Here on the blog I write about my art process, as well as topics that mirror the core of my work - combination of herbalism, ancestral connection and eco-feminism.
I'm interested in exploring how the environment is impacted by humans and how a disconnection from nature has changed society as a whole.
Sometimes, on any given day while we are grieving for the earth, all we can offer is a song. I see songs for the earth as any song that we can sing to be present with the land or the current state of the environment.
Singing a song provides a moment of reflection, meditation, and expression of emotion.
One of the most common mundane (but also, magical) ways you may have participated in singing as a way of honoring is singing “happy birthday” to a loved one before they blow out their candles. All eyes are on the person who is one year older. Those who are uncomfortable singing usually still sing along with a smile on their faces as they honor their loved one with song.
You may have songs that you sing for holy days at certain times of the year, or to honor a specific season.
Singing permeates throughout cultures, throughout languages, throughout time. The oldest song that we know both the lyrics + the music to is a hymn to the Hurrian goddess Nikkal, a lunar deity of orchards and fertility (listen/learn more here + here), found in the land also known as Syria. We have record of the lyrics to the Egyptian Great Hymn to Aten from 14th century BCE, and the Greek Homeric Hymns from the 7th century BCE. And that’s just naming a few.
We may also sing songs where we’re full of a certain emotion. When someone is newly in love, they may sing + seek out modern love songs. When someone is working through heartache, they may resonate with songs from the present that are of a similar nature. Feeling angry at the system? Rage Against the Machine has you covered.
I find that when I am feeling solistalgia, cueing up any of the following songs supports me + also feels like a time to sit with grief of what is occurring on our planet. Here are my favorite songs to sing to the earth:
“Every day gets hotter than the one before
Running out of water, it’s about to go down
Air that kill the bees that we depend upon
Birds were made for singing, wakin’ up to no sound
Oh, I know you know my pain (woah, no no no)
I’m hopin’ that this world will change”
A vision of post-apocalyptic life – the parking lots of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” have been given back to nature, without a destructive society continuing to build + expand. However, the narrator of the song still grapples with the desire to change nature for their own desires.
”There was a shopping mall
Now it’s all covered with flowers
You’ve got it, you’ve got it
If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawn mower
You’ve got it, you’ve got it”
I somehow only discovered Foals within the last year, when their 10 minute epic song “Neptune” came up on a Youtube playlist. While it was the music of that song that captivated me, it was the lyrics of “Exits” that got me hooked on this band. Straight off, they speak to ocean rising, climate change denial, endangered species, intense weather systems, and post-collapse worries. Or at least that’s just my interpretation. It feels pretty bold, but it speaks right to my heart.
“Now the sea eats the sky
But they say it’s a lie
And there’s no birds left to fly
We’ll hide out
The weather is against us
We build houses underground
And flowers upside down
In our dreams”
I am in love with this twin-sister group (Ibeyi means twin in Yoruba) – so many of their songs feel like beautiful offerings, but this one stands out the most to me. They have dedicated this song to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of water. While that is not my personal ancestry, I feel the beauty of this song as an offering to the water can be felt by those of any belief-system.
”Carry away my old leaves
Let me baptize my soul with the help of your waters
Sink my pains and complains
Let the river take them, river drown them”
Beautiful Chorus is a balm for humankind. All of their songs feel like offerings, but these two feel especially appropriate as songs to connect to the earth.
”We’re beneath your surface
an underground universe that’s
thriving fully alive
we’re everywhere we’re
I love that Peia is described as a “song collector” – all of her work holds her mission of preserving old world songs, mostly from her own European ancestral traditions. She focuses on songs of devotion, and honors the way that all of our ancestors once lived – in deep connection with the earth. If you like Peia, you may also enjoy her side project with 2 other vocalists, Wild Honey.
”And beauty thunders,
it will reign upon this great earth.
Water of life,
would you teach me to sing your sweet song?
And though great winds blow,
oh my people we must carry on.”