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Home / Articles / Music / Music Features /  Mystic Measures
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The couple and their medicine wheel.
Loren Bienvenu

Mystic Measures

Santa Fe Harmony Center heals with sound

April 16, 2013, 12:00 am

The owners of Santa Fe Harmony Center—husband and wife Jim and Jennifer Kinney—are “Human Potential Practitioners” certified in, they say, “luminous healing” and “energetic medicine.”

 The Kinneys studied and lived with Shamans in the Peruvian Andes, and are ordained metaphysical ministers. Jim is a trained fire-walking instructor. Jennifer has a master’s degree in psychology. Jim builds beautiful djembe and hoop drums. Jennifer performs soul chart astrology.

 “Jim has 16 flutes,” Jennifer says.

 “I have 19!” Jim corrects, then whispers, “I keep them secret!”

 Both are musicians. Their aptly named Harmony Center, where we talk, focuses on inner harmony as much as musical harmony.

 “The basis of the transformational work we do is different shamanic practices combined with western psychology,” Jennifer explains. “And we feel like sound movement is really integral for transformation and healing.”

 Given their credentials, the pair hosts an appropriately wide range of events. These include individual counseling and energy reading sessions, 100-person seasonal drum circles, flute and keyboard musical performances (called “sound meditations”) and multi-day shamanic retreats.

 “We’ve been using sound for a long time and incorporating it into our teachings,” Jim says. “I think the music aspect of it opens people up. Music has a way of moving us through things...from my perspective, I say drum at least one day a week, because it helps move energy.”

 Jennifer agrees. “The first thing the drumming does is kind of shake you up,” she says, moving her arms and shoulders in rhythmic demonstration. “Whatever mindset or mood you are in, it shakes you up; in fact, it can even be kind of disruptive or irritating. Once that happens, the rhythm and vibrations start to reorganize your mind.”

 “What music can help do, from a shamanic standpoint, is move into the mystery,” she continues, going on to provide a specific example: “For our Journey Group, we’ll use the hoop drums initially to help create an altered state of consciousness. Then we’ll do a guided shamanic journey, and at the end, we will return to drumming to anchor it, because drumming is very grounding.”

 Though both Kinneys have spent years studying shamanic practice, their backstories are just as compelling.

 “I was the president of a medical device company out in Delaware,” Jennifer recounts, with a far-off look, “and Jim was in the Navy...”

 “I did 23 years in the Navy and retired in 1999,” Jim cuts in. “I did sea-air rescue, [where] you jump out of helicopters into not-so-good-condition waters.”

 His prior life also included stints as a professional triathlete, electrician and the owner of a California horse ranch.

 “I had the wild side, and she had the analytic side,” Jim says. “So it works in our music because she brings structure and I’m much more spontaneous, fluid.”

 It’s possible to experience their music, which currently amounts to eight full-length CDs, from the comfort of one’s own home. Some of the music is meditative, with Jim on flutes and Jennifer playing synthesizer/keyboard, while other discs are instructional.

Sacred Space, the first CD and Jim’s solo creation, contains flute music composed while he was studying with the Peruvian shamans. In Jim’s words, a shaman told him through an interpreter: “You need to play more music, because music is part of your medicine.”

 For the rest of the trip, the shaman would not hold a ceremony unless Jim had his flute with him—an unprecedented honor for an outsider, according to the interpreter.

 “Shamans are not a very serious group of people, actually,” Jennifer says. “You have serious ceremonies, but there’s also a lot of fun and a lot of irreverence. It’s like, don’t take yourself too seriously. Music as a form of play is very important. It’s a way of getting out of your thinking brain.”

 At the end of our long and informative interview—which also included a drumming demonstration, a visit with their pet bearded dragon, a sampling of their recorded audio and video work-in-progress and a few photographs taken within their medicine wheel—it was time to say goodbye.

 “I hope we didn’t bore you!” Jim said.

 “It’s our life,” Jennifer chimed in. “It’s what we do.”

 “And we love what we do,” Jim said, closing the door. 



For upcoming events, including Living the Good Life, an April 18-21 spiritual retreat, visit
santafeharmonycenter.com

 

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