Sunday, May 29, 2011

Make a Soulful Noise

Arveyda was experiencing something amazing as he sat over the stones, beginning to strum his guitar. He knew, he finally knew, why he was capable of falling in love so easily, even with his own wife's mother. It was because he was a musician, and an artist. Artists, he now understood, were simply messengers. On them fell the responsibility for uniting the world. An awesome task, but he felt up to it, in his own life. His faith must be that the pain he brought to others and to himself - so poorly concealed in the information delivered - would lead not to destruction, but to transformation. 
-Alice Walker, The Temple of my Familiar

I couldn't imagine a spiritual life without music. I honestly don't think it's possible - every faith has their sacred music. There are differences on what is considered sacred, but I think whatever speaks to the human condition has a potential to be sacred. I remember a religious studies professor telling the class that the closest that the modern world gets to the kind of ecstatic mystery religion rites of ancient Greece are rock concerts. With events like Bonnaroo and Burning Man, this theory makes a lot of sense.
I usually include some kind of music with my shrine time, and a good bit of it is what some would consider "secular." I tend not to make those distinctions. That's not to say that I find any music at all spiritually moving, but I don't think an artist has to declare themselves a religious musician for their work to move my spirit. My "Temple" playlist range over many artists and genres. Depending on the deity I'm working with, it can vary even more.
Here is one of my favorite "temple" artists, with one of the best spiritual offerings I've heard in a long time.

"Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together."
-Anaïs Nin


  1. A few Christian sects didn't allow any sort of music, chanting, etc. Even a few in the US.

    Sometimes there was a feeling that music was just too powerful a force to allow. It seems very wrong-headed to me.

  2. Huh. I knew that some of them didn't allow instruments, but no singing or music at all? That's news to me. And yes, wrong-headed.