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“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
-Robert Frost

Grief and loss are universal experiences, but contemporary culture provides us with few tools to work though our grief and learn, again, to embrace life, in spite of our losses. Music has, for millennia, been one of the tools for working with grief, and it is hoped that the songs and information on this site will serve listeners, in some small way, as a means of coming to terms with loss.  Ultimately, every loss is also a new invitation to be fully alive.

In traditional cultures, the entire community joined in honoring the dead, and almost every culture created rituals to honor and acknowledge the power of death. These rituals allowed the bereaved to fully experience the depths of loss, and begin to heal.

Many factors have contributed to contemporary culture’s discomfort with death. The process of dying occurs most often now in hospitals, not in homes; thus, death has become a medical issue first and foremost, while the emotional and spiritual needs of both the dying person and the loved ones left behind are almost an afterthought. And in stripping away the “superstitions” of traditional grieving practices, we have lost many powerful tools for coping with our grief.

Elisabeth Kübler Ross, M.D. the noted contemporary scholar of death and dying, identified five stages of grief that each person must move through in the return to wholeness. These Stages of Mourning, first published in 1969 in the seminal book On Death and Dying  are mirrored in the art, stories, and rituals of cultures from around the world. They are:

1. Denial

2. Rage and anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

Ultimately, these stages of mourning are not simply ways to cope with death but, more importantly, ways to fully embrace living, because they help us face mortality and embrace life in a deeper way.

There is no way to rush grief, as the ancients understood. In the Jewish tradition, a key part of the mourning ritual was the recitation of Kaddish for at least seven days and sometimes for an entire year. For the first seven days after a death, mourners practice Sitting Shivah—they don’t work, wash, or shave, but simply sit with their grief. It was only on the anniversary of the death that the mourner began to re-enter everyday life. In certain West African traditions, a second funeral was held a year after a  death, when people had time to mourn and celebrate life again.

In cultures from Ireland to Greece, keening  was a common practice.Women wailed over the body of the deceased, giving voice to grief that might otherwise be internalized and harm the mourner. These universal rituals of remembrance, with their emphasis on physically acting out the mourning process and publicly acknowledging the loss, allow mourners to experience grief and then move beyond it.

We have few cultural rituals of this nature in the contemporary world. However, those who have suffered a loss have created their own rituals, and have used tools such as drawing, journaling, writing, and singing to help themselves come to terms with grief and eventually to re-enter daily life in a deep and engaged way, with a new outlook informed by the grieving process. We are not alone in our losses; may the laments recorded here and the traditions that are the underpinnings of the universal wisdom be of comfort to you.

"Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us."

- Meister Eckhart

Celtic Lamentations
Healing for Twelve Months and a Day 

As an artist, Aine Minogue has long explored Ireland's themes and mysteries, sharing its very essence in her vocal and instrumental melodies. Experience the power of these songs to let go of that which we've lost-- and to move toward the joys that lie ahead.

This collection offers a "companion in music"--eleven songs that carry the power of Celtic music to help us return to everyday life. Meant to be heard often, this inspired sequence includes Celtic keening--an improvisational ode to the women of yore who carried the grief for their entire communities, "Deus Meus" a fusion of Latin and Gaelic healing music, a moving interpretation of the classic "Carolan's Farewell to Music," the uplifting "Awakening," and other original compositions. 


Being Safe Enough to Explore Grief & Loss

IS GRIEF AND INVITATION?

One might say that the difficulty with saying no, or failing to respond is that grief waits for us. The event may have passed, the loss be long gone yet one morning you wake up and the entire party has shown up, uninvited on our doorstep. 

To grieve is to work under the horizon and as with any invitation, I had to wait for my own answer to that call. The truth is, no one I know of really wants to make an album on death and grief. Much like grief itself, it ultimately comes for you.  The great paradox of grief is that it forces individuation and yet it is the time of deepest need for communal interaction and tradition. 

My walkabout in exploring the grief process was long and traversed many cultures; from funeral marches in New Orleans, African tribal traditions and ancient Egyptian sites, it was intriguing. I learned some of this music and wanted to explore grief musically in all corners of the world.  (Celtic Lamentations - Healing for Twelve Months and a Day) 

Yet, as ever, I ended up back in my own culture. It’s easy to leave home. It’s just that that clay is never going to leave you… And I wanted to see how people in the past had dealt with grief and what traditions might be salvaged and used in a very real way to understand the process of grief in a modern world.

Did I find any answers? Yes and no. No, I could never advise anyone else how to go about grieving.  Yes, I did find songs and traditions that were of great comfort and reminded me that loss is universal; that many others had walked that road and most importantly the ancestors had left everything they could in music and song. It was all in the music.  And sometimes that was enough. 

There were practical aspects too, such as keening, (singing) to “get it out,” to release emotion. But mostly, it was in the songs and the music carried down from one generation to the next. Some traditions helped me to understand the “why” of certain behaviors of the grieving. 

Music was the guide that facilitated a desire to answer the invitation and created the safety to explore grief and loss and then to share it with others.


IRISH MUSIC AND GRIEF AND LOSS

The Irish music tradition is blessed with a myriad of  laments, keens and music for mourning. As harpists, the nuns would have introduced us to Edward Bunting. Bunting attended the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792. It was essentially the last gathering of the great harpers. The great tradition of the harper was coming to an end but he still managed to manuscript much of their music and became so enamored with the harpers that collecting the old and ancient music of Ireland became his life’s work.

The Bunting collection as it is known has in its annals many Caoineadh’s (lament) or Gol’ (an Irish/Gaelic word meaning “Cry”) . We can’t know how they were sung. What is clear from that collection and others is that the tradition of the “lament” was hard wired in Irish culture. And it ran the gamut from high art to guttural wails. 


WOMEN IN THE IRISH KEENING TRADITION;  Grief Fully Expressed   

TRACKS:
Keening Song : Mysts of Time, Track 6
Song of Keening: Celtic Lamentations, Track 10 (Improvised with Eugene (Cello) & Scott (Keyboards) 

In many cultures, women served as the singers or conduit almost, at times of grief and loss. This ran from the time of the news of death until the end of the funerary rite. Since women are closer to birth, many cultures view women as being closer to the earth and death. 

Certainly, the tradition of “keening women” was strong in much of Western Europe and even though it was frowned on and became almost low class over time, it served a strong folkloric function in the rituals of grief.

The central thing to note about keening women is that they served to express the grief and loss for the entire community, Banshee - ARTICLE, it was not necessary for everyone present to do the same or rise to the same level of emotion and action. As long as the grief was expressed and acted out, then the traditions and norms were considered fulfilled. 

Traditionally, the idea of not having a keening woman or keening women was close to sacrilege since the thinking was that every human soul deserved to be mourned. 


KEENING, KEENING WOMEN & GRIEF AND LOSS

The initial reactions to death often found women untying their hair. (women always wore their hair up). If we think of open fires and the practicalities, it’s easy to understand why).

This was a way of signaling the world that all was not well and events were out of the ordinary.  Anyone who would happen upon the sight of a woman with her hair undone and wailing was sure to know an “our of the ordinary “ event had taken place.  This is where the ‘gol’ more guttural singing usually took place. It was likely closer to a wail than singing, altho it looks like it had a sing-songey feel with within a narrow melodic range. 

