Music in praise of the Divine Feminine for ritual, empowerment, and justice

November 5, 2017

O Come, Christ-Sophia! – Devi Vaani sings the holidays

Image from http://www.sistersofearthsong.com/SOPHIA/SOPHIA.html

As Daylight Savings ends and we move into deeper darkness of winter, the holiday season is fast approaching!

Of course the holidays are wonderful… but do you ever get just a little tired of the same old Christmas carols, endlessly reworked and replayed all over the radio during December?  If you’re like us, you might cringe occasionally at yet another manufactured, trying-too-hard rendition of Jingle Bells or Let It Snow.

It often feels as if the music of Christmas has lost its soul.

Personally, some of my fondest memories of the holiday season are singing Christmas carols around the tree with family.  But now, as an adult, I am painfully aware of the exclusively masculine language for God that runs through these time-honored songs.  Each year, each generation that we sing them further calcifies these patterns of naming the Divine.

What if we began naming the Solstice, the time when Jesus’ birth is celebrated as the return of light in the darkness – as the moment when God/dess’ Wisdom comes into the world to dwell among us?

Wisdom – Hokhmah in Hebrew, Sophia in Greek – is a feminine name for the Divine found in the Hebrew Scriptures.  The figure of Wisdom represents God/dess’ immanent presence within creation, shaping and sustaining the world, delighting in Her people and filling us with Her insight and love.  And it is precisely the Jewish tradition of Wisdom that shaped Christian ideas of the Incarnation of the “Word of God” in Jesus!

In other words, Jesus is Wisdom.

He is Sophia made flesh, come to dwell among God/dess’ people.

And in remembering the birth of the “Christ-Sophia,” what we celebrate is not a male human king come to establish the dominant rule of a male God over the world, but the birthing of Wisdom Herself into human lives and hearts, everywhere and in every age.

If you are longing for fresh, inspiring, inclusive-language Christmas music, soulfully strummed and sweetly harmonized – then come join Devi Vaani as we welcome the birth of Christ-Sophia this holiday season!  We have two holiday performances coming up.  Both will feature Christmas music with inclusive lyrics by Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from our 2015 Christmas CD Sing of Peace.

Devi Vaani’s sing-along Christmas concert – Sunday December 3, 12:30 pm at herchurch – 678 Portola Drive, San Francisco.  Refreshments are provided, and families and children are welcome!  Raffle tickets will be sold for Goddess-themed prizes, so don’t miss out!

Advent Mass at Sophia in Trinity – Saturday December 9, 10:00 am at St. Cyprian’s church – 2097 Turk St, San Francisco.  Devi Vaani will lead worship music for this Roman Catholic Women Priests community and be present afterwards for a discussion on feminine language for the Divine.  Come participate, worship, sing, and discuss names and images for God/dess and the Christ-Sophia!

 

January 18, 2017

Creation Spirituality with Matthew Fox- February 12th , 1pm

We have the honor of providing music at this upcoming presentation by Creation Spirituality theologian Matthew Fox. Our speaker will share about his book, “Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society” and speak to the themes of social, environmental, and gender justice, themes which we hold with reverence in our music and in our hearts.

The suggested donation for this event is $10 and no one is turned away for lack of funds. Refreshments provided. Join us Sunday February 12th at 678 Portola Drive. Music begins at 1:30 and speaker presentation begins at 2pm.

October 12, 2016

Save these Dates! Final Performances for 2016

We are excited to be preparing for three unique and moving performances coming up during these last months of 2016. We hope you can join us for one or more of these events, all of which are free and all of which feature our own original, spiritual music in honor of the Divine Mother.

Sunday, October 30, 10:30 am-12 noon: Devi Vaani leads the music for herchurch Sunday liturgy. We will be celebrating Halloween, Day of the Dead, and All Saints/All Souls day all at once!  The band will debut two new songs, including one that remembers and honors the women who have been killed in witch persecutions throughout history.

Saturday, November 12, 4-5 pm: Devi Vaani performs a concert of original music as part of the herchurch Goddess Harvest Festival.  Free wine and cheese reception beforehand from 3:30-4 pm, plus all the other amazing things happening at the festival that weekend – check it out!

Sunday, December 11, 1-2 pm: Devi Vaani’s annual sing-along Christmas concert!  We will sing familiar Christmas tunes with inclusive lyrics by Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from our holiday CD Sing of Peace. Free refreshments and holiday themed door prizes.

October 5, 2016

Somebody Calling: Litany of the Unremembered

In my room I light a candle and that’s when I hear it. These haunting notes from some distant corner of my psyche, or, rather, something reaching into my psyche. So I pick up my guitar and suddenly there’s a song vibrating each and every cell in my body. I have to remind myself to breathe as I direct every ounce of energy into capturing the music that I’m hearing. So often it does just slip away.

Sometimes songs come because I’m fiddling around with my guitar and I hear things that I work with until they are this thing called “song.” Sometimes they come because I want to write about something in particular so I sit down and experiment and sometimes something decent emerges. And sometimes, it is so obvious that somebody else is writing the song through me. I get to react to it, shape it, tease it out, bring it to the group to develop it further, but there’s clearly music coming from beyond my single human brain. Those are the best moments.

