collapse

Author Topic: Invocatory Chants and Songs  (Read 463 times)

Darkhawk

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 4805
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 685
    • View Profile
    • Suns in her Branches
  • Religion: An American Werewolf in the Akhet; Kemetic; Feri; Imaginary Baltic Heathen; Discordian; CoX; Etc.
  • Preferred Pronouns: any of he, she, they
Invocatory Chants and Songs
« on: September 26, 2012, 06:24:05 pm »
Trying to figure out how to talk about this one...

Okay: I had a semi-recent experience in which I encountered a deity as a consequence of learning a song with invocatory power.

This is certainly not my first experience with music and entities by a long shot.  (Anecdote: a classmate and I were at the same concert once, and when I saw him afterwards I asked, "... so.... did something show up for this song?" "Yes.  Yes.  Something did.")  But it was an experience that left me with a burning sort of ponder.

Specifically: how can one write/find/discover/channel/wherever these sacred chants come from?  These things that share an essence with their god, where singing them can make people meet the god, how do we find them?  (How do we find them for specific gods?)

Paaaaging Jenett. ;)


(And now that I'm writing this I'm reminded of listening to the Hrafnar seidhworkers talking about how their lore reconstruction included stuff like "and they sang a song so the seer could do this" and were deeply frustrated in that "HOW DID THE SONG GO?!" kind of way.)
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

SatAset

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 481
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 5
    • View Profile
    • Fiercely Bright One
  • Religion: Kemetic Orthodox
  • Preferred Pronouns: She, Her
Re: Invocatory Chants and Songs
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 08:39:58 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;75160
Trying to figure out how to talk about this one...

Okay: I had a semi-recent experience in which I encountered a deity as a consequence of learning a song with invocatory power.


My first thought on this is to study a deity,  parse their essence together from UPG, lore, archeology, etc and then put that in a chant.  

The other part of this is what is the chant for?  Is it in a specific ritual that deals with specific aspects of the god?  Or here is a chant to Name and Identify the deity to bring that Holy Power to a shrine or ritual for daily devotions?  Or something else entirely?  

I channel Oracles for Aset via poetry or prose.  I'm not musically talented so I wouldn't know what to do with those aspects of it.
I am the Goddess of Who I can Become. I mix the magic of the sorceress with the blade of a warrior. I walk the liminal pathways to see the face of the Goddess, both terrible and kind. As She stares back at me, I tremble in awe and ecstasy.  --SatAset

Jenett

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3054
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 590
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Invocatory Chants and Songs
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 09:33:40 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;75160

Specifically: how can one write/find/discover/channel/wherever these sacred chants come from?  These things that share an essence with their god, where singing them can make people meet the god, how do we find them?  (How do we find them for specific gods?)

Paaaaging Jenett. ;)


*How* long have you known me? And you expect me to be coherent about this? But I'll try.

Roughly, I think that creating music to invoke a deity for other people is about as complicated as creating a ritual that will do it. Which is to say, possible - but tricky.

(Honouring is different - and much easier to do in my experience and the experience of people I've worked with - than invoking, generally, in terms of "write stuff that will work for other people.")

And I think more so for music in some ways than a more complex ritual, because in a ritual you have multiple modes - sound, but also visuals, scents, pacing, spatial relationships, etc. and so it's easier to hedge your bets.

(This is also why traditions, once they get an initiatory ritual that works fairly reliable are so resistent to changing pieces of the thing. You never know exactly which are the pieces that make it work for enough people.)

But music is also amazingly personal. To be specific: I've known Darkhawk for going on 18 years now, and I am pretty sure I could not reliably write a piece of music that would trigger that for her. I might, if I had three or four pieces, do the whole of the work across all four. But writing a ritual that could do it would be a *lot* easier - our musical tastes and strongest influences vary quite a bit, and writing music would mean writing in a foreign language to me, effectively. Writing ritual wouldn't be.
 
(Now, could I write a piece of music that might work really well for her for other purposes? Yes. Been there and done that, so I'm pretty sure it's possible. But invocatory stuff is deeply complicated.)  

So.

The ones I've had the most luck with (and I've written chants to be used for light-invocationary purposes for trad ritual) are:

- singable by a wide range of people. This part is about 5 times harder than everyone thinks it is. (People have really bizarre ideas about what they can and can't sing, will get scared off by stuff that sounds complicated, will have different kinds of pacing and tempo and emphasis, etc.)

- For invocatory purposes, something that induces a trance state is really handy. This is a matter of tempo, rhythm, pitch choice - and if you start getting more esoteric, there are choices of keys/scales/modes, meter, instrumentation/harmony, and other things that can make a huge difference.

(Really short version: if you're aiming at small-group trance, aim for something that's about heartbeat pace, [1], that is mostly set between about middle C and the A above, and that avoids being a dirge while having some variation of pitch. This is much harder than it sound.

