Today let me tell you the story behind another track in the Sacred Nature Meditations: Clothed with Flowers.
In this track I introduce the listener to “the healing world of the Ovates and Druids, of those sages of forest and heath, garden and healing well, that exist, and have always existed at the edges of this world – at those times of twilight, of dusk and dawn, when the powers of the Otherworld are strongest…”
Then our daughter Sophia recites a remarkable prayer to the Goddess found in a twelfth century Herbal that begins: “Earth, divine goddess, Mother Nature, who dost generate all things and bringest forth ever anew the sun…” The British Library reference for any keen researchers who want to hunt this down is BMs.MS.Harley, 1585 ff12v-13r.
Sophia has been working with voice, drama and dance ever since she first performed in operas directed by Peter Hall and Graham Vick over ten years ago. She is a member of the National Youth Theatre, and has trained at the Glyndebourne Youth Opera Group, Laban’s Centre for Advanced Training, and at LAMDA on the Acting Foundation course. She is currently training on the BA Acting course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formally known as RSAMD). She has played many roles including: Lavinia ‘Mourning Becomes Electra'(RCS), Natasha ‘Three Sisters’ (RCS), Parastoo ‘Stars Over Kabul’ (NYT), Irina ‘Three Sisters’ (LAMDA), Beth ‘A Lie of The Mind’ (LAMDA), Feste ‘Twelfth Night’ (LAMDA). She is currently working on ‘Orpheus & Eurydice’ at The Old Vic Tunnels (NYT) and will be playing the Nurse in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at RCS in February. She loves radio and voice-over work and has recorded for the ‘Biennale Festival’ in Venice (Marinella Senatore).
From the start of the track we are drawn into the healing world of the Druids with a soundtrack specially created for this meditation by Charlie Roscoe, who also created music for the Wild Wisdom series of meditations, released last year.
Charlie writes: “When Philip contacted me and asked if I would be interested in composing for the Golden Mean healing CD project, I immediately felt a resonance with the idea and wanted to offer something.
I asked for guidance on what to create, and some wonderful words came through, which in essence pointed to the ‘perfecting quality of Nature, and its movement towards Wholeness’ – an explanation of the essence of the Golden Mean, or Divine Proportion.
I wanted to create a piece that could hold this feeling without becoming too ‘heady’ about it, not getting caught up in too much
mathematical theory. It felt right to simply connect with Nature and translate or relay that feeling, that movement towards wholeness, into music and sound, but at the same time to authentically include a Golden Mean ratio in the composition. What unfolded quite easily and simply was to work with a simple scale created from the Fibonacci sequence that is found in the Golden Mean, so the piano is playing from this scale constantly throughout the piece.
The instruments used are a set of Grand symphonic windchimes, flutes, piano, and location recordings out in Nature that I made myself, in meditation, in Cornwall. That was the root of the recording process: I began playing the instruments to these recordings, letting the music unfold from the peace and energy of Nature that they conveyed.
I was offered the perfect place to do this: right in the heart of the Glastonbury Zodiac, at School farm, a spiritual centre that sits in the ‘beak of the dove’ – a wonderful place to record and find inspiration! During the recording white doves were frequently flying in and around the cottage I was working in – pure magic!
My favourite description of the Golden Mean is that it represents the place that lives comfortably between two extremes: courage for example, lives between recklessness and cowardice. May we all find that balance in our lives!!”
As Charlie’s multi-layered soundtrack unfolds, Sophia’s voice returns – this time invoking the healing powers of certain key plants, trees and herbs used by Druids – drawing from the lore found in The Druid Plant Oracle.
The idea that invoking a plant’s power can be healing, even though it is not physically present, has been explored and developed in great depth recently in the Plant Spirit Medicine movement, pioneered by Eliot Cowan, author of Plant Spirit Medicine.
The music continues, engineered by Damh the Bard using the Golden Mean ratio in the way the sound is processed, guided by the advice of a friend Emeritus Professor Peter Mobbs, who chaired the Department of Physiology at UCL for many years. In addition to this treatment, Charlie has used ‘convolution reverbs’ in his composition, which treat sound with algorithms derived from recording the acoustic characteristics of natural locations.
Sophia’s invocations are repeated at an almost subliminal level further along the track, until – hopefully rested, energized and refreshed – the listener is brought gently out of the meditation.
You can hear an excerpt from Clothed with Flowers in this sampler recording, which plays excerpts from all four tracks: