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A Conversation with Joy Gardner-Gordon

Joy, author of several books on the healing qualities of sound, color and
crystals, has explored these and many more healing modalities - and has
put them to work.

The Monthly Aspectarian: Joy, I thought it would be fun to start out with you
giving us a brief description of the odyssey you've taken through

Joy Gardner-Gordon: Okay, that is a fun question. I started out as an

herbalist. I have this notion that in a past life I was a wizard and that I used
many different modalities, including working very closely with nature -- and
that repressive times came and I had to close down. It was in this present
lifetime that I started out opening just a little crack into the past, and that
was herbalism. It felt a little scary to me because at that time, 1968, I was
truly one of the first herbalists in North America. My work with that was
very, very unconventional at that time, and it was started because of an
illness that I had, a cyst on my ovary. Rather than having it surgically
removed, I researched other avenues, other venues for what to do about it.

TMA: That would have been the wizard part of you deciding, Hey, there's got
to be a better way of dealing with this . . . let's find it.

JGG: Precisely, yes. It was unheard of in those days not to use the medical
establishment, not to follow their advice and instead to go your own route,
so it was incredibly exciting and empowering when I successfully got rid of
the cyst.. Once I did that, I just became charged with the concept of helping
other people to heal themselves.

TMA: "If I can do that, what else could I do?"

JGG: Yes, right. I wanted to direct my writing toward empowering people in

that same way. I was already a writer . . . I had thought of myself as a writer
since the third grade. And of course I had to learn . . . there were really no
herbal schools in this country at that time. I think I'm digressing, in a way,
from your question about metaphysics.

TMA: No, it's all part of it.

JGG: One thing led to another. I developed a knowledge of herbalism, and

that's a long story, and I developed a knowledge of acupuncture just as it
was coming to this country. I learned from one of the very first teachers, a
Dr. Leung, who was a Chinese acupuncturist from South Africa. That was in
Seattle, the University of Washington night school. And I studied massage
from a man who was ninety-three years old. The real reason I was studying
with him was not so much to learn massage, but because he had a way with
his hands and he just carried the ancient knowledge. The way I've chosen
my teachers has been that I've always looked for people who truly walked
their talk. And he was one of those.

Following those modalities came my interest in working with Elisabeth

Kubler-Ross, to deal with several deaths in my own family and how they
impacted me -- and wanting to learn how to release all of the pent up
emotions that I held about those experiences. And then I became a death
and loss counselor.

TMA: By now this was probably the late '70s?

JGG: Yes. The son who was born in '66 was thirteen, so '79. That's when I
went up to study with her. Another thing that happened was that I did
something called spiritual journeying with a British psychic from Seattle. In
doing those journeys, I entered into my body at a cellular level and found
out what the underlying cause of my cyst had been. The cyst that I had
gotten rid of would come back periodically, just twinges of it, and I would
know how to get rid of it again but still having to deal with it was kind of
annoying. Once I did this underlying cause work, I went to the root of why I
had this cyst and I was able to remove that. From that point on, the cyst did
not come back.

That's the point at which I got totally inspired to help people at the causal
level of their illness -- to help them understand why they became ill, to see
that as a gift, that illness is just a tip of the iceberg. If you cut off the tip of
the iceberg, you're depriving yourself of a magnificent opportunity to really
delve in and find out what the gift of that illness is. I became charged with
the desire to help people discover the gift of their illness and that's when I
started doing spiritual journeys for people.

TMA: What would be an example of a gift that an illness holds?

JGG: Well, I can just give you my own story, which was what had caused the
cyst in my ovary. When I went inside, I made myself small and went inside
my ovary. I gave the ovary a voice, allowed it speak, and then the woman I
was working with said, "Well, who put this cyst there?" I asked my higher
self that question, and the answer that came from my higher self was, My
mother did. And then a picture came into my mind where I saw myself as a
three-year-old child, and I had this very outgoing, flirtatious kind of energy,
which scared my mother for whatever reason, and she gave me this very
strong, non-verbal, probably, message: Stuff it. And I did. And I stuffed that
energy into my ovary. Years later, it popped out as a cyst. Once I saw that,
then the woman I was working with, asked, "Do you want to get rid of that
energy from your ovary?" And I said yes. And she said, "Okay, then take it
out." Then I saw myself pulling this thing that was like a rag rope and pulling
and pulling and pulling about thirty feet of rag rope out of my ovary until I
finally got it all out. And then I felt free. I felt free inside, my sexual organs
felt free, my whole attitude toward my body felt different, my whole feeling
about myself as an energetic being was changed by that process. That's
what I meant when I said there was a gift there. I would never had known
that I had stuffed my sexual energy if I hadn't had that cyst. That cyst was
what enabled me to go in and find out that it was there.

Then I started doing spiritual journeys for people, and that was very exciting
because everyone was totally different.

TMA: Do you mean journeying in a traditional shamanic sense?

