Saturday, December 01, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
"True Patriotism is more closely linked to dissent than it is to conformity and a blind desire for safety and security" – Ron Paul
"I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power" – Ron Paul
"The true Patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self-interst for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state" – Ron Paul
"Each of us should choose which course of action we must take; education, conventional political action, or even peaceful civil disobedience to bring about necessary changes, but let it not be said that we did nothing" – Ron Paul
Friday, October 19, 2007
“Well behaved women seldom make history” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Mormon, Pulitzer Prize Winner
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“On a visit to Salt Lake City a few years ago, Gloria Steinem quipped that the L.D.S. Church had probably created more feminists than she ever had.” – Margaret Toscano
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Ron Paul more Mormon than Mitt?
The L.D.S. Doctrine & Covenants (section 98) says of the Constitution:
5 And that alaw of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
This is one of the best short videos I have ever seen in my life! THIS VIDEO WAS #1 on YOUTUBE yesterday until they removed it and changed the view count!
Latter-day prophet? (1 Nephi 1:4)
Mormon prophecy in fulfillment? You decide (for more info go to http://www.awakeandarise.org and Latter-day Saints for Ron Paul:
New video - Joel Skousen on why Mormons should support Ron Paul and not Romney:
CLICK HERE for a color flyer for members of the L.D.S. church about Ron Paul.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
"And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them. And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; and as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil." -- D&C 98:4-7
Thanks to Captain Moroni (http://www.myspace.com/ldsfreemen) for this post!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Ron Paul is coming to S.L.C. on September 15th!
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM MT
Historic Grand Hall
Union Pacific Depot
91 S Rio Grande St
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Coincidence? "The Champion of the Constitution" in Utah on Constitution Day:
AWAKEANDARISE.ORG: That We Might Sever the Strings of Tyranny!
Latter-day Saints attach special significance to the Constitution of the United States of America
Friday, August 31, 2007
The Hebraeus Foundation
650 East 400 North, Lindon, UT 84042
Applying the Learning of the Jews
A Ten-Week Course by
Classes commence Wednesday 12th September 2007
Conference Room, Blendtec Corporate Offices (West Building)
1680 West Business Park Drive, Orem, Utah 84058
(Go west on University Parkway and cross Geneva Road)
Time: 7-9 p.m. Wednesdays
Cost: $80 (non-refundable by second week of class)
Discounts for Additional Family Members
Learn the "Manner of Prophesying among the Jews" as applied
to the book of Isaiah, the Book of Mormon,
and other, related scriptures.
For information, contact Charlene Stott, 801-785-0943
send a check to: 650 East 400 North Lindon, Utah 84042
register online at www.isaiahinstitute .com
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Dear sister in humanity!
How are you doing?
I have good news. An answer to your question about SLC City Hall.
I asked my cousin, when I was in Salt Lake. He is a historian, among other things and will be giving a free talk at the 55th Annual Utah State Historical Society Sept. 6-8 at the SLC Library ~ fond memories, btw ~
My cousin, Steve Richardson, will be speaking on Prisoners of the Utah War (including my 3rd great-grandfather), Friday, September 7, 9 - 10:15 AM at the Rio Grand Depot / Zephyr Roon, 2nd floor, North Wing, 300 South / 450 West
Anyhoo, I asked him about that figure on top of city hall and what he told me was:
Back in the 1800's it was common for city halls in America to have a statue of liberty on top of the building. Not THE Statue of Liberty but A statue of liberty. He said there was an earthquake in the late 1800's and it knocked the statue off the building - grin - but eventually they put up another.
Let me know whats happenin in Salt Lake!
EQ aka Bethany Magdalene (you can email me through my profile on Blogger, or through my website: In Memory of Her
Thursday, August 16, 2007
This year @ SUNSTONE:
I learned that my pioneer ancestors were entheogen-imbibing anarchists.
I contemplated the yoga of Christ, practiced meditation for Mormons, flirted with a mohawked lesbian in the lobby, had the pleasure of hearing an Anais Nin quote during my panel session, and to top it off - Dennis Potter looked hot in fishnet stockings under his ripped jeans and purple finger-nail polish!
