Firstly, welcome to all the Sunday Song newcomers! It has been a privilege to build a following around this weekly meditation this year!
I was preparing this letter to you yesterday, but kept finding myself unable to send, as describing a yet-to-be-created body of work is sort of like un-spinning a cocoon. But out of a very deep longing to include you and ask for your participation, I will try!
Here's the big announcement:
It has become clear to me that a collection of songs is trying to emerge, which I will record as an album this coming fall, and hopefully release near Christmas or early 2020. It will be the first full length album without spoken word that I have recorded in 4 years!
In order to make room for depth and attentiveness, I will be going on sabbatical from Sunday Song and Rumination from now to the beginning of September, so I can go deep into composing mode.
This week, especially for Pentecost Sunday, I will send along one last SSR (Sunday Song) until I pick it back up in September. I will also be sending a video announcement to get ready to fundraise for the project.
For now I will say that although the album has no title yet... it will be about remembering that the earth is our home. And a tie-in to that remembrance is working with images of -
- food sovereigntist
- wilderness mystic
- nonviolent anti-colonial
- abundance activist (the stamp indent itself, on the mined coin, is really all that belongs to Caesar, the fish do not belong to the commercial power of Tiberius, in a state of regenerative symbiosis, 1 + 1 always equals at least 3)
- dialoguer, shaped by and rooted in his tradition
- deeply embodied earth-dweller
And, as a Christian, I will be working with the above traits out of the belief that "God was pleased to dwell in him, in all God's fullness" and that, those traits are really some extraordinary telltale signs about who God is.
We live in a time in history that polarizes positions about where we live and have our breath. Unfettered, extractive capitalism and commodification (ie. seeing any and all profit making as moral) threatens the future of the whole planet... and it comes from an anthropocentrism and really, a geocentrism - that we are the centre of the universe.
In these times, it is very important to be genuinely humble and acknowledge how vast the cosmos is. Sometimes I wonder though, if our feigned acknowledgement of this vastness, is really a cloaked phobia of nature, and an excuse to stay within the walls of the city and academy, twittering at coffee shops and wine bars, about rural illiteracies.
In this polarized state, we tend to react to anthropocentrism by calling all 7 billion people on earth, a cancer. As someone who feels at home in wild places, to me, this is simply a progressive liberal version of "total depravity", and it often isn't genuine humility at all. In an attempt to remove the human from the top of the pyramid, most of us end up in a rootless, groundless, quasi-intergalactic, post modern dystopia, where having any hope is seen as a denial of climate crisis. That is not the path to a balanced ecosystem.
There is a "third way": that of exploring what it means to live as a part of the great Circle. In my own little way, being attentive to the heartbeat of God-in-the-Earth this summer, and composing/writing about it, is what feels right and good to do.
This album will dance within the context of recollecting a forgotten oneness that we share with the created earth.
Adamah means: "of the earth". Eve means: "to breathe" or "to live". As a symbolic combination, looking at them from a ternary perspective, there is more to that creation story than meets the eye.
Without this recollection, and with only an urban/academic perspective to guide a reshaping Christianity, we will just have a one-sided rudder. We need perspectives from outside the cities and the institutions, too. The world needs to reconnect to its indigenous heart now, more than ever. ALL of the contemplative traditions need it. I might even say - it is imperative.
I believe that Christ in evolution is attempting to reroute us into an actual incarnational state.
Without picking up the deep tap roots of our earth-based lineage, (mostly left behind as untrustworthy, by the first axial religions), we will continue to behave “alien” to this place that is our home. As Christians, if we continue to sing "this world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through", any attempt at removing the cliche that we have had a dismal response to the ecological crisis, will be... dismal. That ideology of "not being from here", is one main reason why we are in crisis in the first place. The hyper-focus on "Jesus ascending", has gotten us into very big trouble.
This is going to be a daring project that walks a fine edge. And I will probably get cut along the way. Maybe even by folks who have supported me in the past. It's a bit scary to be honest.
But I am asking for your support. Moral and financial. Please join on me on Patreon, because I will be building the budget from there (like a Kickstarter), along with a bit of seed money from a caring, anonymous patron. If you are Canadian, there is a way to support me and get a tax receipt. (Please email to ask for more details.) And if you know folks who would believe in this project, please forward this email to them and spread the word. You can also share this as a blog post from my website.
When composing and recording an album, artists need time, space, research resources, and funds to hire professional musicians and engineers who play music for their livelihood... it is how they feed their families.
All of my dear patron friends will hear the album first and will be receiving journal updates on the process throughout the summer. And as always, they will receive the album as a gift, prior to its release.
My hope for the outcome of this album is that people who listen to it, will be simultaneously overcome with relief, and, a depth of belonging. For it is this "belonging" that is a key element, for us to make peace with Mother Earth, and with our own dying. With the cycle of life. A sacred circle.
I want this project to dance with questions like:
- What is the difference between “wholesome” and “wholeness”?
- What is the difference between being “civilized” and being “connected”?
- What is the difference between "dying" and "destruction"?
- What is the difference between "wild" and "unfettered"?
- What is the difference between scarcity-based conservation and living in a regenerative, resilient font of generosity?
- How do we remember that eucharist and baptism and ashes rituals are elemental acts?
Thank-you to the hundreds of people who have emailed me or commented in response to the 40+ Sunday Song and Rumination posts I have written this year! Your input is so appreciated! Watch for updates this summer, as I will periodically send you a video or journal update on how things are going and get ready for a refreshed, invigorated Sunday Song and Rumination in September! The best way you can join me this summer though, is to join me on Patreon.!
Alana Levandoski is a song and chant writer, recording artist and music producer, in the Christian tradition, who lives with her family on a regenerative farm on the Canadian prairies.