What this essentially marked or detonated was that the world had stopped for the bereaved. It seems strange to modern day thinking until we consider the feeling that accompanies death, the sense that the world Should stop. In fact, who does the world think it is going on with itself when grief visits? That sense of the surreal in the everyday in response to grief - how might that be broken?  In some strange way, beating of the chest, wailing and tearing your hair out starts to look like as good a response as any. Interestingly, this behavior was probably more the case in instances of sudden death. It would not have been acceptable for women to behave this way at any other time. 

I often ask myself how I might “let my hair down” at such times. What do I need to do to slow the world in the face of what’s happening?  Of course I can’t slow down anything. However, that traditional social contract, giving permission to women in particular to act out and respond to the initial shock feels wise and kind. It’s the “how can this be.” And since it is, everything is treated as the world being off its axis. 


PROFESSIONAL KEENING WOMEN & THE FUNERARY RIGHT

Professional keeners or Keening Women in Ireland, as they were called, were paid for their services. And much like those souls who have a gift for working with the dying or hospice patients, they were considered a breed unto themselves.

The singing itself appears to be reflective of the social mores. There were certain structures in place e.g. the singing tended to swoop rapidly from high notes to lo notes. But the singer had a wide berth on which to express their own vocal variations or embellishments. Sometimes the words were vocables but generally there were specific cries such as “Oh My love,” “cad a dheanadh me, gan tu” (Irish / Gaelic meaning “what will I do without you.”  Again, while they were drawing from tradition while embellishing it with their own grief expressions. They were highly emotional and expressive, sometimes even primal as mentioned. It was at its core -grief fully expressed. 
 

KEENING IN IRELAND OF LOVED ONES, GRIEF AND LOSS

Keening was not confined to professional keening women. There are accounts from Irish wakes, that most shamrockized of Irish institutions… 

So, women and men often keened during the wake as they sat, sometimes over a few days. We’ve all seen the movie; food and drink were laid on. Sometimes the games played at wakes were intriguing. (more on this another time!) And the community gathered to “wake” the departed. 

One of the most high art Laments comes from the wife of Airt O’Laoire (Caoineadh Airt I Laoire).  “Caoineadh” refers to lament but the Gaelic/Irish version is closer to “crying.”

While this ‘high art’ type of lament and perhaps considered the finest formal Lament to come down to us. It was likely highly emotional and expressive also but it was not likely to have had the primary stirring of the ‘gol” (cry) 

In fully expressing grief through song, keening women acted out the grief of the entire community and so served to cauterize the wound, for everyone…


FORMAL LAMENTS IN THE IRISH SINGING TRADITION: Caoineadh Airt I Laoire 

In truth, “Caoineadh” refers to lament but the Gaelic/Irish actual meaning is closer to “crying.” The Caoineadh for Airt is considered to be in the ‘high art’ variety. It was well documented and researched. It is sung by Airt’s surviving wife and it beautifully serves to illustrate the wisdom of these rituals in small communities, where staying on good terms with “neighbors,” was a matter of basic survival.

One of the most intriguing aspects of keening is that it can go back and forth, particularly among the women. 

In this formal lament, Airt’s wife and his mother essentially had a conversation in song. 

It is clear that Airt’s mother disapproves of her daughter-in-law. (imagine;) 

His mother sings  “ I never left your wake for a moment” in clear admonishment of her daughter-in-law who had.  Her daughter-in-law, when her turn came to sing again addressing the departed Airt in saying “I never left your side except to tend to your child.” (paraphrasing)  To be clear, they do not speak directly to each other but make their feelings known by each addressing the dead. (There’s a humorous side to it. He’s dead and they’re still putting him in the middle!) 


BREAKING SOCIAL NORMS FOR WOMEN THROUGH GRIEF TRADITIONS

This back and forth in song, especially between the women reportedly as not uncommon. There are similar accounts of this back and forth singing in Indian funerary rites also.

In a society where equality was non-existent and roles clearly delineated and dictated by harsh circumstances, the funerary rite and particularly these singing traditions served as an outlet, a release for women to air their grievances. Long story short, they got it out. 

To sing these songs is to be slowed down. And I’m struck, yet again, by the wisdom of expressing harsh emotions or resentments in song. Having to sing and keep within the structure of the vocals gives a body a little time to consider words carefully. Were these words spoken, I think it’s fair to say they might not be as considered.  

And the structure of the songs themselves, while allowing for broad embellishment, interpretation and expression still acted as a kind of container or vessel for emotions running high so that nothing got too out of hand. Of course, they’re still Irish funerals - all bets are off;)

 

GRIEF & MOURNING LAMENTS; Giving a Voice to Women

This formal vocal expression of grievances didn’t just apply to the women. The deceased was often the target! The formal funerary setting was one of the few where women could give voice to familial and social frustration. 

While the lament itself tended to be “full on” in terms of intense expression of emotion, the words were often more measured, altho it didn’t necessarily dilute their clear meaning.

A great example is when the deceased was given the back-handed compliment e.g. “And you only hit me once.” As horrifying as it is in modern times to read back on these lyrics - by scratching the surface deeper, it’s clear that she’s ‘outing’ him. She’s letting his family and community know what happened - but in a measured way. 

Given the formal sense of the singing, it’s seems likely that these ‘true confessions’ were not revisited outside the funerary rituals. 

On the one hand, it looks bizarre and yet on another level, the idea of a woman being able to purge herself of shame, especially as a result of the actions of others, and in the face of their death must have been cathartic. 

Complicated grief, as it’s now-called, was often handled this way in Irish tradition. When marriage was a seal for life and in a pre-psychology era, how were people to continue fulfilling the tasks of everyday life without opportunity to get things off their chest and move on. A stylized sing-off;) 

 

FUNERAL KEENING: Ireland Grief & Loss

As mentioned, Irish keening women were usually paid for their services and it was, if not a profession, a role reserved for specific community members well suited to it. 

But graveside keening was not necessarily limited to the keening women.

Much as with back-and-forth caoineadhs sung during the wake, there are accounts of women forming the inner circle at the time of burial. 

Let the singing begin! Again, this back and forth served to ‘clear the air’ and since these women often formed the inner circle in a crowd, they were not always necessarily heard (or didn’t have to be) outside the inner circle. 

The important thing was that once the burial was over, that was the end of it. And again, the structure of the singing served to slow everyone down and measure their words. 

Most communities were deeply interdependent. There was no walking away and wondering about ‘closure.” 


WOMEN & THE FUNERARY RITE 

There are so many levels in which the funerary rite was truly the Domain of women. They tended to take care of the dying, the preparation of the deceased, food preparation and ultimately morning the dead.

They had the opportunity, in song, to express their frustrations in a measured way, whether towards in-laws or the departed. (even tho the Irish tend to ‘not speak ill of the dead.”) Again, in a pre-psychology world, how wise!


LAMENTING FOR A YEAR AND A DAY; 

There was yet another kind of keening. And it was often done by men as well as women. I know a woman who knew a woman who keened, especially for her children. In societies where high infant mortality rates were the norm, it was essentially an old-world approach to child loss.  