I attended a private test-screening of Richard Dutcher's latest film FALLING and found it to be one of the most harrowing yet beautiful films I've ever seen. Richard's attention to detail in this film is exquisite. This is his best one yet.
CLICK HERE for the PROGRAM
TO BE CONTINUED ~ stay tuned for the Salt Lake City report!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
LIFE IS A HIGHWAY: EXPANDED POSSIBILITIES
IN MORMON WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY
Kathy Wilson, Jana Bouck Remy, Elizabeth Quick, Michael Farnsworth, Sharon Kennedy
Twenty-first-century Mormon women of all ages
continue to discover new avenues for expressing
their spirituality, developing spiritual gifts, and
coming to terms with patterns that haven’t served
them. As they adapt the old and integrate the new,
they create new spiritual possibilities for themselves
and ultimately for those who stand beside them and
come after them. In the tradition of past Sunstone
panels on human potential and women’s spirituality,
this panel explores the spiritual journey of Latter-day
Saint women who embark on alternate paths
through practices such as dreamwork, channeling,
and earth-based ritual, and who maintain (though
not without struggle) intimate relationships while
engaging in extra-Mormon spiritual practices.
Moderator/ DOE DAUGHTREY, doctoral candidate, religion,
Panelist Arizona State University; member, Sunstone board
Panelists MICHAEL FARNWORTH, Ed.D., educational
psychology; recently retired from Ricks College
marriage and family relations department
JANA BOUCK REMY, doctoral candidate, American
history, University of California, Irvine; blogger at
Exponent II, SunstoneBlog, and
SHARON KENNEDY, high school teacher,
Carlsbad, California; mother of five
KATHY WILSON, artist, art gallery owner,
Salt Lake City
ELIZABETH QUICK, M.A. student in women’s
spirituality, New College of California, San
Francisco; maintains several blogs and websites,
including, In Memory of Her (HTTP://
and Priestess Academy (HTTP://PRIESTESSACADEMY.
Room Market Street
THIS is PART 2 in a SERIES of REVIEWS & COMMENTARY on SUNSTONE 2007
EVERY SESSION WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD @ http://sunstoneonline.com/symposium/symp-mp3s.asp within the next few weeks
CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF DR. BECKSTEAD'S PRESENTATION
I told Robert Beckstead during this session that I dare say that this was the most important session at Sunstone this year! The one thing I contributed to this session was an anecdote about how I heard one of the world's leading ethnomycologists, JAMES ARTHUR say on Coast to Coast AM, a few years back (before he tragically died) that he wanted to write a book called the Mushrooms of Mormondom (or something very close to that).
THE RESTORATION AND THE SACRED
MUSHROOM: DID JOSEPH SMITH USE
PSYCHEDELICS TO FACILITATE HIS
Presenter ROBERT BECKSTEAD, M.D., emergency physician,
Pocatello, Idaho; medical hypnotherapist; integrative
Abstract Gnosticism and shamanism practice techniques
of “knowing”—entering spiritual dimensions and
experiencing the ineffable, both heavenly and
hellish. Derivative forms of these ancient traditions
were practiced in upstate New York during Joseph
Smith’s formative years. Interestingly, shamans and
Gnostics used certain psychotropic plants and fungi
during rituals and ceremonies to facilitate trance
states. Used in this setting, psychoactive substances
are often called “entheogen,” meaning to manifest
“God within.” I will review the use of entheogens in
shamanic and Gnostic traditions and the evidence
that puts Joseph Smith in proximity to their use.
It will also show how the use of entheogens can
reproduce many of the paranormal and mythmaking
abilities Joseph manifested.
Respondent Questions from the audience
Chair EUGENE KOVALENKO
Room Weights and Measures
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
by Mormonism's own Ken Wilbur - JOHN KESLER
I attended my first session today at Sunstone. This (3 hr.) workshop was a hub of synchronicity for me!
MEDITATION FOR MORMONS with JOHN
The primary purpose of this workshop is to introduce
meditative practices that invite Mormons into the
mystical implications of their own tradition but also to
stretch a bit beyond the Mormon “spiritual field.”
