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Galloping Horses and Mountain Mother

The invitation to play in Spiral Muse Band (back when it was called Devi Vaani) changed my life. I arrived to the Art Womb (yes, that’s what the downstairs classroom off the church hall is called) for the band’s practice and opened the door to see guitar cases splayed open on a few long tables and paintbrushes perched in glass jars. On every wall hung portraits of goddesses: Inanna, Isis, Mary Magdalene, Bridget, Yemaya, Pele, to name a few.

Each band member—Alison, Dionne, and Kathleen—gave me a welcome hug, and invited me into the creative play of music-making. In the new piece they were working on, Dionne said she heard a violin imitating galloping horses, an image that resonated very deeply for me. As she played the congas, I too could heard their hooves resounding from my childhood days when I rode a couple of horses but mostly read horse story after horse story about the West’s wild mustangs and powerfully speedy quarter horses and the distant Arabians with their high step and proud carriage. As I took the bow in my hand and summoned the hightail energy of galloping, all my girlhood longings for connection with those majestic beings rushed out into the runs I played, racing up and down my violin’s range and leaping into a final exalted note of focused intensity.

The song was called Mountain Mother*, its lyrics inspired by the 8,000-year-old goddess carved by the Neolithic Catalhoyuk people. A photograph of this goddess hung near me as we practiced. Before I closed my eyes to focus on my galloping riff, I took in her commanding posture as she sat enthroned and mountain-like, a leopard at either side. I credit Mountain Mother with releasing me from the mounting stress of my paid job and opening me to the joys of co-creating beauty with my musician friends and to the ineffable strength of the Divine One Herself.

As Spiral Muse Band, the four of us are still creating from the sacred heart of our connectedness. Galloping runs in our veins as does the meandering of great rivers and the moon’s pull. We also weave harmonies that give voice to the sharper points of human existence, drawing on Divine wholeness to envision and invite ways to eclipse disparity and injustice by connecting discerning hearts. Music-making melds our unique visions and gifts, stirring up results that often surprise us, as the Divine One enfolds us in Her mystery and in Her play.

* Mountain Mother, the title track of our new mini-album

Lyrics: Sheri Rose Walker

Music: Alison Kohler Newvine,

in collaboration with Dionne Kohler Newvine,

Kathleen Neville-Shin, and Lana Dalberg

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