Joan Forest Mage has been a shamanic healer and teacher since 1995. She has studied shamanism, energy work and healing ritual with numerous teachers, including the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Joan has over thirty years of professional performing experience as a dancer, singer and performance artist, which she incorporates into her shamanic healing practice. She has an M.A. in Applied Professional Studies from De Paul University of Chicago in the focus area "Creating healing ritual through the arts".
Joan Forest Mage writes of Season Songs:
These songs are part of my shamanic practice of keeping in touch with Nature. They were composed for each season and sometimes each cross-quarter from 1995 - 2001. As a modern shaman living in Chicago, I have made it my business to be intimately acquainted with the life forms that surround me in an urban setting - grass, trees, snow, flowers, rain and more. These are their songs.
Though I live in downtown Chicago, there are still open fields in vacant lots and parks. The wonderful sky soars above, and changing colors, shapes and textures of leaves and flowers abound. Just as I sing of in the songs, I do embrace trees, scoop snow into my mouth, squeeze berries in my hand and drink their juice. All in downtown Chicago! And no passerby has ever asked me what I'm doing - perhaps it just looks natural on me?
Each song is a sung poem. I go out into Nature on or near the day the season changes, my senses alive and waiting for inspiration. A song then channels through me. Each song thus captures a special time, place and occurrence in Nature. For example, "Wild Wind" is about the day there were 69 mile per hour winds off Lake Michigan, and I was literally blown forward by the wind when I leaped into the air! Each song is also about universal themes of life, death and rebirth: the cycle of the seasons.
The songs come from a deep personal place inside me. "The Lushness of Summer" is my pledge to be a vessel for creation and beauty; "Golden Trees" is about my gratitude to the trees for nurturing me after my husband died.
Throughout my life, I have used my voice to soothe, encourage, energize and spiritualize. From teaching aerobics to yoga, from chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to guiding students in improvisational dance to doing chakra clearing for clients, my voice has had the privilege of channeling marvelous spiritual energy and participating in many healing rituals. I invite you to meditate on these songs, and see what they awaken in you.
The songs are performed as they came to me, a cappella; the way I've sung them dozens of times, in Nature, during the season they were written. People who've heard these songs say they suit my voice perfectly. It's because they truly are an expression of my soul. My work in this lifetime is to encourage everyone to find their own voice, as I have found mine.
People have said these songs sound Celtic, Native American, Chinese. I think the sound of the human voice transcends all ethnicities and musical styles. The sounds and rhythms of instruments create distinction among types of music. When we listen to the unadorned human voice, it's amazingly similar across all times and cultures, especially when it sings of the deep roots we share with the more-than-human world.
Originally, the songs were meant to be sung to the trees, sun, grass and other life forms, rather than for a human audience. I began including these songs on my voicemail messages, as an encouragement to all of us to stay in touch with Nature. I change them as the season changes. So many people have commented on how enjoyable the songs are, that I recorded this CD. Enjoy!