Deva Troy is Renaissance Woman; singer song-writer, interfaith minister, hypnotherapist and the ‘new mother’ of a recently birthed CD entitled Light of Seven Mornings. She as an articulate spokeswoman for engaging in a Vivid Life and and beckoning others to join her in it as well.
How do you live your Vivid Life?
By being myself as wholeheartedly as I can muster in the moment with each experience life brings me. Obviously creating and writing songs that move and inspire me and others is high on the Bliss List as well. When I see and feel people getting the essence of a song they are hearing from me, I get pretty blessed out myself! Writing Sacred Ceremonies gets me pretty blessed out too…
How long has music been a part of your life?
Music runs thru my ancestral veins. My siblings and I were influenced by my Mother’s love of music and each of us were born with some musical abilities. My sister and I started singing Beatles harmonies in our teens and I was a song leader in my youth group in High School. I was also Religious Services Chairperson in my youth group and was in charge of writing services for the holidays and services. That was my earliest interest in blending ceremony with moving music and I am sure this connection influenced me in my 30’s to become an Ordained Interfaith Minister with The New Seminary. It was as natural as breathing for me. Those early experiences writing ceremonies and singing also informs my tendency to write inspirational music where I am often calling out to Spirit in my lyrics in some way. I was in Concert Choir in High School and started teaching myself guitar at 14 years old.
My mother’s side of the family was very musical. My maternal grandmother, whom I never met, was a concert pianist in Czechoslovakia before the war. Many years ago I learned that there were a few musicologists in my family tree and my mother always had the Metropolitan Opera on in the back round on Saturdays when I grew up. She sang in the temple choir and played piano by ear and was never afraid to get behind the piano, find the chords to any popular song and lead a room full of people in a song together. I taught music to kids at my synagogue growing up and in my job at summer day camps when I was a Counselor too. Music has always been my favorite language!
Please tell me about The Muse:
The Muse shows up in different ways for me. I often feel the Muse tapping me on the right shoulder, don’t know why since I am left handed, but I am fairly ambidextrous! It often starts with a phrase, a chorus, a song title. This is my first clue that there is a “download” coming soon. Sometimes it feels urgent and I sit down or pull out my recorder. Sometimes I just record the idea and it surfaces later. It’s funny, I often feel the Muse (or whatever it is) behind my right shoulder when I am in a Transformational Healing session with a client. Then I will hear ideas or phrases that often concur with what my client is feeling, or needing help with. The source of this “Guidance” is a true mystery to me but I think the creative force is there whenever one turns off the critical faculty and opens to the right brain flow of ideas and expression.
Sometimes the flow of lyrical ideas, phrases or music is a direct response to my needing to process an emotional event I have just been thru or witnessed in another that I later see other people will be able to relate to.
I do have the sense that there is a “pool of creative ideas, solutions, answers to problems and more that exists as consciousness around our planet.” When we are tuned in we get to “catch” some pretty cool stuff! In that sense I often feel like songs do “write me.” But there are times where the opposite is true too.
What is the origin of “Light of Seven Mornings”?
The title song “Light of Seven Mornings” comes from the song of the same name and is a line in the poem that I put to music. The poem is not my creation but comes from a 13th century Spanish poem that speaks about the “Shekinah”, the feminine presence of G-d in Judaism. I heard this poem many years ago at a High Holy Day service and its beauty moved me to tears. I asked the rabbi afterwards who wrote it and when I learned its origin I told her that I was going to put the poem to music. It was one of the first songs I wrote.
The name of the album comes from the line in the song that goes “ Take care of your soul my friend she is turquoise, agate and jasper, her light is like the light of the sun, like the light of seven mornings in one, like the light of seven mornings.”
The album name ended up coming to my friend and lead guitarist on the cd, J.B. Kline, whose studio “Riverdog” I recorded the album in. Nearing the end of the recording sessions I was beginning to get nervous about the name of the CD. My producer, Kevin Joy kept reassuring me that the name would show up at the right time and in the right way. In one of the last sessions as we were nearing completion, Jeff came into the studio and blithely announced “I have the name of your CD!” I said “What!” He said “Yes! I dreamed it this morning, then I forgot it and when I was in the shower, it popped back in again!” Thank goodness for warm water! He said it’s “Light of Seven Mornings!” and I said “Yup, that’s it! so you never know when and to whom the muse will strike!
“Hands of Light” began it’s genesis in my psyche the night a dear friend was passing and our community of friends were taking turns staying with him. I have been called to sing it often at memorial services which I am also I asked to do with “Light of Seven Mornings.” As a matter of fact, several years ago I sang at a family funeral and as my husband and I were leaving the parking lot in our car, two women ran up to the car and asked me “Do you have a CD of those songs you wrote? We never hear songs like that anymore and we miss hearing music like that!” It was the first time my world called out to me to record my songs and put them out there. It took a while to get there but I am thrilled to have finally gotten a dozen of them recorded.
