Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thoughts On Life And Death

My wonderful madcap friend R. loaned me her copy of the new CD, Songs of the Waning Year, by Sharon Knight and Thorn Coyle. I am v much enjoying it. While it seems odd to be listening to these songs mere days before Beltane, they remind me that death and life are two sides of the same fish. And I want to, just once, touch the v magical drum that someone plays in these songs.

I met Derrick Jensen tonight and he autographed one of his books for me with a saying that I think he usually uses: "Choose, life or death, choose." I get his point, but I'm a witch. (Even Jensen does a riff on how odd it is to say that dualism is bad and non-dualism is good.) I don't choose; I celebrate both, not because I'm "evil," but because I know that both are part of the cycle. And, yet, of course, I can choose between a culture of corporatism and a culture of sustainability. There's a difference between premature death by poison or, more broadly, patriarchy (but I repeat myself), and death from an old age serene, and bright, and lovely as a Lapland night.

Speaking of cycles, Jensen had interesting stuff to say about the difference between cultures w cyclical myths and those w linear myths. I'll type up my notes later, but I want to ask him how we move "back" (or forward, or around the wheel) towards a culture based upon cyclical myths. Goddess knows, Pagans have a role to play in that process.

So, Knight and Coyle have a lovely song entitled, inexplicably, "For Tara," that's about the Greek Goddess Hecate. One of my problems with xian services is all the time they spend going, "Wow, god, you're amazing. Jesus, you are our savior, Father, we worship thee, Thou art great, etc." I just don't get the point. If he's god, I'm guessing that he knows. If he needs the affirmation, WTF is wrong with him? And, since it's all about me, I just don't get what I'm supposed to get out of that part of the ritual. But I find oddly moving their chant: "Hecate, keeper of the crossroads; Hecate, holder of the flame; Hecate wisdom of the darkness, guide our way." Well, I'd like it, wouldn't I?

I'm also loving their Winter Solstice chant. My circle spends Yule night together and gets up before dark to greet the waking sun. Knight and Coyle sing: "We wait in the dark for the light to appear. Mother give birth to our brother, the Sun. We wait. We watch. Out of the cold comes the promise of newness. We wait. We watch. Out of the cold comes the promise of day." I can imagine listening to it on that important and highly arcane ritual tool, the iPod, just before we pour shots into glasses of ice and drink a toast to the sun when it peeks over the East. You can see why we then repair to a greasy spoon for eggs and bacon. New life and death. May you honor both on this dark Moon in Taurus.


Tor Hershman said...

To moi it's the DNA - estrogen, testosterone, just DNA.....see

T. Thorn Coyle said...

Was just pointed to this post. First off, thanks! The two chants you mention were penned by my hand.

"For Tara" was written at the deathbed of Tara Webster, whom we dedicated the CD to. She was a priestess of Hecate. Hecate downloaded the chant into me, we sang it, and Tara immediately went into her death breathing. She was dead within 10 minutes, though she was supposed to live 4 more days. We recorded the chant that same night.

"Songs for the Strengthening Sun" is now out!

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