song

Healing Through Sacred Music

April, 2019

(Our Lady Sings A Lullaby To The Endangered Species by Shiloh Sophia McCloud)

You are the universe, expressing itself as a human for a little while.

-Eckhart Tolle

When I was a kid nature was my friend, my therapist and my inspiration. I looked forward to the summer months when darkness fell later in the day so that I could stay outside as long as possible. One of my favourite places to go when I was troubled was to climb up to the top of the cedar tree in front of my house. After a while of swaying along with the wind at the top in silence, I inevitably felt calmer and would often start hearing music. As a kid, I was always humming or singing–to the extent that my godmother often joked that I sang more than I spoke! I experienced more inner peace when I was singing and during that time, the world made sense to me and was a less scary place. I felt like I was embraced in those moments by a unifying and loving force in the universe. I love this quote from J.K. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” because I sometimes wondered if I was crazy for hearing things other folks didn’t seem to be noticing: “Of course it is happening in your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

As a kid, I thought I was making up these songs I was humming. It wasn’t until I began my shamanic training in earnest that I started to realize that these songs were not coming from me at all. People ask me where these songs originate from and all I can say with any sort of definitiveness is that they do not come from my own creative “genius.” These songs are in the ether around us: They come from Spirit and they belong to Spirit. They are lent to us for healing purposes. Some of the songs feel like they come from the land and they have the “feel” of the ancestral territory that I find myself on when I hear them. I’ve traveled all over the world and the songs I hear in each of those places tend to be distinct to them. I would love to learn more about the songlines that indigenous Australians follow in their tradition. Perhaps someday, I will receive the honour of this teaching.

I don’t know why these songs come to me–perhaps simply because I am listening. However, I do feel that this gift is not exclusive to me. I remember asking an elder I worked with about this and he said that everyone has a personal song and they can go into nature to ask for this song. If this is done with ego, it will backfire so it’s important to have a clear intent around why this personal song is needed (i.e. for healing, to help with a life transition, or to strengthen our sense of self-worth). It is a listening process that might take a lot of attempts to hear so patience and perseverance is required. We cannot demand these things from Spirit; we can only open ourselves up to receive with gratitude and humility. When I sing my personal song, it helps me connect with my Sacred Dream (my spiritual mission and the reason I am here). In the hubbub of life, this is an indispensable tool for me–especially when I need perspective because I’ve forgotten who I am and what I am about in a given situation.

I sang with the Universal Gospel Choir in Vancouver for almost a decade. It is a glorious experience singing in unison with sixty other people, creating a wall of sound that bounces off the walls of the church and into each person in it. We sang sacred music from traditions all around the world. Though I often found myself on stage, I was never singing for entertainment, but to increase my connection to Spirit. It was not uncommon for me to be so moved by the spirit of the song that I would cry or move my way through a piece. The audience members often told me that they came to our concerts for healing and hope. These folks wanted to align with their spiritual aspect through these songs and it worked for them.

What is the process of catching a song? This differs from tradition to tradition around the world. And I qualify what I am about to share by saying that this is my experience, which is not linked to a particular tradition but has been happening spontaneously “through” me since I was young. In Barbara Tedlock’s book “The Woman in the Shaman’s Body,” she makes a distinction between hereditary shamans who would pass on songs from their traditions throughout generations and what she calls “inspirational” shamans:

In the mid-80s hereditary shamans in the Soviet Union were almost wiped out by government persecution (put in gulags or then killed).  An alternative inspirational shamanic path practiced for generations by Turkic and Khakass peoples enabled shamanism to survive. Shamans traveling this path received healing knowledge directly from the spirits of the earth, water and sky.”

Although I don’t call myself a shaman, I do see similarities between what happens to me and what the inspirational shamans of Asia are doing. I don’t always go looking for these songs. They have often come to me in my sleeping dreamtime. This is my favourite way of catching songs from Spirit because I know my ego is not involved in that. I kept a recorder by bed for many years to remember them when I awoke. I would then do ceremony to see what the song was to be used for and how to share it in a good way. So far, I’ve been instructed to share all of these songs so the people could use them for their own healing. I have honoured that. If Spirit ever told me to keep a song to myself, I would respect that too. In fact, I highly recommend learning as much about the history of scared songs and the protocols around their use before singing them or sharing them in any way. I’ve included a link to the Going Shamanic podcast I did on this topic at the foot of this article in case readers want more in depth information on how to take care with and of these songs.

