Sunday, December 14, 2014

2014 Winter Solstice: Sunday, December 21

Historically the SYSTRUM was used as part of temple ceremony and ritual and I invite you to create a meaningful ritual this holiday season integrating this historic & easy-to-play instrument as part of a simple (or complex) ritual you create to commemorate Winter solstice: A signal to celebrate!

Your ritual can be as simple as lighting a candle with an intention in your heart to commemorate this pivotal moment and re-kindle your inner fire!
After all, for those of us on the northern part of Earth, this is the shortest day, but then after Winter Solstice, the days get longer, and the nights shorter. Let there be Light! SSssSesheshet*
*the singing/ringing sound of the Systrum

Winter Solstice Ritual Ideas:  
LOVELY LANTERNS:  Consider this...Refrain from using artificial light for the entire day and then welcome the new season by lighting solstice lanterns 'crafted' from empty jars and/or glass tumblers. Decorate 'em (or not) however you like; insert tealight candles. Assemble many &  enjoy all around your house…

Here's a nice ritual you can do with friends or family. Place one large unlit candle on your table with various smaller unlit candles for each person present. Turn off all the lights and spend a moment in darkness and quiet contemplation.  Then whomever is leading, lights the main big candle offering a blessing. After that one by one, each person around the table lights his/her candle from the main flame offering a word of gratitude and placing the candles in a circle around the main one. Once all the candles are lit, in unison offer a song, blessing or simply say: “Happy Solstice.”

mistletoeWishing you a blessed holiday season! mistletoe

 with lotsa love, Tahya         

Friday, August 29, 2014

Golden Rays of Summer's Fading Days

August 29 Birthday of
Het-Hert (Hathor

Ahhh... The golden light of late August signals a winding down of a summer filled with many of life's finer moments: Delicious fresh farmers market fruits & veggies, afternoon strolls along the beach, and unhurried evenings spent outdoors with friends amidst the twinkling of fireflies... 

As August nears its end, I resolve to stay calm & carry on, savoring every precious moment. Remembering, after all, another great aspect of August is that it also heralds crisp, cool days to come and, with them, anticipation for what life will bring next: 

Happily, for example, rehearsals with the Lehigh Valley Percussion Priestesses culminating with an ...
 Autumn gig with Grant Smith @ Godfrey Daniels
Sunday, November 9

 SSSsssSSSsssSeshehet SSSsssSSSsssSeshehet SSSsssSSSsssSeshehet 
 teka dum teka dum teka dum pah
We play the tambourine for Your Ka, 
We dance for Your Majesty, 
We exalt You To the height of heaven. 
You are the Mistress of Sekhem, 
The Menat and the Sistrum,

The Mistress of Music...
 We rejoice before Your face; we play for Your Ka.
Your heart rejoices over our performance.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Inspiration & Enthusiasm

My friend Naomi Ozaniec recently posted an essay:

I find her writing truly inspired and for this I am grateful. Furthermore, I am oso grateful to have made her acquaintance (never will I forget our breakfasts on the "Moroccan patio" of the home Sophie Nusslé and her mother Margaret in Granada overlooking the Mediterranean with fresh squeezed orange juice et al * sigh*).

But I digress, permit me to express my gratitude for Naomi's essay on Inspiration. It clarified aspects of my journey ~ that is to say, in the moment I had the inspiration to re-emerge the systrum (after its being buried by the sands of time for hundreds and hundreds of years), I truly, deeply, madly felt a "moment of mysterious revelation, a shared breath with the forces of creation from the universal & unbounded realm of Spirit" ... leading me to a most enthusiastic response.

I appreciate Naomi's crafting the words & meaning  around a moment that afforded seismic shifts. I found myself going left when all along I had anticipated going right.

She eloquently described "an inspired project will draw people toward it like a magnet." (INDEED, what a magnetic field 'round this one!) The essay went on to say "Inspiration and enthusiasm go hand in hand, genuine inspiration produces visible enthusiasm. Enthusiasm too carries a mystical weight since the word comes from the ancient Greek word eufousiasmz meaning, to be, inspired by or possessed by God. The two qualities belong together as cause and effect..."

"Enthusiasm is our response to inspiration 
and this divine possession brings passion to experience 
and a sense of mission and purpose to action. 
This is the elixir of life, drink deeply of it whenever you can."

