Saturday, June 27, 2015


~ Introduction ~  

Many moons ago I was lovingly nurtured by wonderful parents:

My beautiful parents Dot & Jack

Raised in a Catholic home, I attended parochial grammar school and before Vatican II, which essentially shaped a modernization of the Catholic Church including a changeover from the Mass being celebrated in Latin to English, I can recall Mass ceremoniously celebrated in Latin with incense burning.  I distinctly remember weekly benedictions we attended as school children because a) we vacated the classroom (yay!) and b) the chanting of Latin phrases and the singing of sacred tunes among plumes of incense was intoxicating and hypnotic to a young impressionable me.  Nevertheless, in the Catholic Church, it being a patriarchal hierarchy afterall, there was no role for a girl (or a mature woman for that matter) anywhere near the altar other than to maybe iron the priest’s vestments and, of course, the church ladies could polish the pews!  No higher it seemed could a woman aspire than to enter a convent to learn to become a teacher at best.  So, in my late teens, when I discovered that thousands of years ago there were matriarchal cultures and women held esteemed positions in ancient sacred temple ceremony, I wanted to learn MORE!

Thus began my independent life-long study of traditions, movements and rhythms steeped in women’s history. Along the way after learning the dance as well as learning to play frame drum and finger cymbals, a history of ritual and processions was unveiled, if you will, where women played a prominent role.  This history was revealed amidst imagery collected and archived at venues like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in books  ~ e.g., When the Drummers Were Women. (Note: I am blessed to say I studied with the author of that book, Ms. Layne Redmond *and* traveled to Crete with her.  Go to Pilgrimage to Crete)

Following a trip to Egypt in 2007, I was inspired to add a sistrum to my personal collection of percussion instruments which I play and utilize for various personal and community ceremony as well as public performances.  Alas, at that time there was nothing on the market which remotely resembled what I’d seen engraved on the temple walls.  After than initial search I shrugged my shoulders and considered it a darn shame I could not find what I was looking for.  Harumph!

Approximately two-three weeks later,  I awoke with a start from a deep sleep… Do you know that predawn feeling?  I experienced a feeling of being startled awake… and yet still feeling half asleep in a time between night and dawn.   Somewhere between conscious, unconscious and suBCEonscious, I suddenly sensed a “knowing” of what the gods intend through me.  It felt like a wake-up call and I answered this “call” beckoning me to make it my mission to re-emerge the percussion instrument associated with the Goddess Hathor, a prominent deity of ancient Egyptian cosmology.

Eight years later, after diligently working to manifest the Ceremonial Systrum™ in the 21st Century, I feel honored and privileged to now take the time to amass and relay to you my dear reader some of its rich and magnificent history while inviting you to join me in envisioning its sublime and splendid future.   

Pictorial essay forthcoming...
Cover Page of Pictorial Essay:  Story of the Systrum

Stay tuned for future installments and thank you for subscribing!

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