Women (and men) were encouraged to stop keening after a year. These keens could take any form but based on Kitty Gallaghers keen (recorded when she was well on in years) seems to follow the same high notes rapidly defending to low notes with the terms of endearment…  Kitty’s version is the one this Keening song is based on. (Mysts of Time, track 6) 

I saw this come up in many other cultures also, the idea that it was necessary to mourn as they traversed one full cycle of the seasons and to face each milestone of the year addressing their grief. But once  the year was up, people were encouraged to stop keening and make a full return to community life. 


LAMENTING FOR A YEAR AND A DAY; THE SECOND YEAR IS TOUGHER?

The idea of lamenting for a year and a day was one that kept coming up across cultures. The idea of a definitive return to community life after that time was also consistent. 

It’s little wonder older heads often regard the second year of a loss as being more difficult than the first. 


THE DYING OUT OF THE KEENING TRADITION

I don’t mean to exclude the Catholic funerary rite or the Christian aspect of death and dying. Any Christian seminary will yield library full of grief literature. Suffice it to say, Irish was a Catholic nation for hundreds of years and one of its central beliefs that of “Communion of the Saints” would have taken for granted the idea of an afterlife and meeting loved ones in Paradise. 

The church didn’t necessarily encourage keening. And over time, much like places like Greece and western Europe, keening was confined to the most rural areas.

By the 1960’s, cars, newspapers and electricity had been introduced to Ireland, immigration was running high and the old traditions started to be looked down on. Many traditions really died out by this time. Movement of people as a result of mass-transportation shuffled the deck socially. Communities became less insular and could get news by newspaper and not just in the locality. 

Electricity created great change also but it was more subtle. People didn’t necessarily have washing machines! But they could light their way, so the mystery of the dark, so to speak was taken away. (More on this in the CHILDHOOD section)


REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE WHO HAVE PASTED


For many cultures, November is a time to remember the ancestors.  While each culture has its own set of traditions and rituals, the core beliefs around honoring their memory tend to be similar.   It is a time to remember where we came from, the passage of time, the value of our belief systems and our desire to pass them on.  More than anything, it is a time to honor those who have shaped us, our culture, our values and those who we have loved and have loved us.   We honor those on whose shoulders we stand.  

It is little wonder then, that the Celtic peoples saw Fall and the passage into the shorter days as a New Year of sorts.  The called the time from November first to May first the dark half of the year, and as part of the passage into the dark half, they sought to honor those who had passed.  November has three days that honor the ancestors and like Samhain or Celtic new year these feasts are also associated with the otherworld or the dead and our connection to them through the grace of prayer.  Here are some Feast Days in November:  

*All Saints Day (November 1)   

*All Souls Day (November 2, November 3 if Nov. 2 falls on a Sunday)  

*Feast of all the Saints of Ireland (November 6)  

Those of us with Celtic blood coursing through our veins seem to have little trouble looking at this otherworld and contemplating what the Celtic peoples called 'the dark half,' whether that meant going into winter (the time that ran from Samhain - halloween, October 31st - to May Day, May 1st) literally, or as a metaphor, the time for going within, those darker subjects or aspects of grief, mourning or even death.     

The album Celtic Lamentations was my own journey in that direction.   I was often astounded and touched by the wisdom of the old traditions.  Researching and making that kind of music is considered strange work these days.  And yet, traditionally, there wasn't a composer worth his salt who didn't have a requiem, or indeed several to their credit.   When I was growing up, playing 'slow airs' or laments was practically considered an art form unto itself.   

While it's daunting to take on the subject of grief and loss musically or otherwise, much as in life, it was a subject that choose me.  Perhaps it was hubris on my part to have undertaken such an undertaking?  Still, the Irish tradition has left us so many beautiful airs and laments, so many shoulders to stand on.  It was lonely work, to be sure, but the way was well paved and there is such love in the music, much like our ancestors, it would love to spare us, but we all have to walk it.  

The modern world thought doesn't leave a lot of space for grief.  It's not usual to got in this direction.  Is there a part of us all that still needs permission to 'bend toward lamentation'?   I wonder why is it still the exclusive terrain of just a few poets?    

Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets, grants us that permission in her beautiful poem "A Dream of Trees."  Her poetry was a wonderful source of inspiration while making the album, as it continues to be.  (She graciously granted use of some verses in the liner notes) 

While we all long for the 'mild days' she speaks of, as time goes by, I have come to peace and even gratitude for whatever comes.   

To be one in a long line of musicians is a gift.  To be able to continue to make music is a Blessing. 

May you make music for all of the days.  

-Áine

A Dream of Trees
By Mary Oliver 

There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees, 
A quiet house, some green and modest acres 
A little way from every troubling town, 
A little way from factories, schools, laments. 
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare, 
With only streams and birds for company, 
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas. 
And then it came to me, that so was death, 
A little way away from everything. 

There is a thing in me still dreams of trees. 
But let it go.  Homesick for moderation, 
Half the world's artists shrink or fall away. 
If any find solution, let him tell it. 
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation 
Where, as the times implore our true involvement, 
The blades of every crisis point the way. 

I would it were not so, but so it is. 
Who ever made music of a mild day?   


RADIO INTERVIEW

"THE WORLD" (NPR) WITH LISA MULLINS (EXCERPT) 

Loss is universal. So is grief. Aine Minogue has found a way to deal with both. She turns to music and folklore. They're not new tools. Minogue's new album grew from her research into how cultures through the ages have used both folklore and music to help grieve.Aine Minogue's father died in County Tipparary, Ireland, about five years ago. The funeral lasted 3 days. And the whole community took part. Here in the United States, where Minogue lives, she says funerals are private affairs. They offer fewer tools to deal with grief. 

The World's Lisa Mullins spoke with Minogue about her album "Celtic Lamentations: Healing Music for Twelve Months and a Day." 

Minogue says that ultimately, every loss is an invitation to be fully alive -- and often, tradition paves the way: 

AM: In times past, music was actually the primary grieving tool, particularly singing. 

LM: Why? 

AM: Well, particularly for women, there was a whole tradition of what we call keening and there were professional keeners who were always women that were hired for almost every funeral, it was considered, you would consider a person less than human to not keen them. 

LM: Now what is the idea behind that because you would think that there would be enough grief within a family, for instance, that the family would want to grieve on their own, I mean what's the idea behind sort of outsourcing the grief to a professional keener? 

AM: Well, the idea of keening was that these keening women expressed the grief for the entire community... 

LM: Oh, so it was communal... 

AM: That was the communal part of the grief. There was also keening done privately, particularly by women who had lost children, who would do it in private, and they were usually asked to stop doing it after a year. And the subtitle of the album is "healing for twelve months and a day," and when I researched all of these grieving rituals around the world, I found that that was the common denominator, that the ideal is that you grieve for a year, but no more. 

LM: What was the song here that maybe brought you even in the recording the most satisfaction, or healing I guess, I mean, maybe it was the kind of healing for you, too. 

AM: I think the "Keening of the Three Marys" and the most interesting line in that for me, is the one where, it's a conversation between Mary and Jesus, and he basically says to her "we all have to carry our own cross." And I found that, sort of as a parent, on some level, very comforting. 

LM: That children have to meet their own destiny. 

AM: Yes, and I think that's a great grief for all of us, that we can't live, well, not that we can't live our children's lives, but that we can't carry their pain for them, they must do it by themselves. 

AM: There was another piece called Griogal which is actually a lullaby and a woman sings to her child and she's basically telling the child that his father has been killed by her clan. What she's doing is she's using the lullaby as a means of emotional release, which is what all of this music is about for me is this big wonderful tool for emotional release. And I remember reading some sort of academic notes that said on some level she was preparing the child to avenge the father death. And I remember being absolutely taken aback and horrified. And then I really thought about it and I thought on some level, you know, we all do that with our children, we pass on our losses to them in very small ways. I suppose a simple example is, I didn't go to college, so I desperately need you to go to college. And I just found that very interesting and it sort of harkened back to Elizabeth Kubler Ross' idea of that if we don't deal with the small losses that that's a problem, so even though the album is technically about grief and morning, it's also about all those losses that sort mature us into, hopefully, good human beings. 

LM: I think maybe that's what I was getting when I was listening to this album and expecting it to bring me much farther down than it did, because there is something that's kind of restorative and reaffirming and even optimistic about some of the pieces here. 

AM: I think so. I really, the analogy I love to make, is it's like the blues. You don't sing the blues because you want to be blue, you sing the blues because you want to get out your feelings and move forward. And the whole idea of grief is that it's sort of an expansion of the self, it expands a vessel for joy and there's a wonderful Kahlil Gibran quote which is "you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy." And that's what this album is about is that you go through this process and that you sort of have a larger vessel with which to navigate the world. 

LM: In closing, Aine, I wonder if you would do me a favor, there a wonderful poem here, by a man who's a friend of yours, I guess, John O'Donohoe. I wonder if you could read it, this is called "Blessings." And I want you to read it, if you will, over a particular piece by O'Carlan. It begins with this beautiful cello. Who's playing this? 

AM: It's the extraordinary musician, Eugene Friesen. 

LM: It's lovely. OK, you can read whenever you want, you can read "Blessings." 

LM: That's the poem, "Blessings," by John O'Donohoe. In fact, we're going to put it on our web site, theworld.org for anybody who wants to hear it. You did a beautiful reading over "Carolan's Farewell to Music." The CD is called "Celtic Lamentations: Healing Music for Twelve Months and a Day." Thank you very much. 

AM: Thank you so much, Lisa. 

That's The World's Lisa Mullins with Aine Minogue. In the liner notes to Minogue's new album, she includes this quote from Robert Frost: 

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
  

 


LAMENTATION BIBLIOGRAPHY
BIBLIOGRAPHY - GRIEF AND MOURNING 
(Much of this bibliography comes from grief.com


GENERAL GRIEF AND BEREAVEMENT 

Beyond Grief: A Guide to Recovering From the Death of a Loved One, by C. Staudacher 1987. 

Grief:  Difficult Times-Simple Steps by Emily Lane Waszak/ Paperback/ Published 1997. 

Grief:  The Mourning After:  Dealing With Adult Bereavement by Catherine M. Sanders/ Paperback/ Published 1998. 

The Grief Recovery Handbook: A Step-by-Step Program for Moving Beyond Loss by J.W. James and F. Cherry 1989. 

Grief's Courageous Journey: A Workbook, by S. Caplan and G. Lang 1995. 

How to Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies by T.A. Rando 1988. 

How to Survive the Loss of a Love: Fifty-Eight Things to Do When There Is Nothing to Be Done, by M. Colgrove, H.H. Bloomfield, and P. McWilliams 1977. 

How We Grieve:  Relearning The World by Thomas Attig/ Paperback/ Published 1996. 

Men & Grief by C. Staudacher (1992). 

The Nature of Grief:  The Evolution & Psychology of Reactions to Loss by John Archer/ Paperback/ Published 1999. 

On Bereavement:  The Culture of Grief (Facing Death) by Tony Walter/ Paperback/ Published 1999. 

  

THE LOSS OF A CHILD 

After the Darkest Hour the Sun Will Shine Again:  A Parent's Guide to Coping With the Loss of a Child by Elizabeth Mehren/ Paperback/ Published 1997. 

After the Death of a Child:  Living With Loss Through the Years by Ann K. Finkbeiner/ Paperback/ Published 1998. 

The Bereaved Parent by Harriet Sarnoff Schiff/ Paperback/ Published 1978. 

Gone But Not Lost:  Grieving the Death of a Child by David W. Wiersbe/ Paperback/ Published 1999. 

How to Survive the Loss of a Child:  Filling the Emptiness & Rebuilding Your Life by Catherine M. Sander/ Paperback/ Published 1998. 

Lament for a Son by Nicholas Wollerstorff 

  

THE LOSS OF A PARENT 

How to Survive the Loss of a Parent:  A Guide for Adults by Lois F. Akner and Catherine Whitney/ Paperback/ Published 1994. 

Losing a Parent:  Passage to a New Way of Living by Alexandra Kennedy/ Paperback/ Published 1991. 

Midlife Orphan:  Facing Life's Changes Now That Your Parents are Gone by Jane Brooks/ Paperback/ Published 1999. 

When Parents Die:  A Guide for Adults by Edward Myers/ Paperback/ Published 1997. 

When Your Parent Dies:  A Concise & Practical Source of Help & Advise for Adults Grieving the Death of a Parent by Cathleen Curry/ Paperback/ Published 1993. 

    

THE LOSS OF A SPOUSE 

Being a Widow by Lynn Caine/ Paperback/ Published 1990. 

Getting To The Other Side of Grief:  Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse by Susan J. Zonnebelt et. al./ Paperback/ Published 1999. 

I'm Grieving as Fast as I Can:  How Young Widow & Widowers Can Cope & Heal by Linda Feinberg/ Paperback/ Published 1994. 

When Your Spouse Dies:  A Concise & Practical Source of Help & Advise by Cathleen Curry/ Paperback/ Published 1990. 

Widowed by Joyce Brothers/ Paperback/ Published 1992. 

THE LOSS OF A PET 

Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates by Gary Kurz/ Paperback/ Published 1997. 

Coping With Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet by Moira K. Anderson/ Paperback/ Published 1996. 

Goodbye, Friend:  Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski/ Paperback/ Published 1997. 

The Loss of a Pet:  New Revised & Expanded Edition by Wallace Sife/ Paperback? Published 1998. 

Pet Loss:  A Spiritual Guide by Eleanor L Harris/ Paperback/ Published 1997. 


FOR CHILDREN & TEENS 

Bereaved Children & Teens:  A Support Guide for Parents & Professionals by Earl A. Grollman/ Paperback/ Published 1996 

Heaven's Not a Crying Place:  Teaching Your Child About Funerals, Death, and the Life Beyond by Joey O'Conner/ Paperback/ Published 1997 

The Kid's Book About Death & Dying by Eric Rofes/ Hardcover/ Published 1985. 

35 Ways to Help a Grieving Child by the Dougy Center for Grieving Child/ Paperback/ Published 1999. 

When a Friend Dies:  A Book for Teens About Grieving & Healing by Marilyn E. Gootman, et. al./ Paperback/ Published 1996. 

  

PREPARING MEMORIAL AND FUNERAL SERVICES 

A Labor of Love:  How to Write a Eulogy by Garry M. Schaeffer/ Paperback/ Published 1998. 

