This is the last in our earth chant quodlibet (yes, since relearning the word last week, I’ve rather enjoyed saying it and typing it, especially since it’s appropriate), and it’s been an … interesting side trip. The melodies of the chants are, intentionally, rather simple, and I imagine the complexity builds as you add other chants – especially if you have a strong song leader and an attentive congregation.
But what’s been especially interesting is the question of appropriation. Over these last few days I’ve wondered about (or been called to wonder about) not so much the inclusion of a song from another culture but rather the use of distinctive phrases or lyrics or styles that come from/are reminiscent of the music and spirituality of American Indigenous cultures. And the truth is that for me, I’m not sure today where the line is between inclusion and misappropriation. And… we can’t know what the discussions were among the compilers of STJ regarding these things – although by the early 2000s they certainly would have been dealing with some of these question, so I expect they chose with care. And, we know that even 12 years on, some things have shifted even more (such an awareness of binary and ableist language). I do know that I sometimes lean on the side of caution, but I would rather be cautious than careless. So… make of this what you will.
The good news, I suppose, is that this last one is rather neutral. It’s a simple tune that could come from anywhere, with language and metaphors that could come from anywhere. I vaguely remember it from my high pagan days, and knowing that it comes from Circle of Song, I’m not surprised. (That resource was like a hymnal for one pagan group I was involved with.)
Evening breeze, spirit song,
sings to me when the day is done.
Mother earth awakens me
with the heart beat of the sea.
And… that’s it really. A sweet little chant from a great book published in the 1990s that has helped round out STJ’s collection of Sixth Source songs.
And thus endeth the quodlibet.