This song began with these eerie, supernatural oooohs and then there were words giving voice to a mystery. It stopped there for months. When I went back to it, I had my own ideas for where to go next. I had watched the documentary, “Goddess Trilogy: The Burning Times” which painfully recounts the blood-thirsty, power-hungry crusades against women’s medicine, women’s law, women’s autonomy and women’s spirituality that took place during the two hundred years benignly referred to as “The Inquisition.” There was no inquiry happening then, no curiosity, no quest for truth or knowledge or wisdom. Just a lust for blood, for screams of agony, for charred flesh, for power over, for our submission. This is when fables about an evil, inquisitive woman and a snake really took hold and shaped our feminine psyche in the image of this unforgivable sin that we never actually committed.

This song is an invocation. We’ve written songs that invoke Goddesses before, “Ma Durga,” “Amma,” “Pele.” “Somebody Calling” cries out the names of 33 different goddesses from Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America. Goddesses of Mystery, Oracle, Goddesses of the Underworld and of Witches, Goddesses of Wrath and Goddesses of Death, Goddesses of Healing and Goddesses Who Remember.

We are honored to premiere this song in the sacred space known as herchurch during the All Saints/All Souls Liturgy. This will take place nine days before the 2016 presidential election. We need these Goddesses now, perhaps more than ever. We need their fire and their vision and their fury and their love. We invite you to call them forth with us on Sunday, October 30th at herchurch, 10:30am. On this morning we will all come together to drum for peace and sing for sanity to prevail on our planet. Will you join us?

April 18, 2016

Take Back the Night Healing Arts Festival

This Saturday, we will be sharing music, healing and positive, peaceful energy with an inspiring group of people at the 4th Annual Take Back the Night Healing Arts Festival. We will be honoring those who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence and we, along with other poets, story-tellers and musicians, will be sharing art in honor of the experience of surviving and thriving after violence. This event begins at 1pm on Friday April 22nd and concludes at 3pm on Saturday April 23rd. There will be a candle-light vigil on each day and you can attend any portion of this donation-based event during that time.

We will be sharing all original music, including some favorites such as “Rakhe Goddess” and “Mountain Mother” as well as our newest song, “Don’t Say No,” a rallying-cry to end violence against women, from 1:30-2pm on Saturday the 23rd. Please come out in support of this event and help us honor the strength of those who choose to survive and thrive.

www.facebook.com/take_back_the_night

 

 

November 6, 2015

Goddess Spirit Rising Concert

large levelsAs the air chills and the leaves fall, we prepare for our concert at the yearly Goddess Harvest Festival at herchurch. The festival is the biggest event of the year at herchurch, with vendors, craftswomen and workshop leaders from all over, as far as Texas, joining together to share crafts, stories, songs, visions and praise of the Goddess.

The festival begins Friday, November 13th, 7pm, with the opening of the Art Show “Goddess Spirit Rising” at 7pm. The following evening, Nov. 14th at 7pm, we will be performing alongside the accomplished singer/songwriter/pianist Katie Ketchum at the “Goddess Spirit Rising” concert. We will be performing new songs, a cover song or two, and old favorites from “She Is Here.” This concert is the official release of our newest c.d., the Christmas album,”Sing of Peace.” We will be performing more songs from this album the following day, Sunday Nov. 15th from 1-3pm as part of the workshop “Divine Feminine Stories and Sounds” led by Jann Aldredge Clanton. The best part… ALL OF THIS IS FREE, an expression of the abundance of this season and the gratitude we feel for being able to make and share music that speaks to our deepest longings and experiences as women who love the Holy Mother.

We first began singing together at the Goddess Harvest Festival 2013, and continued the tradition last year during the festival, when our theme was “Earth Medicine.” We’ll be joined this year by violinist Lana Dalberg, with whom we’ve been collaborating closely this past year, working on “Sing of Peace.” We hope you can join us for our evening concert, and more of the Goddess Harvest Festival.

October 10, 2015

Reclaiming the Divine Feminine…. in Salt Lake City!

reclaiming posterDevi Vaani is going to Utah!

We are thrilled to have been invited to a landmark event connected to the World Parliament of Religions in Salt Lake City this year. “Reclaiming the Divine Feminine,” led by Rev. Jann Aldredge Clanton, will be held on October 17th at the Episcopal Church Center in SLC. The event includes an interfaith panel discussion and rituals exploring the role of female images and names for the divine in creating a more just and sacred world. The event also includes, of course, music.

We have been asked to lead inclusive hymns, some of which will appear on our soon-to-be-released c.d. “Sing of Peace.” We will also be performing songs from our first cd, “She Is Here.”

This is our first time traveling out of state to perform and we are excited and honored to share our music with a group of people who share our devotion to resurrecting the Goddess and all she represents.

This is an exciting time to be alive, and an exciting time to be heading to Salt Lake City too!

