The teaching of the use of the voice in magick seems to have declined in the last century due to a number of factors. Chief among them are the demand for authentic magickal training outstripping supply, and the decline of voice training generally as technology took over many of the functions that used to need a trained voice to do. Before sound systems became commonplace people had to learn how to project their voice to fill a space, or carry a long way without distortion or straining the vocal chords. This sort of exercise was a common part of acting and public speaking and, having had experience at how to do that, the idea of using your voice as a magickal tool would seem a logical next step.
As with other magickal techniques the keys are focus, intent, and personal energy, or ‘chi’. In this case combined with a sound knowledge of the mechanics of voice production including correct breathing, enunciation, and – in the case of the magickal voice - empowering it with Chi and intent. Correct breathing means breathing from the diaphragm, which is something few people do these days. Full Yogic breathing, through the breath control exercises of Pranayama can help to correct this to some degree by helping people to learn how to use the lungs fully. This both aids general health by oxygenising the blood, and keeping the lungs well aired, which can help prevent infections which tend to start when the lungs are not fully used.
Once the diaphragm and the lungs are being used correctly modifying the airflow through the vocal chords, tongue, and mouth, can be done. The best ways to do this are outlined in the many books and sites on the internet concerned with singing. One much overlooked component is the facial sinuses which aid in the resonance and tone of the voice. They may also add the physical side of arts such as Kiai Jutsu, the Japanese art of using the voice, usually as a shout, to stun or kill your opponent during combat. Dolphins have been shown to use this to stun or kill fish using their sonar, and the art of Kiai Jutsu may work on the same principle.
The Bujinkan Grandmaster Massaki Hatsumi, recommends beginning to use this technique when the attacker is just stepping forward. In this case there is some reliance on the ‘startle effect’ to cause the person to freeze marginally in alarm while in motion, lose their balance, and fall over. This is more a trick than the actual “spirit voice” which is what Kiai Jutsu means. The exercise to achieve this is very similar to the western method of developing the magickal voice. Amado Crowley, the son of the Mage Aleister Crowley, mentions in one of his writings learning how he trained to build up his voice by kneeling in front of a Tibetan singing bowl and chanted to make it ring without touching it.
He was told by his father “Be heard on other planes. Be forceful. Cause other voices to compound with yours so that the resultant sound can be sculpted into power.” Aleister also told his son “Learn to speak the way I’ve described and no mere intellect will be able to resist or refute your arguments”. This last quote refers to the way some voices can bypass critical thinking processes and affect the person they are talking to directly, or certain archetypes. The latter is popular in advertising as you might expect, sometimes with surprising results. My favourite example of this is from the 1960’s when a soap manufacturer used a voice-over of the actress Fenella Fielding in one of their TV adverts. All the advert consisted of was a bar of soap with a pair of animated eyes superimposed on it, and Fennella’s voiceover. The ad was banned by the censors of the day for being ‘too naughty’ purely on the basis of the perceived sexiness of her voice!
Once you have mastered how to use the right tones and projection you can add chi to the vibrations to make them even more effective as a magickal tool. This also enables you to sculpt and focus them as mentioned earlier to empower a magickal working, or charge a working tool such as a candle or poppet. The most common way is to, while breathing and enunciating correctly, focus on the throat chakra and see or feel it imparting Chi, or etheric energy, to the sound without straining. This form of charging the voice is particularly well-known amongst the practitioners of Pow-Wow in Pennsylvania and abutting states, and Hoodoo in Louisiana.
It sounds more complex than doing it actually is. Many years ago when I was at boarding school in England I used to experiment with magickal techniques that I had learned in Mexico, and read about in books from various sources. The art of focussing and sculpting the voice was one of them. The staff were completely ‘weirded out’ by how they could perceive my voice in one room and yet I could be clearly seen in another part of the boarding house. My favourite trick was to say good morning to the Housemaster outside his rooms while focusing my voice through the wall and into his flat. His wife would suddenly get the impression that I was right beside her in the flat saying “good morning” and let out a startled yelp that could be heard back on the landing if you had good hearing. This gave me evidence that the voice could be focussed in a specific area and, using the same technique, in other planes for magickal use.
If you practice Martial Arts, or sports, such as Karate you have an easy way to practice and develop this skill by using appropriate times to use the Kiai in combat. In addition to timing it as previously mentioned, also focus/project it at your opponent or training partner’s inner ear. When you succeed in doing it correctly the person will feel disoriented, and may even fall over apparently of their own accord. If you are not a combat sports practitioner you can practice this to good effect when speaking to someone by focusing your voice in the centre of their head, particularly if you are giving instructions or debating a point. It also works well in public speaking if you focus on actually filling the air with your intent, as with talking to an individual this seems to add to the projective and persuasiveness of your voice.