Songs of the Wheel

from Hemlock Honey and Crows by Leslie Hudson

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about

There is nothing in my experience as magical as song. Creating sonic shapes that remain only as long as they are sung and hang on the air, that remain as part of the consciousness only as long as they are remembered.

In group practice it was a goal of mine to have an entire ritual performed purely in song. Casting, clearing, charging, calling, working, cleaning and closing. I wrote chants and sung prayers to fulfill all these functions and to adapt to various intent and the seasonal cycle.

This is a sonic, seasonal circle casting. It took 2 years to complete, writing each verse at the time of year it sang to summon, on the same route I walked until I had them. Each verse is the same length and can overlap with the other melodies, even in triplicate.

For the first time I'm sharing some of the sacred music I've written and sung in ritual a hundred times with dear friends so others can sing it, too. This version begins with Samhain because that is the current season where I live, but the verses are spokes of a wheel: begin where you are now.

lyrics

(Samhain)
From the storm cloud the rain falls
From the tree branch the leaves are falling
From the heavens the wind calls
And the bean-sídhe’s voice is calling

(Winter Solstice)
Starlight shines upon us now
Snowflakes fall to the ground
Icicles hang from the pine tree bough
Stillness and silence abound

(Imbolc)
Spindles and fingers reach into the bleak sky
Life slumbers under a blanket of earth
Kindle, awaken, let memory be shaken
Midnight is passed; for light a rebirth

(Spring Equinox)
Bud, bud, open up now to the
Sun, sun, warm up our bones
Rain, rain, loosen the soil as a
Bird, bird, daybreak intones

(Bealtaine)
Lie on the sweet grass and drink in the light
Let your heart soar like a swallow in flight
Lift up your eyes to the blossoming trees
And breathe in the newness of life on the breeze

(Summer Solstice)
Climb, climb up to the hilltop
To greet the rising sun
Bask in its rays and sing out your praise
Before the sweet darkness has come

(Lughnasadh)
Harvest the fruits of your labour in the morning
Share in the feast of your bounty at noon
Kick off your shoes and go dancing in the evening
Welcome the night with a high, haunting tune

(Autumn Equinox)
Blustery the weather that brings us all together
Beside the hearth we gather with thankfulness we sing
When cold it is at night time and day’s a sunny bright time
Then reddening the leaves are and fruit is ripening

(Samhain)
From the storm cloud the rain falls
From the tree branch the leaves are falling
From the heavens the wind calls
And the bean-sídhe’s voice is calling

credits

from Hemlock Honey and Crows, released October 29, 2021
Leslie Hudson: vocals
Brenda Sinclair Sutton: bodhrán with paintbrushes
Bill Sutton: guitar

license

all rights reserved

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about

Leslie Hudson Stratford, Ontario

Leslie Hudson is a Canadian singer songwriter and pianist. Her albums range from storytelling styles to bluesy bar rock to dialed-up, full-band homages to pop culture. With lyrical piano skills and a voice that cuts through the crowd, her songs dive deep into archetype and folklore, modernizing ancient voices as she shines a spotlight on the shadowy paths we walk through life, myth and media. ... more

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