Ancient peoples built many sound chambers, from tunnels and stone circles, to elaborate temples and cathedrals. The field of archaeoacoustics has investigated some of these places.
For example, in ancient mounds in the UK, if a person bangs a drum at one end, a resonance is created in the sweet spot in the middle of the tunnel. Scientists call this resonance the Helmholtz resonance, and they’ve found that it can alter brain waves and take a person into a trance state. It is thought these mounds and chambers were used for shamanic vision quests.
An ancient site named Chavín de Huántar, in the Andes of Peru, is another example where ancient people constructed architecture in a way that can alter consciousness. It’s been discovered that conchs, when blown in the underground chambers, create a reverberation that can alter perception. Evidence suggests, the ancient people who built the temple were some kind of elite class of priests. And they would gather in the underground temple to alter their consciousness through acoustics and the consumption of psychedelics. Psychedelics such as mescaline, which is found in cacti growing in the surrounding area.
The same type of technology is built into the architecture of many of the Gothic cathedrals. For example, if a choir sings hymns from the era of construction, a particular resonance can be measured, and this resonance can alter people’s brain waves, allowing them to enter deeper states of consciousness. The Gothic cathedrals were intricately designed using proportional maths and the golden ratio, whilst the builders were also very precise in the types of stone used. All of these aspects would have been carefully considered and connected with the purpose of changing people’s consciousness.
These days, architecture is less about aesthetics and resonance, and more about cheap materials, minimised labour costs and space management. The majority of modern home designs do not create much harmony. They are not designed with any thought about the golden ratio or harmonic proportions.
Humans do not feel good being inside little boxes, but somehow, that’s what has been built around the world, over and over again. Millions of little inharmonious boxes.
And usually these homes are built with zero thought about subtle energies that were well known about thousands of years ago. So, for example, sewage and water pipes will run under where your bed is meant to go. Electricity cables surround you in every wall, creating electromagnetic disturbances. Windows are often so small you can hardly get any light or air inside. And then the materials used are typically synthetic and lacking any natural lustre. Modern homes are usually rather inharmonious.
But things can be adjusted and made more harmonious. Simple things like putting a floor standing plant in the corner of a room, changing the lighting, getting tables with rounded corners. Implementing Feng Shui types of changes to your home can make it more harmonious.
It’s often simply about bringing more of the natural world indoors, and also being aware of how energy flows. So, you don’t want loads of stuff near your front door, you don’t want a sofa right in front of the window. And there aren’t many sharp corners in nature, there aren’t many boxes, so incorporating softer furnishings and neutralising edges, brings more of a harmony. Classic Japanese homes and gardens do a good job at incorporating a natural resonance.
Hopefully, one day, more attention will return to the subject of how architecture and interior design affects people’s health and psychology. And can also be harnessed for altering deeper aspects of consciousness.