Updated: Apr 18, 2021


Grandmother Snow Moon


One day last May I walk in the sacred grove of hawthorn, ash, oak and elder, home to fox, hare, a riot of songbirds and, seasonally, horses. Although they have not yet arrived in their summer pasture, I can see where the horses have trodden a path through the shade of the leafy summer canopies to stay cool. I see where the game trails of deer lead through the thickets of sloe and hawthorn. I smell the musk of Fox and hear the blackbirds rustling in the thickets. I step into the tiny circle of moss covered trees - ash, oak, elm - that I call the portal. It is only large enough for me to step into and turn around in; a small nest for Ritual and singing, leaning against the trees in a squat to touch the earth, or standing, to look up into the branches.


In the days before this encounter, I have begun to feel/hear a kind of vibrational song tone that I have called Frequencies. It is like hearing a glimpse of the song of a particular creature or place, or the Golden Web of Life. In the portal, I have the inspiration to ask to hear the Frequency of the Otherworld, where Ancestors, more than human creatures, dream figures and Soul kin live; where the gods and goddesses dwell, one might say, the Holy in the Wild. Taking a breath and giving a breath as offering, I listen. I feel my heart opening into the Hologram, the great Web of Life, the presence of Mystery awakening in me. Listening, lending my voice to the Frequency I let the sound move through my throat. The note becomes a full body resonance letting me hear my own heart in its embrace as the one sound becomes an entire opening, a portal itself, a Frequency.


I leave the tree portal sounding the Frequency as l walk, following it like a golden thread through the grove. An unassuming but powerful healer of the mint family is standing on the path I am called to take, with her purple flowers like small lips, puckered for a kiss - Self-Heal, Prunella Vulgaris. She is shining at me like a star and I stop spellbound. I hear her singing her Frequency as if she were calling in response to the Otherworld Frequency I had been sounding. I bend down to greet her and share breath with her, letting her Frequency move through my heart and throat, reverberate through my cells. It is the inner intimacy of the sharing of consciousness, as if through the song the waves of sound entering me is also a visitation of her essence. It is like being caressed by a lover on the inside, inside my heart.


Since that meeting, I apprentice myself to her and to the healing work of Frequency and herbal medicine I have been given to do. But it is slow going, and often brings doubt or a kind of fear of singing my Frequency, my true song, into the world. A not-knowing or a kind of not-trusting that my listening is skilled enough to hear the voice of the More than Human creatures and my ability to lend my voice to Earth’s Frequency is true. “Sing”, says Mystery, say my ancestors, say humans I share my improvisational recordings with. I feel my own Soul Frequency longing to caress the wild world, the Golden Web, as Self-Heal gently caressed my heart. “Singing is remembering” says the witch-healer in me. “Don’t sing” says the one who wants to keep me safe in forgetting, keep me from offering my medicine. This one wants to keep me quiet, small, likeable and not too loud. “Sing only songs others have written” this one says, or “sing only where no humans can hear” or “don’t practice music theory or voice exercises” or “don’t show off”… David Whyte expresses this longing, fear, pain, release, survival silence and soul song exquisitely in his poem:


THE FIRE IN THE SONG


The mouth opens

and fills the air

with its vibrant shape


until the air

and the mouth

become one shape.


And the first word,

your own word,

spoken from that fire


surprises, burns,

grieves you now

because


you made that pact

with a dark presence

in your life.


He said, “If you only

stop singing

I’ll make you safe.”


And he repeated the line,

knowing you would hear

“I’ll make you safe”


as the comforting

sound of a door

closed on the fear at last,


but his darkness crept

under your tongue

and became the dim


cave where

you sheltered

and you grew


in that small place

too frightened to remember

the songs of the world,


its impossible notes,

and the sweet joy

that flew out the door


of your wild mouth

as you spoke.


David Whyte


Frequency is the practice of and remembering “the songs of the world” and of singing home parts of yourself lost in the inner wilds or frozen in time. Frequency is a healing of our forgetting, a re-membering ourselves to the great cosmic Songweb of Life. Frequency is a sound path, a vibration in the body and the world, a way of literally tuning in to the field of Earth Community Consciousness. A way of shifting consciousness in order to travel between the worlds and a way of sharing consciousness with the more than human world. Frequency is a song of Soul which travels through the heart and out of the mouth making visible that which is invisible. It is a way of weaving connection, restoring the threads that connect us to our relationships, both human and more than human. Singing the frequency is, as Briony Greenhill, my singing teacher says, singing the “Song of Now”.


Frequencies are also the “language” of the Golden Web of Life which means there is way of knowing and communicating beyond human language that is frequency based. It is a de-centralising of the human. Also, Frequencies are a way of receiving information from the Web, much like a spider sits in her web and feels the vibrations of the world, elements and others on the filaments of her Web, her hearing of the Song of Now. How can we listen to the voices of the wild others and hear their song, their Frequency so that we can offer our human voice to gift it back to them? It is prayer and Ritual Reciprocal Relationship. When I tune in to the right Frequency I feel a shift in my body and my consciousness. It is as if the veil lifts, the portal opens and I am in unitive consciousness with the sacred Other with whom I am with.


Sacred Grove, Prayer to the Boar Crones


As a practice each morning, I sing gratitude to the 7 directions, my ancestors, the mountains and wild creatures here, to my own heart and for the path I am given to dance with the gifts I am given to carry. I sing as offering out on the land to and with the forest, the meadows and sky, to sun and moon, and the wild ones. In this springing time, I am singing to and for the wild boar that live here, especially for the Great Sow; the one whose fecund, fertile, hairy, earthy energy pulses with a wild rawness of erotic and fierce boar energy. There is a family of 8 who live in the hills here and I am blessed to see them sometimes. More often I smell them, their earthen piggy, musky scent. I continue praying, making offerings of breath, voice and apples from last year’s harvest and courting the Great Sow to hear her Frequency. In dream she is teaching me her language, in waking I go every day to the Sacred Grove portal to sing to her. Still, I feel I have not yet heard her Frequency, it is not yet ringing in my own body. I cannot yet hear my own heart held within her Soul Song.


When I am in the forest or out on the land, I often sing my Soul frequency and the frequency of the day, the place, a wild Other, and allow an improvisational song to evolve out from it. The song of Now. These songs are both prayer and practice. (In the future will be a cd of songs given to me and co-created by the Wild and my Muse.) Here is an improvisational song prayer to the full moon as I was tracking her and opening myself to her frequency.


Grandmother moon

Deer are hushing over the field, jumping, springing through the teeth of your light

It is the predator’s night

It makes for easy killing when you can see your prey

And who will you kill tonight, moon; whose heart will you pierce with your beauty? Who will you seduce through the veil over the threshold with your song?

Oh moon, let me remember your song, pierce my heart with your beauty and let me slip over the threshold into the night, into the starlight

Into the old ways, never before seen

Oh let me remember and let me make an offering of your songs; that others may remember, let us remember that we have forgotten

Let me pierce hearts with your beauty, let me see clearly in your light

Let me guide them over the threshold, through the veil, with your song

Let us remember a lunacy

Let a great lunacy overtake us, ’til we are all pierced by your beauty, slipping through the veil singing your song

weaving us back into the fabric of the night, into dream, oh goddess of dream time, oh dark goddess who shines the light, oh beautiful predator of our hearts, siren songs

Make me drunk on your beauty and never return…


In reverence of the Holy in the Wild and may this be an offering for all, that we may re-member. I invite you to arise on Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus morn on Thursday 1 April, indeed in any and every morn, and greet the day with song. If you can, go out and sing your gratitude and prayer while moving within the larger body of Earth Community, of what we call “the wild world”; songs of praise, courtship, wonder, beauty, grief, longing… You may even hear the Frequency of your own Soul and sing it out into the world as an offering and a greeting, like the birds do in the morning. You may open your heart-ears to the Frequency of a creature you meet or a place you are in relationship with, and offer your voice as the magical “making visible that which is invisible” instrument singing their Frequency back to them. I pray that we all begin to hear and sing these Frequencies through time and space from Soul to Heart, from the Heart of the World and the essence of each creature; that our voices are an offering in Ritual Reciprocal Relationship with the Holy Heart of the World. May we sing ourselves home to the Sacred Grove, feeling our hearts resonating once again with the Song of Now of the Golden Web of Life and in reverence of the Holy in the Wild.


~~~~~


Sara McFarland is an improvisational nature-based singer, SoulStoryteller and performance artist, naturopath, ritualist, Wild Mind and Soul Initiation Guide, and wilderness mentor. Sara spends her time apprenticing in Reciprocal Ritual Relationship with the Holy in the Wild following the whispers of her Muse. Guided by her own Soul's holographic, crazy Wisdom and Beauty she listens to the melodies that Earth and the Ancestors sing through her. Sara lives in Woelferbuett, Rhoen, Germany.


Image and Video by Sara McFarland


Thank you Sara McFarland for your offering to Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus 2021. Sara is also a contact for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus in Germany.


If reading this, you too would like to be more involved/participate in Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus, please contact us through www.earthsongwave.com

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Updated: Mar 2, 2021


Llanmadoch, (The Gower) at dawn. Cymru/Wales



Here we are on the cusp on the fourth Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus. This offering has not only reached thousands of people but people in over 54 countries. What a gift for the world, what a way to come together for the whole of the earth community, to sing and be sung by life. I am in deep awe and appreciation to be writing at my desk and having this chance to reflect. I am delighted to be part of such a gift and entranced by the beauty we are able to create.


I, like many, have been sensing deep change is afoot. It has been a terrible and beautiful time. One that has taken me, and I assume many, to edges unimagined and in it I continue to break down, break through, be defined and redefined from the me I thought I was/am to…? Just when I get to land somewhere that feels a bit like solid ground hey, I’m being asked by mystery to come undone again and reimagine, recollect, remember in order to grow into yet another shape.


The way we see and have known our world, ourselves, myself has changed. Even though I know deep down that change is essential for the new, the unimagined, the yet to be seen and all the life enhancing essential ways to emerge. For me this has been a deeply terrifying and enlivening journey. How it seems the terror and enlivening have to co-exist and that I cannot know the essence of myself, and be part of the great turning, without holding both as truth.


So, there is much I could share with you and as I write I can hear echoes of all kinds of stories of the times that we live in; the ways in which we are all being called to show up, initiate, mature, take responsibility and take a stand for this wonderful and dynamic, only one of its kind in the whole universe (as far as we know) turquoise jewel of a planet.


Here is one story I came across in the past weeks that had me undone again. This quote from an article by Carla Sofina was sent as a stirring to a group of women participating on the cusp of the Earthsongwave Women’s New Moon Council which met monthly through the year.


"Did you know that each year, all adult male humpbacks within each ocean sing the same song? But in each ocean the song is different from the song being sung in other oceans. There’s a Pacific song, an Atlantic song, and so on. And each year the song of each ocean changes. The new songs spread wavelike, a slow-moving fad crossing blue infinities whale-to-whale, all the whales adopting the same changed elements of the song. When songs of Hawaiian humpbacks and Mexico’s Socorro Island humpbacks changed simultaneously, despite a separation spanning 4,800 kilometers of ocean, researchers Ellen Garland and colleagues called this pattern “unparalleled in any other nonhuman animals . . . cultural change at a vast scale.”


How the song will change, how much will change, and how rapidly, humans cannot predict. Somehow together, strangely, the whales create a new song. There’s a lovely metaphor for us in that. Planet Earth constantly thrums with its own song, meeting the melodies being sent and received by all the other living things. Life is vibrant and it generates ripples throughout the air, the sea, and the ground. But whale sounds seem particularly enchanted. Roger Payne wrote of the first time he heard a humpback whale singing: “Normally you don’t hear the size of the ocean . . . but I heard it that night. . . . That’s what whales do; they give the ocean its voice, and the voice they give is ethereal and unearthly.”


As I read this it moved me to tears again and I believe it is not only a metaphor but maybe an invitation for us too, for (unparalleled) cultural change to happen as we participate in song.


With all my being l want whales to know they are heard by us humans, that we are listening. That as we come up to this wonderful time of Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus we could feel into the possibility that whales are showing us, inviting us into another way? Maybe it is a way of entangling us even deeper into the web of life? Maybe we are able to cast the most potent of spells, participating in the great turning? Maybe it’s a way of imaginably throwing a net around this precious earth; cradling the whole planet and each other so that we may all continue to enhance all life’s systems for and with this wondrous turquoise jewel?


Haven’t some of us taken enough? Haven’t I taken enough? So, for me to at least give back to this wise, loving, incredible. beautiful and diverse home is an attempt at offering something and a way of expressing my wise grief and deepening love.


So many humans lost in inner and outer noise cannot hear the world sing. What if we could turn our attention towards the truth, terror and beauty of what is offered every day by the spinning wonder and brilliant brilliance of this planet. What if we could offer something back, reciprocate that song, sing together in a harmony to the oceans that created and birthed our wild bodies? I wonder and can only imagine what might be possible in that symphonic crescendo?


So maybe, just for a moment, if you will, allow this experience of whales to come deeply in, emotionally, sensuously, imaginatively. Notice what happens in your body, to your mind? Imagine and tune into each of the oceans and the different songs being sung by whales and remember that they create a concerto of cultural change. Imagine that they are open to the unbidden, being taken by life, not knowing in which ways they are being shaped or shaping, yet trusting life, trusting cosmos and evolution, trusting their place, their notes, their unique and ever-changing song. Maybe imagine this possibility for your own life and your kin, human and ‘more-than-human’.


Through voicing, life is sung into being and sings. Imagine us on this Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus day standing together at the edge of the sea singing the unbidden songs that life is longing for us to sing. Joining whales, dolphins, blackbird, robin, tree, badger, shark, sky, cosmos in the most delicious and wild symphony.


Imagine that we sing as whales sing because we cannot help but participate in the wild song of life; because life and mystery are spectacularly wise; because it matters to them as they follow deep instinctual intelligence, because maybe they remind us of our own. What if we stand at the edge of the ocean, joining them in participation? Can life burst through and be known in ways that we have never seen, felt or imagined before? Will this ripple flow through our culture, evoking a deepening cultural song?


What if whales in the oceans would leap from the waters in joy and turn somersaults in the air if they sensed that we are on the edge of the oceans at sunrise giving back to the great mystery of life. What if life itself in all its wonder (and), shapes and beauty would join with all the voices of the living world. Or a kind of co-voicing? So, on this Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus morning, as the sun rises for all of life to continue and it rises to grow, shape, heat and create brilliance with this Earth. Imagine, just for a moment what might happen if we were to stand at the edge of the ocean singing and participating in the great symphony of life. We might just be giving life it’s voice in a collective harmony with the ever-emerging Earth symphony.


References:

1. Carl Safina Songs of the Humpback Whales in Minding Nature, Fall 2020, Vol 13, No 3 Center for Humans and Nature.


~~~~~


Rhonda Brandrick is the co-founder of professional accredited training in Ecopsychology and Nature-based practice. For over 5 years she apprenticed with Animas Valley Institute exploring the journey of soul initiation. She has worked with individuals, couples and groups for over 25 years. She is dedicated and devoted to making a difference to human health and the health of the Earth by bringing individuals, communities and culture back to Earth based ways of living. Rhonda loves dancing, drumming, dreaming and is a Mother and Grandmother.


Thank you Rhonda Brandrick for your offering to Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus 2021. Rhonda is also a contact for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus in England.


If you would like to be involved/participate in the future shapeshifting of the Council Rhonda speaks of, please contact us through www.earthsongwave.com


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Talking Pieces

The Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus (ESWDC) of 2020 sang into being a year-long Women's New Moon Council (WNMC) in a wild gathering of fiery dragon, feathers, bell song and sharings of longing, passion and a commitment to deep listening to the calls and songs of Mother Earth. After the first session in April 2020, I dreamed of mixed up, out of place songs with a waking reverie of message sticks, carved with songs and carried under the wings of migratory birds across the planet. What if birds create songlines as they fly?

Flaming headed serpent and cauldron, created to contain offerings to the Council, weaved their alchemical magic to sustain the Council, which as I write, sadly, has just one session left – although perhaps the mystery and song magic of the ESWDC and the WNMC will bring forth other children. We shall see.

Strands, threads of many different themes are woven from around Earth: south to north, west to east, clockwise and counterclockwise, creating a web cradling us in Circle. Making a commitment to attend every session, I feel increasingly enthralled by this dynamic experience where each month, women come together, share our wisdom, song and story and then move apart again. It is as if I am carried on a moon-created tide of coming together and parting, like the ebb and flow of gently lapping ocean waves, like a slow, steady breathing, in and out once a month – each ‘coming together’ creating a node in a vast web, encasing a ‘joining together’ of experience and passion from around the world. What if we are engaged in a new way, perhaps an ancient re-membering of singing with Mother Earth?

Gathering, we first speak in a voice of the land on which we each stand. We bring some being as a talking piece – mine are bones: most often feathers, once the rib bone of a young kangaroo, all from the sacred space where I live. I introduce Grandmother Tree, ring-neck parrot, and an ephemeral wetland to the Council – rich sentient beings of place – ranging alongside all the others from around the globe.

In Council, there are words, silence, dance, movement and of course, song – human voice, birdsong, star song, grief song, joy song. Songs of symbols, patterns, of mysterious, synchronous moments – an example is one Council just after I finish the large planting out of a paddock in a design of three counterclockwise spirals which all meet at a single tree in the centre. Spirals are found in the cave and rock art of Australian Aboriginal peoples and in ancient Celtic art, the patterns of my ancestral heritage, in my DNA and deeply significant for me. The spirals meeting at the central tree form three lines radiating from a single point – three is such a potent number of life on Earth. Our Council this month features a video of a song by Heilung, a Scandinavian group – it is very haunting and as I move to the music and watch, I see spirals and three arrows radiating out from a single point on rocks and on the ground. Shivers race up and down my spine and I experience the synchronicity of form and pattern as affirmation and blessing. Such synchronicity continues to weave in and out, and in November, during a trip ‘on country’ with three Aboriginal Elders, I came across this image – this is just one example of the way this thread of patterns, association and meaning continues.

Pattern

So many story songs of relationship between human and the more-than-human world; of voices from deep wells of emotion; dream songs; songs of imagination and of wild, abandoned duets with land, wind, thunder, lightning, water - with Life in all its manifestations. Symphonies for the pleasure and nourishment of all Creation - ringing out over the course of every month, encircling, cradling, piercing, empowering – delighting our Mother as we delight in Her.

Over the course of the year, my awareness and appreciation of the Dark Moon deepens. As I attend to the waxing and waning Moon each month I rejoice in the approaching dark with its associated increasing brilliance of the stars. Living, as I do, without any ambient light and looking straight into the centre of the Milky Way, even the dark is not completely without light. This year’s solstices and equinoxes and other significant cosmic events during the year - the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn with the Moon and then their proximity, a event not seen for over 400 years, and a Blue Moon – blessings all. Awe and wonder flood my being again and again at these cosmic miracles. This, in turn, increases my appreciation of the WNMC and what it is bringing to each of us. My gaze is skywards in a sustained way that I have not experienced before.

The Moon cycle, with its traverse from light to dark to light, is one of Nature’s mirrors of the life, death, rebirth cycle that I am constantly reflecting on and which so central to all existence on this exquisite Earth. In between the cosmic mirrors of the day cycle and the year cycle – Moon cycle holds a special affinity for us women, aligned as it is with our cycle of bleeding and the ever-present potential for new life. Although no longer fertile this way, for me the Council becomes a means of, an opportunity for, reflective generation in the darkness. What if this WNMC is a portal to an experience of the dark within the womb of the Earth – where we can sing new creation songs?

Ephemeral Wetland

My sense of the significance of the WNMC grows. There has been a call to the Wild, Sacred Feminine emanating from Mother Earth for some years now and it has been increasing in intensity over the past couple of years. I have heard it personally, as have many, many others, from a variety of sources. I have heard its echoes, when reading and listening to the words of indigenous male Elders over a number of years – Arkan Lushwala, Harley Eagle, Bruce Pascoe, Tyson Yunkaporta to name a few. During this WNMC year, I hear Ilarion Merculieff, an elder from Alaska, speak of what he has heard from Mother Earth – a call to women to come together, to heal themselves and within the ceremony of this process, something new will be birthed. Women are being called to go deep into the Earth, become still and listen. What they hear and bring back will heal the world. Men are to hold the space for women to do this work. Ilarion’s words resonate deeply and are very affirming for me. They reflect so much of what has been significant, enriching threads of the WNMC, which in turn has supported me in exploring and deepening my response to this call. It is in the experience - the songs, the words, the threads, the synchronicities, the echoes, the Ancestors, the Land – all harmonising into the songs of my life, nurturing and encouraging me.



My songs are clearer now, less mixed-up – and songlines are being created and sung by all manner of Beings. I ‘know’ them as I slow down, become still and listen.



May the Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus of Thursday April 1, 2021 create a tsunami of song that calls forth an ever-deeper commitment to our wondrous Earth and many more never-before-heard songs of love and adoration to woo our more-than-human kin.



Jenni now lives on 150 acres of bush surrounded by additional nature reserve and crown land in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. The land has high conservation value, being in an area of internationally recognized significant biodiversity. "In this season of Bunuru, I acknowledge the Menang Bibbulmun people as the traditional owners of the land on which I live. I pay my respects to the Elders, past and present and to the wider Bibbulmun community."


Photography by Jenni York


Listening with the Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus of 1 April, 2020, l (Wendy) heard a call to deepen further during the year with a monthly New Moon Council which was born in that same month of April. What became the Women's New Moon Council brought women listening, resonating and singing with this call from around Earth; to listen and respond with Earthsongs; to be aroused by and arouse Earthsongs further; to be curious and surprised about songs emerging and impacts/ripples....and more. This is one experience from Jenni York. Another will follow soon in this feast of an Earthsong and Moonsong year.


Thank you Jenni York for your offering to Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus 2021. Jenni is also a contact for Earthsongwave Dawn Chorus in Western Australia.

If you would like to be involved/participate in the future shapeshifting of this Council, please contact us through www.earthsongwave.com

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