My name is Raffaello Hendrickx and I make Native American Style Flutes. I find a lot of joy and satisfaction in crafting these instruments and I'm happy to say that over the years I developed a flutemaking process that makes people around the world fall in love with this magical instrument. But first, let me show you who I am and what the Native American flute is to me...
To learn more about the craftmanship that goes into my instruments I suggest reading my page on how I make flutes. If you want to see and hear the different Native American flutes I currently have available, take a look at the detailed descriptions of the instruments in my flute store. If you want to know how I came into contact with the Native American Flute and how Prana Flutes came to be, just continue reading this page.
A visit from Kokopelli
A couple of years ago, before I had ever heard about the Native American Flute, I was participating in an indigenous medicine ceremony. It was during this ceremony that, with my eyes closed, I saw a man with long hair playing a flute and dancing around in circles. At the time I didn't make too much of what was happening. There were no flutes being played in the ceremony, and certainly nobody was dancing. After this ceremony I was so moved by the beauty of the music I heard, that I decided to learn how to play an instrument myself.
Two weeks later, after looking at some instruments in a music store, I picked up a Native American Flute. By now I had already forgotten about the little dancing man. I took the flute home and promised myself to master it no matter what. So when I left to travel in South America, I took the flute with me.
During my travels I played my flute every day. But one particular morning while playing at a permaculture farm, a small clay man caught my attention. It was an image of a fellow with long hair, dancing and playing a flute. Suddenly I remembered my vision from the medicine ceremony. So I quickly ran to the owner of the farm, asking him who this clay man was.
The owner explained to me that this image was Kokopelli, a mystical spirit from the indigenous cultures, always playing his flute. He told me that he started playing the Native American flute after he came across Kokopelli's spirit one day. Only now I came to understand that this spirit had also visited me during my medicine ceremony, and that it was Kokopelli who thought me to play the flute, and brought me to the place I was at now.
Next the farm owner took out a bag and lay its content out before me. He had seven flutes in there, one for each note in the scale. I played all of them, losing myself in the sounds they made and filling my heart with joy. The farm owner told me that the craftsman who made these flutes lived far away, but it was on my route. So without thinking I decided to visit the flutemaker to learn more about Kokopelli, and the art of Native American Flutemaking.
Crafted in the Sacred Valley
Prana Flutes is located in Arin, a small village in the Urubamba valley. This breathtaking valley lies high up in the Andes next to Cusco in Peru. It is also known as the Sacred Valley of the Inca because it was the heart of their empire before the Spanish arrived. Many legends have their origins in the sacred valley. It is truly a beautiful and mythical place, with people from all over the world travelling there in search for answers to their deepest questions.
The most mythical place of all the sacred valley is Apu Pitusiray. This 4.800m high mountain was said to be the holiest of all places of the Inca empire, which could only be visited by the high priests in Inca society. The legends even mention doors to other dimensions that were hidden and later lost when the Spanish came.
Locals call Apu Pitusiray a 'grandfather' mountain that is to be honored and respected, bringing life to the surrounding villages with its glacial waters and its cold winds. My house and workshop lie at the feet of this mystical mountain, honoring its gifts and sending some of them back into the world in the form of flutes.
Back to Belgium
After an enchanting encounter with the Native Flute life took an unexpected turn. My wife and I had our first child high up in the Andes. But Matteo's birth came prematurely and his lungs didn't cope with the thin mountain air. The only option we saw for giving our child a healthy life was to move our household back to sea level, where Matteo could breathe normally.
So in 2019 we came back to Belgium. This is where my wife and I grew up and where we currently live again with our healthy little boy. I have my workshop installed here and my flutes seem to like their new home too. Since things are different in the West I learned new skills here to further improve my instruments, for which I am very gratefull to Matteo.
Our long-term plan is to move back to Peru, because this is still where our hearts lie. If you want to stay up to date about Prana Flutes and my family's whereabouts, feel free to follow Prana Flutes on social media or to subscribe to my newsletter below.
What's in a name?
The word Prana comes from Hindu and yoga philosophy where it is known as the basic "vayu" or "wind" (Element). It is said to be the vital principle permeating reality on all levels, from which the other four elements arise. In Sanskrit literature, Prana is also the word for "life force" or "breath".
Many people know or practice pranayama (breathing exercises) during yoga. In these excersises the intention is to control the breath, in order to change Prana, your energy.
Native American flutes are an excellent way of practicing pranayama. By focussing on the flute playing and your body breathing, you calm the mind. You let it be absorbed into the sound and lose your sense of self, becoming one with the vibration.
To learn more about this magical instrument, read my page on Native American Flutes .