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State of Grace

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State of Grace cover

 

Track Listing

1.
   A friend like you
2.   Footsteps
3.   Maryam and Eliador
4.
   State of grace
5.
   The golden thread
6.
   Stella Maris
7.   Thank you
8.   Communion
9.   Love will always heal your heart
10. Holy sparks

11. Inspirit

Bonus tracks:

12. State of grace (undressed)
13. Footsteps (poem only)


11 remarkable, dynamic and compelling new tracks, with a unifying plaintive, mystical and heart-centred theme. There are spine-tingling and emotive piano-based spiritual love songs; jaunty and mythic guitar-pick based folk ballads; stirring, anthemic instrumental passages, and even spoken word, which goes straight to the heart. An album full of grace, passion, hope and intimate tenderness, all held together by Asher's visionary lyrics; pure, disarming voice, and the sheer beauty of the music.



A word about the songs


These songs were all written and recorded between November 2012, and April 2013. I had just released my previous album, "Sacred Songs" in October 2012, when my faithful little cat companion, Chipi, got ill and died. Chipi had been glued to me most of the time, these last few years! She slept on the bean-bag in my study, perfectly camouflaged, or she sat on my desk, pulling out all the pens and small papers, repeatedly, and grinning. When I saw my therapy clients she curled up on my lap. In bed would tap my nose politely, to stroke her.

The ways of the world are strange; the energy pathways and vibrations silent and mysterious. Chipi came into my life at about the same time as my twin-flame, Emoke, in 2007. Emoke lifted my spirit to an altogether higher place, and went on to design my website and artwork so gracefully. Our connection was spiritual, but we grieved that we just could not have a more companionable relationship because of life circumstances… age, geography, responsibility and so on. What a fate, to connect to your twin-soul, but at slightly the 'wrong' time! There is no wrong time in life, of course, our fate is orchestrated tenderly to include everything that we need, to become realised beings of light, which includes free will and making impossible decisions!

Last summer, Emoke fell very ill, and realised that only a complete separation from me would set her free, and that she had to channel her considerable energies into her own life, and not mine. So we said goodbye beautifully, and painfully.

For six months we lived in that finality, each of us grieving profoundly. But in November, we re-connected in a different way. Emoke was recovering slowly, and felt that she had successfully changed the configuration around me in her heart, allowing contact, but with different boundaries. It was clear that we didn't just do good work together, and were not merely 'muy sympatico'… we were twin-flames, inseparable in spirit.

Though we couldn't share a life… indeed Spirit talked to us, indicating that the connection must stay in the heart, not in any marriage or home-making sense… we had a connection that could still be bountiful, creatively. Emoke is my muse, and my being is equivalently a great channel for her own expression. I intuited that a blessed re-connection was possible, and made contact again. No sooner had this taken place, than my little cat fell in and died. In the same week.

This time was such an intense cauldron of emotion. My joy and relief at reconnecting to Emoke, and my anguish and grief around Chipi, swirled around, day and night, stretching time and meaning into the strangest of new shapes. Because of a silent cancer (diagnosed to have probably started at about the same time that Emoke fell ill), Chipi was given days to live because of fluid retention. I chose to be present and hold her as she was put to sleep, and I howled with sorrow.

That night, a friend and colleague, Mei-Ling Grey (Myristica), sent me a new tune of hers as a thank-you for my help, in a healing sense, not knowing at all what was going on in this other strand of my life. Mei-Ling had also survived a serious illness. Her tune touched my heart deeply, and addressed my profound sorrow, so I immediately wrote a thank-you song for my little cat, to Mei-Ling's tune, and it became my sanctuary for a number of days. That was the first of three collaborations with Myristica on this album, the others being 'Stella Maris' and 'Inspirit'… both magical, other-worldly melodies that I felt inspired to honour with verse.

I undertook a shamanic journey around Chipi, and found out that she came and went as a voluntary sacrifice in Spirit, so that I could survive attachment and loss as a conscious adult, and come to understand the greater meaning of it. She herself came from the Great Mother through Cat consciousness, out of unconditional love, and then returned to Cat. A magnificent Panther told me that she was 'back with them!'

On December 1st I gave a concert in Copenhagen for a friends' big birthday. I borrowed a keyboard from friend Lawrence Lindhart, and, still grieving for my little cat who had died just days earlier, began to improvise. I came up with a mantra, 'Love will always heal your heart', that allowed me to weep further. Lawrence, who's wife of 25 years had died that year, joined in on guitar. We both found a channel for grief through this song, and played it the next day at the concert.

The following week a new song came inspired by Emoke and our re-connection. I called it 'A friend like you'. Then, my wife Kitty, who is on a Daoist, shamanic spiritual path, gave me two Kabbalah books to read for Christmas, Jason Shulman's 'The Instruction Manual for Receiving God' and Rabbi David Cooper's 'God is a verb', and reading these love-filled volumes I began to feel a strong sense of grace and Divine Mother welling up in my soul.

My response to this overwhelming sense of higher love through sorrow was to write 'State of grace', 'Communion' and 'The golden thread'. Or rather, as is always the case, they wrote me. Through illness, grief, loss, suffering, re-connection with my twin-flame and the Kabbalah I channeled Mary and Jesus! A state of grace wished to express itself through me and go out into the world. Spirit cross-fertilises. The Divine Mother and the Christ-light, the vessel and the creator, speak through the human condition and different traditions, without boundary. It is the endless dance of love between the Lover and Beloved, as the Sufi mystics softly proclaim. The Kabbalah conjured up Mary!

During this time a friend sent me the poem 'Footprints', by an evangelical Christian, Margaret Powers, written in 1964. I felt immensely touched by this and adapted it for song. It turned into a stirring anthem. Then, one morning soon after, the name 'Eliador' was in my consciousness as I awoke. I googled it, and found a couple of vague references to a Grail knight. Google also listed it as the name of a warrior in a virtual combat game, loosely based on Grail mythology! Two days later I awoke with a tune and a whole verse. By now there was a heroine, Maryam… a Persian name!

I wrote a 15-verse song in little over two hours, fluently, as if I'd been writing an email. And all in rhyming verse! What I beheld when I finished, or had been finished with, was a Grail story about the sovereignty of the sacred feminine, and her struggle with the patriarchal oppressor. The Divine feminine cannot be possessed, it must be allowed sovereignty. Blimey! This became 'Maryam and Eliador'.

Finally, through the Kabbalah and the enduring inspiration I receive from Emoke, and the graceful honesty of her life, I wrote 'Holy sparks'. It's an idea from 'God is a verb', that the Divine Light in our being can be seen and experienced as holy sparks.

And all this… all this emotional turbulence, loss and re-connection… all this inspiration… all these songs… all this I experience as a state of grace.
 
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