When I travel, the first thing I do when I place my feet on the soil of this new country is to introduce myself to the ancestors of the place and I give gratitude to them for allowing me to be there for a while. One thing I’ve learned is that these songs wouldn’t come through me at all if I didn’t seek to have a relationship with the spirit of each song and with the land they come from. It’s a bit like dating to me where every time I sing a song, I learn a bit more about it as it touches me in a different way at various junctures in my life. These songs open the heart and touch a place inside of us that we don’t always allow ourselves to visit in everyday life. Sacred songs are designed to shine a light on these spaces. When I am feeling “off,” singing while playing my frame drum brings me back to balance quicker than anything else, besides maybe dancing as a close second.

I want to point out here that sacred songs are different than popular songs credited to musicians. These songs are designed for healing and they often have a very specific intent. For example, some sacred songs are sung only during funerals, life transitions, or during full moon ceremonies. It’s good to respect this and to keep the songs as close to their original version as possible to preserve the “medicine” that Spirit sent with them. It’s not for us to understand the ins and outs of this mystery; I love engaging with it. And I hope that we never unpack the secrets of this magical process while we are still in human form. Albert Ayler said that “music is the healing force of the universe.” I am just happy to participate in that creation while I am in human form.

Resources:

Going Shamanic: Medicine Songs with Jennifer Engracio

Universal Gospel Choir

Featured art by: Shiloh Sophia McCloud “Our Lady Sings a Lullaby to The Endangered Species”

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’S Shamanic Journey into Healing on Amazon

MagickalArts

May, 2018

(en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses:The Hymns of Polyhymnia

 

(Image: Sculpture from the State Hermitage Museum)

This is the Sixth posting of the (en)LIV(en)ING with the Muses Series

Each time I have lost myself in the beauty of music, Polyhymnia has been whispering in my ear. Her name is derived from the Greek, “poly” meaning “many” and “hymnos” which means “praise. Her name is alternately spelled Polymnia. She is attributed with many gifts and depending on the territory of Greece that she oversaw, her garb and visage was adapted. Her primary creativity flowed through music, song and dance and in the more traditional sense she became the muse specifically of religious hymn and praise.

Unlike her sisters, Polyhymnia was depicted as more pensive in her demeanor and of an almost meditative and spiritually charged seriousness.

She was a daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the Titan Goddess of memory and remembrance as well as attributed as the inventress of language and words. What more beautiful expression of her mother’s gifts than to be the child that brings adeptness and creativity to the sacred words of devotion and hymn.

Polyhymnia was consort of Oeagrus, the King of Thrace. In some myths he and Calliope or Clio were the parents of Orpheus. In others, Polyhymnia is appointed as the mother of Orpheus. This gives testament to the cross over and threads of community that the Muses held. All having many of the same gifts, but their expression and who they were attached to in the mortal realms meant that as mothers or aunts, the shared the parenting of many of the offspring attributed to one muse or another.

In other myths she is identified as the mother of Triptolemus, the first priest of Demeter and inventor of agriculture and working the lands. This birth was by her union with Cheimarrhus, the son of the Greek God Ares.

(Greco-Roman mosaic from Vichten C3rd A.D.. National Museum of History and )

The Greek Historian, Diodorus Siculus writes…

“Polyhymnia, because by her great (polle) praises (humnesis) she brings distinction to writers whose works have won for them immortal fame…” 1.

Not much has been written of Polyhymnia, in contrast to her sisters. Nonetheless, she remains a muse whose essence continues to flourish with each writing and composition of any work of devotion. So the next time you are inspired by song or feel the rising of your Soul’s desire in response to music’s harmonious flow, offered up gratitude to Polyhymnia as she whispers gently in your ear.

The next post will focus on the Muse, Urania and her Gifts of Astronomy

References:

1. Diodorus Siculus, Library of History books III-VIII (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.).

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the spheres

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

Click on Image for Amazon Information

 

The Magickal Pen, Volume One

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Click on Image for Amazon Information

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Bardic Song of the Month

April, 2016

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Wheel of the Year Turns”.

In our Coven, we have a 24″ diameter Circle made of plywood. It has all eight Sabbats listed on it as pieces of pie. When we celebrate a Sabbat, we experience the changes in the year. We turn the Wheel to acknowledge the changes. As we turn the Wheel one turn Deosil, we remember the path we walked and the new path ahead.
Somebody gets to turn the Wheel as the rest of the participants chant the poem. This year, I put the chant to a song.
As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away.
 Wheel_Of_The_Year_Turns
If you don’t have the musical inclination, an MP3 file is attached for easier listening and learning.

