Wendalyn Bartley, known by many of us as Wende, is a sound energy practitioner, composer and ritual performance artist who is dedicated to an awakening of the voice of the feminine, the earth, and a reunited humanity. I first met her in a circle-based spiritual community to which I belong. We’re shared many moments of ceremony and sound with land, water, and many other more-than-human beings. Wendalyn’s new CD, Sound Dreaming: Oracle Songs from Ritual Spaces, is to be released soon. There’s a fundraiser to get the project completed at http://www.indiegogo.com/sounddreaming . Please contribute what you can to this juicy and powerful project. You can visit Wendalyn online at http://www.awakeningyourvoice.com/. I hope you enjoy this interview with her.
Wendalyn, your album, Sound Dreaming: Oracle Songs from Ancient Ritual Spaces, has been a project calling to you for some time. What enabled this calling to come to fruition for you?
I love this question for it takes me deeper into the layers of what this music is really all about, and describes the process I used to create the vocalizations. By aligning with the “morphic field of resonance” as biologist Rupert Sheldrake describes it, I’m translating the energetic qualities of this field through the sounds of my voice – much the same way I would while giving an individual sound healing session. What guides me is the intelligence of the sounds themselves, for they speak and communicate a particular form of knowledge. The voice is the instrument of the soul and becomes like a “divining rod” that enables the flow of divine wisdom to move through me, just like the process of a higher intelligence revealing itself through the Tarot images, the runes, or prophetic words spoken. Thus the ‘oracle songs’ are a way of knowing that goes directly into the cellular layers of our being and communicates a wisdom beyond words.
While the pieces on Sound Dreaming grew out of your experiences in the Hypogeum in Malta and other early sacred spaces, they strike me as more than an homage to the past. What are these ancient places saying to the 21st century through your pieces.
I feel that a central aspect of the wisdom being communicated through these oracle songs is a call deep into our cellular memory to remember that we are divine beings, and that we are being called to restore our lost connection to the earth and all sentient beings we share this planet with. The Christian tradition has imprinted the belief within our collective psyche that there is something fundamentally wrong with us – that we are ‘sinners in need of redemption’.However when we can make the shift deep within our bodies and align with the sacred life force within, trusting that we are perfect the way we are, then we can help raise the vibration of the collective field that is now so entangled with fear into the higher vibrational state of peace, love, hope and compassion. This is the evolutionary shift we are all collectively being asked to make. The voice is capable of creating frequencies that align us with these higher vibrational states. The intention of the Sound Dreaming music is to help the listener experience these states of resonance with the sonic wisdom ‘divined’ from these ancient sites.
Embodying and giving voice to the feminine is such an important component of this project. What gifts or benefits can emerge from such an embodiment and voicing?
When I offer sound to the earth, such as toning directly into a tree for example, I experience a form of communication that is hard to put into words, yet I know something of exquisite beauty has been shared between us. Gaia deeply longs to hear our sounds and is asking us to weave them back into the tapestry of the natural soundscape as an important way to maintain and sustain healthy life on the planet.
I’d like to offer people a ritually based concert experience in small salon-like gatherings – either in people’s homes or in smaller venues. Since the music has been mixed in 5.1 surround sound, I can create a listening environment where people can be fully immersed in the music, with the various layers of voices and environmental sounds moving around them in the room. However I see that as just the tip of the iceberg. Since the vision of the album is a call to embodiment and connection, I’d like to offer both group workshops and individual private sessions to guide people into discovering their own voices and how sound can take them into a deeper relationship with their own sacred essence. I’m also envisioning guiding groups in offering sound to the earth as a form of ‘sonic activism’, and expand on my work with using the labyrinth as a ritual container. As well, I’m cooking up some ideas for the online world. One idea is a series of telecalls organized around exploring each piece on the CD as if it were an oracle reading related to certain questions and topics. That should be fun and opens up a new way of working with the music.