Cloud of Light

hildegard-of-benginWhen I went back and re-listened to the previous tune I created a few weeks back, I realized that the mixing wasn’t as balanced as I thought it was. It’s all over the place.

The fact that I rushed the mixing process stands out. There’s a lot to be said about letting any art you’ve created sit for a few hours before stamping it out as complete. Lesson learnt.

Time is not a commodity I have a lot of, so, what I do put together is posted as is. Warts n’ all. I’m also not writing these tunes and putting them together in any professional capacity – or at least not yet.

This affords me a creative margin where I don’t have the pressure to have them as polished and perfected as I would, if say, I was doing this for a job.

What I like about what I can currently do is the honesty of it. I’m not the world’s best guitarist, but I am confident enough with what skills I do have, to put them before God and recognize them as a gift.

These tunes, are therefore, me just honing that gift; sharpening it with new technology and stretching my creativity. I’ve failed and will probably make more mistakes on that front as I keep doing this.

The same goes for this blog. For the most part, I grew up with no encouragement, recognition or knowledge about what gifts and talents were. It wasn’t something my parents seemed concerned about.

Guitar playing was something I was forced into. As a first grader my mother insisted I start to learn a skill; to be notably proficient at something, unlike other senior members of my family who seemed to have no desire to better themselves or work on what gifts they might have had.

The terms “gifts’ and “talent” only became a real concern for me in senior high school. Even then, any ambition for a career in music, although entertained, was a joke. Like most things I experienced in church and elsewhere, I came from a dysfunctional home; didn’t come from the “right” neighborhood, so not much was expected of me, let alone any hope for a future.

The first electric guitar I owned was second-hand. It had a cracked head, and would go out of tune as quickly as it was tuned. One of my worst memories is standing in front of a church with their worship team, trying to use it. Needless to say, I wasn’t on the team for very long.

That, I am grateful to say has no bearing on where I am at now.

As part of the creative process this week, I’ve taken a phrase out of the Complete Writings of Hildegard of Bengin. In particular the imagery of a ‘cloud of light pitted against an immense darkness of great density’:

“…an immense darkness of great density and horror came from the East and extended towards the cloud of light, yet because of that cloud of light it could advance no further […] I heard the ancient serpent say to himself: ‘I will prepare all my forces of strength and wage war against my enemies with all I can muster!’ […] And he blew out a poison cloud which covered all the earth like black smoke, and from it came a great roar, saying: ‘Let no one honour a God they cannot see and know! How can they worship what they cannot know! In the black cloud I saw the images of many kinds of vices.’
(Selected Writings, p. 137)

It’s a prophecy from the 1100’s, that, in its entirety, is worth checking out.


Top image of Hildegard: Artist unknown.

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