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Queen of the Night

By Bebetta Campeti

Queen of the Night

That was the night when my first song song came.

It happened during an advanced Shamanic Seidr workshop in Wales in the second week of May, held by good friends, Christine Mark, Jane Shutt and Shenoah Taylor. They are like me students of Annette Host, a Danish teacher, co-founder with Jonathan Horwitz of the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic studies (http://shamanism.dk) -except I was quite a newcomer, born and bread city dweller, a wimp, Mediterranean and lazy, and my teachers, three tough but sweet tempered English Norns, had all been at it for twenty years or more.

I was coming from Glastonbury, where for one week I stood eleven hours a day during a celebration of Great Goddess Tara, turning and chanting under the guidance of Jill Purce, healing voice teacher who held a ceremonial Mandala of a Tibetan Buddhist lineage (www.jillpurce.com). An unforgettable week, during the pagan feast of Beltane, or May Day, run by a great teacher, loving and humorous, with a big group of people coming from all over the world for this occasion. When I arrived at a tiny one rail station along the sea called Llwyngril, a name I never learned to pronounce, I was exhausted.

Doing two powerful spiritual workshops of this kind one after the other was an energy hazard- everybody at the Red Tara Mandala in Glastonbury rolled their eyes, saying “Oh! Will you be able to handle it?” When I told them that I was going straight into another course. I felt drained by the great energetic currents that had been awakened by the ceremony and that were now seething through my subtle bodies, and I let them do what they needed to do, going with the flow. 

Contrary to expectations, in Wales it never rained— actually it was the sunniest week they had had in Llwyngril for a long time. A few days outdoors lying next to the running water of the creek, speaking to plants, receiving messages from helpful riverbank spirits, listening to the song of Guryl, the River Giant -a dear friend of Jane and Christine, two of the teachers, who moved to Wales and are working with the spirits of the Land-, were enough to fill me with a running stream of clean pure energy. 

So there I went, by myself, with my rattle and covers and water, along the riverbank. The sitting out was meant to last only a few hours, the time of a slow sunset, waiting for the arrival of darkness. I had done already one sitting out in Sweden the summer before that one, all night long. It was a very strong experience, where I saw visions and heard messages of the spirit world just because of my presence, of my listening to what is there and we usually never notice, because we are too busy running around inside our heads. But here was the body, central to this being in nature. A body that finally feels, smells, listens to the pulsating rhythm of the earth.

So there I was. After a lovely leisurely time at the riverbank, and meeting with spirits and songs being chanted and forgotten soon after, came the time of waiting for the darkness. It never came. I was amazed at the length of Welsh sunsets. We were quite there, but not yet. A blue time, a time of longing, when black shapes of leaves tremble in front of you against an indigo sky over a yellowish radiance, persistent even after the sun is gone. Where is the darkness? I ask my allies. I am feeling tired, wet and cold, humidity rises from the river and I have to retreat under a big tree to the side, next to the wooden gate where the owner of the sheep comes to look after them. He passes by, with two barking dogs, says hello to this stranger woman sitting under the tree. I say hallo in return, with a straight voice. He hushes his dogs and says bye bye.

A voice tells me to call darkness with a song. And so I do. I stand, bend my knees a bit, planting my feet firmly on the ground. Breathe, rattle, look into the air growing thinner, into the light growing bluer, into the longing for ecstasy growing stronger and so I go—  I jump out of my body into another state, of no mind, only being, listening to the messages coming through me without my knowing, be it telepathic messages or words flowing out of my mouth in song. An experience for somebody who is usually unable to carry a tune. But there I am. In the semi darkness, I see the Queen of the Night  beckoning at me and think of how Mozart’s Magic Flute dismisses her as a lunar witch, ambivalent and dangerous, as opposed to the wise, solar priest Sarastro, a champion of moralizing patriarchy. And I feel the need to glorify her with a solemn march to accompany her regal entrance, finally the Queen of the Night is coming, adorned with a moon scepter and a cape of star studded darkness.

Here she comes, the Queen of the Night, here she comes, the Queen of the Night, here she comes! 
The moon is her scepter tonight, and the stars are her mantel tonight. Here she comes!
The Queen of the Night, here she comes, the Queen of the Night, here she comes!

This is a Seidr song, the spirits say. This is a present. I give thanks and go back home along the riverbank.