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riverdream through us
a Listening Ceremony in Seven Dreamings
for Singing/Listening Masks, Pre-recorded Tape & Listener/Celebrants
by Norman Lowrey

All are invited to participate by simply relaxing and listening throughout this ceremony, or to take part in any or all of the activities as described, according to your own present inclinations.

The boundaries between the seven dreamings are marked by the appearance of mask/guides. There may be natural overlapping of the dreamings. Feel to continue any activity into successive dreamings.

Everpresent Guides: Hearkener, Listening Raven
    (Hearkener and Listening Raven stand in silent awareness of all that takes place here. They each have listening devices installed in them so that their wearers hear all the sounds taking place more keenly. While these sounds are only audible in this way to the wearers, we may in our own imaginations be aware that there are those among us who are hearing through the beings of the Hearkener and the Listening Raven. The stance of these two is made of a gesture, right arm raised with closed hand, left arm lifted with open fingers moving in slow hand dance, which is based on what our then 8-month old son, Theo, did while sitting in my lap overlooking waterfalls on the headwater stream Sounding in Frost Valley, NY, July 10, 1994).


1. Dreaming/Opening     
    Guide: EarthSinger
    "Listening is the opening. Opening. Orar, 'to pray', and Oir, 'to listen', both have the same ancient sound." (from the invocation by Cecilia Vicuña at Yeaman Farm Sounding, July 31, 1994)
  • In quiet opening, listen...

2. Dreaming/Flowing     
    Guide: Bear
  • Continue listening. Imagine that you are a part of the River. Move as a river, as riverdreaming, in any way you feel comfortable. Joining hands is welcomed.

3. Dreaming/Riving     
    Guide: Loon Spirit
    river n [ME. rivere < OFr. riviere < VL. riparia < L. riparius < ripa, a bank < IE. *reipa, a steep edge < base *rie-, to slit, cut, whence RIVE, REAP]
  • Always listening, sense the strength of water cutting its way throughearth, slowly, over eons, or in sudden swift incision. Know the anguish of things riven. Find a place to scream, even if in silence, your pain, this earth's, and the river's.

4. Dreaming/Bottoming     
    Guide: Water Spirit
  • Pick up stones that have been collected from the river's bottom. Sound them in any way you dream appropriate along with the river's impossibly intricate rhythms.

5. Dreaming/Verging     
    Guide: Blue Oracle
    verge1 n. [ME. < OFr., a rod, wand, stick, yard, hoop <L. virga, a twig rod, wand <IE. *wizga- < base *wei-, to bend, twist, whence WIRE, WHISK] 1. the edge, brink, or margin (of something)
    2. a) an enclosing line or border; boundary, esp. of something more or less circular b) the area so enclosed

    verge2 vi. [L. vergere, to bend, turn <IE. werg- < base wer-, to turn, bend, whence WARP, WORM] 1. to tend or incline (to or toward) 2. to be in the process of changeor transition into something else
  • Verge into a circle. Pass listening sticks around the circle in both directions. Feel the sticks. Listen through them to tappings and scrapings that you or your neighbor(s) make. Try direct contact with the speaker cabinets which are reproducing the river sounds.

6. Dreaming/Weaving (river/stars)     
    Guide: Spirit of Dream Time
    When we were exploring Biscuit Brook as a possible Sounding site, I tried out my listening stick in one of the springs feeding the stream. I was startled by the similarity of the spring's bubbling sounds to recordings I'd heard of stellar activity - pulsars and quasars. Here, at an origin of the Delaware River were sounds like those emanating from the farthest reaches of the heavens. Two lines from Cecilia Vicuña's poetry flickered through my mind:
    Origin from Oriri: the coming out of the stars
  • In listening, imagine that the sounds you are hearing emanate both from River and Star. Select a pitch, either heard or imagined, and hum or intone that pitch with your own voice so that your sound is woven into the river/star fabric.

7. Dreaming/Riverdreaming     
    Guides: Inua Yua & EarthSinger
  • Find a place in which to relax, deeply. Listen... into river sounds... into silence... riverdream through us... winding around the waters of the world...

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