 Happily, enthusiastically, gratefully, I drink the elixir!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pilgrimage to Crete with Layne Redmond

May 19 to June 2, 2004

In addition to our classes with Layne (read 'more' below), the museum in Heraklion and visiting the sites of the ancient Minoan temple community centers, for me, the trip's highlights included the comraderie of the participants, the charm of the small fishing village of Mochlos, the yummy lunch in Kandanos en route to Paleochora, the outstanding dinner in Agia Galini at Taverna Kosmas and the bright sparkling afternoon in Zokros where we brought a smile to many faces when our drumming and dance spontaneously combusted into a celebration of good will! Our group was snapping photos as were the many tourists from throughout the world who were drawn to our galvanizing energy.

One of the most lasting impressions for me was setting foot on the processional walkways preserved throughout time. Each temple community center we visited was arranged with a long processional path leading to a grand stairway which led to a lustral basin where the populace was anointed before entering the temple.
This was an enriching experience continuing to unfold
in waves rippling through my life....


On my return flight(s) from the island of Crete on the way back to the U.S., I began writing in my journal wondering what revelations, if any, would unfold… *MOST* of all, overall, I must say it was an *extraordinary blessing* to have traversed the hills of Crete with Layne Redmond (author of the book WHEN THE DRUMMERS WERE WOMEN*) and the flock of sojourners Layne attracted, each with a unique gift to bring to our group energy.

The first three days of our pilgrimage found us sequestered in the beautiful and charming little fishing village of Mochlos on the eastern shores of the island. A quiet locale suddenly stirred by our presence. From our classes with Layne eminated the sounds of drumming and chanting, overtone singing, and humming practices ~ the practices of the drumming bee priestesses who served the Bee Goddesses: Aphrodite, Artemis, Demeter, Rhea, Cybele, Ariadne and Neith.
  • We learned a synthesis of drumming techniques from India, the Middle East, and North Africa on the Middle Eastern Style tambourine.
  • We invoked the elemental energies of earth, water, fire and air and the four directions through the drum.
  • Minoan Sistrum @ Heraklion museum
  • We worked with sistrums, the percussion instruments depicted in the ancient Minoan frescos and looked at the prevalence of the archetypal concept of the seven chakras from all over the world with an emphasis on the ancient Mediterranean cultures of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome and Catal Huyuk, Turkey.
We created sacred space through ritual with the frame drum and sacred sounds, and focused on the heart chakra to help bring balance to ourselves, our culture and the world. We were introduced to the yogic practices of the Bee Goddess from India ~ mudra and mantra for the bee goddess, several forms of pranayama practices derived from the buzzing of bees which vibrates and realigns the entire nervous system, brain and body by buzzing the vocal chords.

I was uplifted making acquaintance with new dear hearts and delving into the Minoan culture. Furthermore, each ritual conducted was a blessing connecting us not only to the potential for realizing the unfolding of our higher self but also re-connecting us to antiquity, re-connecting us to a time when temple communities celebrated with ritual and feasting... And as I wrote these words I realized our pilgrimage was mirroring this culture... We were a travelling caravan conducting ritual seaside in Mochlos, hillside in the olive groves, and inside the island's sacred caves, and at least once daily gathering together for communal feasts. [The food was not gourmet per set but more often than not it was quite good, simply prepared with the "freshest" ingredients providing sustenance for the next "leg" of our pilgrimage.]

Our final dinner harborside in Hania at sunset was delightful with photos being taken left and right, smiles, toasts, and offerings shared, and then farewell hugs exchanged. On our way back to the hotel Maria, Layne and I "stumbled" upon two musicians (one on oud, the other on a lyra) playing to an empty house. We strolled in to the café and Layne inquired if they had a tar or tamborine. They didn't but they had a dumbec. She professed this was not her instrument of choice but went about playing quite nicely indeed! Yours truly regretted she didn't have her finger cymbals at hand. Nevertheless I sat down and started clapping in a flemenco style ~ inspired by the moment and a muse who sprang from somewhere deep inside. We shared a lovely magical musical moment before deciding we needed exit to return to our respective hotel rooms to pack for journeys homeward.

This 'pilgrimage' proved a unique experience with many lasting magical moments for yours truly ~ again, not the least of which were the practices Layne shared compiled from her life's work of research. I was impressed with the love and concern Layne exuded in caring for each and every participant's satisfaction. Layne was fully present, visible and always available.