A practicing Mormon, John Kesler has explored
many approaches to meditation including learning
from a number of teachers of the mystical schools
of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. In this
context, John is one of a handful of people who
have received transmission to facilitate a Zen
meditative practice, the “big mind process”
developed by Genpo Roshi, the leader of the largest
Zen lineage headquartered outside of Japan. John
has developed and teaches a meditative system
which he calls “integral thematic practice.”
John will introduce several meditations that resonate
with the patterns and practices of the Mormon
tradition. Because they draw on the resonances of
the Mormon spiritual field, a Latter-day Saint who
participates in these meditations may get the eerie
feeling that “I have been in this space before” even
without ever having participated in meditation. John
will also introduce a few meditations which other
traditions would suggest would be fruitful meditative
JOHN KESLER is an attorney, consultant, and
lecturer. He is founder and executive director of
the Salt Lake Center for Engaging Community,
and speaks and consults regarding community
flourishing and transformation. John developed and
teaches meditation and related practices called
“integral thematic practice” reflecting Mormon, Zen,
and other influences. He is also a founding member
of the Ken Wilber-led Integral Institute and its politics
center and founding teacher of the Integral Spiritual
Center of the Integral Institute.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Libertarian Answers to Post-Patriarchal (a.k.a. feminist) Values
How can we replace the cultural ethics of dominance and control with more cooperative ways of interacting?
Government is the primary patriarchal institution in our culture. It is based on the ethic of dominance and control. Reject the culture of government and cooperation will blossom. Free the schools. Free the airwaves. Withhold your support of government and avoid dependence on it. If your goals can only be met by dominance and control (government action), it is time to re-evaluate your goals.
How can we encourage people to care about persons outside their own group?
By removing barriers to trade, travel, and charity. By abandoning the myth of the government safety net. Caring grows where there is no exploitation or restriction, but through taxes and regulations we exploit and restrict each other needlessly.
How can we promote the building of respectful, positive, and responsible relationships across the lines of gender and other divisions?
Respectful, positive, and responsible relationships cannot be created by law. Laws which now dictate our (personal and economic) relationships destroy respect, responsibility, and harmony. They should be repealed. Merchants everywhere compete to build positive relationships with their customers in spite of natural and artificial divisions.
How can we encourage a rich, diverse political culture that respects feelings as well as rationalist approaches?
Libertarians welcome voluntary social experimentation and the diversity it brings. Government seldom encourages political diversity or shows respect for feelings.
How can we proceed with as much respect for the means as well as the end (the process as much as the products of our efforts)?
Libertarianism is means-oriented. Libertarians reject the initiation of force as a means of achieving any social or political goal.
How can we learn to respect the contemplative, inner part of life as much as the outer activities?
Only if we have the leisure time generated by a free and prosperous economy.
--Harry Reid, The Liberator, page 9, Winter 1993
Under the Pink
By: Tori Amos
Release date: 01 February, 1994
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
He tries to tell me I can't be angry and spiritual
In the name of Jehovah
In anger Jesus threw the tables of the moneychangers over in the temple
Anger makes me strong
Doesn't let me lie down and take being raped
You wanna tell me I'm unladylike?
In the name of the Goddess
Anger is power
He tries to take away my power by making me think
I'm not spiritual
But really he fears the power of a woman whose been bound on the ground
For far too long
He tries humiliation
"You're the most miserable 'spiritual' person I've ever met!"
Well check out my latest sermon
As I heave a potted plant into the fridge through the door
Spirituality is not all angel wings
Crystals and Light
I'm not your Cosmic Barbie!
The prophets of old were pretty pissed off too
When they saw their fellow men destroying themselves
"A prophet is most often honored in her own land with Death," the old proverb says
I walk past a stagnant creek once teeming with fish
Infected with filth
I grieve over the murder of my Creator
Whose raped and once beautiful body
Doesn't look very Ladylike today
Oh Kali-Ma! Dark Goddess!
Sorceress who will not be ruled
Comfort me with your Justice
Devour the flesh of those that violate Beauty
Transform my inner demons
Into tools of Power
Friday, May 25, 2007
This song that reminds me of driving around Salt Lake back in the day, as a real-life SLC Punk.
It dovetails nicely with this poem:
by Carol Lynn Pearson
I live in a Motherless house
A broken home.
How it happened I cannot learn.
When I had words enough to ask
“Where is my mother?”
