Earthsong: Music and the Earth CommunityLink to File
This resource, in which Deeptime principles of context, matrix, interiority and action are interweaving both in the content and process of the resource, is based on a series of three on-line sessions that I offered in February 2022. Each session, an hour in length, drew on a contemporary Earthsong with lyrics, and interwove deep listening to this song with eco contemplative practices including writing, journalling and drawing. By ‘Earthsong’ I refer broadly to any contemporary song in which Ezozoic or Deeptime themes and motifs are to be found. Integral to each session was the inclusion of a number of short quotes from the writings of Thomas Berry, carefully chosen to reflect the deeper invitation in each song, and selectively woven into the contemplative space. In the online setting and with around 20 -25 participants in each session, we moved between personal reflection, small group and whole group listening and participation. The goal of the resource is to provide an eco contemplative space for participants to express their own dream for Earth community inspired by a deep listening process to a contemporary Earthsong. The intent was to create a sacred space online in each session so as to awaken our capacities for intimacy, creativity, self giving and mutually enhancing relationships within the Earth community.
The resource could be replicated in an online setting, or face to face with a group of people. Alternatively the resource could be used by anyone on their own who wishes to take time to draw from those Earthsongs to which they themselves feel drawn as a resource for eco-contemplative writing, journalling and creative arts practice as the basis for ongoing eco activism. The contemplative process incorporated in this resource is known as musica divina, sacred listening to a piece of music. This process is not original; it has long been applied to deep listening to scripture texts but today is being applied to listening to music, to poetry, cinema, and to the visual arts.
The three Earthsongs I chose were:
Trumpeter Swans by Peter Mayer. This is a recent composition by Peter Mayer which is a soaringly beautiful Earthsong, a celebration of nature and our connection to it. The focus of the song is the experience of wonder and kinship with the birds of the song, their near disappearance but the sense too, that the birds are ‘saving’ the musician now.
Love Song to a Bird by Diana Jones. This Earthsong is to be found on a recent CD by Diana titled, Song To A Refugee. The CD is a heartrending yet powerful compilation of songs which inform, advocate and give expression to the humanity of refugees, mostly from South America. The song chosen from the CD is again about a bird but this time the bird is one noticed by a refugee person in a boat. The bird becomes a symbol of the hopes and aspirations of the refugee person for freedom and for a home where the borders and nationalities that keep us separate are overcome, just as a bird flies freely with no sense of these to impede its flight.
Underneath the Stars, originally composed by the British folk singer Kate Rusby, version chosen for this resource was the a cappella version by the singing group Voces8. This song is a lullaby/lovesong sung by the sun to the moon. It references the orbiting of the moon who comes close to the sun but then who freely turns her back away too. The song not only ascribes sentience to the sun and moon but draws us in as we too meet one another underneath the stars as we fall in and out of love, and as we undertake the work of healing and mending our cosmic roles and relationships…’underneath the stars’.
- Used by people who call the work: The New Story
- Applies a deep time evolutionary perspective to: Religion/Spirituality
- Learning Stages: Adult Education
- Type: Hands On Materials
- Keywords: Music, Eco-Contemplation, Sacred Listening, Thomas Berry
- Why I love this Resource: it invites a contemplative space for the expression of participants' dreams for earth community, drawing on music.
- Posted By: Judith Keller
- Date Added: April 22, 2022