Horses of Life
Genesis of Totem To'tem, n. [Massachusetts Indian wutohtimoin that to which a person or place belongs.] A rude picture, as of a bird, beast, or the like, used by the North American Indians as a symbolic designation, as of a family or a clan. And they painted on the grave posts Of the graves, yet unforgotten, Each his own ancestral totem Each the symbol of his household; Figures of the bear and reindeer, Of the turtle, crane, and beaver. --Longfellow. The totem, the clan deity, the beast or bird who in some supernatural way attends to the clan and watches over it. --Bagehot. I first met Adria as my piano student. She quit piano to immerse herself in the study and practice of Acupuncture - an intensive four-year education in the esoteric and complex world of Chinese medicine. In our discussions about her future and past, she mentioned that she was a singer, had recorded with a band, wrote songs, and played the Celtic harp. We also discovered we both had similar interests in the anthropology of religion, folklore, and the source of song. So, while making and creating all these songs she has been deep in the throes of tests, classes, and jabbing needles in people. What was the first song? Who sang it and why? Where does a song come from? Were the first songs about influencing nature or another's feelings? Perhaps the concept of magic was to 'spell' out words and music, and wrap in one's will the physical world. Enchantment means to be brought inside the magic of a song. How do other cultures approach the song source? For Creation, I wandered through the Technicians of the Sacred book, and, culled ideas from a variety of cultures and traditions about The Beginning. I let the resulting text seep through my fingers. As usual, Adria understood the deeper context of the idea, and brought her awareness and vocal expertise into becoming the Weaver of Time. The movement and the Naming of the World seems a very basic need in every cosmogony. Creation Part 1 & 2 She sweeps in her arm in a circling motion Calls up light from the darkling ocean In the ashes she draws an arc Within the center she makes her mark CHORUS From her fingers spray a sultan's treasure Endless worlds without measure A drop of blood encodes the light As she forms it from the web of night Sparkling yarn between her hands She pulls it taut and time expands Your beating heart now awakes to see The Golden Garden of the Wisdom Tree. CHORUS From the caves across the steaming land She breathes into each glowing strand A whistling, warming wind spreads wide The shuttle in the loom of life begins to glide. If you listen you will hear her name In the mountains or the deserts it's the same, In the oceans or the trees of pine She is the Weaver of Time. CHORUS 3 For Horses of Life is inspired by War God's Horse Song II (by Frank Mitchell) from the Navajo. I prepared the music, not knowing exactly what should go with it, Adria came in with an idea of how to put the words to the music. She nailed it the first time, and we knew we had something special. Horses of Life I am the child of White Shell Woman With their voices they are calling me, I am the son of the sun With their voices they are calling me, I am Turquoise Boy With their voices they are calling me, I am I From the arching rainbow, turquoise on it's edge, from where it touches the earth the horses are mine Dark stone water jars their hooves, With their voices they are calling me, Arrowheads the frogs of their hooves Mirage-stone their striped hooves Dark wind their legs Cloud shadow their tails Dark cloud their skins Now the sun rises to shine New moons their cantles Sunrays their backstraps and Rainbows their girths They are standing, waiting on rainbows, The dark-rainbow-four-footed-ones, their neck hair falling in a wave, Sprouting leaves are their ears With their voices they are calling me, Great dark stars their eyes With their voices they are calling me, White shell their teeth With lightning flashing in their mouths Dark-music sounding from their mouths They call out into the dawn Their voices reaching all the way out to me. Dawn-pollen is in their mouths Flowers and dew are in their mouths With lightning flashing in their mouths Dark-music sounding from their mouths They call out into the dawn Their voices Sunray their bridles beautifully to my hand they come And become my own horses My horses of life and happiness I am the boy of life I am the boy of happiness. 4 Sea of Love is our first collaboration. I had been working on this song for years, and needed some new input, into which Adria willingly dove. The song began for me as a dream I had one night about a rhythm. I started working with that rhythm, and the bass and harmony slipped in effortlessly. The words started shaping themselves into how important it is to listen to your heart. The sea is the Sufi experience of Fana Falal - annihilation of self. The Sea of Love There's no point in turning back I guess I'll have to take a different tack I asked my heart, 'What do you need?' It said. 'Follow me. I will lead.' So here I am upon Love's shore The stars are ripe, But there must be more My heart, I cannot hear you Now I'm lost What should I do? CHORUS: I want to dive I want to dive into the Sea of Love I want to dive I want to dive into the Sea of Love I want to dive I want to dive into the Sea of Love 'Beware the rocks upon this coast With no guide you'll end up as a ghost That haunts these gloomy piers and ropes Lovers lost without their hopes 'Fill your sails and follow me, Miracles and wonders you will see Lay your hands upon the helm I'll show you things but don't get overwhelmed 'Feel the love breathing in the sails Feel the love within the whales Feel the love in the sounds of words Feel the love in the wings of the birds' CHORUS I'm Somewhere in the Sea of Love Moon is full and waits above The time to dive is getting near Within the sea I'll disappear So Goodby to my friends Maybe I'll see you again It might do you some good To get to know the moon I heard the moon, she seemed to say 'So build a boat Come to me When I'm above Come to me Upon the Sea of Love Come to me Upon the Sea of Love.' CHORUS I heard the moon, she seemed to say 'Why do you stand by the river When you can dive into the Sea of Love?' If you want to know just where I'll be It's somewhere in the middle of this loving sea But remember you can't start without the blessing from your heart 5 My Ka takes it's source from The Egyptian Book of the Dead . Oh my Ka, I was wrong I should have listened when you sang I let love fall away And it's too late to change Oh my Ka, you've a secret to keep So don't give me away The scales wait to receive my heart The feather is weighted I am dawned, I am dawned A great falcon of gold I have flown, I have flown Over river worlds below And my heart is brought to me From mountains in the east I am lit upon the prow of the sun. 6 Markut is an Altaic Shaman song, from A Shaman Climbs Up the Sky, adapted from Mircea Eliade's Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. This, as did most of the other songs, went through several permutations, mostly removing music and vocal material, then adding the flutes and hand drum. 'When I am called to treat a patient, I go into something like a trance & I compose a song, or I revive one for the occasion' (Isaac Tens, a Gitksan shaman). Invocation to Markut, the bird of heaven This bird of heaven who keeps Five shapes & powerful Brass claws (the moon Has copper claws the moon's Beak is made of ice) whose Wings are powerful & Strike the air whose tail Is power & a heavy wind Markut whose left wing Hides the moon whose Right wing hides the sun Who never gets lost who flies Past that-place nothing tires her Who comes toward this-place In my house I listen For her singing I wait The game begins Falling past my right eye landing Here On my right should Markut is the mother of five eagles 7 Jungle Law fits in with the totemic animal theme and in this case we have a serpent singing. This was originally written for my children's album I Love Animals. The second part of the song is from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book. To create the trance-like motion of the python, I used a four-measure phrase: The Jungle Law Oh hear the call - good hunting all- That keep the Jungle Law... Silently I slide along the jungle floor In the distance I hear tigers roar My scaly skin reflects the moon above My coils fit around you like a glove Closer closer come closer to me You're not afraid of snakes I see It's time I think to have a little chat You've got to know where certain things are at You see that ball of fire in the sky? Every day it falls to the ground and dies And then the ones who sleep throughout the day You'll see them stretching in the twilight's gray You came into our jungle- that's all right... But can you make it through a jungle night? You came into our jungle- that's all right... But can you really make it through a jungle night? Now Chil the Kite brings home the night That Mang the Bat sets free The herds are shut in byre and hut For loosed 'til dawn are we This is the hour and pride and power Talon, tusk and claw Oh hear the call! -Good hunting all That keep the Jungle Law Oh hear the call! -Good hunting all That keep the Jungle Law! 8 Gravity is the suspension of time and space. Stuck in a plane, looking out the window, thinking, remembering, forgetting a loved one, but not succeeding. If you live in the air, the laws of physics are different than on the ground. But the gravity of love remains constant. GRAVITY OF LOVE A mile above the clouds And I'm gazing out of the window of the plane Suspended in the air My heart can find no prayer without the gravity of love I thought it would be Easy to love Easy to be free Under other stars Stars that are far from where you are I see from this home in the skies That I still can see I can still see your eyes I see your eyes Sparks from a million years Speed across the night Across the night And a thousand miles apart We both absorb this sudden light I see from this home in the skies That I still can see I can still see your eyes I'm caught up in the blue The unending ending view The canvas for my dreams anew Suspended in the air My heart can find no prayer Without the gravity of love 9 Hor Bokma (Don't Look Down Upon the Earth) Is originally from an Ilahi (sufi spiritual song) by one of Turkey's greatest poets- Yunus Emre. You can hear a sufi zikr (ceremony of remembrance) as part of the background. Don't look down upon the earth You don't know how much it's worth Below your feet are the highest souls Ten Thousand prophets lie beneath. The first one: conscious, self-aware Learned the names, under Eden's care Gave it up for all the world The Prophet Adam lies beneath Allah's lover, best of friends Healed the sick and help them mend Sultan of all the prophets and saints Muhammed lies beneath. Yunus you will also die Buried below the earth and sky There's a lot of hypocrites Stuck inside the best of crypts. 10 La Paloma (The Dove) was written for a beloved friend as she passed through some heart-rending changes, and came out stronger. La Paloma For the first time With her wings unfurled For the first time She flies into the morning light For the first time With her new wings For the first time She hears her heart is singing Love CHORUS La Paloma, La Paloma Wing your way back home La Paloma La Paloma Fly, pretty bird For the last time She says goodby For the last time She'll never see that cage again With her heart awake With the love she knows A last look back And then she flies above the mountain snows CHORUS With a pure heart Like a compass A new course is set That takes her to her sweet lover And her children Her dear children And her children Fly along and laugh with her CHORUS For the first time With her wings unfurled For the first time She flies into the morning light For the first time With her new wings For the first time She hears her heart is singing Love 11 The Burning is from a section of The Flight of Quetzalcoatl from the Aztec Epica Nahuatl. The founder of the Aztec culture, Quetzalcoatl departs, dies, and is reborn as the rising star. The Burning It ended on the beach It ended with a hulk of serpents Formed into a boat And when he made it, sat in it And sailed away. A boat that glided on those burning waters No one knowing when He reached the country of Red Daylight It ended on the rim of some great sea It ended with his face reflected in the mirror of it's waves The beauty of his face returned to him And he was dressed in garments like the sun It ended with a bonfire on the beach where He would hurl himself And burn, his ashes rising and the cries of birds It ended with the linnet, with the birds of turquoise Colors, birds the color of wild sunflowers, red and blue birds It ended with the birds of yellow feathers in a Riot of bright gold Circling till the fire had died out Circling while his heart rose through the sky It ended with his heart transformed into a star It ended with the morning star With day and evening It ended with his journey to Death's Kingdom With seven days of darkness With his body changed to light A star that burns forever in that sky. 12 Coda The worm Ourobouros signifies the unending cycle of life and death. The end is the beginning.