No one seemed to know
And no one thought it strange
That no one else knew either.
I live in a Motherless house.
They are good to me here
But I find that no kindly
Patriarchal care eases the pain.
I yearn for the day
Someone will look at me and say,
“You certainly do look like your Mother.”
I walk the rooms
Search the closets
Look for something that might
Have belonged to her—
A letter, a dress, a chair,
Would she not have left a note?
I close my eyes
And work to bring back her touch, her face.
Surely there must have been
A Motherly embrace
I can call back for comfort.
I live in a Motherless house,
Motherless and without a trace.
Who could have done this?
Who would tear an unweaned infant
From its Mother's arms
And clear the place of every souvenir?
I live in a Motherless house.
I lie awake and listen always for the word that never comes, but might.
I bury my face
In something soft as a breast.
I am a child
Crying for my mother in the night.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
by Margaret Merrill Toscano
If feminism is defined as a concern with the status and equality of women and/or the questioning of gender roles, then feminism has always been a part of the Mormon religion and culture. Nineteenth-century Mormonism was radical in many ways and challenged the status quo of American culture at large, including the position and role of women. Joseph Smith's theology introduced a concept of a Mother God, acknowledged the power and equality of women, and gave them priesthood through the temple ritual, according to a number of scholars (see bibliography below). Although Mormon women in early Utah were the second group in the USA to receive the vote in 1870, which was only two months after Wyoming granted women this right, Utah women were actually the first to use their franchise and vote in an election.
Mormon women had other rights during the 19th century unknown to most women in the rest of the country: married women had the same legal rights as single women, including the rights to own property in their names, represent themselves in court, and win easy access to divorce. In the 19th century Mormon women were avid suffragettes who argued and fought for the rights of all women. They were in contact with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others in the national women's movement. Through the LDS women's organization, the Relief Society, Mormon women controlled their own money and buildings, organized a hospital and other charitable organizations (which, among other things, collected, stored, and distributed grain and other food supplies), supported home industries (such as silk farms), and ran a women's newspaper (the Women's Exponent, 1872-1914), which advocated female independence, education, and careers, and emphasized female leadership and spiritual gifts.
In the early 20th century Mormonism went through a redefinition in order to fit into mainstream American culture and rid itself of its polygamous and politically autonomous past, which had been seen by many as anti-American. In a conservative reaction to its own history, Mormonism attempted to shuck off those elements of its theology and practice which made it unacceptable to the larger culture, while still retaining enough of its uniqueness to set it apart as a religion with a divine and separate calling from the rest of Christianity in America. Among the things lost during this period were the concepts of women's spiritual gifts and their role as priestesses (a term used to define such women as Eliza R. Snow in the 19th century). Although women retained control of their own Relief Society organization until the early 1970s, they gradually lost the management of their own affairs and publications from the time of statehood in 1896 onward, along with their sense of independence. Ironically, the image of Mormon women as docile homemakers, a la June Cleaver serving jello to a smiling family in a 1950s sitcom, is just one of the many things Mormonism adopted from conservative American culture.
Influenced by the national feminist movement in the 1970s, Mormon women began to reclaim their history and to participate in women's groups as part of an attempt to redefine women's roles and opportunities in an LDS context. This is not to say that Mormon women did not participate in feminism during the first half of the 20th century.(more of this article to follow soon)
MWF Frequently Asked Questions
Annual Counterpoint Conference
The Original post is here
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Today's breaking news videos -
Da Vinci Code's Mystery Melody
Secrets revealed at 'Da Vinci Code' Churchhttp://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=1114077983
AP's video story
The Rosslyn Stave Angel - Music Cipher
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Dr. Vern G. Swanson has produced a thought-provoking book on the topic of the Holy Grail and the bloodline of Jesus. His perspective on the subject has grown after reading nearly 400 books on the Holy Grail, and his 28 years of research on the topic. Going far beyond the mortally flawed best sellers, Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code, his epic book will be applicable to both Mormon and non-Mormon audiences. It is certainly the most significant scholarly tome on the Holy Grail and the bloodline yet.
