A Unique Online Audio Course
in the Sacred Arts
Taught by Paul Newham
This comprehensive online multimedia course combines a global travelogue of spiritual traditions with an opportunity for deep personal discovery through the profound therapeutic potential of voice and language, sound and music. It consolidates fruits harvested from thirty years of professional research to offer something special that is not available elsewhere amid the noise of mass market mayhem.
The first poetry and prose, the first music and stories, were not forms of entertainment. They were sacred practices through which we invoked and communicated with the presence of spirit, beseeching its healing to fill our soul. Studying this subject requires us to fearlessly explore how we hurt and how we heal, whilst journeying to the core of what it means to be human. That is the purpose of the Course in Sacred Arts.
I have spent many years studying the way peoples of diverse beliefs, separated by history and geography, have sought relief from burden and affliction by appealing to a spiritual presence, so that even amidst sickness, there comes no fear.
And this research reveals how those of all communities have used rhythm and melody, words and voice to facilitate an experience most commonly described as 'Spiritual Healing'.
The course content is carefully organized into Seven Sections, each one covering a distinct area.
Part 1: Seeking Soul
Part 2: Following Spirit
Part 3: Finding Faith
Part 4: Exploring Science
Part 5: Creative Practice
Part 6: Sound and Music
Part 7: Lyric and Language
Part 8: Special Seminars
These Sections are Divided into Modules, each one with its own dedicated page that hosts an audio presentation and accompanying resources devoted to a specific subject. This makes it easy for you to proceed through the Course one Module at a time, page by page, just as you would browse a book.
There are currently 80 Audio Modules distributed throughout the Seven Parts, providing a generous feast of inspiration and information available nowhere else. And I will be continually adding material. Sometimes I will extend and expand an existing Module. At other times I will add a further Module to one of the Sections. I will notify you every time I make an addition. The information below provides an overview of the Sections that make up the course, with excerpts from some Modules.
All peoples everywhere and at all times have depended upon the sonorous artistry of vocal and instrumental sound to tell their tales, sing their sorrows, and celebrate their blessings. With drum and bell, strings and flutes, and with praying and chanting, singing and intoning, Homo sapiens have bequeathed a resonant trail of exquisite recitals that epitomise an undying desire to express our deepest humanity and highest aspirations. By unearthing the archetypal origin, and exploring the enigmatic nature of these recitals, we may rediscover how sacred words and music bring depth and meaning, joy and wonder to our journey through life, especially during times of toil and tribulation, leading us toward a healing refuge of solace and sanctuary.
Part One of the course reveals how people of all places, and at all times, have undertaken a quest to explore and comprehend an internal realm most commonly called the soul for most of human history.
This ephemeral interior has forever been conceived as the source of our deepest humanity and highest aspirations, bringing upon us the darkness of distress, and shining forth a light of magnificent insight.
The first of those who entered the depths of this terrain were known as soul-searchers. And they believed that the soul seeks to unite with spirit, as spirit seeks to make home within the soul. Furthermore, sound and music were everywhere regarded as the means by which spirit could be bidden to attend, and the soul roused to meet it. Part One of the course draws upon this perennial wisdom, illuminating the human endeavour to heal our hurts and celebrate our blessings, as we navigate through a life of turbulence and tranquillity.
Humans do not live exclusively in the environmental habitat and home of an external physical world. We also inhabit an interiority: a territory of inner experience, furnished with metaphors and fantasies, hopes and beliefs, notions and intuitions. And evidence of its imperative contribution to the flourishing of our species, is enshrined within the illuminating fact that all tribes, communities, and societies, everywhere and at all times, have acknowledged the presence and significance of an interior domain, today often called the mind, but which for most of human history was known as the soul.
Part Two of the course firstly traces the personal evolution of our soul-searching voyage, from conception and birth, to the moment we pass from here to somewhere far beyond. It then examines the collective evolution of our species, from the earliest days before we had words to describe our plight or pleasures, to the coming of language and music, and the longing to communicate with a spiritual presence.
Through this journey, the course rediscovers the prevailing significance of sound. From the sonic vibrations sensed within the womb, to the voices in our head that can hinder or heal us. From primordial African chants, to orchestral lullabies. From Islamic prayer calls, to Hindu symphonies of bliss. And this part of the course is illustrated with plentiful examples of such sounds, so you may experience as well as understand their healing potential.
The gestating babe-to-be is suspended in a warm wet pocket of sonorous darkness. For the drumming beat of maternal heart, and ambient vibrations from the external environment, pervade the fleshy belly and ripple the uterine swell, washing over the foetal formation, staining a permanent musical poetry upon the wrinkly surface of a sculptured locomotive frame, writing a record of spawning history upon a soaking skin. So it is that we sense the motion of sound across and throughout our entire body even before our eardrums have developed.
Part Three of the course introduces the history of major religious traditions, uncovering the myriad forms of sacred text and music, crafted and composed by disparate peoples East and West, North and South, over thousands of years. And it reveals how beneath the surface boundaries that may seem to separate Jewish psalms from Zulu supplications, Zoroastrian hymns from Christian prayers, Hindu mantras from Islamic poems, Buddhist meditations from Sikh devotions, lies a primordial human instinct.
Peoples of all faiths have used these sacred recitals to release a voice that emerges from the depths of a cherished soul, accompanied by music, intended to beseech the healing company of a spiritual presence. And the modules in this part of the course are illustrated with many examples of such musical and lyrical recitals.
