A Musical-Magical Journey

I turned 40 this year and this weekend I'm celebrating with some of my adult friends. It's not quite a Lovers Grove party although I am there as a Sacred Lover and Sacred Messenger. (no cameras at this one though). I decided to go put together some music for the party and wanted to share my experience because it was bigger than anticipated.

Music as magic

This summer I was in a conversation with a couple of wise folks talking about the value of music in spirituality. I didn't realize that simply picking music could be so powerful. However, as I was stringing tracks together, I realized that I was focusing will and building intent. At least for me, each track became a symbol in the language of that intent, together building a structure of what this party meant to me. Each track brought another element of our experience into the shared context. The progression told a story of growth.

Then, I noticed things were taking on a bit of a life of their own. At my conscious level, I was telling a generic story of growth as I created a space to encourage that growth. However, I also found that i was telling my own story both through styles of music that mapped onto parts of my life as well as symbols of my key events.

I find my time with Margaret there, my struggle to balance my needs against others, the fight against fear and embarrassment, and the joy and strength I've found along the way. To my great surprise, I even found the great wheel making its appearance. It was not so much the wheel of the year, but a wheel related to love work.

I am happy that I was able to see what was going on and turn it into a magical working. We find magic and ritual in all sorts of places and I'm pleased that as I grow I am better able to take advantage of what is before me. I'm also pleased that I am celebrating my own creativity, finding more ways to build the world in which I would live. Rediscovering comfort with my imagination and developing the comfort to be open about that is wonderful.

What I came up with

If you're curious, here's a link. I don't know how much of this will actually get used; the party may not run that long, music may get in the way of what we are doing, or the moment may require something else. Even if it doesn't get used at all, it will have been a powerful and useful tool for me.

Luke Howard

I open with two songs from Luke Howard. Yes, the same Luke Howard who made LDAP a viable technology for Unix/Linux and who wrote the first clone of Active Directory. Luke is one of the best software engineers I've had the privilege to work with. I first heard Luke play his music at one of the Kerberos Consortium's conferences. I was amazed.

Later, Luke sent me one of his albums, and I found myself captured by his beauty and skill. Most of what I listen to is a very different style of music. However, his sound was perfect for what I'm trying to do starting out.

Beyond that, I admire Luke for finding a way to create the world in which he'd choose to live. He's great at computers and obviously takes great joy in that work. However, his heart is in his music. He's found a way to do that and to structure his life so that he can do the work he wants. When I realized that spirituality and the desire to bring compassion to the world was becoming ever-more importantto me, Luke's example is one that gives me strength. I hope that some day I will find a structure for my life that lets me do the work I want to be doing just as Luke has done. At this point in my life, I couldn't think of a better foundation.

The Overall Intent

The playlist is divided into themes by interstitial transitions. Luke howard opens asking us to stop shouting for a moment showing that like ourselves music need not be loud and forceful to have inner strength. For me this track is a plea to stop the shouting and listen for a moment; I hear a hope that we can get past our anger and fear and actually listen enough to connect.

Heather Dale talks of the power of story and song and of how we learn from those who enter our life even briefly. This thematic section sets intent for the evening, exploring how there are many aspects to our identity and how interpretation shapes our experience. We ponder the struggle against fear and shame, magic, and determination.

Giuseppe Ottaviani adds levity as we cross to traditinoal party themes while the rest of the guests arrive. Ten Walls brings us back after a break in the music for a boundary exercise. Armin van Buuren invites us all to embrace. Enigma takes us on a journey through shame and the pain and frustration of boundaries poorly understood and articulated. Markus Schulz leads us into the light as we honor our lust and passion in the strength of respect for our mutual needs. Andrew Rayel responds to Rihanna's request, leading the dance into passion where words are not enough. Markus Schulz is back to remind us of our safety and strength as we emerge to accept the love in our lives. Jano invites us down into an exploration of magic and sacrifice. If anyone is still around this late into the night, Loreena McKennitt guides us to contemplation of the ultimate sacrifice. Eric Prydz guides us back, adding the twist into the spiral. I considered using "Resurrection" for this interstitial. It's an excellent techno track, but "Tether," captures a deep mystery for me in a way that "Resurrection" does not. We finally close with the coda from Intense which I suspect will be apropos.