Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Sounds: Me

Today has not been a good day for technology. I've been at this for about three and a half hours now, struggling with connections that don't want to connect, disappearing audio, and a host of other gremlins. My astrology-knowledgeable friends tell me to blame Mercury being in retrograde. Whatever is to blame, it's been frustrating.

That's Sunday Sounds is a bit of a departure. I recorded this song for my Aunt Louise and my cousins when my Uncle Jim died several years ago. It was a favorite of his. When I asked her how I could help, she said, "Can you sing Danny Boy?" Well, by golly, that I could do. So I did, recording it and sending it along with my love. The arrangement differs a bit from the traditional, and that's Jimmy Daughtery, a friend I've actually not seen or heard from in a long time (must remedy that!), on guitar. Since then the song has played for a few friends and family and at dear Uncle Jim's memorial service, but it's otherwise unshared.

I hope sharing this song comes across less as an act of narcissism and more as the act of courage that it is. In words taken from last week's Sunday Sounds, "Someone I am is waiting for my courage..." Maybe I'm tired waiting. :)

To courage, my friends...and to you, with gratitude, on this Sunday. Enjoy.

Photo Credits:

Danny Boy
words Frederick Weatherly and music traditional

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.

But come you back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'tis I'll be there in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
I simply sleep in peace until you come to me

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Sounds: Josh Groban

Ever been moved to tears by a song? I don't know anyone who hasn't felt their eyes well up a time or two when a song touches something so personal, so intimate, so true that you are instantly in the emotion.

"Let Me Fall" is one of those songs for me. The song speaks so eloquently of fear and courage and one simple phrase out of all the lovely words...could have come from my own soul...

"Someone I am is waiting for courage..."

I'll let the lyrics and melody and voice of young Josh Groban say the rest. The song is from Josh Groban's self-titled album. If you like it, you can find it here.

Take courage, my friends.

Let Me Fall (From Cirque Du Soleil)

Let me fall
Let me climb
There's a moment when fear
And dreams must collide

Someone I am
Is waiting for courage
The one I want
The one I will become
Will catch me

So let me fall
If I must fall
I won't heed your warnings
I won't hear them

Let me fall
If I fall
Though the phoenix may
Or may not rise

I will dance so freely
Holding on to no one
You can hold me only
If you too will fall
Away from all these
Useless fears and chains

Someone I am
Is waiting for my courage
The one I want
The one I will become
Will catch me

So let me fall
If I must fall
I won't heed your warnings
I won't hear

Let me fall
If I fall
There's no reason
To miss this one chance
This perfect moment
Just let me fall

Photo credits: Breast Cancer Ribbon Rooster Courage Social Justice Take Courage Sign Black White Red Courage Sign Courage Bicycles Tedx Flyer Courage My Love Book Jacket Mail Box Prayer Flags

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review: The Sid Series by Yvonne Perry

How do you help a young child explore the concept of inner guidance? How do you talk to your children about diversity, facing their fears, listening to their body's wisdom? Yvonne Perry has written a delightful series of children's stories that explore these topics and more.

Inspired by her grandson, Sidney, Yvonne has woven her weekend visits and adventures with Sidney into charming tales. Those of us who enjoy talking with children can take a hint from the straightforward, simple, loving language "Von-Von" uses when talking with Sidney about concepts as difficult as the death of a loved pet or as potentially frightening as a monster in the closet.

Perhaps more importantly, Yvonne's stories are written from a holistic approach. Sidney is an exceptional child with spiritual gifts, and Yvonne gently helps him embrace his gifts in a way he can understand. In "A Powerful Potion: The Power of Imagination," Sidney's dog, Blue Girl, is injured. Sidney makes a special potion to heal her. His Von-Von uses the experience to help him understand the power of his imagination...a gentle, age-appropriate introduction to magical concepts that sets the stage for more learning as he grows older.

Those who are looking for stories to share with very young children - or parents who would like some ideas for how to talk with their little ones about holistic spiritual concepts without getting over their heads - will find The Sid Series to be just the ticket. The illustrations are charming and fun, the stories short, simple, and sweet. Don't let that fool you...these stories carry big concepts. There is a definite shortage of material for children that touches on these concepts, and The Sid Series is a welcome breath of fresh air.

You can learn more about The Sid Series at Yvonne's Blog, or you can purchase a copy at Amazon. Stories can also be purchased individually, and there's a coloring book that makes a fun addition. Both the coloring book and the individual stories are available on the blog.

