[This issue, Erzabet Bishop sits down with acclaimed singer/songwriter Wendy Rule for a discussion of music, symbolism, Nature, and — of course — ice cream! For a sampling of Rule’s work, check out her YouTube channel.]
Eternal Haunted Summer: You are openly Pagan with your music. How did your path lead you in that direction?
Wendy Rule: My music and my spiritual path are so closely entwined – both so much a part of me – that I really can’t say whether my music is Pagan, or my Paganism musical. Both lead me to each other in my deep search for growth and wholeness. I don’t particularly think of myself as a ‘Pagan Musician’. I am a musician, and a Pagan, and a woman, and a Scorpio, and a mother, and a lover. I don’t want any one thing to define me. My music is a deep and pure expression of my Self, and that Self happens to be Pagan, so of course my music will be openly Pagan. But it is also openly emotional, and sad, and joyous, and very very personal. I have many non – Pagan fans worldwide who still engage deeply with my music.
EHS: Tell us what the snake symbolizes for you.
WR: Wow, that’s a big one. Well, being a symbol, it is rich in layers and cannot fully be defined in a simple way. But here’s some of the feelings that ‘snake’ awakens in me:
Magic, Nature, instinct, pure, sexuality, Earth, power, transformation, feminine, masculine, Underworld, poison, healing, death, rebirth, shedding, letting go, hibernation, slither, beauty, fear, release, wisdom.
EHS: What is your favorite song from the new album?
WR: That shifts every time that I listen to it, depending on my mood. Sometimes I really get into the earthy desert feel of ‘Black Snake’ or ‘A Will of its Own’ and at other times the very stripped back songs such as ‘Winter’ or ‘Juniper’ resonate more strongly with me. But one of the real surprises for me on this album is ‘Rewind’. It was one of the last ones that I wrote, and is deeply personal, and to me, very moving. That’s the one I’ve decided to make a film clip for.
EHS: How long does it take you to write a song?
WR: That truly varies with the song. Sometimes I will have a concept, or a snippet of a tune, that I will just let lay fallow for months and months before I weave it into a finished song. At other times, ( such as when I wrote ‘Rewind’) there is a sense of urgency that makes me want to finish the song as quickly as possible. That one I wrote from start to finish in a couple of days. Others may take me a year. I do the bulk of my lyric writing when I am walking in Nature. Nearly every song on this album was written in desert, or forest, or by the ocean.
EHS: What are some of your favorite Pagan singers/artists?
WR: Well, in the same way that I don’t necessarily think of myself as a ‘Pagan’ musician, many of my favourite musicians are not part of the Pagan scene, but still carry a strong sentiment of Magic and connection with Mother Earth. I love Mariee Sioux, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Jocelyn Pook, Dead Can Dance. I also have a friend in Santa Cruz California who is doing some exciting music with a Pagan feel. Her name is Marya Stark.
EHS: Tell us one thing most people don’t know about you.
WR: I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve, so there aren’t too many secrets that you couldn’t find out by listening to my music. Maybe it’s the fact that my all time favourite band is The Smiths. Hmm, what else …. I’m a lover of excellent single malt whisky (though anyone who has attended the same Pagan festival as me probably knows that already!).
EHS: What is one thing you want listeners to get from your music?
WR: A deep experience of feeling. A transformation. An opening to Self and Spirit.
EHS: What is next on your musical horizon?
WR: I have lots of touring to do this year in the USA, Europe and Australia, but hopefully towards the end of the year I will be able to recommence work on a collaborative project that has been bubbling away for the past three or four years. It is with an extremely talented friend of mine named Elissa Goodrich – who plays the marimba on Black Snake – and is an entire project dedicated to the descent of the ancient Greek Goddess Persephone into the Underworld. All the songs are written, but we just haven’t managed to both be in Australia at the same time to record it.
EHS: What are three things on your desk?
WR: A glass of wine. A beeswax candle. Some natural incense.
EHS: Favorite ice cream?
WR: I’m not such a huge ice cream fan, but there is a delicious vegan green tea coconut ice cream available from our local co-op that I’ll sometimes treat myself to.
Check out Rule’s newest album, Black Snake.
1. Black Snake
3. Let the Wind Blow
4. Rewind [Explicit]
5. Why Must Love Be Twined With Sorrow?
6. A Will of Its Own
8. From Great Above to Great Below
9. After the Storm
12. All Life Flows Into the Great Mother
[Erzabet Bishop is the creator of the Erotic Pagans series, which includes Beltane Fires, Samhain Shadows, and Yuletide Temptation. She can be found blogging here.]