Early peoples believed that sound was but a wave upon which spirits travelled, entering us through the ears, changing our moods and temperaments from within. These autonomous spirits were manifold in number and character, coming as aids and adversaries that could be healing and wounding, helpful and obstructive, creative and destructive, with equal potential. Thereby, the foremost soul-searchers deduced that because audible vibrations were the mode of travel for spirit, so sound might also be the means through which helpful energies and entities could be bidden to remain, and adversarial ones banished. And so they recited and played lyrics and music considered sacred in its power to attract kindly spirits whilst deterring those tainted with malice.
Part Four of the course examines the way ineffable spiritual experience and the healing process is routed in a material body, orchestrated by a neurochemical brain. And it explores how science has probed this physicality in search of hypotheses that might account for why sacred words and music have such a deeply therapeutic impact on our mental state and physical condition.
The ancient art of spiritual healing is today the subject of concerted scientific inquiry, which reveals that reciting or hearing sacred words and music can kindle enlightened hope when facing the darkness of despair, by evoking the sensed presence of a compassionate companion. This part of the course summarises the biology of such phenomena, elucidating the physical foundations of spiritual experience.
The body is the temple of spirit, the asylum of pains, and the theatre of pleasures. The body is keeper of our soul. And the soul speaks with visceral poetry. For we know we are afraid, because the tumbling liquids in our belly tell us so. We sense our anger, because the rising breath in our chest alerts us. When we meet our grief in mourning, it is because the lump in our throat reminds us of a loss. When someone moves us with feeling, we can feel our body move from head to toe. For as others touch us emotionally, our body feels touched, outside and within. And so each nuanced notion, fleeting concern, and transient mood makes itself known to us only because a corporeal brain registers liquid motion, which streams throughout the body of which it is a part. And this body is in perpetual motion.
Part Five of the course provides a comprehensive program of guided practices, exemplifying the history of Sacred Arts revealed in earlier Parts of the Course.
It combines advanced techniques drawn from cross-cultural disciplines of contemplative introspection and creative expression, offering an uncommon opportunity to venture deep within, whilst reaching for your highest aspirations.
The peoples of every community have depended upon the emotive music and lyrical language of the vocal instrument to call upon a spiritual presence. At first we gave voice through cries and intoning, breathy whispers and tuneful humming. Later these became hymns and psalms, mantras and devotions, recited to the accompaniment of drum and flute, strings and bell. We have forever vocalized a reverberant bidding, in faith that spirit would respond by filling and brightening an empty and unenlightened soul, bringing closure to our longing, and fortifying faith in knowing that we are not alone.
Part Six of the course weaves together full and extended versions of the rare acoustic compositions and recitals introduced previously throughout the course. These recordings are drawn from a spectrum of ancient indigenous traditions and cultures, across the span of human history, providing an abundant immersive experience of sacred listening. From the original harps of the first civilization, to the primordial flutes of mountain caverns, from the impassioned vocal calls of desert-dwelling nomads, to the chanted mantras of Indian valleys.
Sound surrounds and envelops, encompasses and holds us. Sound shares this property of containment with water, which also flows in all directions, enwrapping and enclosing us. Furthermore, both sound and water can hold us buoyant in the light of safety, or bring us down to drown at darkened depths. For some sounds enwrap us in firm but friendly embrace, so we may breathe amid the turmoil, whilst other noises impinge upon us until we are immobilized by their confinement.
Part Seven of the course provides access to full and extended versions of the lyrics and verses introduced previously during the course. These writings are translated from the sacred cannons of multiple spiritual traditions, offering a single source of authentic textual reference and inspiration. And you can experience their healing potential by reading them silently or reciting them aloud, either in quietude or accompanied by the sacred sounds provided in Part Six.
While we sleep, our dreams uncover a profound paradox. For they are inside me, yet at the same time, I am inside my dreams. And it may seem that nowhere else can I be inside and outside of myself in a single moment. Yet when we devote our attention to practice of the Sacred Arts, we enter this dream space whilst more fully awake than at any other time. Such is the nature of spiritual awakening.
Part Eight of the Course comprises a series of Special Seminars that expand upon themes introduced previously throughout the earlier Parts.
They offer an opportunity to consider specific subjects in further depth, based upon the insight acquired from preceding Modules.
This part of the course will continue to expand, with Seminars added in response to student interests and request.
To the first devotees of a soul-searching quest, the blessing of life remained indissolubly entwined with a curse. For whilst our spiritual guests can inspire us to act with love and compassion, they may also call upon our propensity to hate and devastate. And so it may be the first of all perennial wisdoms to recognize that light often travels in cahoots with the cohorts of darkness. Enlightened by such wisdom, our forbearers refined the art of attunement, by which they could tune in to the sounds emergent from kindly spirits, inviting them to their ear, and tune out the darker forces that they attempted not to hear.
Certification & Continuing Education Credits
My Courses and Certifications have been widely recognized by educational institutions, professional associations, and corporate groups internationally for many years
Those who complete this online Course are awarded the Certificate in the Principles of the Sacred Arts with a value of 5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
Optional Practical Training
The Online Course is fully self-contained as a stand-alone program.
It also provides the required foundations for those seeking to enrol upon the Practical Professional Training, which teaches how to apply the Sacred Arts therapeutically in a professional or vocational context with groups and individuals seeking support in their journey.