Garden of Mysteries
“Ruth has just released her tenth CD, Garden of Mysteries showcases Ruth’s excellent finger-picking dulcimer style and her powerful, beautiful voice. Listening to each song is akin to picking up a series of beautiful objects, each begging for your rapt attention. As you begin to really appreciate the wonder and promise of the object you’re holding, it fades only to be replaced by a new and equally mysterious subject for your careful examination. Each object is a differing facet of a very cohesive whole, and the listening experience is as restful and thought provoking as an actual trip to a real garden. Ruth’s original compositions site nicely alongside songs from Robin Williamson, Mark Simos, Les Barker, Lorraine Lee Hammond, and others. There is a definite but mystical bond at work, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t feel it too.”
~ reviewed by Neal Walters for Dulcimer Players News, Summer 2008
The songs on this CD all share a common thread. They are about encounters with magic and mystery - be it with a lover, an Otherworld being, a goddess, a transition into a new state of be-ing, or the Earth Herself. Through the doors of mystery await the possibilities of transformation should we allow ourselves to wonder and wander in the garden.
This recording is dedicated to the legacy and memory of Shekhinah Mountainwater (1939-2007), beloved teacher, priestess, and friend.
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Quiet Mist of Morning
Garden of Mysteries
Archibald McDonald of Kippoch
Shoshone Love Song
New Crone Rising
The Circle is Unbroken
Lady Mother of All
By Her Light Invocation
A Shapeshifting Song
Lullaby for Amanda
Ruth's vocal and dulcimer artistry is joined with the musical talents of Amanda Barrett, Daniel Bienenfeld, Ellen Burr, Abby DeWald, Melena, Miamon Miller, Kerry Noonan, Cait Reed, Jeni Rodrigues, Sylvia Woods, and Steve Wehmeyer.
Produced by Ruth Barrett and Scott Fraser
Engineered and mixed by Scott Fraser
Photography by Jaime Blackbird
CD design by Rick Whitmore
(c) (p) 2008 Dancing Tree Music
“The name Ruth Barrett might be familiar to many Sagewoman readers. The author of the critically acclaimed Women's Rites, Women's Mysteries: Intuitive Ritual Creation (Llewellyn, 2207) has been prominent in both the international women's music and pagan music scene for a number of years, performing at many pagan and woman-centered gatherings and festivals. Her latest CD is a magickal collection of songs both traditional and original, blending Barrett's famous, angelic fretted dulcimer with her earthy, powerful voice. It's a beautiful combination.
Barrett's contributions to pagan music are numerous. She is included in compilations such as "Songs of Witchcraft and Magic" (produced by the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall) and "The Best of Pagan Song." In her solo work, and in duets with Cyntia Smith, the sacred feminine and a joyful earth-consciousness shine through in such works as "The Year is a Dancing Woman" and "Invocation to Free Women". In "Garden of Mysteries", these favorites themes and images abound.
In "Quiet Mist of Morning" Barrett takes us through the Wheel of the Year as perceived through the eyes of an enchanted maiden. In the title cut, she makes a poignant statement about the nature faith and being true to oneself. "Garden of Mysteries" spans a wide range, from the traditional "Majorcan Dance" and "Archibald McDonald of Kippoch" to the deep pagan roots of songs like the late Shekinah Mountainwater's invocation "Lady Mother of All" and Les Barker's "Earth". "Black Sarah" has a fierce bite as a Gypsy fortuneteller laments over centuries of betrayals and losses, while "Amanda's Lullaby" is a moving tribute to the love a mother feels for her child. Barrett's dulcimer is accompanied by Irish fiddle, bohran and flute to create a beautiful collection of music. Absolutely heavenly!”
- Review by Leni Hester for Sagewoman Magazine, October 2011
“A combination of mystical images, passionate Celtic inspired music and songs of accountability… An unbroken thread of love of the earth, respect of her creatures and a peek into the window of possible mysteries of spirit bind this CD together. The style of singing is heartfelt and full of passion. Barrett is a gifted dulcimer player. … Barrett’s music will be a heartfelt guide for you as you explore your own spiritual connection with nature and things not easily defined.”
~ Reviewed by Jim Smith, Americana Gazette, June – July 2009