Hats off to Yvonne Perry for a great series!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

Christmas music makes me smile...and that's good because there's no escaping it!  Today I heard Mariah Carey singing, "Joy to the World"...and she really rocks that song!  The lyrics of the song struck me as particularly appropriate today:

"Let every heart prepare him room..."

Whether you celebrate the birth of the Son or the rebirth of the sun...there's a lot of wisdom in those words. We have to make room in our hearts for the light.

Our world is instantaneous information, visual and auditory assault day and reports make sure we know the horrific state of the exploitation assures that every transgression and disappointment committed by public figures will be forced into our minds...economic pressures, holiday pressures, social all adds up to a lot of darkness.

Maybe one of the lessons of the season is to learn to let in the prepare room by distancing ourselves from the darkness just a not let ourselves be so consumed with all that is wrong that we leave no room for what is good and right and beautiful.

Kindness still exists in this world. Beauty is everywhere. Compassion can be found. The light of love burns brightly if we but make space for it.

Welcome the newborn Son. Welcome the reborn sun. Prepare him/it room. Let in the light.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Sounds - Three Weird Sisters

Another Sunday, another song...I love Sundays!

Today's song is "Hymn" by the amazing Three Weird Sisters. These beautiful ladies (and several friends, as evidenced on the featured track today) have been a constant presence in our home since we were introduced to them back in... well, I don't remember when.

I do remember when I heard this song; it was at the North Georgia Celtic Festival a few years ago. Three Weird Sisters opened their performance with "Hymn"...those voices rang out and the lyrics filled my heart to near bursting. After I wiped my eyes and enjoyed the rest of the concert, I checked the schedule, found their next performance stage, and got there early for a better seat.

Hymn is on the album "Hair of the Frog." You can find it here, along with "Rite the First Time" - another TWS album that has a place of honor in our collection.


By Gwen Knighton
© 2002

When there's fear in my heart,
Lady, I'm singing.
When there's gladness,
I'm singing, too.
Songs of joy, love, and pain,
Lady, I'm singing,
Sending all my songs
Home to you.

When there's work to be done,
Lord, I'm singing.
When there's sport to be had,
I'm singing, too.
Songs of play, love, and toil,
Lord, I'm singing,
Sending all my songs
Home to you.

Every breath I take,
Let me be singing.
Every step a dance
I dance with you.
Every beat of my heart,
Let me be singing,
Sending all my songs
Home to you.

All around the world,
Your children are singing,
Good and bad times,
We're singing, too.
Listen to the Summerland:
Don't you hear singing?
Bringing all our songs
Home to you.

(Repeat first verse)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Pagans are Blessed by Christmas, Too: Mary, Did You Know?

As a Pagan, my view of the "Christmas Story" is most certainly not the same one shared by most of my Christian friends and family. Still, I love the holiday season and find a lot of lessons and inspiration in the Biblical story of Jesus' birth. One need not take the myth literally to benefit from it.

One such lesson has recently "smacked me up'side the head" and has put the story of Mary and the virgin birth in a whole new light. I can't claim credit for the insight all by myself. I read a blog recently that, woefully, I didn't save a link to and can't find (when I do find it again, I'll give proper credit,I promise). In the post, the author talked about Mary and gave me a lot of food for thought.

Mary is a wonderful example of courage, of accepting a calling even when your hands are trembling and your knees are week...of knowing that others may disapprove, may not believe, may abandon you...but going ahead anyway. Mary was a young Jewish girl, a virgin engaged to be married. In Mary's world, to conceive a child out of wedlock as she did was to risk her future marriage, her family, her community, her entire support network. She put the only life she had ever known on the line because she was called to give birth to the Son of God.

How many times in our lives do we receive a call to give birth to something? What gifts to the world die unborn because we lack the courage to accept the call, to receive the creative spark and carry it to term, to endure the pains of bringing it into the world, and to risk the scorn of those who do not believe? To write, to sing, to dance, to speak truth, to walk out of step with the louder drummer in order to be true to our own unique rhythms...these are sacred opportunities to give birth to the Divine. And it is only through our courageous yes and stepping forward into the unknown that our light enters the world.

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Mary Did You Know?" in a whole new light for me. May the courage of Mary infuse you with strength to give birth to your unique gifts to the world.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


From the heart of beautiful, loving, and gifted friend...another post to share with you. Her prayer is my own, so beautifully stated that I could not hope to improve on it. She has a gift, and she is a gift to my heart, in my life. You can find more of her heart and words here. May her words take root and grow strong.

- IndigoSatin

How do you say 'ENOUGH' so loudly that it makes a difference ?
Enough wars.
Enough killing.
Enough hatred.
Enough fear.
Enough hunger.
Enough vandalism.
Enough rudeness.
Enough gossip.
Enough lies.

