Divination can be amazingly empowering. Working with me, I’ve seen people make breakthroughs, find their passion, and begin to glow from the inside out. In this blog post, I’d like to share three impressive women who found the oracular experience “profound” and useful.
At the National Women’s Music Festival last year (2017), I was honored that Barbara Higbie attended my workshop. Barbara is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for her innovative jazz compositions on the piano and violin. She was the first woman instrumentalist to record on the New Age label Windham Hill. She’s performed with so many big-name musicians that the list would fill the rest of my blog post. To name just a few, she made music with Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, the Kronos Quartet, Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Bobby McFerrin, Greg Brown, Ferron, Rosalee Sorrels, Terry Garthwaite, Liz Story, and Alex De Grassi. In addition, she’s a prolific composer in her own right, recording 13 solo and group CDs, as well as contributing to 10 compilations that have sold in the millions. So you see why I say I was “honored” that she attended my workshop.
As you might guess, Barbara’s divinatory question involved recording her music. She wanted guidance about whether her next album should be instrumental or vocal. Since we were all at the National Women’s Music Festival, I had chosen a “Chanting” divination as our oracular technique, a choice that seemed particularly appropriate to Barbara. After chanting, she reported that her first album would be instrumental, since that was a straightforward task for her (Mind-boggling to me as a musician!). But she also added that she would create a recording with song tracks as well. I look forward to hearing both of them.
After the workshop was over, Barbara came back with a friend who wanted to buy a copy of my book. It turned out to be Ferron, another singer/songwriter whose music has been important to me. Barbara emailed me later that she remembered that “it was a wonderful workshop, one of the best I’ve ever attended.” Thanks, Barbara!
More recently, I offered a workshop at the Priestess Gathering produced by the Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess – International (RCG-I). Once again I was honored that a spiritual leader like Lynnie Levy would come to my workshop. With Jade River, she was the co-founder of RCG-I in 1982. Lynnie – an experienced editor, photographer, and writer – took on the task of editing Of A like Mind, the first publication in the U.S. devoted to feminist spirituality. The response to their first issues convinced both Jade and Lynnie that there was a need for a women’s religion sanctioned by the state. So in 1984 RCG-I became the first legally recognized religion serving the women’s spirituality community when it was incorporated in the state of Wisconsin.
Lynnie’s oracular question concerned her health and making her way through the physical challenges that had recently appeared in her life. When snake came to her as her guide, Lynnie felt that this animal brought a profound answer to her question. In the past she’d had positive experiences with large snakes, experiences that now guided her to realize that fluidity was what she needed. Snake’s guidance indicated that she would move easily through, around, and over what seemed to be barriers or obstacles.
When I offered a workshop at the Goddess Spirit Rising Conference in Simi Valley California last summer, another marvelous musician took part. Wendy Rule is a prolific Australian singer/songwriter (she has 10 studio albums), who has combined pagan mythology, ritual, and music to extraordinary purpose. Wendy’s music often takes the listener to the underworld and back again. At Goddess Spirit Rising, I heard the beginnings of her new album about Persephone’s underworld journey. As Wendy writes on her blog, it’s a “story of descent and rebirth, of transmuting pain into wisdom and growth, of willingly eating the seeds of transformation.” Wendy’s witchcraft and haunting music delve deeply into emotional trauma and healing. Her personal life reverberates through her lyrics.
Wendy was in transition when she attended my workshop last summer. She “knew that something needed to change, but…didn’t know what.” Still she recognized that she didn’t have her usual vitality. So when we performed a “Balloon Diagram” divination, Wendy fashioned a complex map of the activities and changes she needed in order to regain her vitality. Its interconnected themes reminded her that even a small shift would affect the whole. The one small improvement she decided to make in her life was to dance more. When she got home, she researched ecstatic dance and enrolled in a class. She wrote that “this sent a ripple effect through my life, connecting me with my body and helping me to regain a state of balance and vitality.” I’m so glad, because vitality was a necessary ingredient to produce her Persephone album, which I am sure is going to rock!
Which leaders have guided your journey? Whose writing or music has meant the most to you? Why? Leave a comment and let me know.