Ruth Barrett
The Year Is A Dancing Woman
Goddess Chants, Songs, and Invocations for the Wheel of the Year
Lyrics, Credits, and Notes

Featuring Amanda Barrett, vocals

Dena Drotar, Diane Miller, and Kerry Noonan on chant chorus vocals

Harvest Brown and Holin Badger Shu-bad on percussion

 

 

 

Song notes by Ruth Barrett except where noted

 

Dulcimer arrangements by Ruth Barrett

Group chants arranged by entire chorus

Vocal arrangements by Ruth and Amanda Barrett unless otherwise noted

Percussion arrangements by Harvest Brown and Holin Badger Shu-bad

Environmental sounds and synthesizer drones by Scott Fraser

 

 

VOLUME ONE: WINTER SOLSTICE THROUGH MAY EVE

 

Opening:

 
1. LADY OF THREE – Ruth Barrett

    Ruth Barrett, voice

 

Lady of moving form, seen and unseen.

Enter, I ask of Thee, in colors three.

You who birth the living seed,

Universe, and melody.

Charge the center of the spark,

We who call you from the heart.

 

Lady of moving form, seen and unseen.

Enter, I ask of Thee, in colors three.

Keeper of the living tree,

Queen of Love and Mystery,

Charge the center of the spark,

We who call you from the heart.

 

WINTER SOLSTICE (December 21)

 

This holiday, also known as Yule (meaning “Wheel”), celebrates the longest night. The Goddess in Her guise as the Hag of Winter conceives Herself, initiating the return of the solar cycle. In Sweden, young girls dressed in white, crowned with evergreen and candles, represent the Sun Goddess Lucina. They bring sweets and blessings for the new solar year

 

 

2. LUCINA CHANT - Kay Gardner

    Ruth Barrett with ensemble

           

Celebrate the birth of the sun

            Light the way, Oh Lucina

            Dance the round on Sabbat night

            Blessed be the Great Mother

 

 

3. ON THAT DAY - Adapted by Ruth Barrett from “On The Hay” by Florence Hawkins

    Ruth and Amanda Barrett, vocals

 

The Mother laid her baby down

            On that day

She wrapped her warm in rays of dawn

            On that day

 

            The stars shone bright up in the sky

            The Goddess sang a lullaby

            The Mother laid her baby down

            On that day.

 

The earth rejoiced to see her there

To warm the soil and seedlings bare

 

Lucina was the baby’s name

The rising sun returns again

 

A ring of candles round her head

To wake the living from the dead

 

Her holy lamp lights up the sky

Open the heart, open the eye

 

The light is born within the night

To guide our path in love so bright

 

 

           

4. MOTHER HOLLE - Kerry Noonan

    Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

Mother Holle (variously known as Frau Holde, Perchta, or Berta in different regions) is a Germanic Goddess associated with Winter, the time around Yule, pools of water, children, and spinning. Holle is both a sky and an earth goddess. When she shakes her feather mattress, the snow flies, and she is often thought to live underneath a pool of water. She has survived in Grimm’s folktale “Mother Holle” in which she rewards a good sister and punishes a bad one. In folk belief in Germany Holle is sometimes thought to be the leader of the Wild Hunt that courses through the skies in Winter; the spirits accompanying her are often believed to be the souls o unborn children. In some regions Holle wa thought to visit houses at Yuletide, bringing luck to those who left food or milk out for her. (Song note by Kerry Noonan)

 

 

In the darkness winds are blowing

Far to the north snow is falling

She shakes her featherbed, see how it flurries

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

 

Crone of darkness, darkness is keeping

In Midwinter it’s you we are seeking,

Mother of bears, sleeping warmly

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

 

Dark your cloak, silver your tresses

Cover the world as the daylight lessens

Sparkle of starlight in Your eye.

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

 

Bless us with your darkness so deep

Grant us dreams as bearlike we sleep

Outside it’s cold, the hearth fire warms us

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

Come Mother Holle, be here now.

 

 

BRIGID (February 1)

This holiday of the waxing light is named after the sovereign Celtic Goddess Brigid, who is associated with fire and water, smithcraft, divination, healing, poetry, and cattle. Also called Imbolg, meaning, “in the belly,” this holiday marked the first day of Spring in ancient Ireland, and celebrated the awakening of the land after Winter’s sleep.