Final Celebration:  A Guide for Personal & Family Funeral Planning by Kathleen Sublette and Martin Flagg/ Paperback/Published 1992. 

In Memorium:  A Practical Guide to Planning a Memorial Service by Amanda Bennett, et. al./ Paperback? Published 1997. 

Remembrances & Celebrations:  A Book of Eulogies, Elegies, Letters, and Epitaphs by Jill Werman Harris/ Hardcover/ Published 1999. 

  

SUICIDE 

Healing After the Suicide of a Loved One by Ann Smolin & John Guinan/ Paperback/ Published 1993. 

Making Sense of Suicide:  An In-Depth Look at Why People Kill Themselves by David Lester/ Paperback/ Published 1997. 

No Time To Say Goodbye by Carla Fine/ Paperback/ Published 1997. 

The Power to Prevent Suicide:  A Guide for Teens Helping Teens by Richard E., PhD Nelson et. al/ Paperback/ Published 1994. 

Suicide Survivor's Handbook:  A Guide to the Bereaved & Those Who Wish To Help by Trudy Carlson/ Paperback/ Published 1995. 

  

OTHER LOSSES 

Coming Apart: Why Relationships End and How to Live Through the Ending of Yours, by D.R. Kingma 1987. 

The Gift of Grief: Healing the Pain of Everyday Losses, by J.J. Tanner 1976. 

When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by H.S. Kushner 1981. 

  

WEB SITES 

http://www.npr.org/programs/death/readings/index.html - NPR essays and info on death 

http://www.jewfaq.org/olamhaba.htm - Jewish grief traditions 

  

MOVIES 

“Shadowlands” – starring Anthony Hopkins based on the book 

“Blue” Miramax.com (French with Yellow English subtitles starring Juliette Binoche). Written and directed by Polish director, Krzysztof Kieslowski. Stunning! Part of a Kieslowski's trilogy of films.(“Red” and “White”) 

  


LAMENTATION POETRY

HOME

By Lydia Dupertis

Ash and bone  
are buried and living here in memory 
amid shade spattered sunbeams 
blessing the space. 
A jagged tree stump stands sentinel, 
its roots still grounding the soil. 
Sometimes it rains, 
and it is often cold, 
but always 
this is a restful place. 
My people are here, 
ash and bone, 
and I have come home to stay; 
but not yet beneath the earth-- 
not yet. 
For the living world 
grips my body here 
and holds me in rapture. 
It is the waters, oh, the waters— 
the grays and greens and blues, 
the folding waves, the creeping tides, 
the blessed roar, the feel of eternity. 
Home. 


UNTITLED
By John O'Donohue 

On the day when 
the weight deadens 
on your shoulders 
and you stumble, 
may the clay dance 
to balance you. 
And when your eyes 
freeze behind 
the grey window 
and the ghost of loss 
gets in to you, 
may a flock of colors, 
indigo, red, green 
and azure blue 
come to awaken in you 
a meadow of delight. 
When the canvas frays 
in the curach* of thought 
and a stain of ocean 
blackens beneath you, 
may there come across the water 
a path of yellow moonlight 
to bring you safely home. 
May the nourishment of the earth be yours, 
may the clarity of light be yours, 
may the fluency of the ocean be yours, 
may the protection of the ancestors be yours. 
And so may a slow 
wind work these words 
of love around you, 
an invisible cloak 
to mind your life. 

*A Currach is a traditional boat made from canvas stretched over wood 


WHEN DEATH COMES
By Mary Oliver 

When death comes 
like the hungry bear in autumn 
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse 
to buy me, and snaps his purse shut; 
when death comes 
like the measle pox; 
when death comes 
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades, 
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering; 
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? 
And therefore I look upon everything 
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood, 
and I look upon time as no more than an idea, 
and I consider eternity as another possibility, 
and I think of each life as a flower, as common  
as a field daisy, and as singular, 
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth 
tending as all music does, toward silence, 
and each body a lion of courage, and something 
precious to the earth. 
When it's over, I want to say: all my life 
I was a bride married to amazement. 
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 
When it's over, I don't want to wonder 
if I have made of my life something particular, and real. 
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened 
or full of argument. 
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world. 


MEMORY OF MY FATHER 
by Patrick Kavanagh 

Every old man I see 
Reminds me of my father 
When he had fallen in love with death 
One time when sheaves were gathered. 
That man I saw in Gardner Street 
Stumbled on the kerb was one, 
He stared at me half-eyed, 
I might have been his son. 
And I remember the musician 
Faltering over his fiddle 
In Bayswater, London, 
He too set me the riddle. 
Every old man I see 
In October-coloured weather 
Seems to say to me: 
"I was once your father."   


WILD GEESE
By Mary Oliver 

You do not have to walk on your knees 
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves. 
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.  
Meanwhile the world goes on. 
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again. 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination, 
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting - 
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things. 


PUEBLO BLESSING 

Hold on to what is good 
even if it is a handful of earth. 
Hold on to what you believe 
even if it is a tree which stands by itself. 
Hold on to what you must do 
even if it is a long way from here.  
Hold on to life 
even when it is easier letting go. 
Hold on to my hand 
even when I have gone away from you 


OLD IRISH BLESSING OF PEACE 

Deep peace I breathe into you 
Oh weariness here, O ache, here! 
Deep peace, a soft white dove to you;  
Deep peace, a quiet rain to you; 
Deep peace, an ebbing wave to you! 
Deep peace, red wind of the east from you; 
Deep peace, gray wind of the west to you; 
Deep peace, dark wind of the north from you; 
Deep peace, pure red of the flame to you; 
Deep peace, pure white of the moon to you; 
Deep peace, pure green of the grass to you; 
Deep peace, pure brown of the living earth to you; 
Deep peace, pure gray of the dew to you; 
Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to you; 
Deep peace of the running wave to you, 
Deep peace of the flowing air to you, 
Deep peace of the quiet Earth to you, 
Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you, 
Deep peace of the yellow shepherd to you, 
Deep peace of the wandering shepherdess to you, 
Deep peace of the Flock of Stars to You. 
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to You 
Deep Peace, Deep Peace. 


ANNA QUINDLEN 

Grief remains one of the few things that has the power to silence us. 
It is a whisper in the world and a clamor within. 
More than sex, more than faith, even more than its usher death, 
grief is unspoken, publicly ignored 
except for those few moments at the funeral that are over too quickly, 
or the conversations among the cognoscenti, 
those of us who recognize in one another 
a kindred chasm deep in the center of who we are 
Maybe we do not speak of it because death will mark all of us, sooner or later. 
Or maybe it is unspoken because grief is only the first part of it. 
After a time it becomes something less sharp but larger, too, 
a more enduring thing called loss. 
Perhaps that is why this is the least explored passage: 
because it has no end. 
The world loves closure, 
loves a thing that can, as they say, be gotten through. 
This is why it comes as a great surprise to find that loss is forever, 
that two decades after the event there are those occasions 
when something in you cries out at the continual presence of an absence. 


QUOTES BY ROBERT FROST (1874-1963) 

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. 

Nobody was ever meant  

To remember or invent  

What he did with every cent. 

Take care to sell your horse before he dies.  

The art of life is passing losses on. 

And were an epitaph to be my story  

I'd have a short one ready for my own.  

I would have written of me on my stone:  

I had a lover's quarrel with the world. 