Click here for more info
Friday, February 02, 2007
Women's Prophetic Drumming Tradition: Ancient and Contemporary Female Shamanism in Biblical Traditions
Artist Phil Blank's illustration of the Jewish Deborah/Bee Goddesses, a possibly ecstatic group of women who played drums and were related to a bee cult that stretched from Egypt to Greece to India in the olden days. In this piece the artist contemplates mystic, ecstatic, musical, religious traditions connected to bees. According to Phil, this tradition was widespread across the Mediterranean and Asia Minor and may have included the Israelites via the prophetess Deborah (who's name, in Hebrew, is Bee). Text here is adapted from the Teruah-JewishMusic Blog by Jack Zaientz http://teruah-jewishmusic.blogspot.com/2008/09/phil-blank-lowest-of-low-and-jewish.html
Respondent DOE DAUGHTREY, M.A., doctoral candidate, religious studies, Arizona State University; member, Sunstone board of directors.
To download this session (MP3), or listen online - where you can also hear the response from Doe Daughtrey, M.A. (as well as Q and A from the audience) go to:
To hear the sound of a frame-drum: turn on your speakers and right-click on this link to open a new window - http://www.soundboard.com/sb/Frame_Drum_loops
More frame drum sounds: right-click and select "open a new tab" here
To see the actual survival of this ancient female shamanic tradition caught on film (for the first and only time in history), watch FREE online, "Mystic Iran: The Unseen World,"
https://youtu.be/Omd_vYoWOK0 or order from Amazon.com
This session was opened with the music of the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble's Ancient Echoes: Music from the Time of Jesus and the Second Temple. (Listen to the full album, free, online):
Click on the pictures (below) to ENLARGE
All Rights Reserved
The Biblical record contains a well-developed musical lexicon demonstrating the importance of music to Biblical peoples. “Artifacts and ancient texts reveal that the people of ancient
The Book of Genesis credits Jubal with the invention of musical instruments, specifically the kinnor (a member of the harp family) and the ugav (a pipe, or wind instrument). The first mention of music after the Deluge is Jacob’s run-in with Laban. Laban complains to Jacob that if he had known that Jacob was leaving, “I would have sent you off with festive music, timbrel and lyre.” Dr. Eliyahu Schleifer, of
Professor Schleifer observes that the patriarch Laban mentions two instruments: a tof (or frame drum) and a kinnor (sometimes translated as lyre). These two instruments along with the ugav, a pipe or wind instrument, “constituted the main musical instruments of the patriarchal period.” The ugav and the kinnor were probably considered men’s instruments. The tof, however, “was associated with women's dance songs (mecholot), such as Miriam's song at the
Interestingly, Mormon scholars have been telling us for years that, “music has a strong ritual, and symbolic meaning, closely tied to the creation and the temple,” that the earliest forms of drama, dance and song originated in ancient temple ceremonies, commemorating both that great shout for joy at the divine council where the creation of the earth was planned, as well as, “the time when the angels shouted praises unto the Holy One of Israel at the creation, when they both sang and gave the Hosanna shout.”
If the Israelites were a musical people then surely they must have been a dancing people. The Old Testament confirms that eleven Hebrew roots are used to describe the various characteristics of dance and most of these roots occur only in intensive forms “pointing out the nature and character of sacred dance.”
In his 1923 book, The Sacred Dance, the Vicar of St. Albans and Doctor of Divinity W.O.E. Oesterley, notes “the universal presence” of religious or ritual dance, its origins coming down to us from “pre-historic times.” Oesterley claimed that “sacred dance” could (in spite of local variations in ritual and mythology) be found amongst so many cultures and time periods “with extraordinary uniformity” that it was either descended from “an ultimately identical tradition” or was perhaps just an inherent part of human biology. “That the sacred dance originated in pre-historic times goes without saying.”
Contrary to popular belief the Israelites were not so different from other cultures. When Oesterley classified these dances, not according to their “outward form,” but according to their intent and purpose, he found that “the Old Testament offers evidence of the existence amongst the ancient Israelites of most of the typical sacred dances of antiquity.”
In contemporary times we tend to think of dance as a recreational or spontaneous activity but historically dance has been a powerful form of religious expression.
Oesterley sees ritual dance as honoring a supernatural power or diety and taking that power upon oneself in a process of imitative magic or personification of diety that leads to mystical union with the divine.