 

 

5. INVOCATION TO BRIGID – Ruth Barrett

                           Spoken by Ruth Barrett

                           Written at Kildare, Ireland July 1998

 

Bright Arrow soaring,

flowing through the air

like your healing waters,

from womb flower spilling

to bathe the weak, the sorrowful, the forgotten.

Compassionate Healer, Muse of poets,

the inspiration of artists forging elements to form,

speaking true words to open ears, riddles to closed hearts.

Listen, listen, listen to my sweetness,

My stillness is at the center of all things.

You, who breathe, and have a shape, come and drink of me.

Sing my praises, walk my land, forever bound to me.

Great Goddess,

Bless your women.

Bless the children.

Bless the wakening lands.

In the still soft voice is the one language that all may understand.

 

 

6. AVE LUNA (Prayer to the New Moon)

Words from the Carmina Gadaelica, Hymns & Incantations Collected in the 19th Century from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland  by Alexander Carmichael, pg. 305, Lindisfarne Press, Hudson, NY 1992. Original title, arrangement, and musical setting by Ruth Barrett.

Ruth Barrett, voice and mountain dulcimer, Amanda Barrett, voice

 

Spoken prayer introduction from the Carina Gadelica:

 

Glory to thee forever,

Thou bright moon, this night:

Thyself art ever

The glorious lamp of the poor

 

Hail to thee, thou new moon,

Guiding jewel of gentleness,

I am bending to thee my knee,

I am offering thee me love.

 

            I am bending to thee my knee,

            I am giving thee my hand.

            I am lifting to thee mine eyes,

            oh, new moon of the season.

 

Hail to thee, thou new moon,

Joyful maiden of my love,

Hail to thee, thou new moon,

Joyful maiden of the graces.

 

            thou art traveling in thy course,

            thou art steering the full tides,

            thou art illuming to us thy face,

            oh, new moon of the season.

 

            Ave, ave luna

            Ave, ave luna

            Ave, ave luna

            Ave, ave luna

 

Hail to thee, thou new moon,

Guiding jewel of gentleness,

I am bending to thee my knee,

I am offering thee me love.

 

            Thou, queen, maiden of guidance,

            Thou, queen ,maiden of good fortune

            Thou, queen, maiden, my beloved,

            Thou, new moon of the season.

 

            Ave, ave luna

            Ave, ave luna

            Ave, ave luna

            Ave, ave luna

 

 

7. WAY TO THE WELL – Starhawk and Rose May Dance

Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

We will never, never lose our way

 to the well of Her memory.

And the power of Her living flame

 it will rise, it will rise again.

 

 

SPRING EQUINOX (March 21)

 

The Maiden Goddess emerges from the underworld and brings with Her the renewal of the life on earth. This holiday celebrates the eternal connection between mothers and daughters as the life force returns and rejuvenates all in Nature.

 

8. COME INTO OUR DREAM – Carolyn Hillyer

    Ruth and Amanda Barrett, vocals

 

You are born to the many, and born to the one.

In the lap of your mother you are held by us all.

            Chorus:

Come into our dream, come into our dream,

Come into our dream, come into our dream,

Now its yours…

 

Can you feel our protection as we bind you a spell

Do you hear our blessing you beautiful child?

 

There is a coil of all women encircling time

We are dancing through mirrors, an unbroken line

 

From mother to daughter, to daughter to babe,

At the breast of one woman you are fed by us all.

 

To the earth house of life you have quietly returned

We greet you with honor and welcome you in

            Come into our dream, come into our dream,

Come into our dream, come into our dream,

Now its yours…

            (repeat several times)

 

 

9. PEACEFUL WARRIOR CHANT – Nicki Harris

    Ruth Barrett with ensemble

   This chant is also perfect for the Autumnal Equinox

 

Balancing dark and light.

Balancing strength and might.

Peace on earth is our birthright.

Balancing….

 

 

 

10. MAIDEN RISING

Traditional Jacobite song, with original words by Ruth Barrett

                        Ruth and Amanda Barrett, vocals

                        Vocal arrangement from the singing of Maddy Prior and June Tabor.

 

Oh who will play the silver whistle,

When Maiden Spring from darkness rises?

The Earth prepares, prepares Her coming.

The barren trees give way to blossoms.

 

A waiting world receives her daughter.

With arms of longing filled with laughter.

To welcomes Her in, branches are reaching.

The time of cold bitter winds has ended.

