STORY OF A SACRED OUTCAST. The remarkable journey of releasing a CD of Spirit Songs to flow into the worlds for the highest good of all beings When you fail music in school, play no instruments and have never written any songs you probably can say with a degree of certainty that you will not be recording a CD of songs to go out into the world.
However when one opens oneself to Spirit becoming a hollow bone placing ones heart in the divine flow with integrity, authenticity and feeling – magic happens. I am grateful on an amazing journey of stepping through the veil, weaving within the mystery and discovering a collection of profound songs singing through me.
I was deemed the ‘goat’, the ‘fool’ in music class at school. I was the only one studying music who was not in the orchestra or choir and the teacher took delight in belittling me in front of my peers. Thirty-six years on I have stepped into the unknown and have recorded a CD that shares the stories of the Blessed Isles, what today is know as Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. I have a huge smile on my face and in my heart as I offer my music teacher the words of Finn MacCumhaill ‘The finest music in the world is the music what happens!’
These songs are the stories of the Bone Mother, Lugh, the Morrighan, Manannán Mac Lir, the Dagda, the Fianna, Boann, Brighid, the Second Battle of Mag Tuired, the Tuatha Dé Danann, Amhairghin, the sacred balance of the masculine and feminine and of being in Sovereignty with the land rather than dominion over it. These are medicine songs that are multi dimensional, songs to love the land, to help us shift and connect more deeply with the elements, our hearts and all beings.
I received the first song in 2012, the second in 2013 and then the flow of 12 songs in 2014. I love how Spirit connected with the ‘Celtic’ New Year of Samhain to begin this adventure to life. The initial song honours the Bone Mother.
‘Bone Bone Bone Bone Mother Bone Bone Bone Crone Crone Crone Crone Beira Crone Crone Crone, Cailleach She stirs her cauldron underground Cerridwen.
Bone Bone Bone Bone Mother Bone Bone Bone Crone Crone Crone Crone Beira Crone Crone Crone, Cailleach She stirs her cauldron underground Cerridwen.
Bone Bone Bone Bone Mother Bone Bone Bone Crone Crone Crone Crone Beira Crone Crone Crone, Cailleach She stirs her cauldron underground Cerridwen.’
It was in May 2014 that the floodgates opened and the songs came flowing in. The first was gifted under the Beltane full moon and the last celebrated the Sun God Lugh, A journey that started with a song for Samhain finished with a song for Lughnasadh. The wheel of the year celebrated fully with the first song in 2014 coming in the betwixt and between of the Beltane full moon and then the CD being sent to press on the Imbolc full moon in 2015.
Spirit has been ever present guiding and directing. It was in late September that I knew that the songs needed to be recorded and it came in very strongly that they were to be weaved together in the Isles.
Although I know lots of musicians in the USA having lived there for 18 years it was the call of the Green Road medicine to be recorded where the songs were being birthed. Choosing Glasgow, which means ‘Beloved Green Place’, was a great choice.
I was with my fiancé Joyce Helen as we delved into the magical goodies that pack the shelves and hang from the walls in Opal Moon in Glasgow when Spirit knocked loudly. I was standing talking to Eryn Strachan who works in this treasure trove surrounded by Dragons, Faeries and other worldly beings. I was sharing about being on Arran the first week in September with one of my 3-Year Celtic shamanic groups. We had been working deeply with the land and the sea, the sun and the moon, with Lugh and the Morrighan and many other facets of the indigenous medicine that is part of the Gallic and Brythonic medicine ways. Whilst at Fingals Chair stone circle on Machrie Moor Finn and the Fianna gifted a song to honour the Sacred Outcast.
SACRED OUTCAST LYRICS
‘I wander the land I cross the sea There is a roming nomad in me I am the land I am the sea I’ve found the Sacred Outcast in me.
Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna The Sacred Outcast is Me Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna I am Free
At one with the earth At home in the trees The wild ways keep calling to me I am the fire I am the breeze I’ve found the gift in poetry
Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna The Sacred Outcast is Me Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna I am Free
I live on the edge I make my own trail I weave with magic within the veil I am a King I am a Queen I walk the worlds betwixt and between. Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna The Sacred Outcast is Me Fianna Fianna Wild Ones Deer Ones Fianna Fianna I am Free.’
