Music for release and comfort
Before we come into the world we hear the sounds of the womb and the rhythmic drumbeat of the heart of our mother. In life, music is all around us, in the howling of the wind, the gurgling of the stream or the gentle cooing of the dove. The sound of the voice of a loved one is stored in our memory and lingers long after physical presence is gone.
When we lose a loved one, our grief is often raw and gut wrenching. Music can serve to help us both release and comfort that grief so that we can slowly begin to find equilibrium, toward finding renewed strength and wholeness within broken hearts. In many world cultures, howling and wailing are an intrinsic part of mourning. Song and story can also bring comfort and make way for celebration of a life.
In our Scots tradition, before the practice was officially banned by the church in1642 by the Synod of Argyll, Keening women, or ‘ mnàthan-tuirim’ were part of the retinue of the Clan Chief and it fell to them to create a safe container, both for the expression of the uncried tears and the sounds of wailing, and also for the transition of the soul in its journey to the next life.
Margery Allan Bray was born in Argyll into a North East Scottish family of singers poets and musicians. She has been studying our ancient grief traditions and picking up musical threads of voice and bagpipe lament which can be woven back into the tapestry of today’s shared experience, thus offering assistance to those grappling with the pain of loss in today’s world.
She believes we can look to the wisdom traditions of our ancestors to help guide us through the multi faceted wild edges of grief towards new wholeness within our hearts.
Margery is available to share her knowledge and experience of many journeys into the landscape of human grieving using her gift of song as a guide. She is currently creating a song resource for navigating this landscape and can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org . Hear some previous recordings Margery created in Burghead Well for the charity The Journey Home .
Pilililu is a chant traditionally sung by the Gaels to carry the soul over the threshold. It is thought to imitate the sound of the redshank, a bird that inhabits the liminal space between land and sea.