The Prayer Cycle is a nine-part contemporary choral symphony in twelve languages created by film and television composer, Jonathan Elias. I picked up the CD in London soon after its release and immediately fell in love with it.
Here’s a great 4-min clip of Elias discussing the creation of The Prayer Cycle.
And, here’s a video of the first movement, Mercy, featuring Alanis Morissette and Alif Keita singing in Hungarian and Swahili.
The eight other tracks are: Strength (German), Hope (French), Compassion (Latin), Grace (Italian), Innocence (French), Forgiveness (French), Benediction (German), and Faith (German).
I’d planned on listening to this particular choral/orchestral work as inspiration seed for War & Grace for quite some time, and was looking forward to whatever it might open up in me, creatively.
Not surprisingly, after a few mornings of absorbing it’s beauty, a deeper hunger that had seemingly slept soundly for years re-awakened. It soon became clear that I longed to return to the depths that had nourished and sustained me in my twenties.
Although what I experienced this summer was dramatically different than that trying time, I began to realize that I was spiritually depleted. I’d made a promise to myself to write War & Grace in an atmosphere of devotion, joy, and love. But I knew, in order to do that, I’d need to reorient myself at a deeper level.
Tricky stuff, that.
Earlier in the summer, I’d discovered Elephant Journal, an online magazine, and had enjoyed reading some of their articles. It was there I came across a video about 5 Pitfalls of Spiritual Awakening by Kiran, Mystic Girl in the City.
As I sat there that morning and listened to Kiran’s short talk, walls came down.
She was speaking directly to what I’d experienced those five years in my twenties, in a way I’d never heard anyone speak to it before. Back then, whenever I’d tried to share what I was going through, meds were most often suggested.
Because what I was feeling, the grief I was experiencing, was so intense.
I, however, steadfastly ignored the suggestion to medicate myself, just persisted in my blind stubbornness, and more and more, found myself spiraling inward on my own.
In the end, when almost everyone had fallen away, three unexpected but cherished companions remained. And with them, in a place where the sun ruled the skies, and the endless horizon of the desert fed my bereft spirit, dwelling in a city that sat on one of the most humble of international borders, I found that stable center.
Inside of me.
I came to call it my soul flame, that light that burns inside me, that light that burns inside us all, that flicker of divinity that we are free to nurture.
Flora fiddled with her kerchief. “Mortal bodies are dense. Much denser than the bodies of any creature in Faerie—or the enchanted world. If mortals don’t tend rather vigorously to their soul flame, their spirit and awareness gets dampened. Muddied,” she said. “They lose the ability to see clearly and make all sorts of regretful decisions. But when the body falls away in death, if the mortal’s soul flame has any strength at all, it survives."—Half Mortal, (Daughter of Light Book #2)
On Tuesday, I'll be addressing how "spiritual language" complicates things.