I wrote in the CD booklet: “Sacred Outcast is written in honour of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the Fianna and the Sacred Outcast in all of us. The Fianna lived outside of societal norms. They looked after the land and were daring, courageous and full of magic, poetry and wisdom. For years I felt like I did not fit in, as if I was on the outside looking in and so I was. I had to look deep within myself to find that the only person who could make me feel like I was a misfit was me, myself, I. Once I fitted in with myself I fitted in everywhere. In acceptance of my own true self I can dance with absolute freedom. The word Fianna means wild and also deer. Our ‘Celtic’ ancestors knew how to embrace and dance the wild ways as deer people, we are the descendants of the deer ones. As I learnt to fit in with the yearning in my own heart and dance outside of the lines of conventional society I discovered the gift of sacrifice. My life offers the opportunity for me to live the root of this word that so many people appear to fear. For some people sacrifice means giving something up, the truth of sacrifice is that it means to make sacred. Through sacrificing we are actually gaining something of real value. In choosing to follow my own heartsong I have become Fianna, a Sacred Outcast.”
As the joy of the music bubbled forth from me Spirit gave Joyce a clear message to ask Eryn to be involved.
Eryn is a singer however at that time I had not heard her sing. I trusted Joyce when she told me Eryn has a great voice and it felt absolutely right to ask her. Joyce was right Eryn’s voice and her harmonies are spectacular. I then looked up the meaning of Eryn’s name and it confirmed to me that Spirit was flowing beautifully within this new weave of the tapestry. Eryn I already knew was the name of the Goddess Eriu who Ireland is named for. Her last name Strachan was new for me and when I discovered it means ‘In the Valley of the Horses’ I smiled brightly. My name as I have shared in my latest book ‘Powering Up Our Life Stories’ means the ‘Manly Goddess’ a great blending of the masculine and feminine. Andrew meaning manly and the horse, the steed is a symbol of the Goddess. So Eryn’s name translates as the ’Goddess in the Valley of the Goddess”. Discovering this I just knew we were in for a treat.
It was Eryn that alerted me to Justin Lumsden and Luigi Pasquini. She recommended that I speak with these talented men as they could provide the invaluable services of producer and sound engineer.
We all sat down in North Star Café on Queen Margaret Drive, a stone’s throw from Opal Moon and a great gathering place to eat and talk. It was towards the end of November and we agreed to begin recording on January 7th 2015. Eryn and I met once off the Dumbarton Road for about 4 hours to rehearse the songs. I had sent her all the tracks in October with me singing acapella via my phone and she had subsequently put some harmony tracks together.
We had another 4-hour rehearsal close to the Solstice in Eryn’s flat and a final one on the 6th January this time at Justin’s as he and Luigi got the key for our recording studio. Then there were all of the times that we sang the songs on our own. I knew it was important to let the songs seep deep into my bones and let them flow out of me in the fullness of their magic during the recording. The bathtub, out on the land and driving in and around in my car offered plenty of practice opportunities.
I loved the ethos of it all. We had discussed the importance of this being organic. So we moved a studio into the Ha’Penny House, aka ‘The Shed” which is located in Lower Botanic Gardens in the city of Glasgow. Our recording home was nestled into a quiet Greenland surrounded by trees a bridge and the flowing waters of the River Kelvin.
I love the shape of this utility building that is used to house tools and a meeting space for the Friends of the River Kelvin. We had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with this wonderful group of souls on the Saturday during our recording schedule. They meet every first Saturday of the month to clean up any litter in the park and to care for the river and its wildlife.
More can be found out about this worthwhile group at www.fork.org.uk
We collectively came up with the name the Tardis as just like in Dr. Who where the Police Box expands inside so does the Ha’Penny House. We moved tables and furniture to the side, brought in several buckets of water as the water was shut off for winter. Water was needed not only for the toilet but for brewing copious amounts of tea. Luigi brought two large throw rugs from his house and then with blankets hung for soundproofing we arranged the space for 5 days of laying down 14 songs.
Being surrounded by the green world was such a treat!