One other thing I carry with me is the impression from our travels on the bus ride through Crete was the site in one small village after another of folks sitting watching the day/world go by. It reminded me of a page I ripped from a Sark calendar a friend gifted to me a few years ago and that I have taped to the side of my desk: "Stop doing. Just for right now." The folks of Crete personified that message for me. They were NOT in a hurry rushing to their next appointment, they weren't plugged into a cell phone or computer, they weren't updating their website or answering e-mail and/or maybe doing all three at once. No. They were quietly sitting. Just sitting. No book, newspaper, or magazine on the table by their side. Not even a coffee cup or glass of water. No journal. JUST sitting. Simply sitting ~ just for now. Can I sit quietly, sit in meditation? Sit in stillness. Just sit. Can I do that? I don't know, but it sure gave me pause to witness that serenity. My conclusion may be as Ross Daly so eloquently articulated:

Tradition is to take something from the past, 
do the best we can with it in the present and 
make an offering to the future.

Ross Daly playing a composition of his own on a new Nak Tarhu
built by resident instrument maker 
Mazdak Fereydooniat the Musical Workshop Labyrinth, Crete 

For further information:

Last, but not least, my itinerary permitted my spending an afternoon and evening in Athens. After a delicious meal at a rooftop restaurant I watched the full moon rise and the walk back to my hotel provided a spectacular, breathtaking view of the magnificent Acropolis under the light of a brilliant full moon. Auspicious!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Golden Rule

Participating in the art of Danse Orientale  one benefits from
     a) exercise,
     b) new ways of adornment,
     c)  a connection to women (throughout the ages), and
     d) an exploration into the her/history of civilization. 

Through the investigation of ancient gestures and music, we spiral  toward a deep well residing within. We discover inner resources for inspiration and uncover creativity, fluidity, confidence with emerging grace.

Let us remember, recover, realize:   The creative spark residing within is an immense force and the value of that is immeasurable.  Imagine if we all put that creativity into action!  Imagine every time we are faced with a challenge rather than reacting with some knee jerk response we instead close our eyes, take a breath, tap into the creative well and respond with fluidity and grace.

My mission is to present a few "tools of the trade" from which one might discover his/her own radiant essence.

Typically in my classes, I first introduce The Golden Rule*.  Next, I introduce an Egyptian folkloric 4/4 rhythm pattern known as ‘Beledy’ inviting everyone to step with the pulse and then clap along until we are all synchronistically moving feet and hands, hearts and minds.  This dance embraces us and the beats provide the foundation for the rhythm of life…

“Everything in the universe has rhythm.
Everything dances.”  -  
Maya Angelou


*The Golden Rule
One of the very first lessons I present in my classes refers to a sequence of hand gestures referred to as "The Golden Rule” from classical South Indian dance known as Bharata Natyam or Bharatanatyam**. 

I teach it as it was taught to me by my guru, Mimi Janislawski, PhD, master of classical eastern dance traditions. Dr. Janislawski, who originally enticed by the exotic movement, music and costumes of Eastern dance, immediately recognized the opportunity Bharatanatyam afforded for "dancing eternal cosmic truths. Shiva is the name of the lord of the dance, but what that really means is change and motion in the universe. Vishnu is life, you are honoring life. We dance on Mother Earth," Mimi says in a breathy, peaceful voice. "The material is very organic and nationless in its meaning. Hinduism is just one outward expression of it."

Mimi Janislawski, native to San Francisco, has traveled a unique path to her chosen career as an exponent of Bharatanatyam. She began her dance career in classical ballet, graduated from the Royal Ballet, London, and was awarded the Solo Seat, the highest degree of the royal academy of dancing. In London she began her study of Bharatanatyam from Balasundari of Kalakshetra, 1968-70. Upon returning to her home, she trained under the late T. Balasarasvati, 1971-76. Mimi has performed nationally and internationally in a wide variety of settings - concert, theaters, museums, universities, art festivals - ranging from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to the Temple of Karnak, Luxor, Egypt. Tours since 1979 have included India, Egypt, England and the US. Her large repertoire consists of dances from the ancient classics to original compositions in the traditional style. She has maintained a school in the Bay area for over thirty-five years.
Mimi Janislawski :: Way of the Dance
In addition to her mastery of Bharatanatyam, becoming the embodiment of a heavenly Goddess come to Earth, what also sets this *extraordinary* artist apart is that her repertoire includes all of the following: classical dance of Japan, classical Chinese court and character dance, Javanese court dance, Balinese ritual temple dance, Sudanese and Korean dance. 