We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows. 

I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. 




STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING 
By Robert Frost

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. 
But I have promises to keep, 
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep 


REMEMBER
By Christian Rossetti (1830-1894) 

Remember me when I am gone away,  
Gone far away into the silent land;  
When you can no more hold me by the hand,  
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.  
Remember me when no more day by day  
You tell me of our future that you planned:  
Only remember me; you understand  
It will be late to counsel then or pray.  
Yet if you should forget me for a while  
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:  
For if the darkness and corruption leave  
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,  
Better by far you should forget and smile  
Than that you should remember and be sad. 


UNTITLED
By Thomas Moore (1779-1852) 

At the mid hour of night, when stars are weeping I fly  
To the lone vale we loved, when life shone warm in thine eye;  
And I think that, if spirits can steal from the regions of air  
To revisit past scenes of delight, thou wilt come to me there,  
And tell me our love is remembered even in the sky. 
Then I sing the wild song it once was such rapture to hear,  
When our voices commingling breathed like one on the ear;  
And as Echo far off through the vale my sad orison rolls,  
I think, O my love! 'tis thy voice from the Kingdom of Souls  
Faintly answering still the notes that once were so dear. 


WILLIAM BLAKE POEM 

He who kisses the joy as it flies 
Lives in eternities’ sunrise  
To see a world in a grain of sand 
And a heaven in a wild flower 
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand 
And eternity in an hour 


THE PROPHET
By Khalil Gibran 

And how else can it be? 
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. 
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? 
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? 
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.” 
But I say unto you, they are inseparable. 
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. 
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.  
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.  
When the reassure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall. 


DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT 
By Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) 

Do not go gentle into that good night,  
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;  
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,  
Because their words had forked no lightning they  
Do not go gentle into that good night. 
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright  
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,  
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,  
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,  
Do not go gentle into that good night. 
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight  
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,  
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 
And you, my father, there on the sad height,  
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.  
Do not go gentle into that good night.  
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 


THE CHARIOT
By Emily Dickinson

Because I would not stop for Death, 
He kindly stopped for me; 
The carriage held but just ourselves 
And Immortality. 
We slowly drove, he knew no haste, 
And I had put away 
My labor, and m leisure too, 
For his civility. 
We passed the school where children played 
Their lessons scarcely done; 
We passed the fields of gazing grain, 
We passed the setting sun. 
We paused before a house that seemed 
A swelling of the ground; 
The roof was scarcely visible, 
The cornice but a mound. 
Since then ‘tis centuries; but each 
Feels shorter than the day 
I first surmised the horses’ heads 
Were toward eternity. 


NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY 

Nature's first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold.  
Her early leaf's a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay. 


AFTER YOU'RE GONE
By Iris de Ment

There’ll be laughter even after you’re gone 
I’ll find reason to face that empty dawn 
‘cause I’ve memorized each line in your face 
And not even death can ever erase 
The story they tell to me 
I’ll miss you. Oh, how I’ll miss you 
I’ll dream of you and I’ll cry a million tears  
But the sorrow will pass 
And the one thing that will last 
Is the love that you’ve given to me. 


AWAY
By Robert Frost 

Now I out walking 
The world desert, 

And my shoe and my stocking 
Do me no hurt. 

I leave behind 
Good friends in town. 
Let them get well-wined 
And go lie down. 

Don’t think I leave 
For the outer dark 
Like Adam and Eve 
Put out of the Park. 

Forget the myth. 
There is no one I 
Am put out with 
Or put out by. 

Unless I’m wrong 
I but obey 
The urge of a song: 
“I’m-bound-away!” 

And I may return  
If dissatisfied 
With what I learn 
From having died. 


"ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD" 

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, 
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea, 
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, 
And leaves the world to darkness and to me. 

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, 
And all the air a solemn stillness holds, 
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, 
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds: 

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower 
The moping owl does to the moon complain 
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, 
Molest her ancient solitary reign. 

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, 
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, 
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, 
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep. 

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn, 
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed, 
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn, 
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. 

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, 
Or busy housewife ply her evening care: 
No children run to lisp their sire's return, 
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share, 

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, 
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; 
How jocund did they drive their team afield! 
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! 

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, 
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; 
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile 
The short and simple annals of the Poor. 

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, 
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, 
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour:- 
The paths of glory lead but to the grave. 

Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault 
If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise, 
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault 
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. 

Can storied urn or animated bust 
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? 
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust, 
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death? 

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid 
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; 
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd, 
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre: 

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page, 
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll; 
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage, 
And froze the genial current of the soul. 

Full many a gem of purest ray serene 
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear: 
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its sweetness on the desert air. 

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast 
The little tyrant of his fields withstood, 
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest, 
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood. 

Th' applause of list'ning senates to command, 
The threats of pain and ruin to despise, 
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land, 
And read their history in a nation's eyes, 

Their lot forbad: nor circumscribed alone 
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined; 
Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne, 
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind, 

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide, 
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, 
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride 
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame. 

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, 
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; 
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life 
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way. 

Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect 
Some frail memorial still erected nigh, 
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd, 
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. 

Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd Muse, 
The place of fame and elegy supply: 
And many a holy text around she strews, 
That teach the rustic moralist to die. 

For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey, 
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd, 
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, 
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind? 

On some fond breast the parting soul relies, 
Some pious drops the closing eye requires; 
E'en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries, 
E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires. 

For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead, 
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; 
If chance, by lonely contemplation led, 
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, -- 

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say, 
Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn 
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away, 
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn; 

'There at the foot of yonder nodding beech 
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high. 
His listless length at noontide would he stretch, 
And pore upon the brook that babbles by. 

'Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, 
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove; 
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn, 
Or crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless love. 

'One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill, 
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree; 
Another came; nor yet beside the rill, 
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he; 

'The next with dirges due in sad array 
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne,- 
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay 
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.' 


The Epitaph 
By Thomas Gray (1716-1771)

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melacholy marked him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode
(There they alike in trembling hope repose),
The bosom of his Father and his God.

 

 

 

 

Celtic Lamentations, Healing for Twelve Months And A Day….

Áine Minogue

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"Aine Minogue.... a balm for our times." BOSTON GLOBE

Top 10 Folk Album of 2005 – Boston Globe (Dec.) “Celtic Album of the Year 2005” (NAR) Full page Feature – Boston Globe Several months in the Top 10 New Age radio charts Top 10 – Echoes – December 2005 Top 10 – Echoes – March 2006 Top 25 “Essential Echoes” Cd’s of 2005 Top 25 “staff choices – essential Echoes of 2005” New Age nominations – best album, best vocal album, best Celtic Album Nominations: NAR Lifestyle Award 2006– best Celtic Album, Best Vocal album

As an artist, Aine Minogue has long explored Ireland's themes and mysteries, sharing its very essence in her vocal and instrumental melodies. Experience the power of these songs to let go of that which we've lost-- and to move toward the joys that lie ahead.

This collection offers a "companion in music"--eleven songs that carry the power of Celtic music to help us return to everyday life.