It was among some of the early prophets of the Hebrew Bible that “the most interesting kind of sacred dance, the ecstatic dance, was in vogue.” In this they were no different “from certain classes of holy men” or the spiritual leaders of the world’s cultures. “The earliest prophets,” says Oesterley, “believed that this sacred dance was the means whereby the divine spirit came upon them.”
Naturally, the significance of song and dance continued on into the times of Christ and beyond. In Aramaic, the Semitic language spoken by Jesus, rejoice and dance are the same word, so the New English Bible translates Jesus in Luke 6:23, as saying: “rejoice and dance for joy.” Jesus refers to Wisdom’s dance in Matthew 11:17 and19.
In Matthew 11:16 Jesus asks, “But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, we have piped unto you and ye have not danced.”
Hugh Nibley pointed out that:
The Greek and Russian Orthodox churches still preserve the ring dance around the altar in that most conservative of rites, the wedding ceremony, when bride, groom, and priest all join hands and circle the altar three times; H. Leisegang connects this definitely with the old prayer circle. At the coronation of the Byzantine emperor, everyone danced around the emperor's table three times. The most common representations of ritual dancing in early Christian art show pious damsels dancing around the throne of King David. And the Jewish apocryphal writings often depict a situation best described at the opening of the Book of Mormon, where Lehi sees God on his throne "surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God" (1 Nephi 1:8). Surrounding concourses are concentric circles, and the singing and praising are never static: it is a dynamic picture with everything in motion, as Lehi sees it, and as the cosmic pattern of the thing requires. The prayer circle is often called the chorus of the apostles, and it is the meaning of chorus which can be a choir, but is originally a ring dance, as Pulver designates it in the title of his study. The prayer was a song such as Paul prayed and sang in the darkness of a prison [in Acts 16:25]: “About midnight they prayed a hymn to God.” And if they sang in chorus, would they not dance? Philo says that the true initiate during the rites moves "in the circuit of heaven, and is borne around in a circle with the dances of the planets and stars in accordance with the laws of perfect music"--the music of the spheres.
The chorus sings, and the chorus of the muses sings the poiema, the creation song. Remember, the blind muses? Each one is in charge of describing and studying one department of the creation. So they all get together. When they sing together, it's the poiema, the song of the creation. It's a glorious thing. It's a round dance like the Egyptian maypole. And it's the music of the spheres and those things we have heard about in literature.
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand;
The frame drum is the world's oldest known drum and for thousands of years was the primary trance inducing technology for religious and ecstatic rituals. It is the oldest means for altering states of consciousness for spiritual purposes through transformative sound. When played with hand and finger techniques, the frame drum has a long, clear, ringing tone with many audible harmonics. These overtones create a chord of magical and alluring sounds with every stroke.
In most historical forms of shamanism, the sound of the frame drum generates the trance state in which the shaman travels back and forth among the three realms – the heavens, the earth, and the underworld. The interconnectedness of these realms is universally represented by the Tree of Life, which is rooted in the underworld, bears fruit on earth, and reaches its topmost branches into the heavens…it also represented the spinal column, the channel through which divine energy traveled in consciousness raising techniques. The continuing beat of the shaman’s drum maintains the link with everyday reality so the shaman can safely return to the earth realm of the living.
“Gilgamesh… appears on an Akkadian tablet containing a translation of the Sumerian legend, which tells… the story of a tree of life in the creation of the universe. Here the goddess Ishtar [the Babylonian counterpart of the Sumerian goddess Inanna] gives Gilgamesh a magical drum and drumstick made from the tree of life, which she has planted in her garden. Gilgamesh loses them to the netherworld—the world of the dead—and cannot retrieve them.”
The business of the Muses at the temple was to sing the creation song with the morning stars. Naturally because they were dramatizing the story of the creation, too, the hymn was sung to music (some scholars derive the first writing from musical notation). The singing was performed in a sacred circle or chorus, so that poetry, music and dance go together. (Lucian’s famous essay on the ancient dance, among the earliest accounts, takes it back to the round dance in the temple, like the prayer circle that Jesus used to hold with the apostles and their wives…some have referred to this as a dance; it is definitely a chorus). So poetry, music and dance go out in the world from the temple – called by the Greeks the Mouseion, the shrine of the Muses.
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