In addition, she has created an Egyptian Suite, the culmination of tremendous research bringing to life the ancient dance of Egypt complete with an explanation of the meaning of the gestures from the hieroglyphics and how these accumulated gestures were put together. This dance was performed at the Temple of Karnak by invitation of the Egyptian Government, Department of Antiquities.
Mimi  Janislawski in her Ancient Egyptian ISIS costuming
with moi in Maui, 1999

**Bharata Natyam dance dates back to ancient Vedic rituals from approx. 3000 BC considered to be a "Golden Age when art, science, mathematics, astronomy, architecture and religion were not separate fields, but were oriented to one Universal cosmos." Hence, this principle. Golden (age) + rule = Golden Rule, a universal truth of dance and drama technical procedure. So titled by Mimi Janislawski (among other America dance instructors) because it is THE basic expression of technique, emotional and spiritual procedure for a dancer and/or actor/actress.

Bharata Natyam was the embodiment of music in visual form, a ceremony, and an act of devotion. Today Bharatanatyam is a traditional dance-form known for its grace, purity, tenderness, and sculpturesque poses. Today, it is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by male and female dancers all over India. 

In ancient Tamil culture and society (an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India), the arts of music and dance were performed by Hindu temple Devadasis. These arts were highly developed and played a major role in daily life and devotional ritual. Many of the ancient sculptures in Hindu temples are based on Bharata Natyam dance postures known as karanas. In fact, it is the celestial dancers, apsaras, who are depicted in many scriptures dancing the heavenly version of what is known on earth as Bharatanatyam. In the most essential sense, a Hindu deity abides in his temple as an esteemed and revered guest. Countless ancient Hindu temples kept a tradition of maintaining highly trained dancers and musicians to offer the deity the “sixteen hospitalities.” Dancing and music, pleasing to the senses, are among these hospitalities. 

The "Golden Rule" is the first Sanskrit shloka (poetic meter ~ e.g. couplet) of the Natya Shastra , the ancient Indian treatise on the performing arts, encompassing theatre, dance and music codified and written by Bharata Muni (c.600-800 BC). Bharata Muni wrote an entire treatise of procedures on dance and the "Golden Rule" is the first chant (shloka) in the treatise on dance. The "Golden Rule" chant translates to: “Where the hand goes, there goes the eye. Where the eye goes, there goes the mind. Where the mind goes, there goes the bhava. Where the bhava goes, there goes the rasa.” As explained to me by Mimi, the "Golden Rule" reminds us that the technical aspect of the dance is presented by you, the vehicle of the dance, and becomes the emotional quality (bhava) as it radiates out from you. The bhava in turn becomes the spiritual/ethereal quality (rasa) as it received. The rasa is the exchange between artist and audience or, for example, when practicing alone, between artist and the Universe.

Mimi further explained from this Golden age come three methods of rules for any/all procedures ~ including, for example, architectural procedures, dance, meditation, love-making, etc. The Sanskrit meter in which the procedure was written determines whether it is a shastra, sutra (as in Kama Sutra), or tantra. A shastra is most often an observation written to explain an earlier scripture or sutra. Shastras are more conducive to chant. Tantra is an accumulation of ideas and practices, characterized by ritual forms of worship.

In my classes, I start with teaching the Golden Rule not only for its historic significance but also because it reminds us of our heart/mind connection. When reviewing the chant, you will see that the gesture associated with "there goes the mind" utilizes two hands in the Kathakamuka mudra. One hand pointing to the brain and the other pointing to the heart because it was known thousands of years ago that the heart and mind are inseparable and this 'Rule' reminds us of this fact.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

I am

really just a tambourine 
grab hold, play me
-    Hafiz

* * *
Experience the pulse of the drum.
Respond with a myriad of expressive gestures
echoing ancient traditions. 
Move your body, mind & spirit
toward a vibrant sense of sensuality,
and a deeper level of well being.
Feel empowered, uplifted.
Experience awakened inner creativity.

Dance in the light of the ancient moon…..

Behind the veils, Intoxicated with love
I  dance the rhythm of this moving world.
-    Rumi

It’s a drum and arms waving.
It’s a bonfire at midnight on the top edge of a hill,
This meeting again with you.
-    Rumi

* * *
I invite you to.... Delve into Danse Orientale ,
an art form with a rich history dating back to antiquity
which beckoned me to a world beyond....