Inside our little haven I set up an altar and the Brighid Candle was lit from the eternal flame that shines brightly once more in Kildare. Great gratitude to the Brigidine sisters at Solas Bhríde, the keepers of the flame whose new centre is now open beside her holy well in the Church of the Oaks.
This candle also carries the energy of the World Peace Candle. Therefore this flame carries the sacred balance of the feminine and masculine . It sparkled in the centre with 2 masks to honour the Sun God Lugh and the Morrighan watching our every move.
On the first morning of recording I called in Spirit. I invited Eryn, Justin and Luigi to join me if called or to continue setting up whichever worked for them. Eryn immediately came over and the two of us set the space. It was wonderful on the last day of recording. That night I worked the Dagda’s Harp, the last piece and the Bone –S-Track. Julia Jeffrey, Justin’s partner and talented artist who provided the stunning artwork for the front cover of my latest book ‘Powering Up Our Life Stories’ had joined us. I then went to release Spirit and invited anyone who was called to join me. Luigi and Justin were straight into the circle to join with Eryn, Julia and myself. Five in the Celtic world is the number of Sovereignty. It was a five day recording experience as well and it was a deep spiritual journey for all of us involved.
Luigi confided in me that he had low expectations before we started. He knew I did not play any instruments and had not written songs before. He not only fell in love with the songs, he embraced the experience. When the fiddle player Graham McGeoch visited I shared the story of the songs. He told me afterwards that having an understanding of where they were written, how they came through me and the meaning within the songs added another dimension to his playing. He had the pictures in his mind as he weaved the music around the waves, the fire and the freedom of the Fianna.
It was especially fun to embrace the way Spirit moved in the songs. The song Brighid 3 which was gifted on the May full moon at Burn O’ Vat was originally to be a ballad. About two minutes before we went to record I asked Eryn to pick up the tempo on the guitar and then I found a rasp in my voice as it morphed into a rock song. It was recorded in one shot. Here I am rocking it out next to a photo of where the song was conceived at the Burn O’ Vat.
On our first day of recording Eryn and I watched Justin and Luigi disappear into the cupboard that housed all of the recording equipment and Eryn said ‘They are in Narnia” whilst I said “They are in Harry Potter’s bedroom” adding “Look Justin is in Gryffindo colours” we both had a good chuckle over this.
I have always enjoyed numbers and I have already alluded to the involvement of all of the seasons, Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnsasadh. They were all weaved into the songs. Beginning on the May full moon and going to press on the Imbolc full moon was another part of Spirit’s guiding hand. The songs themselves essentially downloaded over a 5-month period, which is Sovereignty. Three rehearsals, the number three is a constant in the Celtic world representing amongst other things life, death, rebirth, mother, maiden, crone, morning, night, & the betwixt and between, the 3 daughters of the Dagda – Brighid, Brigit and Brigid, the upper world, the middle world and the lower world and the list goes on. We spent 5 days in the recording studio, 3 days mixing and add in the rehearsal day on January 6th and the total number of days that we worked consecutively in the rehearsal, recording and mixing process was 9, three times the three levels of being. We also had 5 people involved on the songs on the CD, 5 people present at the end of recording and I am sure there is more hidden within the folds of the magic stirred in this journey.
We had a wonderful opportunity for Brighid to weave connecting strands on the Saturday morning, our fourth day of recording. We were working on Poetry of Life that morning when the doors opened and in strolled a bunch of people. These turned out to be the good folks of the Friends of the River Kelvin.
As they strolled into Ha’Penny House there was that moment ‘where two worlds collide.’ Luigi had arranged for us to be in ‘The Shed’, however communication had not been passed along the lines and this was their Saturday ‘clean up day.’ One man looked at me and asked, “Is that your regular get up?” When I answered, “Yes” He stared at me incredulously and spat “Are you part of the Monster Raving Loony Party?”
This question could have stirred annoyance even anger from some people; instead it brought a chuckle in my heart. When people are faced with something that is beyond their own experience they either embrace it or they can go into their own fear. Part of my journey on the planet is to encourage us all to express ourselves for who we are, to be the authors of our own story. I do not dress to impress others, I do not care about current fashion trends, I do enjoy my own creative fashion. I dress to express myself on any given day. I love bright colours, I love hats, bags, shoes and coats and all the pieces in between, it is always wonderful to have something custom made. I know a lot of talented artists and over the years I have invested and traded for some amazing clothing that sings in my heart. If my clothes are not to someone else’s taste so be it. They do not have to be!
