Wild Cave Sound Adventure

Wild Cave Sound Adventure

“It feels as if there is now a cave in my mouth” Client after a session, 2012

Looking at the cave from the inside. I see the river as the breath, the entrance as the mouth and the small rock atop as the uvula. I seek to convey the similarities between the microcosm of our mouth and throat with the macrocosm of the cave. Caves require humidity and hollowness inside the cave to make resonating sound. So do humans- our vocal cords and tract require hydration. The caves’ acoustics are dependent upon the humidity and moisture in the air creating a unique harmonic environment. Water is a great carrier of sound. And some say that if we ‘travel the waters’, it is related to our superconscious. So I never thought I would be the person to don King Gees, gumboots and a helmet with a torch and go caving. I have been scared of her power (and by my fitness level). But indeed I did.

 I met up with Deb from Wild Cave Tours and had a real experience of nature unlike one I had ever had before. Seeing aspects of caves I had not seen, nor felt. Its raw beauty and its fragility and strength. The mighty power of Mother Nature. The freedom to get  covered in mud and wade through water was liberating. Going headfirst down small tunnels into more open, yet enclosed spaces. The myth of the womb re-entered my psyche. The many residents of the caves in myths and fables. Making gorgeous ambient sound in the supported circular space. Caves were the first homes of man, and our mother’s womb is our first place of residence and nourishment. It was a deeply nurturing space, and again the sense of aliveness arose after exiting the cave. An elixir of youth of sorts. The cave altered my body and aspects of  my mind, especially my spine.

We explored “Honeycomb Cave”. This is the cave where they filmed The Hunter which I had serendipitously seen earlier in the year, and truly loved.

Deb was an amazing guide.  A true guardian of the cave. Quite different from the guides who run the tourist caves. Practical, fierce, strong, lithe with utter respect for the cave and its many life forms inside the cave. She watches the cave and her tour members intently, acutely aware of all movements. I trusted her and felt safe in following her clear instructions and her footsteps. She is gifted in transitioning between the outer and inner worlds. She treats the cave with love and care and for the sacred space that it is. We had two other members in our group, whose time was sorely cut short for several reasons. Interestingly their jobs were about transitions, once being with babies, and the other with the unemployed. Transitioning between worlds, areas of light and dark, between seen and unseen.

At one stage I was left alone in a dark part of the cave (at my request) so Deb could escort another tour member out of the cave. I could hear their footsteps and their voices trail off into the distance, and I was left on a rock in the dark with just a sliver of light from the outside coming in. There I made a sound recording. Warm and content in the shadows. Listening to the song of the cave, hearing the flow from the river, listening to her breath, I was moved to make sound. Deb and I improvised in other places, with her on her flute and voice. Intuiting and toning the sound of the cave. Exploring how different formations make different resonances, finding the perfect fit between its structure and my sound. I was truly blessed to have such a mulit-talented guide.

Sarah and Deb post adventure (yes, there is always a daggy picture to honour such a beautiful event!)

The structures of the caves have been there for millions of years. A sense of timelessness under the ground. One could get lost within the cavernous walls. Slightly Coleridge-esque”a stately pleasure dome decree, of caverns measureless to man, down to a sunless sea”.

I saw the hollow spaces of the rock as uniquely feminine (the yin) and the rock structure itself as masculine (the yang) I am in awe of her beauty and her presence. There was an ability to surrender to her in the caves, and yet still be aware, mindful and present on what was in front of me.The cave seemed to reinforce the saying “Not with the flow, or against the flow, but in the flow”. It was a glorious space to reside in.