Danse Orientale  is the name I use for the movement vocabulary I teach incorporating Middle and Far Eastern arts.  With great fondness I recall the first time I heard the intoxicating melodies and hypnotic rhythms beckoning me to experience the mystery and wondrous magic carpet ride these ancient arts provide.

A voice inside the drum (said),
 I know you are tired...
but come, this is the way! 
-    Rumi

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Enthusiastic Emergence @ NAMM 2014

Permit me if you will to express great enthusiasm following my attendance at the 2014 NAMM tradeshow (Jan. 23-26) where the response to the debut of the SYSTRUM exceeded expectations ~ i.e., despite its having been "buried" by the sands of time, I was delighted by the number of people who knew what it was without the slightest solicitation on my part. Hooray!

The SYSTRUM and I arrive ready to play at the Drum Circle!
Photo credit:  Diana Fengler Shores

 Arthur Hull
Photo credit:  Diana Fengler Shores
Among my personal highlights was bringing the SYSTRUM to the Friday night REMO Drum Circle* which draws men, women and children of all ages to the Palm Garden outside the Anaheim Convention Center for a group music-making experience led by REMO facilitator extraordinaire and rhythm ambassador, the one and only Arthur Hull. 

(Click here to see a video collage of the drum circle!)

WOW - WOW - WOW!  What a fabulous, amzing, mystical, magical, wonder-filled experience robust with delightful surprises ALL associated with the debut of the SYSTRUM at this spectacular event hosting over 9,000 merchants and attended by 90,000+ at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Arrival at Convention Center w/ Diana Fengler Shores
I flew from PA to CA on Thursday, January 23 with purrrr-fect and on-time connecting flights.  Upon landing @ LAX my syster in the systrahood Diana Fengler Shores was awaiting my arrival in her gold chariot and off we flew to her abode.  Not having seen each other in person for several years we stayed up 'til the wee hours of the morning talking about various and sundry things as well as strategizing the SYSTRUM's first-ever appearance at this event.

The next morning we played a recording of beautiful ragas as we prepared ourselves in a relaxed manner to be Her representatives at this big event.  We were blessed to navigate the freeways with ease between Santa Monica and Anaheim.  Upon arrival, we made our way to the Mid-East Mfg. booth to deliver a couple items I thought might enhance Her debut amidst the array of beautiful instruments on display therein.
Tahya & Diana at Mid-East Booth, NAMM 2014

Tahya & Kim at Mid-East Booth, NAMM 2014
Photo credit:  Diana Fengler Shores
On our way to check in with our friends at REMO I met guitarist and author Robb Lawrence after which we headed over to REMO 'hub' where I enjoyed meeting the super talented yet unassuming Pete Lockett who is renowned as one of the most versatile multi-percussionists in the world:   
Pete Lockett
Photo credit:  Diana Fengler Shores
Many friends were made and photos were taken, even amidst our hotel shuttle mates both that night and the next morning:

Miranda Rondeau, Tahya, Sean Lee, Diana, Junko Lewis and Miwa Rocker
Sebastian Nylund, in the green jacket,
Diana, moi and John Williams, Philly-based saxophonist

BTW, John took a keen interest in the SYSTRUM
and upon taking it in hand, 
he expressed a knowing that this instrument was used for 'clearing'
things that make you go
Chris Declercq
with two Chicago sweethearts

Photo credit:  Diana Fengler Shores
I look forward to returning to NAMM next year and in the meantime fostering all these new relationships and burgeoning SYSTRUM circulation!  May its re-emergence 
     a) empower hand-drumming enthusiasts who previously may have found themselves challenged to learn techniques associated with various hand drums by discovering the joy of playing percussion ala this wonderful & historic instrument associated with rich millennia-old traditions,
     b) shed light on Egyptian (ancient and contemporary) culture and Goddess cults of Hathor & Isis, etc.,  and
     c) re-inspire meaningful intentional ritual and creative authentic living in our daily lives...
Diana & Tahya on the final day of NAMM

Photo credit:  Diana Fengler Shores
*FINAL NOTE: Over the years Paulo Mattioli facilitated numerous Remo Drum Circles at NAMM and we shared many a smile in his recounting those experiences.  Your spirit lives on brightly in the Remo Drum Circle my dearly departed friend. We miss you muchly and remember you always with great fondness.