 

And tiny seeds awake from slumber

To seek the one who brings the springtime

Upon Her head, the crown of glory,

The Maiden Queen, herald of the morning,

 

O welcome to you, fame and honor

Fiddles and choice tunes attend you.

I will be dancing, I will be singing

And I will play the silver whistle.

 

And I will play the silver whistle.

 

 

 

11. LAUGHING MAIDEN - Ruth Barrett

Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

Laughing Maiden is a borning,

Laughing Maiden is a rising*

Laughing Maiden is a flying

                        Spring is come, Spring is come.

 

 

MAY EVE (April 30)

 

This holiday marks the first day of Summer, and celebrates the flowering of the Earth. In the mythic cycle of the Goddess, the Maiden becomes initiated into womanhood through Her first bloods. With the onset of menarche, passion awakens as girls begin their transition to becoming young women.

 

12. INVOCATION - Ruth Barrett

      Ruth Barrett, voice

 

You who dwell in wind and water,

Tongue of flame, dark valley

Enter here, we call thee.

 

Muse, weaver, womb and reaper,

Source of life, love and blessing

Enter here, we call thee.

 

Spinning Dancer, Spirit, Teacher,

Mother, Child, Crone and Lover,

Bless us here to know thee.

Enter here, we call thee.

 

 

 

13. SACRED BLOOD CHANT -Ruth Barrett

Ruth Barrett, voice and mountain dulcimer

 

Sacred blood of the Mother runs through my veins

And with each lunation, scarlet She rains (reigns),

Mother to daughter, passes this gift,

Blessed be the Mother, within us She lives.

 

14. STAINES MORRIS -Traditional English adapted by Ruth Barrett from the singing of Shirley Collins

Ruth and Amanda Barrett, vocals, and percussion

 

Come you young ones, come along, with your music, dance and song.

Bring your lovers in your hands, for tis that which Love commands.

 

Chorus:  Then to the Maypole, haste away!

For tis now our holiday! 

 

Tis the choice time of the year, and the violets now appear,

Now the rose receives its birth, and the pretty primrose decks the Earth.

 

And when you are well content with kisses you your sweetheart take.

Take them all again and more, it will never make them poor.

 

When you girls have spent your time til the day be past it’s prime,

To your beds repair at night, and dream there of your day’s delight.

 

 

15. BLESSED BE THE FIRE - Sue McGowan and Delyse

      Ruth Barrett and ensemble

 

Blessed be the fire, of our desire.

Blessed be our courage,

Blessed be our love.  

 

 

 

16. WEAVE AND SPIN – Starhawk

Ruth Barrett and ensemble

 

Weave and spin, weave and spin,

this how the work begins,

Mend and heal, mend and heal,

Take the dream and make it real.

 

Strand by strand, hand over hand,

thread by thread we weave the Web.

 

 

Closing:

 

                        17. FREE TICKET TO HEAVEN – Shekhinah Mountainwater

     Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

Let the path be clear before me

Let all go as I will

And the past be clean behind me

Let all go as I will

And the ones I love beside me

Let all go as I will

And the goddess light above me

 Let all go as I will

And the solid earth beneath me

Let all go as I will

And my own true self within me

Let all go as I will

 

 

18. TRIPLE GODDESS CHANT - Ruth Barrett

     Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

From women we are born into this world,

From women we are born into this circle.

 

Maiden, Mother, Crone, we are one.

We are one.

 
 

 

 

 

 

VOLUME TWO: SUMMER SOLSTICE THROUGH HALLOMAS

 
Opening:

 

1. THROUGH ALL THE WORLD BELOW - Colonial hymn, adapted by Susan

    Rothbaum, with polishing from Holly Tannen, Catherine Madsen, and Ruth Barrett

   Ruth Barrett, voice and mountain dulcimer, Amanda Barrett, vocals

 

Through all the world below She is seen all around.

Through hills and valleys through, there She’s found.

The growing of the corn, the lily and the thorn,

The pleasant and forlorn, all declare She is there.

In the meadows dressed in green, She is seen.

 

Her streaming waters rise, fountains flow, rivers run.

Her mist that veils the sky hides the sun.

Then down Her rain does pour, Her ocean loud does roar,

And beats upon the shore, and all praise in Her ways.

The One whose glory streams through our dreams.

 

The Sun with all Her rays sings of Her as She flies.

The comet in Her blaze, Her name cries.