How can we begin to radiate love and caring like a ripple in a pond ?
Radiate peacefulness.
Radiate nurturing.
Radiate compassion.
Radiate kindness.
Radiate gentleness.
Radiate truth.

Holy Father, please help me make a difference in those lives I touch. Help me choose my words and actions with more care. Give me the strength and courage to speak up when I should, and the greater strength to be silent when I shouldn't.

Divine Mother, please help me look outward to see more clearly the needs of those around me. Help me extend your gentle love and compassion. Help me see past my own tears to see those in the eyes of others.

Sunday Sounds: Bobby McFerrin

Good morning (or afternoon, or evening...whenever and wherever you are)!

Today's gift of music and prayer comes from Bobby McFerrin, from an album that rests near the top of the list of five albums I would keep if I had to give up all others. The album is Medicine Music and the song is "The 23rd Psalm."

This much loved Psalm speaks so profoundly of gratitude, of saying "yes" to all that is right now, of enough. And Bobby McFerrin's vocal brilliance and heart make this rendition more moving than ever. The fact that he acknowledges the female half of the All doesn't hurt my feelings, either. If you have headphones, do yourself a favor and put them on so you can really hear the magic.

Wishing you a gentle day of awareness, of gratitude, of enough.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

True Power: Speaking the Words of Power

How often do you speak "the words of power?"

I don't know how you answered that question, but my answer is, "Every time I open my mouth...and even when I don't." The words I use to speak and to think are part of my personal power. The way I speak to myself and others is one of the ways I exercise control and influence in the world.

Words have power. Magical practitioners of all ilks have long taught that word choice is important when we're working magically. Whether we're following a complex and detailed magical system with words and phrases used by magicians for centuries, or a less structured, natural form of spell work, the words we choose can affect the outcome, for better or worse.

Interestingly enough, we seem to place a lot of emphasis on the use of words in a magical context but very little on how we use words in all the other moments and events in our lives. And since we spend a lot less time on magical pursuits than on plain old life, that seems backward to me.

Maybe one reason people don't recognize the power of words outside the magical realm is the mistaken notion that magic is something separate, something apart from "ordinary" life. Magic is not a supernatural force. Magic works because it follows natural, universal laws that, even though the scientific world hasn't fully worked out all the details of why and how, work flawlessly. Of course, we don't always work flawlessly in our efforts to create a working partnership with those forces, but study, practice, and open-mindedness allow us to keep moving forward. And the results prove the efficacy of a system based on those universal laws.

Here's the thing: Natural laws don't differentiate between magical and mundane. What we call magic is really nothing more than heightened awareness of those laws and a deliberate effort to work within that framework to achieve a desired result. But the laws are still in place, still working, whether we're thinking about them or not. The law is the law whether we're working deliberately, with awareness and intent, or working unaware and without a plan. To use a tired but effective analogy, the guy who falls off the roof is no less likely to hit the ground than the guy who deliberately jumps. Gravity really doesn't care about awareness, motive, or timing. The jumper, because he is paying attention and working willfully, is more likely to land safely and nearer his intended target. The faller will surely hit the ground but with far less control and less likelihood of being happy with his result.

So...if words have power in a magical they not also have power in our daily lives? Why do we allow ourselves to speak thoughtlessly to ourselves and others, aloud and silently, when we know the power our words carry? Why do we allow hurtful words others have spoken to play back in an endless loop? Universal law allows our words to manifest realities. What realities are we building with our words?

Interestingly enough, most of us are more aware and careful about what we say to others than we are about how we talk to ourselves. I can't think of a better way to rob ourselves of power than to use words that tear down and hold back. We make a mistake and our inner dialog is, "That was stupid!" We do something well and we say, "I got lucky." Even if our conscious mind knows we don't mean it, our subconscious mind probably doesn't.

A dear friend caught me sending myself wrong messages one morning. I responded to her cheerful, "Hey, how ya' doin'?" with, "Fat and sassy!" She immediately said, "Oh, we've got to eliminate that phrase!" I told her that "fat and sassy" was really a good thing, to which she replied, "Does your subconscious know that?" Zap! I knew instantly she was right.

Jung is quoted as saying, "Even a lie is a psychic fact." When we choose words that do not support our position of power, of strength and purpose, what facts are we building in our minds, in our lives? Are we choosing words that will help us manifest the things we want, or are we ignoring the laws of the Universe and expecting them to ignore us in return?

Our daily words, spoken and unspoken, are powerful spell components that make up our lives. Choose carefully to manifest the results you want.