The Gartan Mother's Lullaby
performed by Therese Schroeder-Sheker
The Chalice of Repose Project
recorded music published by Celestial Harmonies
The Chalice of Repose
The Chalice of Repose Project is a unique end-of-life patient care program
and graduate level school of music thanatology. Since 1992, this pioneering
initiative has been affiliated with Saint Patrick Hospital in Missoula,
In contemplative musicianship, Chalice practitioners embrace and cultivate
the spiritual dimensions required to serve the needs of the dying instrumentally
and vocally. They acknowledge that music is far more than repertoire; they
understand that artistry and fine-tuning reflect bodily, moral, emotional,
and spiritual awarenesses, and do not isolate these realities from technical
musical developments or skills. Music is understood as a transformative
current that bridges and communicates, reorganizes and transforms, binds
Chalice of Repose practitioners are musician-clinicians. They attend
the death-bed vigils with live prescriptive music played at the bedside.This
music is designed to the individual needs and symptoms of the person who
is suffering. Practitioners, working in teams of two, position themselves
on either side of the dying patient and attentively work with the musical
deliveries required to support and facilitate the unbinding process that
is central to a conscious, peaceful, or blessed death.
The Gartan Mother's Lullaby
The lullaby has long reflected the complexities and nuances of mothering
love and feminine introspection. A recurring theme in ancient Celtic song
and prayer concerns the young mother's protection of newborn children from
specific kinds of elemental or fairy creatures. Although traditional cultures
have always regarded nature spirits with awe and respect, a mother worried
about Aoibheall or Siobhra who might steal a child to raise it "on
the other side.
This Irish lullaby comes from Gartan, the birth place of the famed Columba,
founder of the Benedictine monastery on Iona. Today, Iona remains one of
the most revered pilgrimage and retreat centers in the world. The Iona Community,
in its long time commitment to social justice, encourages us to tithe prayer
each day toward the realization of world peace.
In this song, all the qualities of love lilt, lullaby, and prayer seem
to merge together seamlessly. It was this song in particular, and a fourteenth
century ballata by Francesco Landini named Angelic Beauty that made me turn
towards harp twenty years ago. In this version, the lyric is slightly changed
from the text published by Herbert Hughes in 1906.
Sleep, O Babe, till the red bee hums
the silent twilight's fall.
Aoibheall from the Grey Rock comes
to wrap the world enthrall.
I'll envy you, my child, my joy,
my love and heart's desire
The crickets sing you lullaby
beside the dying fire.
Dusk is drawn and the grain man's barn
is wreathed in rings of fog.
Siobhra sails his boat till morn
upon the starry bog.
I'll stay with you till the faded moon
has ringed our clasp with dew
And weeps to hear this lullaby:
I sing my love to you
I sing this love to you.
THE CHALICE OF REPOSE WEB SITE