Jill Purce is a British voice teacher, Family Constellations therapist, and author. Jill pioneered the international sound healing movement through her rediscovery of ancient vocal techniques, the teaching of overtone chanting, the power of group chant, and the spiritual potential of the voice as a magical instrument for healing and meditation. She also pioneered the practice of healing family and ancestral traumas with her Healing Family and Ancestor and Resonant Family Constellations, and the activation of the mandala as a living practice with her extended Mandala Ceremonies.
Jill’s 1974 book about the spiral in sacred traditions, art, and psychology, The Mystic Spiral; Journey of the Soul was a seminal influence. The Bishop of California describes her contribution to the 1990s installation of the labyrinths in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco: “She helped inspire the birth of the modern labyrinth movement. Jill’s groundbreaking work with the labyrinth was inspiring, informative and important…it couldn’t have been done without her work.”
After her postgraduate Fellowship in the Biophysics Department at Kings College London, working with Nobel Laureate Maurice Wilkins, she lived and worked in Kürton with German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, exploring the spiritual dimension of music. She learned overtone chanting in the Himalayas with the chant master of the Gyutö Tibetan Monastery. In 1974 The BBC made an hour-long documentary film about Jill and her work, More Ways than One: The Mystic Spiral. She produced more than 30 books as general editor of the Thames and Hudson Art and Imagination series. This series pioneered a thematic approach to the spiritual and psychological meanings of the art of different cultures.
Jill has followed the philosophy and practice of Dzogchen since 1978, when she started working with the Tibetan Lama, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. She lectures and conducts workshops internationally, especially The Healing Voice, exploring diverse forms of spiritual chant and guiding non-singers and singers in their pursuit of the lost voice. She has taught the English National Opera and The English Shakespeare Company, as well as teaching in hospitals, schools, monastic communities, and businesses.
Her recordings include Overtone Chanting Meditations and The Healing Voice. She lives in London with her husband, the biologist Rupert Sheldrake, and their two sons, the biologist Merlin Sheldrake and the musician Cosmo Sheldrake.