The shining of Her stars, the moon as She appears,

Her awesome names declare, see them fly through the sky.

And join Her joyful sounds all around.

And join Her joyful sounds all around.

 
 
MIDSUMMER SOLSTICE (June 21)

 

In the mythic cycle of the Goddess the Maiden Goddess experiences the joy of union with Her creative, sensual self and become pregnant with Her creations. Thus, this holiday begins the Goddess’ transition from the Maiden to the fertility cycle of the Mother Goddess as Maker/Creatrix, and we, Her daughters, celebrate our passion, union, and creativity.

 

2. WE ARE THE FIRE - Sue McGowan

   Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

We are the fire burning bright,

We are desire in the night,

We dare to call her to our lives,

Dancing, changing we are.

 

3. FIRE CHANT - Starhawk

   Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

And we can rise with the fire of freedom

Truth is the fire that burns our chains

And we can stop the fire of destruction

Healing is the fire running through our veins

 

 
FIRST HARVEST (August 1)

 

The sunlight noticeably begins to decline as the Wheel of the Year turns toward the dark half of the year. The beginning of August marks celebration of the First Harvest, also called Lammas (“Feast of the Bread”). The fertile Earth Mother is ripe with life as evidenced by the golden fields of grain and the ripening fruits of Autumn. Like the cornucopia, She pours forth Her blessings of abundance.

 

4. LABYRINTH  - Ruth Barrett

Ruth Barrett, vocals and mountain dulcimer, Amanda Barrett, vocals

 

Hear the secret music from deep within the earth,

Feel your cells awaken to its call.

Magic that has never left, dreams that went untried, untried.

 

Listen to the melody written from your soul,

Kiss the dreamer as you wake, and cry for all you’ve sold.

Music from an old mad rhyme, just enough to save you from the hands of time.

 

Begin again, begin again,

Take a walk in the labyrinth.

 

Weave the pattern as you will, colors dance and colors spill,

Thread by thread and spool by spool walks the sacred fool.

Losing your identity, what you’ll find to your surprise is possibility.

 

Begin again, begin again,

Take a walk in the labyrinth.

 

Where silence and knowledge meet, a melody of music sweet,

That bids your heart to trust and reach where all true seekers seek.

Wind your way down ancient paths,

Where old steps move you forward to a new dance

 

Begin again, (spiral in)

Begin again  (and round again)

Take a walk in the labyrinth.

 

All ways lead to center when your path is clear,

Speak the question in your mind and louder then your fear.

Step by step into your fate, as you create the way for a new day.

 

Begin again, (spiral in)

Begin again  (and round again)

Take a walk in the labyrinth,

within Her spin…

 

 

4. CELEBRATE – Lori Richards

   Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

Celebrate Her ripening spirit

Celebrate Her blossoming truth

Celebrate the fruits of our labors

 Mother Goddess we celebrate you!

 

 

 

FALL EQUINOX (September 21)

 

In the mythic cycle of the Goddess, the Mother Goddess is completing the physical activity of creation. Analogous to the peri-menopausal years, She ceases to bleed and birth and begins Her physical transition to Crone with Her descent toward the world of Spirit. This is a time to taste and give thanks for the personal harvest of our hands and the land.

 

 

5. HOLY MOTHER’S PROTECTING CHAIN - Shaker hymn

    The chorus is “spirit” language from the Shakers.

   Ruth and Amanda Barrett, vocals

 

With my blessing I have blessed you,

Oh my children!

With my comfort I have comforted you

Yay, with my love I have loved you.

 

Vo  o’ vo  nee

O har ka e ’on a se’

 

With my power I’ve inspired you,

O my children!

With my glory I have glorified you.

Yay, from my store I have nourished you.

 

Vo  o’ vo  nee

O har ka e ’on a se’

 

By my wisdom I have guided you,

O my children! With my beauty I have beautified you

Yay, with my grace I have clothed you.

 

Vo  o’ vo  nee

O har ka e ’on a se’

 

 

6. EARTH MOTHER – Ani Williams

   Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

Earth Mother, I honor your body.

Earth Mother, I sing to your stones.

Earth Mother, I enter your body.

Earth Mother, I honor your bones.

 

 

7. PENTAGRAM – Shekhinah Mountainwater

   Ruth Barrett, vocals and mountain dulcimer, Amanda Barrett, vocals

 

Earth witch, ear to the ground, listening to Her heartbeat.

