Excellent outing

I just got back from one of the more meaning-dense hours of my life. (And y’know, my life? It is not exactly lacking meaning-dense hours.)

One of our local churches – one with a long history of social justice, questioning ‘how it has to be’ and everything else – has been running a 10 day arts festival focusing on spiritual questions and covering a *wide* range of paths. I’ve managed to drive past this church regularly (it’s at the corner of the exit I get off the highway for for work) but hadn’t actually gotten around to going to the URL until yesterday.

(The festival is Spirit in the House. It runs through Sunday, June 1st, and if I’m still in the Twin Cities next year, I suspect I’ll be aiming at getting a festival pass because there really are about 10 things I’d like to see.)

When I did, I discovered that there was a performance of Invocation to Free Women based on material from Ruth Barrett (a Dianic priestess now living in Wisconsin) with some extra added stuff. Tickets were $12. I’m short on cash after having to buy two new tires yesterday (one of mine turned out to be unsafe when getting standard maintenance done). And then, this morning, had the sale of two gaming books to someone who will love them and use them.

I pay attention when the universe lines things up like that.

I had a chance to do a chant workshop with Ruth Barrett at the Mankato Women’s Spirituality Conference a few years ago: she’s a talented and thoughtful priestess, even if her path is not quite my path. One thing that I do find the Dianic community does particularly well, though, is the integration of music, dance, and other arts into ritual work. I own the CD the title of this piece comes from, which is a song that always makes me think.

The performance was fantastic. Six women, three musicians, a director, a tech guy. The women all have significant other acting credit and experience: one of them is a vocal and dramatic coach with a voice to die for (and the others were quite good singers, too.) The performance is an interweaving of music, dance, poetry, and spoken word, divided into short acts focusing on different aspects.

Some of the history’s a little suspect (mostly in the witch trial segment), but not by too much. The rest of it? Stunning. Gorgeous. Fascinating to watch six different women, evoking different goddesses, different moods, different modes. Very simple costuming and ‘set’ (fabric covered boxes to sit or stand on) and a double handful of small props. Very engaging. Visuals that are going to keep me thinking for a while.

I still can’t quite believe it was only an hour.

I was also amused that not long after I got there, so did my former housemates (and still friends), so I got to chat to them for a little bit after, before heading off home. Soon for the housecleaning and the eating of dinner, and the petting of cat, and maybe some not being productive for a bit as it’s been a productive day. Tomorrow for the farmer’s market, and some longer project time.

Food for ritual

Since this also just turned up in my search engine results, I thought it might be handy to mention. One of our coven desires is good food and drink: we’re both big believers in food being a pleasure as well as a necessity, and we want our ritual work and celebrations to reflect that.

What does that actually mean?

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Two recent crafty projects

I had a need for two figurines for specific shrines/ongoing workings I had in mind, and was pretty sure I wasn’t going to find what I wanted elsewhere – so I made some! It’s the first time I’d done much work with clay since middle school (and definitely the first time since then I was doing figures), and it was both very fun, and a fascinating magical process.

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Down in the Darkness (original chant)

Over on my LiveJournal, I got encouraged to post a recording of music for something else I was working on, if I ever get it written (that one’s a sung circle case, maybe.) To test out what it’d take to do that, I thought I’d record a much shorter and simpler chant I wrote about three years ago.

It’s called Down in the Darkness

I didn’t write it for anything in particular (it hit me over the head while driving to work), but we’ve since used it for Yule rituals, and for other trance work. It’s very easy for people to sing harmonies to (and there are all sorts of places you can take the harmony). Two hints: it’s easier to sing slightly faster, and it’s important to keep the consonants crisp, or you will start falling over your tongue (or sound like a snake!)

There are two variants for the words : “A name”

Down in the darkness, I hear a silence.
Down in that silence, I hear a name.

and “my name”

Down in the darkness, I hear a silence.
Down in that silence, I hear my name.


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(if for some reason the player doesn’t work, try: http://gleewood.org/threshold/audio/darkness.mp3

Please get permission before using this elsewhere. I’m very likely to give permission for use within the Pagan community, but I’d like to know where it’s spread to, and where it’s getting used. (Also, I can then more easily tell you about other similar things in the future you might like!)

To get permission, you can post a comment on this entry, or you can send email to jenett at this domain (gleewood.org). Thanks!