Rock Goddess Music
I grew up without faith, without a belief system, I didn’t pray. My parents answer to ‘What is God?’ was ‘It’s up to you… when you are an adult you can decide for yourself’.
By the time I got to my teenage years there was one thing I was pretty sure of, there was me and maybe only me.
I was completely unaware at the time but I now understand I was beginning to notice mySelf, my divine consciousness, my vibration, my energetic contribution to this world.
But there are extra layers to this adolescent theory.
In any class as a teacher and a student I am aware of the connection between each Self in the room and something that is greater than I can explain. At this point in my life this is where my faith lies.
Instead of religion I had radio. From the age of about 7 or 8 I had a radio of my own, at night I would listen to Elvis <3 and music from the 50’s & 60’s, on Sundays I would sit by the speaker waiting for my favourite songs from ‘the top 40’ to come on.
So it is no wonder I am obsessed with the music I play in the classroom when I teach Yoga.
L7 played on The Word and Riot Grrrrls arrived in the UK. This was my generation speaking directly ‘to the man’ and mySelf.
Love child of the 60’s/70’s rock and punk music, the political and social activism of the feminist movement and a violent response to male dominated music industry.
I will never forget the excitement/relief/comfort I felt when at 17 years old I discovered BLONDIE and the Goddess that is Debbie Harry. I found my first deity.
Thank fuck for these women.
These are my elders, wise women, visionaries:
(there are many, many more but these are my go to girls).
Poison Ivy- (the Cramps)
Joan Jett (Joan Jett & the Blackhearts)
Big Momma Thornton
Janis Joplin (Big Brother and the Holding Company)
Siouxie Sioux (Siouxie and the Banshees)
Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill)
Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
Shannon Shaw (Shannon and the Clams)
Debbie Harry (Blondie)
Nico (The Velvet Underground)
These Women we are noisy, angry, offensive, rebellious, passionate, demanding, dominating, violent, honest and beautiful with it.
They took the lead in rule breaking, fighting oppression, speaking their truth and moving from their heart to which ever way they are called.
They paved a way for others to be bold enough to speak their truth.
When I look back I see my freedom from faith and the lack restriction in my early years meant I could just play and be however I wanted. It was later, when adolescence arrived that the impact of society and social judgements, conformity and gender prejudices did two things to my juvenile spirit.
I stopped speaking out so freely.
I began to believe I needed to be a certain way, more masculine perhaps and other than myself to be free from oppression.
I love to wear jeans. I have a brother, I was surrounded by men and there is nothing wrong with that, the lack of feminine energy wasn’t their fault. The impact of patriarchy (God is a man etc) meant all the above women and the rest had to fight their way through (your can hear it in some of their voices and words). I was embracing my masculine side and under-nourishing my feminine side and this is something at 39 I have only just recognised and has still not entirely healed. I was not comfortable wearing a dress, I felt too vulnerable in a skirt.
These women spoke and speak so powerfully to me, my music mothers. I am held by mySelf, as myself with their voices in my ears. They poured their hearts, souls, bodies, and minds into their music sadly in some cases to the sacrifice of everything else.
In Autumn there is an invitation to listen to that wisdom inside as the light of the year decreases, the shadows lengthen, and the night dominates the day. I now welcome this invitation to look deeper inside and music helps me cope with what I see and feel. It is not all sweetness. There are shadows and light in us all. It is named in the music of these goddesses in all of its parts. I have a deep relationship with shame and for years its grip over my life was completely suffocating. There is also a load of regret, guilt, fear, jealousy, lust, unexpressed anger, greed and pain.
These are human emotions we all feel, sometimes all at once, sometimes overwhelmingly. I struggled with shame as I felt it wasn’t ok to express so much of what I felt. Crying for example is not appropriate in public and no one likes to know you feel bad. These women feel all that and do it anyway, some had to fight hard to be heard and some still do.
This season and this music is an invitation to recognise these aspects of yourSelf (that was a big challenge for me because I just said I was ok for so long I didn’t have words for my feelings). I observe my feelings and allow them to surface, I listen and know they are not the sum of my parts.
From deep inside the dark ‘cave of my heart’ I celebrate the freedom in the songs of these Goddesses in rock, punk, pop, soul, blues and jazz form.
I am so grateful for their voices they share.
Join me in Leyton Yoga on Saturday 29 October at 2pm for a 2 hour workshop to celebrate this practice. Book via the studios website.