Water witch, arms in the stream, reflecting on reflection.

Fire witch breath to the flame, kindles passion.

Air witch, throat full of song, spinning sweet spells.

Spirit witch, embracing the stars, imagining Her Magick!

 

 

HALLOMAS (October 31)

 

This holiday, also known as Samhain (meaning “Summer’s end”), marks the first day of Winter, as the life-force withdraws back into Herself to rest until renewal. Within the mythic cycle of the Goddess, in Her aspect as Wise Crone, the Goddess deepens into Herself and enters the dreamtime, the liminal space where past, present, and future are all present simultaneously.

 

 

8. GO TO THE VERY EDGE - Carolyn Hillyer

     Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

Go to the very edge,

where the old world ends,

And something else begins.

Something else begins.

 

 

9. GRANDMOTHER CHANT – Lakota chant, adapted

Ruth and Amanda Barrett, vocals

 

Grandmother I see you sitting in the East (South, West, North, in my heart, etc)

You are sacred.

I pray to you, pray to you, you are sacred,

And you are looking at me.

 

 

10. WE ARE THE FLOW - Shekhinah Mountainwater

      Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

We are the flow, we are the ebb,

We are the weavers, we are the web.

We are the weavers, we are the web,

We are the spiders, we are the thread.

We are the spiders, we are the thread,

We are the witches, back from the dead.

 

 

11. HECATE - Ruth Barrett

    Hecate is an ancient goddess from the pre-Hellenic period of myth. As Queen

   of the Underworld, She brings about change and regeneration. One of the original trinity of Maiden, Mother, and Crone, Hecate is known for Her gifts of prophecy and knowledge of magical arts. She give us dreams and visions leading to wisdom and clarity.

Ruth Barrett, voice, with percussion

 

She walks the roads every moonless night.

Watching the stars to Her heart’s delight.

With a blazing torch and whispered song,

The path of destiny She travels on.

 

She moves through darkness like a knife.

Her dreams are seeds of future’s life.

To taste the sweetness with the pain,

Is to know how much the  flower needs the rain.

 

The place She waits is where three roads meet.

The past, the present and future greet.

To meet Her there where the horned owl flies,

Is to ride the pale stars down from the skies.

 

She’ll take you up, then She’ll take you down.

She’ll take you under and turn you round.

And when She’s done, at the dawn light’s rise,

You’ll meet every gaze with brighter eyes.

 

Oh Old One of the midnight rhyme,

Bless your daughters in our time,

As we take to roads in the moonless night,

To seek the wisdom of your ancient sight.

 

 

 

12. SPIRAL IS TURNING - words by Holin Kennen,

       music by Carolyn Hillyer

     Ruth Barrett with ensemble

 

Spiral is turning,

Season is changing

Old One is waiting.

Blessed is She

 

           

Closing:

 

 

13. REVOCATION - Lori Richards, with additional verse and adapted refrain by Ruth Barrett

 

Oh magic Earth, body of the Mother,

Here in your presence we touch one another.

           

Refrain:

Go as you must, blessing our will,

Within and without we remain with you still

 

Oh magic Water, river of courage,

Here in your presence we cleanse and we nourish

 

Oh magic Fire, burning with passion,

Here in your presence we spark into action.

 

Oh magic Air, breath of deep knowing,

Here in your presence inspired and growing.

 

Oh magic Spirit, cauldron of changing,

Here in your presence, transforming and naming.

 

 

14. SEASONAL MAGICK - Shekhinah Mountainwater

     Ruth and Amanda Barrett, vocals, with percussion

 

The year is a dancing woman, who is born at the coming of Spring.

The year is a dancing woman, of Her birth and death we sing.

In Spring She comes to power when the red of Her moon bloods come,

Then dances and spins toward Summer, to the beat of Her passion’s drum.

Tis then She becomes so fertile with the life that is to come,

And She flows with the love that feeds us til the Harvest time is done.

Then She dances and spins toward darkness all dressed in Autumn’s fire,

To descend to the time of shadow, and rest from the world’s desire.

Now Her hair is touched with silver, Winter’s wisdom claims Her soul,

And She births the Spirit within us, giving light and joy to us all.

Igniting a blaze in the darkness to kindle the coming Spring.

Then rest til Her resurrection, and Her story again begins.

The year is a dancing woman, who is born at the coming of Spring.

The year is a dancing woman, of Her birth and death we sing.

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