Written by Miguel Amado | Updated On November 29, 2022

Sound as a modality of healing and plant sensing with Jeannie McKenzie

Sound as a modality of healing and plant sensing with Jeannie McKenzie

This week we talked with Jeannie McKenzie, a healer with an eclectic work life and inspirations. In this interview for MysticMag we talked about sound healing, plant sensing, grounding yourself and much, much more. You can check Jeannie’s work in her website.

Please present yourself to our audience. When did you discover your gift?

The understanding of communication beyond words has been a lifetime journey for me, and has lead me to explore the languages of music and color and movement. The world of energy that holds the key to vitality and atunement on subtler levels.

My early relationship with the natural world was no doubt where this started. I feel like my first mother was a willow tree. My mother didn’t have a lot of time and space for me, so she would send me out to play in the woods right behind my house. I remember wrapping myself in the arms of a willow tree when I was 3 years old. That’s where I’d spent so much of my time playing, being, imagining. The presence of the willow tree nurtured me deeply. I thrived on the wonder brought about by sensations of being held in the natural world. I would rearrange rocks in the creek to play with their melodies, savor the drops of honeysuckle nectar as they danced across my tongue..imagine myself clothed in robes of pussy willow.

As I got older, I continued to spend a lot of time in the woods and creeks. I wanted to travel everywhere in the world, so I decided that I needed to study universal languages. After many years making my living as a musician, I studied and then performed as a mime.

When I was 22 I had an experience that lead me into the understanding of sound as a modality for healing. I am a violinist and my beloved violin was stepped on accidentally by my musical partner. In that moment, an other worldly sound came out of me, unlike anything my voice had ever produced. It went on and on and vibrated my body with overtones. I was living in San Francisco, and a week later I saw an announcement of a Tibetan overtone chanting workshop with Jill Purce. I felt that overtone singing must have been what I had stumbled on in my grieving of my violin, and signed up for a most transformative workshop that ignited my understanding of the healing power of sound.

The power of the subtle level of frequency became palpable to me in that workshop in the way it never had before. At that point, I started using sound while doing body work with people as a way to loosen and unravel persistent tension. Sound healing was not a common thing in the earlier 80’s!

In 2013, I had the good fortune to meet Desda Zuckerman, an energy healer and teacher and the author of “Your Sacred Anatomy”, a detailed anatomy book of the 50 feet around us. I learned from her how to perceive this subtle anatomy, which was a big process. At that time, I’d been doing Barefoot Shiatsu, and I had studied Biodynamic Cranial Sacral work – which is a way of listening to the inherent health found in the deep rhythms of the cerebral spinal fluid.

In 2004 I founded PineHeaven Farm, an urban farm in the Oakland Hills which I ran for 18 years. I discovered so much more about healing, energy, land and nature spirits through that experience. I began the practice of Chi Gung in 1995, and through my relationships with the plants at the farm, I wove together Chi Gung with my understanding of the Sacred Anatomy, and used this practice as a way of centering and opening to communication with the plant world. I am currently living in Weaverville, North Carolina and I continue to lead classes on Sundays at noon. I’ve enjoyed offering classes in this practice since 2018 at women’s herbal symposiums, and through permaculture gatherings as well as weekly classes at my farm or wherever I happen to be. Now over zoom.

What do people look for in those classes?

I do energy healing work with people, reminding them of the bigger field of their energy structures. I work in collaboration with my clients to assist them in clearing space to expand more fully into their greater wholeness/ holiness. My work includes a wide variety of clearings, alignments, working with sound and light. The Chi Gung practice includes clearing not only our bodies but our whole energy structures.

My clients come because they want to work on themselves. I offer the classes by donation because I want people to have sovereignty over their bodies and energy fields, and my greatest desire is to support our evolution as humans.

The plant sensing element is my favorite part. The field we create together through the Chi Gung practice helps people who have never done much work with plants have a new kind of relationship with our green allies. People who really want to get to know plants better, such as herbalists, gardeners, and farmers are attracted to the classes. My favorite part is when we come back together after the plant sensing portion of class and people share the messages that came to them. It never ceases to inspire me!

One recent example for me: I was called to an old oak tree in my yard. It’s winter here, and I felt pulled down into the roots of the tree. It instructed me to listen down deep- and then deeper. I started to perceive a most interesting rippling. It felt very light and made me want to laugh. The tree said “THAT is the Earth- She is laughing really hard right now!” All of the upset humans are experiencing is the Earth laughing herself into a new way of being. When I asked what the tree would like me to share with them, they said “Your sense of humor is most important for moving through this transformation.”

I have resonated with the narrative that the earth is grieving the behavior of humans, so I found it most refreshing to hear this perspective from my oak tree friend!
As I have moved into this practice, I am less interested in traditional forms and more interested in the underlying energy and how we tune to that in our own ways, trusting the wisdom of our own bodies to bring forth movements uniquely beneficial for each of us.

Do you believe everyone can have the same connection you’ve had? Is the communication something innate or can it be taught somehow?

That’s an interesting question. I believe everyone can have a connection with plants. You may not get stories and poems from plants the way I do because that’s my unique relationship. Someone else might have a relationship where they touch the plant and its softness reminds of the softness they want to feel in themselves, for example.

So, it can be more cerebral for some people, whereas some people can just tune in and receive messages. Are we really communicating with plants or being witnessed, being ourselves more deeply? Who’s to say? I don’t know the answer. Either way, it’s really valuable. My belief is that there’s great intelligence in the plant world.

How do you get to pick which of the many healing modalities is the most suitable to a person?

We begin with a conversation. They’ll tell me how they are and what they need or what they feel that they need. I work in partnership. Mostly, I’ve been doing energy healing work, the Sacred Anatomy work. There, I use a dowsing wire. I ask permission and dowse their bigger field to discern what might be underlying the issue in the Sacred Anatomy. In partnership, we work through whatever it is.

I can’t just clear somebody. There’s information for them, lessons, teachings. We’ve to get them to understand why this is happening and what the clearing is about. When I do body work with people, that’s very intuitive. It’s like a dance. I often begin with the Bare Foot Shiatsu because it grounds people. I think people often forget to ground in this culture of computers and screens. Together with that work, I also do some cranial sacral work to address the subtle body. I usually end my sessions with sound healing.

I find sound healing, like working with singing bowls along with my voice, gets me to perceive if there’s some constriction in someone and opening it. It’s like singing a person to their greater openness and resonance. A lot of my clients come for that.

Singing is a way that can lead to many of the same results of other procedures but much more quickly. So, I’m getting more and more interested in it as my main modality – sound and voice.

About the author
A curious mind, Miguel likes to read, hear and talk about several subjects and spirituality is gaining ground on his interests. Talking with interesting people all over the world will never get old.