Singing the Great Mother

Imagine climbing into the lap of a great mother, a soft, powerful, being who loves you through and through.  She cradles you in her arms.  She whispers to you that all is well, and in some unfathomable way, despite everything, you know this to be true.

I don’t find this too hard to imagine because my mum was good at cuddles.  We had a big saggy armchair we called The Munster Chair, and many a tantrum, headache or childhood disaster was mended by a cuddle in that chair.  Then I grew up and had the good fortune to become a mother.  Wonderfully, for a while at least, I became the great giver of cuddles.  My arms were the ones that made everything all right again.   My voice was the comforting one.

In a similar way, when I began writing chants dedicated to, and kind of dictated by, the Divine Feminine in her various forms, I found I was sometimes the little one calling on the Divine, and sometimes hearing Her words come through my mouth.

Making a new chant, the first time around I would sing, “Oh Grandmothers, you are holding the Net of Light.”  Next time it would be, “Oh Grandmothers, we are holding the Net of Light”.*  Both felt true.

I wrote a song for Shamanka (the female Shaman):

Shamanka, woman of power, Shamanka, woman of vision, Shamanka, magical woman, Wise one, wild one, Shamanka. 

In the second verse I heard,

My hands are your hands,  My heart is your heart, My voice is yours, Shamanka, Wise one, wild one, Shamanka.

Again and again I had this experience of merging and blurring.  The Great Mother / Grandmother / Wise Woman / Sacred Feminine is not some distant figure who demands our worship.  Rather, she wants us to discover Herself within us.  By singing these chants we resonate with her vibration.  We begin to be Peace, Compassion, Sovereignty, a powerful nurturing presence that holds us even as we create it.  Here are some words that people have used to describe how they felt at the end of a chanting session recently: “Roundness. Peace. Vessel. Silence. Stillness. Beauty.”

In these fortnightly evenings when we light our candles and sing the chants, improvising, listening as we go, we are not just singing about the Divine Mother, nor are we just singing to the Divine Mother, although I’m sure She would enjoy that.  We are actually singing Her into being.  We are calling Her up through us, making each cell of our bodies vibrate with Her energy, creating neural pathways for Her in our minds, and charging the molecules in the air with Her sacred essence, that is so needed in the world at this time of conflict and confusion.  And that, for me at least, is worth going out for on a rainy Tuesday night in the winter.  Perhaps you’d like to join us?


Singing the Great Mother is held in the woodfire-warmed cabin at Barracks Lane Community Garden, Oxford, OX4 2AP fortnightly on a Tuesday from 7.30pm – 9pm.  It’s open to anyone who feels drawn to come: singers and non-singers, women and men.  In the first 30 – 40 minutes the simple chants are taught by ear.  Some have harmonies and some work as rounds.  Then we turn off the lights and just sing by candlelight, dropping into silence from time to time.

The next dates are 3rd December, 14th and 28th January, 11th and 25th February, 10th and 24th March.

*To hear a recording of the Net of Light / Tree of Life chant click here.

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