Radical Faerie Ritual Chants
Reviewed by Mark Thompson
Shane Hill and Heron Saline, two enterprising musicians in Santa Cruz, California, have done the Gay men’s spiritual community and audiophiles the world over an enormous favor by recording this collection of Radical Faerie songs and chants, Spirit Dancing: Radical Faerie Ritual Chants. Some of these fourteen tracks were originally composed and heard during early Faerie gatherings in the 1980s. Others in this lively compilation have been spiritual standards for years within previous pagan and earth-centered faith traditions.
According to lead vocalist Shane Hill, “the chants are sung to invoke specific openings into ourselves, to each other and to the realms beyond our everyday experience.” The chants are arranged to match the structure of a Radical Faerie gathering or large ritual, from the opening circle to the invocation of elements and deities. Adds Heron Saline, who supplies guitar, percussion instruments, and supporting vocals, making the album was “a love gift for our communities.” That nurturing spirit resonates throughout Spirit Dancing, which has been recorded with obvious professional care as well.
A few of my favorite tracks are “Wearing Our Long Green Feathers,” adapted from an Arapaho song, “We Are an Old People,” composed by Will Shepardson,” and the tender tribal hymn, “Dear Friends,” adapted from a traditional English round. But anyone who has stood in a Radical Faerie circle, whether thirty years ago or today, will be sure to have treasured personal memories stirred and confirmed — as did I — by Spirit Dancing. Students, in general, of alternative spirituality and culture will also find this album equally valuable.
My only complaint in an otherwise wholesale praise of this project is that nowhere on the CD or its packaging is an address or other contact information given. Spirit Dancing would make a beautiful gift to a friend and useful addition to any Faerie library. But I guess prospective listeners will just have to rely on community word of mouth or on those spirits who come via the wind — as welcomed and entrancing as the songs thankfully recorded for posterity here.
To obtain the Spirit Dancing CD, please contact Shaynala or Heron. Heron Saline: 415-706-9740 firstname.lastname@example.org with“chant cd” in the subject line) Shane Hill (Shaynala): 831-345-2412 email@example.com
Mark Thompson lives in Los Angeles.
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