For those interested in the ASWM conference, here's the most concise update: a small celebratory note I sent to the ASWM website, It's true--I've rarely if ever felt the goddess poems heard more profoundly. No surprise there. The event was vibrant with new
overlaps and connections between people who had been working with passion on goddess material, more or less in solitude, separated from each other, for years. When I was reading, my understanding was wide open attempting to be fully aware of this level of receptivity, and at other times, my eyes and mind were also wide open, my head spinning back and forth, trying to take it all in, images and ideas and myths and stories. There was material there for lifetimes of epic, lyric, and narrative! As happens when I feel a real audience there for my work, I felt deeply inspired to write more.
And tonight, I feel, even more, inspired to listen, to see if more pagan poems could be arranged for choral singing. I have been reminded searingly how much the world needs a good pagan repertoire. Virtually half--6 out of 13 songs--sung by the 5th and 6th graders at the public school concert I attended tonight included Christian content, with words such as "I believe in God" repeated over and over by child soloists (in Spanish); "I'm going up yonder to be with my Lord"; and so on. The justification that seems to be common for this religious imbalance is that Christian music happens to be the only good music available.
I remember when they used to say the same thing about poetry; when I was a graduate student in the 80s at Stanford, people were saying they had to teach dead European male literature only, because that was the only good stuff. Fifteen years later, the same argument, which I had thought long settled, resurfaced during a party I was attending at Yale (enlightened thought does seem to travel west to east nowadays.) "Oh yes," I was assured--and by graduate students!, "whenever some good writing by women of color turns up, I'll teach it." Now I never hear people saying those things any more. But where paganism is concerned, it's back to square one again.
The really interesting part for me is an encounter I had with an actively Catholic neighbor in the parking lot after the concert. When I invited her to join a group of concerned parents who are planning to meet with the principal about this, she said she would never support a move to insist only on secular songs. However, she blew me away by, instead, offering to help me try to get some pagan songs included in the next program!
Her broad but adamantly spiritual perspective seems connected to the direction of the Cosmic Convergence this coming July, which I just received an email about. Wouldn't true unity consciousness involve seeing all of us as manifestations of one consciousness, with each of us taking a particular role in the conversation? Doesn't that make room for all perspectives? Song gives me pleasure, and I have heard that pleasure, and our hearts, are the most reliable guide through these times.
Any good song suggestions for pagan songs arranged for multiple parts? One I'd like to mention, though probably not suitable for kids to sing, is Bruce Rockwell's beautiful arrangement of "Walk With Me." the only poem so far I've had arranged for singing in parts. I truly love his arrangement.