 

 

August 5, 2015

Sing of Peace, Holy Peace

katie green red piece

(image by Katie Ketchum)

In a few short days we will be heading into the studio to record our Christmas album, Sing of Peace. In addition to our voices and guitars, we’re bringing with us candy canes, a santa hat and a mini Christmas tree to set the mood. 😉

Our title track is Jann Aldredge-Clanton’s version of the holiday classic Silent Night, or Stille Nacht as it was titled in its original German. This Christmas favorite was written by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr in 1831. It was played in public for the first time during a midnight mass on Christmas Eve. It premiered in a psalm-like format, the congregation joining the lead singer on the refrain lines to the accompaniment of a guitar.

The original song describes, as do many Christmas songs, the story of the Virgin birth of Jesus Christ the Savior. Aldredge-Clanton’s rendition highlights humanity’s ongoing movement toward peace and justice. In this song, we call upon Holy Wisdom to come to us, guiding our works of justice and love.

The Aldredge Clanton-Devi Vaani album is not merely a re-telling of the Christmas story with “Goddess” replacing “God,” nor is it a return to the pre-Christian pagan traditions of this time of year—Solstice, yule, etc – without any Christian imagery or roots. Sing of Peace reclaims and amplifies the already explicit themes of peace, joy, awe and love that so much of the world associates with the season we call Christmas. It includes the experiences of women, minorities and all oppressed people who are not directly referenced in traditional Christmas music. It weaves the magic and mystery of Christmas with urgent cries for justice, an end to suffering, and respect and dignity for all beings, that ring out worldwide on Christmas and every other day of the year.

As we enter the recording studio on August 8th, 2015, we are holding in our hearts prayers for healing for the broken, food for the hungry, homes for the dispossessed, water as a basic right for all people, restoration and preservation of the Earth, protection from violence for our children and marginalized siblings, fair wages, empowering education and enlightened health care options for everyone. And so much more. We invite you to join us in our prayers for a more just, loving and sustainable planet. May peace and joy abound this Christmas, and every single day that follows.

July 16, 2015

To Wake Our Dreams that Sleep

darkness

We’ve been humming and harmonizing holiday tunes all year in preparation for our recording date this summer and nourishing our souls with rich images of the Divine Mother as Midwife, Wisdom, and Nurturer of our deepest dreams, longings and abilities. Here are some of the words we’ve been meditating on throughout our rehearsals in preparation for this project.

Midwife Divine inspires us through holy darkness deep.

Moving through realms of mystery to wake our dreams that sleep.

 

O Come Christ-Sophia, full of grace and wisdom,

Come bless us and challenge us to make life anew.

 

Sing of Peace, holy peace. Sing of all gifts released.

Through our works of love each day, Wisdom comes to show the way.

 

We LOVE Christmas music. However, much of the imagery that abounds (“King of King and Lord of Lords, He shall Reign forever and ever) is often at odds with our understanding of spirit which includes power-with, rather than power-over, and seeks the guidance, wisdom and love of our Divine Mother. We feel deeply blessed to have been exposed to Jann Aldredge Clanton’s works and to be singing some of our favorite Christmas songs with lyrics and imagery that speak to the greatest love and longings of our souls.

We look forward to sharing this gift with you and your loved ones and co-creating new holiday traditions that will engender a more just and peaceful world for generations to come. We’ll keep you posted on our project as we move forward and hold you all in our prayers as we labor to birth the very first Goddess Christmas Album.

July 9, 2015

Art and Music Fair at Melanio’s Bistro- Sunday 7/12, 2pm

We are SUPER excited to be opening the 2nd annual Art and Music Fair at Melanio’s Bistro, aka Caffe D’Melanio, on Ocean Ave this Sunday. We’ve been branching out beyond our familiar and comfy purple church this summer and exploring new venues. We had a blast at Golden Gate Park a couple of weeks ago and we are thrilled to be participating in this talent-packed event at cute restaurant that serves amazing food (pizza, panini, and, did I mention, amaretto cheesecake!?!) We are the OPENING ACT so arrive early to get a good seat and something yummy. =)

Melanio’s Bistro is located at 1314 Ocean Ave, San Francisco 94112, not far from Balboa Park BART station and City College.

Art and Music Festival is Sunday July 12, 2-6pm.

June 10, 2015

Christmas in July

photo-7

We are donning our fuzzy red and white hats and jingle bells early this year. We are teaming up with feminist theologian/minister, author and prolific Goddess lyricist Jann Aldredge Clanton to create a holiday album that celebrates and uplifts the Divine Feminine. Rev. Aldredge Clanton states, “We can never be all we’re created to be in the divine image until we expand our image of the divine to include female and male and more. When we balance female and male sacred names and symbols, we help overcome injustice and create a world of shared power.”

Rev. Aldredge Clanton has published two books of traditional hymns with new, inclusive lyrics that envision a world of justice and peace held tenderly in the arms of the Holy Mother. Her hymn books include well-known holiday favorites such as “Silent Night,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Greensleeves.” Rather than perpetuate the exclusively male images of the divine sung about in these holiday favorites, Rev. Aldrege Clanton writes of the wonder and mystery of “Christ-Sophia” the Holy One who embodies male and female Christ consciousness and wisdom.

We’re looking forward to sharing our experience of making this special cd with you over the next couple of months. We’ll keep you posted as our journey progresses.

Goddess Blessings!