The Newsletter of the Mythic Imagination Institute, a Non-profit Arts and Education Corporation
      in preparation for Mythic Journeys 2004 in Atlanta, GA
May, 2004 

Transformation through Song and Story
by Sheri Kling

Sheri Kling is the senior producer and a performer for Mythic Journeys.  More information on the songwriters featured can be found at their websites –, and

In Say I Am You: Rumi, translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks, Rumi is said to have explained why he used poetry and music in his teaching in this way:

    Since [the community] was not ready for the gifts I had to give, I devised poetry, with music, to entrance the inhabitants toward spiritual truth.  The people who live in this region are very blessed, lively and curious and fond of art, but as a sick child must be coaxed with sweetening to take medicine, they must be persuaded with poetry to acquire a longing for the soul.
Sheri Kling As a singer and songwriter, I don’t imagine for a moment that I possess gifts like those of Rumi, but I do know well the transformational possibilities in music.  When I’m composing, that process is typically more about simple expression than conversion.  Yet, communicating this “longing for the soul” and the journey toward passionate, authentic living seems to dwell at the core of every song I write.

I don’t typically describe the themes of my work as “mythic,” so I feel privileged to be among the wonderful performers who will be sharing their gifts at the Mythic Journeys conference in June.  I do, however, love to use imagery and metaphor to allow new angles to emerge for the listener.  One of my pieces is called It’s Time and describes the urging and guidance I was feeling several years ago to move past a place of inner conflict. The lyrics include these:
    Sometimes I feel like the dog in the median,
    whichever direction I take I'm going to lose.
    The battle that's raging inside is killing me
    while I fight to ignore the bruise.

    The dragon on my left breathes fire
    the water on my right threatens to drown.
    So I practice my balancing act and flirt on these edges
    and I scream without making a sound.

    You whisper it's time to trust my heart
    It's time to ask for more.
    It's time to let the healing start
    It's time to stop this war.

    I've seen the angels come on the heels of prayer
    and I've felt you so strong in my heart I thought I'd explode.
    But I'm like the drowning man who's fighting the diver -
    when the struggle stops I'll float.

    © Sheri Kling, Waking Woman Music, ASCAP
I’m finding more and more performing songwriters who are expressing similar themes of growth, change and the longing for purpose and meaning as I walk this path.  Two, in particular, are also going to be performing at Mythic Journeys – Carrie Newcomer and Cosy Sheridan.

Cosy Sheridan Cosy has a degree in transpersonal psychology and her one-woman show The Pomegranate Seed is an exploration of appetite, body-image and myth in modern culture through the use of songs and vignettes.  This two-act narrative chronicles one woman's spiritual journey into the symbolic underworld and her emergence as a more vibrant and more compasssionate person.  In it is her song Demeter’s Lost Daughter, that refers to the myth of Persephone.
    Follow me down to the River Styx
    Look deep into the water
    when Persephone appears on the riverbank
    tell her I am another lost daughter.

    Tell her my life never looked anything like my mother's
    I never fit into the tribe
    I have come down to ask the underworld
    how to be more alive

    I think I found the answer
    it's a bit of a surprise
    we are blessed when we are fallen
    we don't always have to rise.

    There's a certain sense of freedom
    in a total loss of hope
    you can miss alot when you tie a knot
    in the end of every rope.

    © Cosy Sheridan, cosyng music 2000

Carrie Newcomer I’ve known Carrie Newcomer and her work a long time and songs about the soul’s journey are not new for her either.  Carrie’s songs and performances are always heart-expanding experiences.  After reading Robert Johnson’s book He, Carrie wrote a song exploring the ideas there called The Fisher King that says, in part:

    Down the road and to the left
    It’s never been any further
    To find the thing you never lost
    Who serves, who serves the grail

    Are you the one that’s common born,
    You a fool in many ways
    Have you searched half your life,
    Looking for some Holy Grail
    Did you see it in a dream,
    A vision once when you were young
    Does the circle lead you back,
    To the place that you begun

    Are you the one he left behind,
    Or was it you to finally leave
    The one that always wore your heart
    Out for anyone to see
    Brow to brow and side to side
    Palm to palm and toe to toe
    Had you really no idea,
    How far and deep an echo goes

    Are you the pilgrim on the road,
    Are you the hermit in the wood
    Have you followed what you know,
    What you want or what you should

    I am the wound that will not heal,
    I am the song you cannot sing
    I am the endless restless ache,
    I am I am the fisher king
    And all that I can ask of you,
    Is do what small good that you can
    Speak the words I long to hear,
    And to meet me where I am

    © 2002 Carrie Newcomer, BMI, Administered by Bug Music

It isn’t always possible to express what is holy, what is sacred and what has meaning in our lives. And I wouldn’t even begin to tell someone else what to believe, except that I know it is possible to dance with life in a way that is deeply enriching.  And I know that stories and myths can often break into our orderly worlds with perfect havoc, such as when Cosy first told me about the story of the descent of Inanna.  This small, seemingly innocuous, conversation led me down a path of holy upheaval from which I’m still reeling and that I hope to translate into song soon.

In the meantime, we keep walking.  And we keep sharing the journey.  And those of us who express ourselves through the arts keep creating, knowing that this soul work can transport us to those borderlands between heaven and earth.  Or, as Carrie writes in The Gathering of Spirits:

    East of Eden, but there’s heaven in our midst
    And we’re never really all that far from those we love and miss
    Wade out in the water there’s a glory all around
    The wisest say there’s a 1000 ways to kneel and kiss the ground

The above lyrics are copyrighted and appear here with the permission of the authors and may not be reproduced without permission.

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