On music and roots

Published July 7, 2013 by EarthSpirit Community on EarthSpirit Voices
Written by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen

This past weekend I attended the Old Songs Festival just outside of Albany, NY, as I have done for all but two of the last dozen years. It is a place that feeds my soul. I get to dance and sing, listen to and play music — and relax, with no performance expectations from anyone. The musicians who come there are, for the most part, people who feel the roots of their music: they study their traditions in great depth and absorb them into their bodies, then exude them in their playing and singing. Their motivation is love — not fame or fortune, but love of music, love of the old ways themselves, love of the people who brought the traditions into being and of those people who carried them on, love of harmony, love of community, love of our species, love of the earth. Many of the people who perform, organize, and attend have deep and long-held commitments to social justice and to the environment. Many have been political activists for decades. Very few preach. Instead we bask the joy of making music together as we walk through the fairgrounds and feel the satisfaction found in sharing the work of making the world a better place.

Gordon Bok and Archie Fisher performing at Old Songs 2013 (photo by Andras Corban Arthen)

While there were many things that I loved that weekend, there was a song that Gordon Bok performed that especially touched me. It was something that he had written years ago as a result of listening to the marine radio channel in Maine, which he said he does for entertainment sometimes. It was essentially a conversation between two lobster fishermen. One was stuck and, over the course of the song, the other one came to help. That was it, really. But something in the way that Gordon captured all of us in the fairly common conversation of two men on the water was just magic to me. There they were, fishermen on the ocean – that vast and moving body of water that cares nothing for people, but still feeds us and gives us life. And here we all are, humans in a universe that is not centered on our needs and desires, but which we must live in and depend on while we are incarnate beings. We can forget sometimes that we are also floating – maybe near the rocks, maybe out of our depth – and that the simple act of accepting an offer of help allows both us and our neighbors to experience ourselves more fully as the interconnected beings that we are. The song held the magic of knowing, and Gordon shared that knowing with us all.

I find my own path reflected in that community of music makers. I, too, value the roots of my traditions and those who have brought them forward, and I find in the shared songs and dances true expressions of the joy of being human, fully intertwined with all that is creation.

This Winter’s Night Lyric Sheet

MotherTongue released the CDs “Weaving the Web of Life” and “This Winter’s Night” Older works are on tape “Fire Dance” and “All Beings of the Earth”.
For more information about EarthSpirit and MotherTongue, please contact:
earthspirit@earthspirit.com or: The EarthSpirit Community P.O. Box 723 Williamsburg, MA 01096 U.S.A. (413) 238-4240

CD This Winter’s Night Lyric Sheet © 1994 EarthSpirit

CD Available at CD Baby

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A Parliament of the World’s Religions – Australia 2009

These A Parliament of the World’s Religions Australia 2009 blog posts are located on EarthSpirit Voices our EarthSpirit Community Blog

 

Educating Ourselves and Our Children

EarthSpirit LogoThe EarthSpirit Newsletter Autumn 96
Educating Ourselves and Our Children
by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen

[Since the article “Home to Me” was published in the last autumn issue of EarthSpirit, I have received numerous requests for more information about our family’s relationship with our children’s schools, so I collected some thoughts to share here. We would love to hear from other families about their experiences as well, please feel free to write to us in response. ]

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FireHeart Interview with STARHAWK

FireHeart 7 Cover for EarthSpiritSTARHAWK
Healing Our Wounds ©1993

Since the ground-breaking publication of The Spiral Dance, Starhawk has been the single most visible and influential force in the Neo-Pagan revival. Thousands of people have first learned about Witchcraft from her books and workshops. In fact, the image of Witchcraft as feminist and socially engaged is largely a product of her work. A therapist, educator and activist, Starhawk is also a restless and unconventional spirit. Not allowing herself to be limited by her previous accomplishments, she is constantly growing and looking for new fields to conquer, as she has done in her recently released novel The Fifth Sacred Thing.

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1999 Parliament of the Worlds’ Religions

EarthSpirit LogoParliament of the Worlds Religions
December 1 – 8, 1999
Capetown South Africa
*A New Day Dawning*

In 1993 the second Parliament was held, again in Chicago. This time it was the Earth-centered spirituality which was introduced and welcomed with acknowledgment and respect for what these traditions had to offer. The week long event included workshops, services, prayer and meditation with almost every faith tradition presently in existence, concerts, cultural events, presentations from some of the world’s most respected religious leaders, notably the Dalai Lama and an assembly of religious and spiritual leaders whose members signed “Towards a Global Ethic” a document outlining principles and directives for peace, social justice and sustainability of life. EarthSpirit, along with several other organizations and tribal groups represented the Earth Religions at the Parliament and in the Assembly and signed that document.

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Ways To Prepare for a Magickal Birth

FireHeart 3 Cover for EarthSpiritWays To Prepare for a Magickal Birth
by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen ©1989

The following are a few suggested ways to prepare for a magickal birth experience. Preparation is important on three levels: physical, emotional and spiritual. Without serious consideration of the first two levels, it will be nearly impossible to concentrate on the third.

A. It is essential that you enter into the birth process as relaxed as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to know as much as you can about what to expect on a physical plane, and to develop a support system that you trust:

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Toward a Magickal Birth

FireHeart 3 Cover for EarthSpiritToward a Magickal Birth
by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen ©1989

“It comes like the waves in the ocean,” my mother told me. “Powerful, strong and rhythmic. Unceasing. Wave after wave.” She was right. In labor with my son, my first child, he and I are carried over crest and trough, and we let go, freeing ourselves to be swept into birth. I feel and see my body writhing, snakelike and sensual as the waves come, one following the other. My body responds, knowing what to do. I let go. “You can’t fight the waves. Just let them carry you.” I hold her words in my mind, and, for one long holy moment, surrender myself to the magick as I have never done before.

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