By Elizabeth Doyle

Philae Temple, Egypt

Isis – Long ago in Egypt, the mother of all nature and magic was Isis.  Her religion spread all the way to Greece and beyond.  Compassionate and devoted to her family, she was frequently depicted with her son on her knee. Her most famous story involves putting her husband back together after he’s been torn to pieces by an enemy.  There was sometimes both a sensual side to her worship (because of her role as a wife and partner) and an entreating side to her worship (because of her gentleness and compassion as a mother.) She had by far the strongest magical powers of all of the Egyptian deities, and was summoned the most often in people’s magic spells. Her temples from Egypt to Italy to Iraq continued to be places of worship well into the first several centuries AD. But in the end, decrees were put out to destroy them all, and a huge number of them met that fate.  Here’s a portion of “The Song of Isis” by the incomparable David Heath. Click here.

Celtic mirror

Brigid – She’s been both a Celtic goddess and an Irish Catholic saint. The goddess named Brigid was a goddess of poetry, and a keeper of all things “high” (from high thoughts to high flames to high mountains.) When Celtic lands were converted to Catholicism, a Saint Brigid emerged who is thought by many to be a new version of the Goddess, Brigid. High priestesses tending sacred flames was a long-standing Celtic tradition. And today, Saint Brigid is often honored by the keeping of never-extinguished flames.  In one spot in Ireland, nuns tend the flames of St. Brigid full-time. Here is a song to Brigid (pronounced “Breed” in Gaelic) by Beverly Frederick:  Click here.






Kwan Yin


Kwan Yin – She’s either a Chinese goddess or a Buddhist boddhisatva or a Taoist Immortal, depending on your religious beliefs. No matter which she is, Kwan Yin (or Guanyin) represents compassion. She’s the one who “hears the cries of the world.” She feels for us all and has mercy.  Her legend began in China, but today, she is also popular throughout East Asia. Because of her deep kindness, she is often associated with vegetarianism, and some think that she particularly looks after women and children.  Here’s a nice song about her by the silky-voiced Lisa Thiel. Click here.

Top photo: Arrivée en bateau au temple de Philaé, Assouan, Égypte; arriving by boat at the Philae Temple, Aswan, Egypt. / Image taken by Gilles RENAULT /Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license. / Wikimedia Commons

Second photo: Fuzzypeg / Early Celtic La Tène style in Britain. Date: 50 BC – AD 50. 36 cm diameter. British Museum highlights /Wikimedia Commons / British Museum / Public Domain

Third photo: Statue of Kuan Yin, Ming Dynasty, by Chaozhong He, photographed by Mountain at the Shanghai Museum. / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. / Wikimedia Commons

Ottoman Turkey, Ireland, and the music of frogs

Painting, 1720 - musical band of Ottoman Turkey

By Elizabeth Doyle

Sarband — The music of the Ottoman Empire was famously grand. It spread through Sufi parlors, mosques and palaces, and was thought to be magical. Its complex structure was used even to heal illnesses. They really believed in the power of music! The old Ottoman sounds can still be heard in modern Turkish music. (Turkey has a lot of lovely music – I love the twisty, curvy sounds of it.) And there’s a group called Sarband, which fuses and celebrates all kinds of music in the region, both old and new. Here, they play a lovely old Ottoman piece. It’s easy to imagine hearing this in an old Turkish palace! And also easy to understand why the Ottomans believed that the subtle qualities in a musical piece could affect both a person’s psychology and physical state.

Click here.

Paulnabrone Dolmen, County Cork, Ireland



Aine Minogue — Ireland has a long history of beautiful music. There are songs being written today, and songs that have likely been sung since the days of the Celts. From spirited jigs to sweeping airs, the music of Ireland is distinctive, and greatly treasured, particularly in North America, which is home to a large number of genetically Irish people. North Americans embracing their Irish heritage had a lot to do with the Celtic music revival of the past few decades, and has helped shine a worldwide spotlight on some of Ireland’s most angelic music. I particularly like Aine Minogue. She’s an Irish harpist and singer whose music sounds to me like it was born in a stone temple, cold and moist in a hidden valley between two emerald green hills. I definitely believe that a Celtic goddess smiles every time she plucks a string! Click here.

Frog in a pond

Animal Musicians of the world – Of course, we aren’t the only species who sings.  Some of the most beautiful music in the world is composed and performed by our animal friends around the globe.  It would be hard to find any New Age album more soothing than the song of the frogs or an opera more dramatic than the lion’s roar.  So here are three good videos of animals performing in the wild:

Frogs: Ode to a ray of sunlight:

A lion opera of rejection, pining and a love lost: 

Mocking bird serenades the dark: