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.
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?
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