I am not the stories that I used to tell,
Problems, drama, trauma, and feeling so unwell,
You can hate me or despise me, but you can’t put out my light,
I am the Flame: I’ll keep on burning bright!
When the pain becomes too much for us to bear,
When we cry aloud for help, but no-one’s there,
When the path is long and steep, and there’s no-one as our guide,
We become the Flame; we light the Flame inside!
Let your heart remember what it’s always known,
Feel the fire within you, and know you’re not alone,
We will forge a new community, ignite the healing ways,
We are the Flame: let’s set the world ablaze!
(From ‘The Flame’, © Gemma Burford 2017)
A Songworker is what you get when you take a lightworker – someone whose mission is, in the words of the Nigerian author Ben Okri, to “keep re-dreaming the world with more light” – and set them to music. It’s all about using the power of song to build community, heal broken hearts, and reconnect people wth nature.
Songworkers work through Song Circles – non-judgemental gatherings where it doesn’t matter whether you think you’re a pop legend of the future, or imagine that you have the worst voice in history (which I can assure you, you don’t).
We sing together, informally, sitting in a circle – nobody is ‘in front’, there’s no performer and no audience, and no attention is paid to the volume, tone or tunefulness of any individual voice. Participants can sing or as much or as little as they feel comfortable with, and even just hum along or listen, if that’s where they’re at.
The Song Circle is structured in three parts:
- The Circle of Listening – learning empathy, trust and deep listening skills
- The Circle of Visionary Dreams – finding inspiration in nature, and dreaming bigger
- The Circle of Power – discovering the courage to turn your dreams into realities
Monthly Song Circles are currently running in Southampton and Bournemouth, in the south of England, and new locations will be announced over the coming months. An Online Song Circle will launch in January 2018 in parallel with Songworker Training.
Listen, then, listen well,
Hear the words and what has not been said here;
Through these tales that we tell,
Fear dissolves, and there is love instead here:
So we rise from the dust,
Understand it’s safe to break the silence,
Learn to hope, learn to trust,
Hand in hand we heal the wounds of violence,
Listen well, enter in, as we begin to remember…
(From ‘The Circle of Listening’, © Gemma Burford 2017)
Training to be a Songworker is very different from learning to sing. It’s not about the pitch or tone of your voice: it’s about the passion, energy and depth of insight that you bring to the work. It’s about reconnecting with yourself, with nature, with Deep Love, and with community.
Some of it involves singing; some of it involves facilitating group work; some of it involves finding your place in nature, finding your guides, and finding your balance; and some of it involves facing your shadows and remembering who you are.
In Songworker Training, we work with a specific song cycle – the Nineteen Songs of Remembering. That’s not because all Song Circles use these songs, although some of them do; it’s because when you learn to sing the Songs of Remembering with your heart as well as your voice for a year and a day, you find your way back to wholeness.
You fall in love with your Selves – ALL of them. All of your nineteen beautiful Selves: the Daughter and the Son, the Maiden and the Youth, the Beloved and the Lover, and many more… and the Deep Mystery. It takes ‘learning to love yourself’ to a whole new level.
You can sing to a group of people that you’ve never met before, “You are the Source of hope and healing; you are the Love beyond all names.” And you know it to be true, with all your heart. They are… just as you are… just as we all are.
You recognise that you’re a part of nature, not separate from it. That the seasons of the year are intimately linked to the seasons of your life. That wherever there is death and transformation, there’s also rebirth and growth. “Let that which was lost be found again,” you’ll sing. “Restore every fragment of soul.”
Songworker Training starts on 20 December 2017 and ends on 21 December 2018, with one online session every month. Early bird registration opens on 18th November.
For more information and to pre-register for our free webinar series, in which you’ll hear tasters of the songs and discover how becoming a Songworker could change your life, please complete the form below.