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association that promotes the pleasures and benefits of making music and serves as a hub for people seeking the newest innovations in musical products, recording technology, sound and lighting. NAMM activities & programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Influence of Layne Redmond's book

The book by Layne Redmond, When the Drummers were Women is a book that holds a prominent place in my personal library as well as in my life, "literally" documenting the teachings I'd learned ~ that is, practices of rhythm and movement which have been handed down in oral tradition for thousands of years.   Thanks to Layne's work, much of this information now was compiled and in print with photos of historic artifacts related to the spiritual history of rhythm and rituals dating back to ancient matriarchal cultures.

However, BEFORE this book was published, going back I believe to the year 1996, my friend and then accompanist Benjamin Iobst** first hosted Layne Redmond at an event in Kutztown, PA, which I attended. Layne announced with great pride that her book was about to be published.  Meanwhile, that afternoon she led us in a group chant while encouraging our playing several of the basic strokes associated with the frame drum. She was a a natural talent dedicated to her frame drumming skills and she was a master facilitator; no wonder, since we'd come to learn she'd been studying and playing with Glen Velez for years. Glen is a master percussionist, vocalist, and composer, specializing in frame drums from around the world and recognized to be largely responsible for the increasing popularity of frame drums in the United States and around the world.  BTW, I went on to produce several programs with Glen years later which I will write about in a subsequent post. 

By this time (1996) Benjamin and I had been collaborating for a couple years.  He was originally introduced to my craft when attending one of my shows at Musikfest.  He had signed my 'fan' mailing list and in short order we subsequently met in person at a Middle Eastern Dance concert produced by Nagwa Said at the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia, PA.  As fate would have it we were in line standing side by side awaiting admission to the performance when he introduced himself.  Ben went on to say that he'd been studying percussion and would like to play for my troupe of dancers.  I agreed to audition him, was delighted by his talent and we fast became friends.
That's Nagwa (front and center) with her troupe of dancers
performing "
El Raks Sai'd" @ the Annenb erg Center, Philadelphia

[Long story short, I was a fan of Nagwa Said since 1982 when I met her teaching a charming scarf dance at a week-long training session at the Bellevue in San Francisco produced by the legendary Jamila Salimpour.  In fact, I still adhere to the dance vocabulary Jamila developed. Read more about Jamila ala her daughter's website ~ go to: Suhaila Salimpour.]

But I digress.... Inspired by many (all) pages of Layne Redmond's book, I particularly resonated with p. 102 related to the 'birthing chapel' at the temple complex dedicated to the Goddess Hathor so when I had the good fortune to visit Egypt in 2007, I made certain Dendera was on the itinerary!   Much to my surprise upon seeing the Temple of Hathor, tears welled up in my eyes and then streamed down my cheeks.  I was overwhelmed with a feeling I couldn't quite identify, it was as though I was being welcomed "home" and yet, mind you, I am an American woman born of German and Irish descent who was raised in New Jersey.

Upon returning to the US, I found myself compelled to add a sistrum to my collection of hand percussion instruments.  It would be an understatement to say I was disappointed to discover my research indicated at that time, none were available for purchase ~ at least not like the ones I saw depicted on the temple walls.  I thought "ho hum, that is a shame," shrugged my shoulders and went back to my daily routines.  

A couple weeks later I awoke with a start and sat straight up in my bed.  I kid you not!  It was really startling, as though the Goddess herself had shot an arrow into my heart with a note inscribed detailing my mission to re-emerge the sistrum. I could not ignore nor deny that I had been 'called' and, long story short, permit me to simply say it has been a labor of love and devotion to the Goddess not to mention a bowing with reverence to the temple priestesses of ancient Egypt ~ among them Meresamum, for example.  

It would seem my life-long vocation honoring the rituals, rhythms, and movements of traditions steeped in women's history(herstory) thus led me to being "instrumental" in the re-emergence of a percussion implement played by women at the temples of ancient Egypt. Apparently, it was simply a matter of course ~ dare I say, my destiny.

Now nearly seven years after my visit to Dendera, I am pleased to announce:  The Tahya™ Ceremonial Systrum, manufactured by Mid-East Mfg., replicates the percussion instrument used as rhythmical accompaniment in temple ritual and festival processions in ancient Egyptian culture.  For more information with links to videos, etc., I invite you to visit
* * *

**Benjamin Iobst "Singing Bowls of Tibet"  © '99 Seven Metals Records produced by Randy Crafton, Engineer/Producer/Owner @ Kaleidoscope Sound