Song 6: My Soul

© 2016 by Suzanne Sterling & Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney

E                                              A                   E

I am breathing, I am open, I am willing

E                                                      F# – B7

I am stepping out into the unknown

E                                                     A                        E

I am walking, though uncertain, I am willing

E                                      A                      E

To listen to the yearning in my soul

E                                                  A                        E

Cuz if my soul says so, I do as my soul says

E                                         F#                       B7

If my soul says so, I do as my soul says

E                                         A                         E

If my soul says so, I do as my soul says

E                                 A                        E

I listen to the yearning in my soul

Chord progression by Magic Brook – see below

History & Lore

Suzanne:

I started writing this chant for a Witchcamp at Diana’s Grove many many years ago. I was with Alphonsus, Dawn Isadora, and Thorn Coyle and we were talking about the myth. I cannot remember dates or themes after all the years of teaching at camps but it must have been about taking leaps of faith and going toward the Unknown!

I wrote the verses, and Alphonsus created the “If my soul says so” line. We added it to the verses… and voilá!

It’s been sung in a lot of different camp settings. I hope that it has helped people to live authentic truthful moments and take risks that speak to their own souls.

Alphonsus:

Sometimes creating a chant for a ritual a good focus. Is your writing relevant for tonight’s ritual?

Maybe a single line is. It’s thinking about how your creativity helps serve the point of the ritual.

Suzanne and I had each had luck writing with the word Soul. She had those beautiful lyrics, and I had this one great line: “If my soul says so, I do as my soul says.”

I didn’t write that line for camp. I was lifting it from my past writing. I had that line, and I tried singing it with hers.

There’s always a nice warm feeling to hear people sing it. When I hear those lines, I feel there’s liberation in them.

But I also feel in my body that I don’t always do as my soul says.

And then there’s the private, behind-the-scenes version: “If my soul says so, you do as my soul says!”

So I go back to what my own soul says. Its scary. In a way it’s a dare. Am I doing what my soul says? How do I know? Sometimes doing what your soul says will kick your ass.

George:

The song began life as a chant around 2000 – a striking version can be heard on Suzanne’s album Wings – see next page – and is part of the bonus disc to this album.

Magic Brook, around 2005, put chords behind the chant and defined it as a song for his album The Great Blues Sea. Brook’s version (also on the bonus disk) is in a jazz idiom – but the underlying bass line lends itself to a folk treatment, and it quickly morphed into a campfire classic.

In 2006-07, I taught at Lorely Camp in Western Europe. The tri-lingual camp welcomed simple, repetitive songs and chants, and the refrain of My Soul became a favorite (along with Let It Be and Get Up Stand Up!).

The first time the Loreley Teens Path sang My Soul, my co-teachers Petra and Anje translated it into German, French, and Dutch – then we all sang it in multi-accented English.

Recording: Our Vocalist’s Latest Avatar

The melody proved challenging for a group effort. Luckily, we had in our chorus Max Ventura, who sang on two previous Reclaiming albums.

Let It Begin Now: Music from the Spiral Dance (recorded in the early 1990s) features a younger Max sharing lead vocals on the 18-minute title song.

And on Second Chants (1997) she sang a soaring descant for Anne Hill and Starhawk’s song, When We Are Gone, which is perhaps the favorite elements-devocation song at San Francisco rituals. Whenever we use the song in a ritual, a few sopranos sing Max’s part.

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