As I softened my field and we talked with this group of beautiful souls who are Earth Keepers, we found a way to share space that morning. And when the main body of the group went off to work, two of the people including the man who had asked about my attire stayed to have a meeting in the warmth and dry of the ‘Tardis’. They were as quiet as mice whilst we were recording and then continued their discussion as we set up and reworked pieces.
Again Spirit was in the house. Take a look at the lyrics to Poetry of Life. The song touched the hearts of the 2 people who had unexpectedly joined us. Our two worlds became one world where all beings are connected. Where we recognized each other as Earth keepers in our own wonderful way.
POETRY OF LIFE
‘Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries
Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries When I listen with my heart With my ears with my eyes I’m the story I’m the music I am gentle I am wise So I kiss the sacred ground hug the trees all around And I stop to smell the flowers growing on a faerie mound Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries
Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries As I dance my own true self in relationship with all I’m the poetry of life and I hear the sacred call I’m a mountain I’m a cave Fertile Goddess of the Earth I’m the Green Man of the woods I am life death rebirth Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries
Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees In the stories of the oaks in the rocks lie mysteries Sacred Earth Sacred Trees Sacred Flowers Sacred bees We’re the stories of creation in the sea land sun and breeze in the sea land sun and breeze, in the sea land sun and breeze.’ (3 breaths)
It flowed from me and I sat here singing the words that are written above in gratitude to the sacred trees that whispered it into my bones.
I then took it out into the sunshine of the West Kennett Avenue and danced with the stones, the wind, the sun as the medicine flowed into my own waters allowing it to be birthed beautifully into the world.
When their companions returned from their labours we all had tea and cake together. The man who had initially spoken to me had baked a chocolate cake and he left it with us when he and the Friends of the River Kelvin departed on their way.
The last track we recorded was the Bonus track which I renamed the Bone-S-Track. I journeyed on whether or not to include it on the album, as it is not a song to play on a regular basis. It is part of the medicine of the Dagda’s Harp where we pluck deeply on and in the 3 strands of poetry. The song is a keening song. It begins in sorrow and as all of the feelings connected to sorrow are released in the fullness of the death, the song shifts into rebirth and the feelings of joy until finally we are at peace in the new vibration of life. The renaming works for me because we go to the Bones in this track. It was a fitting conclusion to our work together in our Ha’Penny Home.
For the next 3 days we huddled around the mixing board in Luigi’s front room and the ever-present unicorn added to magic of the mix as the songs were prepared for mastering.
It was fitting that the last song to go into the mix was High King High Queen. This song of the balance of the masculine and feminine came flowing forth at 3.30am in the dreamtime whilst I was leading a pilgrimage in the Kilmartin Valley. As I am writing this I am reminded from Spirit that just off the Argyll coastline a stone throw away for the like of Ossian and Finn is the Corryvreckan, the cauldron of the plaid where it is said Beira, the Cailleach, scrubs her clothes in this giant washtub and as they become white she breathes a blanket of snow upon the land.
I have always been drawn to Kilmartin, The Valley of the Dead/The Crowning of the Kings. The King who placed his footstep in the stone high upon the rough outcrop of Dunadd made an oath of Sovereignty with the land. He worked with the Stone of Destiny and this symbolic act was a sacred union between the masculine King and the Goddess, the High Queen, the land herself.
Spirit has been teaching me for many years that balancing the feminine and masculine energies within our own hearts brings us to our own centre and is the pathway to Sovereignty. I believe it is where we will help the shifts for our species to evolve. The balancing of the energies is one aspect the other is making love within in our own hearts. This fire centre, the bridge (Brighid) between our cauldron of wisdom (our head) and our cauldron of warming (our belly and our roots) is where Bride and Lugh dwell. They make love within the fires and waters that shine within us. When we open ourselves to the creative light that is forged within their fires, a rainbow of wonder results from their union.