Bardic Song of the Month – “Triple Moon Song”

December, 2015

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Triple Moon Song”. It is a simple tune that has 4 lines for easier repetition and the melody line is rather easy.

When I initially created this song, I wanted a song the represented all three of the common Moon phases, but you only need to sing the one line during its phase. Thus, during a New Moon, you only need to sing that one line repeatedly – likewise with the other lines.
As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away.
If you don’t have the musical inclination, an mp3 file is attached for easier listening and learning.
All songs for this and future monthly article are published by the Blue Ridge Mountain Clan by Lord Fairy Bottom Educifer aka Wayne Minich, II. Any similarities to other songs is coincidental and not intentional.

Bardic Song of the Month

September, 2015

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Body Mind and Spirit Chant”. It is a simple tune that has body motions to go with the words for easier repetition and the melody line is rather easy. Keep repeating the tune over as often as you wish. The song was originally written as a little exercise for a Drum Corp program that I wrote, when we went to local nursing homes and played drums for the Alzheimer’s patients.
As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away.
If you don’t have the musical inclination, an MP3 file is attached for easier listening and learning.

Bardic Song of the Month

April, 2015

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Spirit Song”. It is a simple tune that has 4 lines for easier repetition and the melody line is rather easy. It can be used to call Spirit as you see fit – replacing the word “Spirit” with the name of a Deity will also work. You might have play with syllables and timing, though.
This song came to me initially in a dream. I used to hum it all the time and never had words for it. Several years went by (and I was still humming it), and the words just came to me in a flash. When you read the words, there is poetic justice for Spirit coming to you, entering you, flowing thru you and staying with you for Eternity. 
As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away. If you don’t have the musical inclination, an MP3 file is attached for easier listening and learning.
All songs for this and future monthly articles are published by the Blue Ridge Mountain Clan by Lord Fairy Bottom Educifer aka Wayne Minich, II. Any similarities to other songs is coincidental and not intentional.

Bardic Song of the Month

March, 2015

March 2015

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Earth Song”. It is a simple tune that has 4 lines for easier repetition and the melody line is rather easy. It can be used to call a Quarter that is compatible with Earth for the individual or Group.

 
This song is good for little kids to memorize. It’s that simple. It offers four simple reasons why the Earth is here. It’s our Mother, our Bone, our Life and our Home. The song stays within the musical scale of G, but it can be transposed into any key for vocal comfort.
 
As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away. If you don’t have the musical inclination, an MP3 file is attached for easier listening and learning.
 
All songs for this and future monthly articles are published by the Blue Ridge Mountain Clan by Lord Fairy Bottom Educifer aka Wayne Minich, II. Any similarities to other songs is coincidental and not intentional.

Bardic Song of the Month

February, 2015

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Imbolc Song”. It is a simple tune that institues poetic license in that it doesn’t always rhyme.
When I initially created this song back in 2002, I never put words to it. It was created as part of a Witchy Lesson I had with a previous Coven. I was rummaging thru those old Lessons looking for something else and this song popped out of nowhere. I entered it into the computer and my Muse tapped my shoulder and gave me the words to coincide with this month’s Sabbat – Imbolc. I hope you enjoy the lovely melody line and the picturesque words and phrases that resonate with the Holiday.
As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away. If you don’t have the musical inclination, an MP3 file is attached for easier listening and learning.
All songs for this and future monthly articles are published by the Blue Ridge Mountain Clan by Lord Fairy Bottom Educifer aka Wayne Minich, II. Any similarities to other songs is coincidental and not intentional.

Bardic Song of the Month

January, 2015

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Water Song“. It is a simple tune that has 4 lines for easier repetition and the melody line is rather easy.
This song was written to be a simple round – part 1 repeats at the same time part 2 contiunes. There is a natural tendency for water to flow and so it shall. Part 2 of the song is almost like an echo, which reverberates as the beginning is over-toned with it at the same time. This song can be used to call a Quarter that assimilates the energy of Water, whichever that Quarter is to the individual or Group.
As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away. If you don’t have the musical inclination, an MP3 file is attached for easier listening and learning.
**All songs for this and future monthly articles are published by the Blue Ridge Mountain Clan by Lord Fairy Bottom Educifer aka Wayne Minich, II. Any similarities to other songs is coincidental and not intentional.**