Basically if you've got a group of, say, 8 people, 1 or 2 of them will be strong singers, 2 or so will be good if there's someone leading the way, and at least 3 will be absolutely convinced they can't sing, very nervous about it, or otherwise not able to lend their energies to the work fully. This does not make 3 or 4 part music functional for ritual.

If you're aiming at larger group work, you can do some awesome stuff with harmonies and counter melodies - Abbi Spinner McBride's stuff for fire circles is an *excellent* example of invocatory music that's non-deity based. The "Let it begin now" track from the Reclaiming CD of that same name is a good example of something that uses multiple voices and varied structure to do a similar kind of invocationary work.

- Very clearly focused on what the music is supposed to do. "Hi, deity, we're here, please come?" is a very different thing from "Cleanse this space of all unwanted energy" musically. And "Make this major change in this person here" is even more different from both.

Deliberately writing for one and not the other can be made much easier by study of music theory, music psychology, and having a solid understanding of how people are going to hear certain musical concepts. (I am vastly inexperienced in music written after about 1920, and I know it, and it's part of why I have trouble writing this stuff.)

- And here's the part that's hard: the amount of detail you can fit into a few lines of song is very limited. And at the same time, when you get all the other bits right, it can run very very very deep, especially if you can get the song to go an extended period of time. (10+ minutes). Be careful what you do with that power. Test it carefully. Don't operate heavy machinery after working on this stuff.

[1] Favourite trick to this, learned from one of my best friends. To get a heartbeat drum rhythm, say to yourself "Listen to my HEART BEAT" where the caps are the drum beats. Do it evenly, and it works really nicely (and while you can speed it up accidentally, it's a lot harder than with some other methods.)
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Shine

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Nov 2011
  • Posts: 912
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
    • http://houseofthelion.wordpress.com/
Re: Invocatory Chants and Songs
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 09:38:00 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;75160

Specifically: how can one write/find/discover/channel/wherever these sacred chants come from?  These things that share an essence with their god, where singing them can make people meet the god, how do we find them?  (How do we find them for specific gods?)


 
Woah, I was kind of pondering the same thing for working with/worshipping Bast, except my bit is discovering in what songs can Bast be "found" so I can dance, trance, or whatever. Still haven't worked out all the details.

UPG here, but I think she's in all music, it's just there are some songs where she can be found more easily.

I chanced onto this question through a nightcore song called "Flute". Here's a link: .

So far, my theory is--and it's mostly related to Bast, so I'm not trying to talk in generalities here--that the best songs will be those with a strong beat that you can dance, clap, or trance to. Kind of get yourself into a sort of in-between state. Am I making sense? I don't really have the vocabulary to say things as clearly as I'd like. . .

If you listen to that Flute song, you'll get what I mean. It's got a fast beat, no lyrics, and you could dance, clap, or stomp your feet to it. In fact, I've experimented with it a bit and it really does seem to have some kind of power.

The sacred music is wherever you find it, IMHO.

I do play a bit of music and in fact am learning guitar for Bast and the rest of the Netjeru. Finding that sacred music and putting a chant to it would probably be easier than actually finding the music just because of the greater amount of control you have. I'm working on something called a progression right now. You've put it in my mind to experiment with that and see if I can make something pleasing to the gods.

Anyway, I feel like I rambled a lot. Did I contribute anything useful? Your posts often make my brain do bendy things. Lol.
Leave your darkness with me, and I will make you shine.

spoOk

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 411
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Invocatory Chants and Songs
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 12:36:15 am »
Quote from: Darkhawk;75160
Trying to figure out how to talk about this one...

Okay: I had a semi-recent experience in which I encountered a deity as a consequence of learning a song with invocatory power.

This is certainly not my first experience with music and entities by a long shot.  (Anecdote: a classmate and I were at the same concert once, and when I saw him afterwards I asked, "... so.... did something show up for this song?" "Yes.  Yes.  Something did.")  But it was an experience that left me with a burning sort of ponder.

Specifically: how can one write/find/discover/channel/wherever these sacred chants come from?  These things that share an essence with their god, where singing them can make people meet the god, how do we find them?  (How do we find them for specific gods?)

Paaaaging Jenett. ;)


(And now that I'm writing this I'm reminded of listening to the Hrafnar seidhworkers talking about how their lore reconstruction included stuff like "and they sang a song so the seer could do this" and were deeply frustrated in that "HOW DID THE SONG GO?!" kind of way.)

 
thanks for starting this thread!
I've always wanted some kind of reliable song or chant I could do for this purpose,but always feared it would always be random and fleeting and accidental! :/

what style of music was the concert in your anecdote out of curiosity?
Ize bel zafen.
Ize bel daleen.