Meant to be heard often, this inspired sequence includes Celtic keening--an improvisational ode to the women of yore who carried the grief for their entire communities, "Deus Meus"__ a fusion of Latin and Gaelic healing music, a moving interpretation of the classic "Carolan's Farewell to Music," the uplifting "Awakening," and other original compositions.

“One of the most popular creators of post-Enya Celtic new age music, Aine Minogue delights her fans album after album by focusing on the more ethereal aspects of Irish and Scottish songs. Here she trains her mellifluous soprano on downcast lullabies, laments, and hymns, creating a cathartic sadness that opens the heart. Minogue has made an album that is not only musically valid but useful as a tool for grieving.” CD UNIVERSE

"The sheer beauty of this music, most of it exploring religious themes, is almost haunting" GLOBAL RHYTHM

"With a haunting and soothing voice, Aine Minogue’s "Celtic Lamentations" is perfect for that moment when you need to sit back, meditate and be calm" THE CELEBRITY CAFE

ALBUM CREDITS Eugene Friesen, Cello Alasdair Halliday, background vocals on "Awakening" Baird Hersey, throat singing on "Awakening Joanie Madden, Irish whistles, alto flute Áine Minogue, Irish Harp and vocals Scott Petito, acoustic guitar, bass, upright bass, keyboards, soundscapes and programming Randy Roos, soundscapes on "A Íosa, B'ím Chroíse" Leslie Ritter, background vocals Mark Wessel, engineer for harp tracking on "A Íosa," "B'ím Chroíse" Sam Zucchini, percussion

Co-produced by Áine Minogue and Scott Petito Production Assistant: Beth Reineke Executive Producer: Steven M. Gates

"Celtic Lamentations is the first step on an incredible journey." NEW AGE REPORTER RJ Lannen

All music traditional, arranged by Á. Minogue (Little Miller Music (BMI)), except "Do Not Stand," music by Á. Minogue, (Little Miller Music (BMI)); and, "Awakening" Traditional, arr. by Á. Minogue (Little Miller Music (BMI)) and Scott Petito (Spotted Music ASCAP)

Engineered and mixed by Scott Petito at NRS Recording Studio, Catskill, New York

Mastered by Robert Hadley at the Mastering Lab, Los Angeles, CA Liner Notes: Mitchell Clute

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  1. 1 Caoineadh Na dTri Muire 04:39 Info
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  2. 2 Oran Mhor Mhic Leoid 03:54 Info
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  3. 3 Griogal Cridh 04:24 Info
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  4. 4 Song Of The Banshee 08:00 Info
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  5. 5 Deus Meus 04:03 Info
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  6. 6 Carolans Farewell To Music 05:09 Info
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  7. 7 Awakening 06:14 Info
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  8. 8 A íosa, B'im Chroíse 05:25 Info
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  9. 9 Do Not Stand 04:44 Info
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  10. 10 Song of Keening 05:34 Info
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  11. 11 Kilcash 05:17 Info
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LAMENTATIONS: LINER NOTES

CELTIC LAMENTATIONS ~ Healing Music for Twelve Months and a Day

Track 1: Caoineadh na Dtrí Muire

This song is presented as a conversation between Mary and Jesus, primarily in question form. Jesus comforts Mary by saying that “we must all carry our own cross.” The key idea is that children must meet their own destiny, and parents cannot protect or isolate them from their path. 

 

There are many people to credit for teaching me this beautiful old song Thanks to Sandra Joyce and Helen Phelan at the University of Limerick Masters Programs. Tómas O’Canainn, our great hero of slow and beautiful airs; Noirín NíRiann, the inspiration for all of us around matters Irish and spiritual and Cathie Ryan, who was the first to take the last verse from another old Irish song and include it as the final verse as I have also done here. 
 

Track 2: Oran Mhor Mhic Leoid

(The Great song of Mac Leod)

This is a song I learned from the wonderful Scottish harp player Ingrid Henderson during my time in Limerick. This song was written during a particularly tough time in the history of the Mac Leod family of Scotland. It speaks to the idea of holding on in the midst of difficulties.

Pueblo Blessing

Hold on to what is good

even if it is a handful of earth.

Hold on to what you believe

even if it is a tree which stands by itself.

Hold on to what you must do

even if it is a long way from here.

Hold on to life

even when it is easier letting go.

Hold on to my hand

even when I have gone away from you.

 

Track 3: Griogal Cridh

This Scottish lament, sung in Scots Gaelic, is a variation of the

Romeo and Juliet theme. If is from the Blair Atholl region and dates from

about 1571. The narrator is a young woman whose beloved, the chieftain

of the MacGregor clan, has been brutally murdered by her own clan. It is

sung as a lullaby, very much like those often sung by a mother to her child

in Gaelic—deceptively calming. She’s letting the child know (even though

the child is too young to understand) of her grief and the fact that the

child’s father has been killed by his own mother’s clan. In a larger view,

the song is about the ways in which parents pass along their own losses to

their children, in matters both large and small.

 

Track 4: Song of the Banshee

In Ireland the mythological figure of the Banshee was a harbinger of death. She often came close to the house of the dying person and sang an eerie melody. It is said that the dying person rarely heard the melody, though it served as a signal to others that death was near and a new phase of mourning was about to begin. The Banshee legend, first recorded in the 8th century, harkens back to a time when mourning was communal and grief a public affair. The Banshee has only recently disappeared from rural Irish life, as television and transportation changed the texture of the countryside and death increasingly became a more private affair, with hospitals and strangers substituted for the community of family and neighbors.

 

Track5: Deus Meus

Created by anonymous authors in an Irish monastic setting, somewhere between the 8th and 12th centuries, this song is unusual in the way it mixes Gaelic and Latin. Traditionally, vernacular and church music were separate, but this song combines strands of both musical traditions. It is a song of praise, beseeching the light and love of God, but it is also a song full of tension, between the praise of God and the rage and grief of mourners. The way in which this song reflects the chasm between our highest possibilities and the losses we endure brings to mind a quote from Kahlil Gibran:

“ . . . you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.”
 

Track 6: Carolan’s Farewell to Music

This is the last tune composed by Carolan, the famous 18th

century blind harper considered Ireland’s national composer. He wrote

this piece knowing that he was going to die, and this song contains both

a sense of mourning and deep passion. Emotionally, the tune seems to go

through the five stages of mourning within itself.

Carolan lived an extraordinary life, in spite or perhaps even because of the challenges caused by his blindness. Though he was not a great harper, he achieved great fame through the beauty of his compositions. His was a

life of challenges and losses, channeled into creating beautiful music.

“ I took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference.”

—Robert Frost

 

Track 7: Awakening

This song is loosely based on the Irish melody “Jail of Clonmel.” It is meant to express the most powerful aspects of being alive, in spite of the losses and challenges we face. This embrace of the full range of life’s gifts is expressed beautifully in the poem “When Death Comes,” by Mary Oliver:

. . . I think of each life as a flower, as common

as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth

tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something

precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened

or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

 

Track 8: A Íosa, B’ím Chroís (Christ, Be In My Heart)

This is an old Irish hymn, one of the few that have come down to us.

 

Track 9: Do Not Stand

These lyrics are based on a poem by Mary Fry, written in 1932. It speaks to the mourner’s need to know that the loved one has moved on to a better place, and to the idea of the divine reflected in nature. In its repetitions and nature imagery, it calls to mind medieval Irish poetry written in monastic communities:

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there.

