Near the beginning of the pandemic, as the world shut down, the hospitals overflowed, and the United States erupted in renewed calls for racial justice, I was asked to submit a session proposal to the 9th annual A.MAZE festival program. I’d recently workshopped a concept for collective, communal calming of the nervous system through group chanting, and decided to expand that prototype into the digital space. I was determined to bring my newfound understanding of the parasympathetic nervous system into an online-mediated collective experience, a shared ritual across continents and time zones. Protection Song was born.
Protection Song is a game-mediated experiential ritual created to let participants engage with, and learn about, the Vagus nerve and the role it plays in mammalian emotional health.
Following along with either a spoken recitation, or an on-screen narrative in Twine, participants may quietly and safely put attention on their body’s internal sensations through a short interactive story which illuminates the developmental origins of mammalian fight/flight/freeze responses.
Protection Song was performed twice in 2020, first at A MAZE., then at Friendship Garden’s September Healing Summit. If you’d be interested in running this 30 minute experience at your own event, please get in touch!
Image (top): Reconstruction of Eomaia eating stick insect Cretophasmomima Melanogramma, by S. Fernandez CC BY 2.5
Image (bottom): Image reconstruction of Huaxiagnathus orientalis, by Nobu Tamura