Darkhawk

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 4805
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 685
    • View Profile
    • Suns in her Branches
  • Religion: An American Werewolf in the Akhet; Kemetic; Feri; Imaginary Baltic Heathen; Discordian; CoX; Etc.
  • Preferred Pronouns: any of he, she, they
Re: Invocatory Chants and Songs
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2012, 09:36:31 am »
Quote from: spoOk;75184

what style of music was the concert in your anecdote out of curiosity?

 
That was a VNV Nation concert, so somewhere in the intersection between "electronica" and "industrial" I think.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

spoOk

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 411
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Invocatory Chants and Songs
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2012, 11:50:24 am »
Quote from: Darkhawk;75211
That was a VNV Nation concert, so somewhere in the intersection between "electronica" and "industrial" I think.

 
ah,EBM. >.<
lol

after re reading this thread....I was reminded that in A.D. religions each loa has a signature drum beat thats just for them nd calls up just them.
would this be able to pass to what jennet was talking about for chant creation. say using the authentic drum style particular to the dietys origin.
I know Celt,Greek,native American and Inuit have specific drums,and even Japanese. do you think Hecate or the morrigan have signature drum beats that we just have lost ?
Ize bel zafen.
Ize bel daleen.

Faemon

  • Grand Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: May 2012
  • Posts: 1229
  • Total likes: 9
    • View Profile
Re: Invocatory Chants and Songs
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2012, 04:12:52 am »
Quote from: Darkhawk;75160
how can one write/find/discover/channel/wherever these sacred chants come from? These things that share an essence with their god, where singing them can make people meet the god, how do we find them?  (How do we find them for specific gods?)
Leonard Cohen said, "Being a songwriter is like being a nun: you're married to a mystery." I'm not sure I completely agree because I acknowledge that there is a discipline and a science to music. As a songwriter, I find my mundane influences quite inescapable: what do I listen to, how much of my own twist I can put to those influences, how unskilled I still am with my instrument... I struggle with a lot of those limitations. But I can't help but attribute it to divine favor, that I have been able to create music at all. It's enough to be able to offer something "sort of slightly different enough" from the music that's already here, and that difference never feels like it comes from me so much as that it's come through me. But if I want to make a living out of it (and I do,) I can't depend on mysterious inspiration. It has to be a skill.

In honor of specific divinities, though? That's especially where I see my skill failing. In attempting to compose a hymn to Loki, as a recent example, I meditated extensively upon that god's aspect-- certainly, I felt great enthusiasm for this project-- but my UPG was that Loki listened to the piece and went, "Ew, no." It sounded wrong to me, too, but I didn't know what to change or create to make the right composition. I still don't know. He didn't seem to already have it-- just the energy that it should emulate. And everything I set up, that usually I just fall into, zone out to, and re-emerge with something like the right piece, which it then will be after some work... wasn't resulting in anything close to the right song.

In short: I don't know. :p But I believe that I can hear that resonance in other songs, where the composers didn't even have that deity in mind. It seems to me a monkeys-at-typewriter-randomly-scripting-Hamlet sort of thing, in cases that the worshippers or even the gods themselves agree with that UPG.

And of course that's often not the case: traditional Balinese gamelan music just sounds like an indistinguishable cacophony to me, but I've heard tell there are spirits in those musical instruments that are attributed with weather-controlling powers and probably demand their instrumentalists have the holy discipline to be exactly cacophonous exactly in that traditional way. For shame, I'm Southeast Asian and psychic and a musician and yet I do not get it.

edit to add: On a tangent, , translating sound waves into visuals.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 04:15:46 am by Faemon »
The Codex of Poesy: wishcraft, faelatry, alchemy, and other slight misspellings.
the Otherfaith: Chromatic Genderbending Faery Monarchs of Technology. DeviantArt

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
2 Replies
1604 Views
Last post October 22, 2011, 12:50:20 am
by Firaza
0 Replies
2214 Views
Last post August 19, 2012, 02:25:10 pm
by RandallS
13 Replies
1600 Views
Last post May 28, 2014, 06:40:59 pm
by CalypsoMelancolic
0 Replies
2090 Views
Last post June 30, 2015, 11:02:59 am
by RandallS
18 Replies
1347 Views
Last post February 15, 2018, 11:36:25 pm
by JupiterSkies

Special Interest Group

Warning: You are currently in a Special Interest Group on the message board with special rules and focused discussions.

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 25
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 0

There aren't any users online.

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Co-Hosts:
LyricFox & Randall

Senior Staff:
Darkhawk

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Sunflower

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Board Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, HarpingHawke, Jenett, Morag, rocquelaire, Sefiru

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Reserve Staff:
Aisling

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Cauldron Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]

Site Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]
Webmaster:
Randall