from generation to generation, is forced to remain silent, perish or take high risks that can be life-destroying.
THE MYTHOLOGY OF THE SIRENS
According to legend, the powerful singing and semi-human mythical creatures called Sirens are daughters of Gaia, the Earth Mother, and the Sea God. Other sources give them as daughters of the Muses, patrons of the arts and the beautiful mind. They are considered sensually attractive beings, half woman, half water creature, endowed with fish tails, sometimes winged, resistant to marriage and free in their love life.
This was also the origin of the social attribution as a danger to the morality and integrity of the man within the social order of patriarchy, where such freedoms belonged only to men. As in other famous cases of human history, these independent female beings were demonized, devalued, blamed and declared the personified evil to beware of.
The connection of femininity and its natural attraction, a kind of female magnetism and its dangers, especially if not regulated by male laws, becomes clear here as a deeply implemented basic fear. The message’s warning to man seems clear: “Beware, therefore do not be drawn into the deeper feminine waters, it may destroy you.”
In the full article, also read the well-known ancient Greek story of Odysseus, who had himself tied down on his ship so as not to succumb to the sounds of the sirens.
THE FEMALE POWER
What does this being connected to the energy and creative power of life have to do with the sirens and the female voice? In Indian Hinduism, this force is called “Shakti” and corresponds to the feminine aspect of the Divine, which endows us with precisely this energy. It appears, for example, as “Sarasvati”, the goddess of arts and science.
The feminine voice seems to be directly connected to this powerful representation, reminding us of this wave movement of coming and going, the cycle of life, between birth, death and rebirth.
When we feel at one with this fundamental movement, life is easy. In resistance to this wave, existence can become torture.
In resistance is usually the ego, which does not sufficiently communicate with and trust the wisdom of the anima, because it focuses on control.
The anima, according to Carl Gustav Jung, is considered our inner feminine part, which every human being possesses, the counterpart to the animus, its male counterpart and complement. In this potential conflict of polar forces, the oceanic quality of dissolution of boundaries, as the ability of the muses and their daughters, the sirens, can work wonders. Thus, as we know, a song can move us to tears, a line of poetry can remind us again of what is essential, and a voice can lead us out of perceived narrowness by softening or even melting us.
It is precisely this magic of life that we seek and need, and therefore seek it out again and again, with all the means of art. The task of dosing it well, so as not to sink groundlessly into it, is our own, whose level of development indicates what we have already learned – about ourselves and about life.
HEALING OF THE FEMININE AND MASCULINE IN US.
The female stereotype has undergone castration through the millennia of patriarchy, has been constricted, very specifically, for example, by the corsets of the Victorian age, the chastity belt of the Middle Ages, and the degradation throughout the ages.
To resolve this deformity and regain a healthy natural vocal power takes time, dedication and awareness. To straighten up and rehabilitate this natural greatness, just vocally, takes determination and love. It takes patience and even a healthy access to one’s aggression as a connection to one’s fire, to the yang energy of the animus. Thereby integration and balancing of the polar energies in one’s own center can take place, of Yin & Yang, the Inner Man & the Inner Woman, for a real balance inside and outside.
To have real freedom and self-determination requires a balanced both/and movement. An embodiment of the human being that can and may do both, that does not hide in an either-or ideology of gender stereotyping, sounds distinctly different, stimulating and attractive. This more comprehensive voice, which knows its registers between highs and lows and boldly bundles them in the middle, stands out inspiringly from the average abbreviated mishmash of unity.
The connection to sirens came early in my life, when people kept asking me about it and calling my voice siren-like. Or when I was called a siren in the Peruvian Amazon and was assigned a corresponding master plant to meditate and study.
I intuitively knew immediately what it was about, and was not surprised. A familiar warm home feeling arose in me. I wondered why the sirens, these singing winged water creatures, were warned against so forcefully in some stories and why they had such a negative to murderous reputation. I wanted to find out.
The promise of longing lies in discovering that the unknown shores turn out to be part of one’s inner home. Thus, the greater journey out into the world becomes a homecoming to one’s innermost being, which can now shine differently, audibly in the sound of one’s own voice. A voice that can become a wake-up call, a call of the siren.
That’s why I called my first Sasperella solo album “La Sirène”. It was finished in 2021 and is available online here. It is a tribute to the magic of the winged water creatures that remind us of our spiritual home as well as our soulful connection to it, and that inspire us to give it expression, in many ways. And still, when I sing and give myself completely into it, I begin to flow and fly and see the ocean in front of me.
Not one of the seven earthly ones we know, but an ocean that resembles them and yet is another. It encompasses them all and shines supernaturally, in a special light. Here is ultimate peace, home.
What would really have happened if Odysseus and his men had not circumnavigated the island of the Sirens, but had bravely followed their call?
About the author: Saskia Baumgart
Saskia Baumgart is a singer, vocal coach and music therapist. She works artistically and healing with singing and sound, gives solo concerts as Sasperella, with her trio Magic of Sound, individual sessions, workshops and groups on singing, sound as well as voice, also especially on the female voice. In addition, she accompanies dying people with her music, people in emotional crises and accompanies processes for the development of potential in all situations of life. Stays with various indigenous cultures of the world have deepened her shamanic connection.
This article has also been published on the German Website: Die Stimme der Sirene