HIGH KING HIGH QUEEN
When this song came in Kilmartin we ascended Dunadd and as we made our oaths above the carved boar, in the footsteps of the Kings we sang this beautiful song onto the wind.
‘High King High Queen you are beautiful thank you thank you thank you on being here. I am I am I am the Queen I am I am I am the King I am I am I am masculine I am I am I am feminine I am Queen and King’…………..
Here is the bullaun stone and the crowning stone looking over the Kilamrtin Valley. This is always such an auspicious place to make an oath.
I left living in the USA and flew home to Scotland on Sacred Fools Day 2011 after living in the USA for 18 years. The Isles, especially Scotland, Southern Ireland, Anglesey & North Wales, Cornwall, Devon, Northumbria, Somerset, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire have offered great insights into understanding my relationship with the Sacred Fool. I am a Sacred Fool, which in my language has equates to the Sacred Outcast in me. The Land has been my greatest teacher; I have gleaned so much from leading 50 plus pilgrimages in the nemetons of these Isles since 1999 and now I have moved home I get to wander into the spaces with increased frequency.
For many of us this planet is a challenging one. It is a planet of battle and with all of the pressure that many have bought into on what is fashionable, what is beauty, how we interpret success, many people have felt like they do not fit in. In striving to belong we can easily give our power away. So many people fear the unique wonder that is inherent in them. These songs open our hearts to the acceptance of the beauty that is within us and within all beings. The Sacred Fool has taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and be in Sovereignty with my own inner Sacred Outcast.
He was Joyce’s favourite, she knew he was coming home with us as soon as she saw him and I readily agreed. We both saw Lugh in the painting and I saw him as a Sacred Outcast, naming him thus before I had written the song or even conceived of making a CD.
To have him carry the CD into the world is the magical icing on the cake!
Inside the eco friendly wallet is a booklet that shares where all of the songs were written and delves into other aspects of this magical story. It is the Morrighan energy that is wrapped around this part of the story.
I have worked with the Morrighan for many moons and she has gifted me strong medicine to weave with. It was rich to open up to her powerhouse of a song that is shared on the CD.
She brought the flesh to cover the bones of her song that began on a pilgrimage in July in Ireland and was completed by a burial cairn on Arran in September.
I am excited to visit her cave in Ireland this year and sing deep in the womb of the Mother at the Oweynagat Cave.
I have the great fortune of entering this womb and honouring the Morrighan with her song as I lead a pilgrimage in Southern Ireland this July.
I am grateful on Amrun, the song that sings us. It is in the love and dedicated joyful practice of this indigenous medicine that these songs have been birthed through me. My next blog will share more on the journey of Amrun, what it is and how we weave with it. I am excited to share in particular about our recent journey to Jamaica to help displaced souls fly free.
Joyce shared a final piece of the ‘Fools’ journey when she told me how much she loved that I stepped fully into this without fear. The songs were gifted from the land and birthed within a 9-month period. Most people record a CD over months; we recorded and mixed in 9 days. She paid me the highest compliment by saying ‘Fools rush in”. Many people would look at this and see a negative. We both saw the bigger picture as we completed the sentence “Where Angels fear to tread”. Living our lives takes courage, walking into our dreams takes courage. Listening and following the guidance of Spirit gives us strong roots and powerful wings and it takes courage. In gratitude to all of the unseen beings and to the seen ones, thank you on all of your help in bringing this medicine to the world. This Sacred Fool who was told by his career counselor at school to “Go push a barrow” and ridiculed by his music teacher is laughing heartily with the song of the Universe whistling in his bones! Séa.
If you are called to hear the songs please visit my website and go to the merchandise page at www.andrewsteed.com where you will find a sampler of the songs and the lyrics. I hope you choose to invest in several copies for yourself and for friends. These are songs of transformation, for personal cleansing, for voices coming together in circle, please learn them and join with me in singing them as we make love to the land.
A final shout out goes to Martin Bal for the wonderful mastering. His is a powerful name to weave into the birthing of the CD. Martin means the God Of War and Bal is for bold and strong. May the CD go boldly in Battle Truth and strengthen love in the worlds between the worlds, Séa!