Can the Universe Sing Lullabies?
In Appreciation of Seven Angels by Hem
First Steps toward a Theology of Sleep
Sometimes ordinary waking consciousness is given too much credit. It is a nice and good thing, bringing with it moments of clarity and understanding, appreciation and vitality. But sleep is a wonderful thing, too. Some people think that the purpose of sleep is to prepare us for being awake, but it is possible that the purpose of being awake is to prepare us for sleep. In the heart of God there are many rooms and one of them is called sleep. It can be a place of rest and mercy, and also in some circumstances a place of deep learning, helping integrate our conscious and unconscious lives. Dreams can play a role in this, being contexts for shamanic journeying. The wisdom of the Lullaby God is that she prepares us for sleep, offering a gentle reminder of the sacred space in which we can find rest. And if we want to be loving people ourselves, one of the kindest things we can do for others, and for ourselves, is to let ourselves sleep. Naps are good beginnings.
Can the universe kick ass, too?
Well, love can kick ass. We all know that there is tough love and gentle love, judging love and non-judging love. Non-judging love holds out its arms as a place where the soul can rest, warts and wounds. Call it lullaby love. Judging love recognizes the difference between the way things are and the way things need to be. Call it kick-ass love, because it can be self-critical and also other-critical, for the sake of non-violent creative transformation. Kick-ass love is absolutely essential for love and justice, because it can see through propaganda and flags.
I suspect that the Soul of the universe sings many kinds of songs: lullabies, blues, folk music, country, rock, and maybe also some heavy metal. Who knows, maybe the Soul of the universe also screams at times. I've proposed as much in a Theology of Sludge Metal. Arguably the repertoire of the Soul of the universe is as variegated as that of Hem.
Their music has been variously described as "folk", "indie", "Americana" and "roots", but none of these labels fully captures their sound. Stylistically, their songs bridge Stephen Foster, 19th-century American parlour music, Appalachian folk music, gospel music, traditional American ballads, the European art song, early jazz and even contemporary classical music -- via a performance style suited to the current coffeehouse music scene in the U.S. (From Wikipedia).
Have you ever heard the Soul of the universe in a coffeehouse? Me, too.
Sleep come easy to your bed this night
Seven angels hold you in their light
One holds a candle.
One holds a crown.
One holds the moonlight shining down.
Dream of fortune in the world below -
Seven angels in the afterglow.
One holds the lantern deep in the mine.
One holds the daylight left behind.
One holds the lightning flashing then gone.
One holds the sun waiting 'til dawn.
From the New Yorker
See Also: Walking Past the Graveyard: Patricia Adams Farmer and Hem and Bottoming Out and Seeking New Life; Tourniquet by Hem