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Songs for Sophia
CD of chants by Marilyn Strong

Songs for Sophia CD
Songs for Sophia

19 songs, 58:34 mins
Buy the CD (by e-mailing Marilyn)

Listen to Song for Gorilla from the CD
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I initially recorded this CD to be a teaching tool for people who liked the chanting that I lead in my workshops, but had a hard time remembering the words and/or the tunes. It is a combination of chants that I have written and some of my favorite chants written by others that I have collected over the years.

Song for Gorilla came from a dream that I had nine years ago, and had the opportunity to work with in front of a large conference at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA with Dr. Stephen Aizenstadt at his 1994 Dream Seminar, Nature Dreaming: Learning the Craft of Dreamwork and Therapeutic Applications of Dreamwork.

A large gorilla played prominently in the dream, a gorilla the size of King Kong. However, he emerged deep from the darkest depths of the ocean to reach up and drown a statesman in full (shining) armor who was just being released from an underwater prison himself. He had been wrongly imprisoned for his political beliefs.

I felt a strong connection to and love for this man in armor, and so his drowning was very disturbing to the dream ego and I woke up distraught, feeling terrified of the gorilla. However, in relating the dream in the workshop, Stephen had me “call” the gorilla into the room through active imagination and see what wisdom he might have for me. What I discovered was a real sadness in the gorilla and what he conveyed to me, with tears in his eyes, was a line from Mary Oliver’s poem, Wild Geese: “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

In working with this dream, I came away with a sense that my love for and acceptance of my body/animal nature had long been repressed, and had perhaps been controlled by the strong armored animus who also had been repressed through imprisonment, but who nevertheless had to die and be transformed. I wrote the chant in honor of my dear dream gorilla for his gift of insight and whose presence I still feel strongly with me. Here’s the whole poem:
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
Love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
Are moving across the landscapes,
Over the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
Are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
The world offers itself to your imagination,
Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
Over and over announcing your place
In the family of things.