JGG: Well, what a spiritual journey is, is you visualize your path and walk
along it and everything that appears on that path has significance. If you
see a blue flower, you stop and talk to it and you ask it what it has to teach
you. And if you see a house, you go into it and you talk to the house. Along
the way, you're likely to meet spirit guides. You might go into past lives. I
went into Buddha's garden. All these marvelous things happen. It's like a
waking dream, [a daydream,] but at the same time, as each thing happens,
you interpret the symbolism; you ask for an understanding of it as you go
along. It's like having a waking dream and interpreting it all at once.

TMA: Are you doing this in a meditative sense?

JGG: Yes, it's a kind of light hypnosis.

TMA: You're not drumming or rattling to enter the trance state?

JGG: No, it's just a deep relaxation. It's amazing how easy it is for people to
go into that kind of light trance and bring up these images. Basically, it's
just a matter of giving them permission and it all unfolds. I started doing
that work and having really wonderful results with it.

In the process of doing that, I met my own spirit guides and found I'd gone
through about three spirit guides. I got to my third spirit guide, Dr. Lang,
who had been a physician in England around the turn of the century. The
story I got was that in a previous lifetime around the turn of the century, I
had been his daughter, a teenager. I got interested in the Theosophists, who
knew a lot about the chakras and healing with color and energy, and I
started talking to him about these things. I was very excited about it -- and
he laughed at me, he put me down. He certainly did not believe in the
things I was talking about. Well, I had a tragic accident in that lifetime when
I was about twenty-one; I think it was some kind of vehicle accident. I was
killed, and he spent the rest of his life mourning my loss. Then when he
died, as he left his body, he found himself seeing auras, seeing the chakras,
and seeing the energies --

TMA: And realizing you were right.

JGG: Yes, and he was just overwhelmed by this incredible feeling of wanting
to make up to me for having denied these things that I was interested in.
That's why he came back to me in this lifetime as my spirit guide. What he
would do is, I'd be driving -- I do a lot of long distance driving -- I'd be driving
along and he would come and lecture to me for an hour at a time, very
unlike my other spirit guides who were not talkative. He was like a professor
at the podium lecturing to me about healing with color, about the chakras
and about the energies. At that time, there were no books about that in this
country. At that time, I knew nothing about that. I had no idea. It all seemed
very bizarre to me until I came across a book from England, Colour Healing
by Mary Anderson, and it confirmed all the things he was telling me. In
addition, it felt like the information he was giving me went a good couple of
steps beyond what was given in this book and any other book from England
that I could find. It was really exciting to me to get that confirmation, and in

point of fact, I then went on to write a book called Color and Crystals that
came out several years ago but is still doing extremely well, particularly in
England -- which is kind of an interesting side note.

I started bringing colors and the chakras into my work and began to teach
about them. I started using colored light and found it to be very effective,
and using colored, charged waters and just really being amazed how these
subtle forms of healing could be so powerful.

Then I read Catrina Rafael's book about crystals, Crystal Enlightenment I

think it was. I started feeling very attracted to the stones and began to bring
them into my environment. I'd been doing death and loss counseling with a
woman for about a year. She had made wonderful progress and there was
only one problem, which was, she could not cry. No matter what I did, she
couldn't cry. I had a big hunk of rose quartz and I had heard that it was
supposed to be like a hunk of unconditional love. So I took the rose quartz
and put it on her heart . . . and within a minute, she broke out crying. That
made me feel, Hey, there really is something to this stuff, and I started
laying stones on people.

And then Dr. Lang started giving me information about the clear quartz
crystals. By this time, I had another guide, Pink Tara, who is the pink aspect
of the goddess Tara. And she started coming in through my meditation
because at that time I was having difficulties with my mother, who had a
tendency to be kind of manic depressive. When she was manic, we got
along magnificently and when she was depressive, I was the source of all
evil. We were having kind of a hard time and around then, these little swirls
of pink energy started coming in my meditations. Then this incredible pink
energy brought itself into my environment and announced she was the
goddess Pink Tara.

TMA: She's usually associated with Tibet?

JGG: Yes, and she started giving me wonderful counsel about how to deal
with my mom. And from that point, she also would tone through me. I was
not a singer whatsoever, but I started making these wonderful sounds when
Pink Tara would come in. That was exciting. I started then bringing Tara
through for my clients and she would sing for them -- and again, these
marvelous sounds came through. I started correlating the sounds to the
chakras and the stones to the chakras, and produced the Color and Crystals

book. Then I started toning for each of the chakras, and produced a tape
called The Healing Voice: Toning for the Chakras. My publisher, Crossing
Press, said. Why don't you write a book to go with the tape? I couldn't see
how you could write a book about making sounds! It didn't make sense to
me. You make the sounds; what is there to say about it?

TMA: Are you talking about overtone chanting?

JGG: Well, that happens. The overtone chanting, though, is when you
deliberately make two or three distinct sounds at the same time, which then
also have these overtones. I think that's an accurate way of describing it.
I'm not an expert on overtone chanting.

TMA: It's a lot of fun, but I've never really known exactly what it's for.

JGG: Well, the toning is the sustained vibratory sound -- without rhythm,
meter, or words, usually a vowel sound. You inhale and then you make this
one sustained sound on the exhale.

TMA: It just feels good to do that. That's why people in pain moan.

JGG: For instance, the "aom" sound that everybody knows about, is a tone.
You're toning "aom," which is good for the third eye. It's good for the whole
body, really. And what is it? What's so great about it? There's a videotape
called Cymatics, based on the work of Hans Jenny, a scientist from Europe
who found that by putting inorganic substance on, for example, the head of
a drum, and bombarding it with harmonics of sound, it would move itself
into a geometric mandala. And this is right on the video: in response to the
aom, an inorganic substance such as lycopodium powder -- that's a spore of
the club moss -- will form itself into a zero, a perfectly round circle, with a
dot in the middle. Just the sound will cause it to do that. Other harmonics of
sound will cause it to form these intricate herringbone structures or a
structure that looks just like an amoeba -- and then the amoeba will go
through a process that looks just like cell division. Or sometimes it will form
into something that looks like the spinal cord.

It's incredible to see what effect sound can have on substance. When you
realize that and you think, Okay, well if I'm making these sounds from my

chakras, what's it actually doing to me on the energetic level . . . which is

vibrational, which is atomic, which is cellular. And how am I getting
disarranged when I hear the sound of a jackhammer or some heavy metal
music or something that is jarring to my nervous system? How is that disarranging me, and what effect is that having on my health?

It's the heavy metal stuff that is deliberately jarring, and I think that there's
a reason for that. I had a client who was very troubled, and when her mother
would yell at her, she would go and lock herself in the room and turn on
heavy metal music as loud as she could. I think what was going on there
was that the musician was doing an emotional release for her.

TMA: You can block out anything with that stuff. What about, say, jazz,
dissonant jazz, Sun Ra, someone like that?

JGG: I think it all has its place. If you're attracted to it, if it's doing something
for you, maybe what it's doing is pulling apart something that needs to be
pulled apart. Again, I think the emotional release aspect is really significant.

TMA: Like with drumming.

JGG: Yes, like drumming. You know, Don Campbell talked about the effect of
Gregorian Chant -- that it triggers a higher chakra kind of meditative trance,
whereas the drumming triggers a lower chakra hypnotic state. That makes a
lot of sense to me, because the tribal kinds of people, the shamanic, the
American Indian, I feel like they relate to spirit through the earth, whereas
the Eastern religions and most of our Western religions, they go into the
higher chakras relating to the heavens. It's a different orientation towards
spirituality, both of which are valid.

TMA: That's a good point. So now we're pretty much up to the present.

JGG: Yes, the wizard, little by little, has been able to get uncovered and I've
been able, little by little, to reclaim, I think, the power I had in a past life. It
was in 1988 that I brought all of the different modalities -- spiritual journeys,
underlying cause work, past life regressions, emotional release, sound
healing and healing with color and gemstones -- under the umbrella of
Vibrational Healing.

TMA: Joy, what would you say is the essence of your teaching?

JGG: I feel the emphasis of my teaching with vibrational healing and with
everything else -- well, with sound, particularly, is to connect the heart with
the voice so that a person can become empowered to open up their mouths
and express fully their feelings to the point where somebody listening to
their sounds can tell them how they're feeling, accurately and down to fine

I'd say the essence of the vibrational healing work that I do, which includes
the sound healing, is authenticity; is being able to be fully and totally in
touch with who I am, who you are, and then to be able to have that direct
communication so that each person can stand in the fullness of their being
without feeling apologetic about it. Being in that place of unconditional love
for myself, and unconditional love for others as well.

And toning -- I believe that toning takes us to a place of -- like the story in
the Bible, the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. It tells us that before that
time there was a universal language. I believe that the ancient languages
like Hebrew and maybe Latin, the Hawaiian language and of course Sanskrit
-- what the ancient languages have in common is that every sound has
meaning. It has psychological meaning, it has energetic meaning,
sometimes it has astrological meaning. That very, very deep meaning is
conveyed by every syllable, every consonant in those languages. I believe
that when we go into toning, that's the closest we come to that original,
universal language where we can all be understood no matter what
language we speak.

TMA: For the print edition, what would somebody expect to experience in
one of your workshops?

JGG: Well, the fascinating thing about that, just like with my private
sessions, it's totally individual; each person will get what they need. It's kind
of like if you send a barrage of light to someone, they'll absorb the rays that
they need, and I think it's the same way with the vibrational healing.
Whether it's a workshop or the private sessions, there's a barrage of
modalities. There's the sounds and the gemstones and the underlying cause
work, and the person will absorb that which they need. Some people will
heal just themselves and some people will become healers and other people

will become teachers. It will just depend on who they are and what they
want from the work.

TMA: So basically, you're linking people up with who they really are.

JGG: That's a wonderful way of putting it. Thank you.

TMA: Any closing thoughts?

JGG: The silence is the most important thing. I always like to work from the
silence. I believe that if people can go fully into the silence, whatever they
need will emerge from that place -- and that people often can get in touch
with their own inner healer from that place.

Joy Gardner-Gordon is a holistic and vibrational healer. She is the author of

Color and Crystals, The New Healing Yourself, Healing Yourself During
Pregnancy, and A Difficult Decision.