I do not sleep.

Do not stand at my grave and sigh

I am not there.

Do not cry.

I am a thousand winds

that swiftly blow.

I am the diamond glint

on newly fallen snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the soft and gentle autumn rain.

 

When you wake from sleep

in the early morning hush,

I am the swift, uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft, starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there.

I do not sleep.

Do not stand at my grave and sigh

I am not there.

Do not cry.

 

Track 10: Song of Keening

In old Ireland, the practice of keening provided a physical and emotional release for those who grieved. Sometimes, keening was a direct emotional response to loss, practiced by both men and women, though particularly by women who had lost young children—a common occurrence  in the past, when child mortality rates were significantly higher. However, often a professional keener was hired by a family as a way of honoring the dead. These professional mourners were always women, and their keening was more stylized, taking the form of an improvisation based on particular structures and handed-down phrases.

 Though practiced in diverse cultures from Ireland to Greece, keening was generally frowned upon by church authorities, and treated with disdain by those who embraced the trappings of modernity. The practice now has virtually died out. This piece is improvised in the old style, using old structures and vocables.

 

Track 11: Kilcash

This is a tune written in memory of the Flight of the Earls, marking the last plantation of Ireland and also the final loss of its aristocracy and culture. Though written in response to a particular historical incident, this song can be seen as a reflection on all monumental and society-altering losses, up to the present day. 

The concept that music is the ultimate mourning tool is central to this song. It teaches us to grieve as a human family, and reminds us that life goes on, no matter how great our loss.

 

CREDITS:

Musicians:

Eugene Friesen, cello

Alasdair Halliday, background vocals on “Awakening”

Baird Hersey, throat singing on “Awakening”

Joanie Madden, Irish whistles, alto flute

Áine Minogue, Irish Harp & vocals

Scott Petito, acoustic guitar, bass, upright bass, keyboards, soundscapes & programming

Randy Roos, soundscapes on “A Íosa,” “B’ím Chroíse”

Leslie Ritter, background vocals

Mark Wessel, engineer for harp tracking on “A Íosa,” “B’ím Chroíse”

Sam Zucchini, percussion

Co-producer:

Áine Minogue

Scott Petito

Production Assistant:

Beth Reineke

Executive Producer:

Steven M. Gates

 

All music traditional, arranged by Á. Minogue (Little Miller Music (BMI)), except “Do Not Stand,” music by Á. Minogue, Little Miller Music (BMI); and, “Awakening” Traditional, Arr. By Á. Minogue (Little Miller Music, BMI) and Scott Petito (Spotted Music ASCAP) 

Engineered and mixed by Scott Petito at NRS Recording Studio, Catskill,

New York, www.scottpetitoproductions.com

Mastered by Robert Hadley at the Mastering Lab, Los Angeles, CA

Liner Notes: Mitchell Clute

REVIEWS
 

NEW AGE RETAILER 
Reviewer: Mara Applebaum 

Celtic Lamentations is a wise, important contribution to understanding the very natural yet often pathologized experience of grief and loss. Every traditional culture has its own rituals to acknowledge the dead and to help the living grieve their loss. On this album, Aine Minogue offers 11 songs she has selected with great care to accompany people who are walking this painful road. 

Minogue's vocal style is very much like Enya's, and her harp adds a sense of light and optimism. The liner notes for Celtic Lamentations are moving and well worth several readings. Minogue draws from a variety of cultures to inform this written exploration of grief and loss, and she includes Elisabeth Kubler Ross' five stages of grief: denial, rage and anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Suggest this CD to customers who are struggling with issues of loss. 


THE CELEBRITY CAFE 
Reviewer: Margo Strupeck 

With a haunting and soothing voice, Aine Minogue’s "Celtic Lamentations" is perfect for that moment when you need to sit back, meditate and be calm. Aine celebrates the mythology and poetry of her Irish heritage through the ghostly chants and songs on this CD. Along with Aine herself, romantic instruments such as the flute and harp are present in each song. "Celtic Lamentations’" hypnotic sound draws you in and brings you back to that time you sat watching the sunset during the Indian summer, or perhaps even back to your times as a Hobbit in the Shire. Honestly, I have no idea what she is saying but it really doesn’t matter. Her CD enchants, relaxes, and brings you to a place that cannot be described. Just listen to it and you will understand. 


AMAZON.COM 
Reviewer: John Diliaberto 

Aine Minogue is one of the few remaining exponents of an ethereal brand of Celtic music that was created by Clannad in the 1970s and reached its popular zenith with Enya and the Celtic Twilight collections. It's a sound that favors airs and hymns over reels and jigs and is as much about mood as tradition. A skilled harpist and singer of fragile, but emotive force, Aine Minogue--born and raised in County Tipperary--is steeped in the Gaelic tradition. It's not only lineage, however, but scholarship that brings her a deep understanding of the traditional music she performs. 

On Celtic Lamentations, Minogue investigates the sound of loss and redemption, from the wailing of Irish keening to the yearning of a Scottish lament. Minogue's albums have always been full of atmosphere. Although she's playing traditional music, her choral arrangement on the gothic "Deus Meus" and inventive instrumentation on "Awakening" give the music an even more timeless appeal. Producer Scott Petito adds his guitars, bass, and keyboards to many tracks, and on the haunting "Awakening," Baird Hersey seems to emerge from the other side with his unearthly throat singing. 

Minogue is accompanied on most tracks by Irish whistle player Joannie Madden from Cherish the Ladies. Her low whistle on "Griogal Cridh" calls to Minogue's forlorn soprano sighs with a comforting embrace. Minogue is often compared to Enya, but while she doesn't have Enya's remarkably pure pipes, she makes music that is more organic and flows into the serene with joyful ease, even when the subject is lamentations. 


CD UNIVERSE 

“One of the most popular creators of post-Enya Celtic new age music, Aine Minogue delights her fans album after album by focusing on the more ethereal aspects of Irish and Scottish songs. 

Here she trains her mellifluous soprano on downcast lullabies, laments, and hymns, creating a cathartic sadness that opens the heart. Minogue has made an album that is not only musically valid but useful as a tool for grieving.”  CD UNIVERSE 

Scott Petito electric keyboard, upright bass, bass guitar, programming, sound effects); Aine Minoguel (harp); Joanie Madden (alto flute, whistle); Sam Zucchini (percussion); Randy Roos (sound effects); Leslie Ritter, Alasdair Halliday (background vocals).   


GLOBAL RHYTHM
By Ernest Barteldes

Áine Minogue’s melodies possess the same softness as Enya’s, but are mercifully free of the latter’s electronic fripperies. Minogue accompanies herself on the harp, and is backed by several other traditional Celtic instruments, including uillean pipes and pennywhistle. The sheer beauty of this music, most of it exploring religious themes, is almost haunting. In “Caoimeadh na Dtri Muire,” Jesus tells his mother that she cannot shield him from his destiny, and that everyone has to “carry their own cross.”  In “Song Of The Banshee,” Minogue explores an Irish myth surrounding fear of mortality—the sound of the banshee’s singing, legend says, was a signal that death was near, and that a time of mourning was to come. Equally impressive is “Griogal Cridh,” a Gaelic song which narrates a variation on the story of Romeo and Juliet.