“Summer time” is a new song I wrote last summer about how we love those summertime days and wish they’d never end. It’s a sentiment I know I feel especially as the winter winds begin to blow and we are driven indoors to stay warm.
“Gentle Sister” is a song I wrote about a woman friend I had who suddenly found herself going thru major surgery and her resulting healing journey. She was an inspiration to me and I felt others would be inspired by those in their lives who go thru an illness and recover from it stronger than before.
“Help Me Stay Humble” is a song I wrote as a chant for myself and then rewrote the lyrics before the last presidential election in the U.S. I had read an article speaking about how the writer had observed that presidents all start out looking healthy and bright and over their terms become faded, grey and devoid of life. It struck me so I rewrote the song as if Barak Obama was calling out to G-d for help in doing his job and staying connected to himself, his family and G-d. G-d certainly knows he needs a lot of help…
When I wrote my song “My Father Said” I was feeling strong feelings I needed to put someplace and I wanted my Dad to know that even though we haven’t always agreed on things I appreciated how solid he was for me in my life all of these years. It turned out to be a song that wrote me but not without great feeling as the lyrics and then music flowed in. I had to sing that song about thirty times alone before I could sing it in public so I wouldn’t break down. Now I can do it, but I didn’t sing it at my CD Release party because my sister was there and I knew if I looked at her while I sang it, my composure would vanish and I’d probably have “lost it.” “My Father Said” was based on one of my Dad’s favorite sayings I heard as a kid, which I later learned was a common saying in the 60’s and 70’s, “Where there’s a will, there is a way.” I added “You can do anything if you put your mind to it, my father said” which was my Dad’s real message to his children.
“The Meaning of Life” I wrote for a friend of my community, the Peaceweavers who passed away in the early 90’s. I needed to put together a memorial service for Ken and this song came to me to share. I don’t mean to be presumptuous writing a song with this title. It’s not that I have figured life out, or anything like that. But I have learned that these words: “The meaning of life, at the core, is to love unconditionally more, to accept all the lessons as the gifts and the blessings that make this life worth living for”
seems to be the core of why we are here and what we do during our time on earth.
“Raging Hormones” is my humorous song on the CD and I am finding that women of a certain age and the people who love them are getting a big kick out of it. It speaks to my journey of dealing with “the change” and all of its little and not so little implications.
“Hold Me Mother Earth” is one of my oldest songs on the album and is still a big hit in the “Peaceweaver Parade.” It is sung a lot with a big Native American drum at the Peaceweaver Retreat Center in upstate New York. It is an earth oriented song with a Native American energy that also honors the qualities of the four directions which is part of Native American cosmology. It is a letting go song in that it calls out to the “mother energy” to help us to let go of whatever we are holding onto that no longer serves us.
The “Women Honoring Song” has a Native American title and came to me as a result of witnessing how the Lakota people traditionally honor women because they are a matrilineal society. It made me wonder what our American culture would be like if we also respected and honored women similarly. This song honors the human feminine in our lives which gives and teach us so much.
“We Are the Ones” is my most recent response to the deep frustration and outcry from people of all ages, religions and socioeconomic groups that we are witnessing around the world. This song asks us to look within to put prejudices and self righteousness behind us and realize that what we have in common is our earth, our desire for basic freedoms, health, happiness, love and peace and the ability to make enough money to raise our families in a good way. The song calls out to us all to awaken to the fact that it’s us, “we are the ones we’ve been praying for” to create real change.
Finally “What if Peace Broke Out” I always dedicate to Grandpa Harry Blue Thunder who was the chief of the Ring Thunder Clan on the Rosebud reservation in Mission, South Dakota. Grandpa called us (the Peaceweaver community that traveled out to Rosebud for eight consecutive years in the 1990’s to do service and offer healing work) his “grandchildren” Harry had a vision that one day when he picked up his morning paper he would open it and the headlines would proclaim “Peace breaks out all over the world!” When I heard that I knew I would have to write a song about such a vision becoming reality and “What if Peace Broke Out” was channeled through soon thereafter. The line in this song that speaks to many is “I know its not easy to be the change that we seek to be happening everywhere, these are conscious choices to only raise our voices when we stand together in love and care.” We are much greater together than as the sum of our parts than we are when standing singularly alone. Even the word alone when cut down the middle implies we are “al-one!” I pray that this song becomes a Peace Anthem for our time and envision it taking off on You Tube as the perfect Holiday song to play and sing during our winter holy-days since we seem to be more focused on peace on earth at this time of year.
I know that you have long been part of a wonderful group of folks called The Peaceweavers. Please describe them and their purpose.
The Peaceweavers are an intentional community I was a co-founder of in 1990. We originally came together around the time of the Persian Gulf Crisis and rented a beautiful home in the woods we called the Roundhouse in Lambertville, New Jersey. We lived together as community there, offered workshops, talking stick circles, sweat lodges and healing work.
We attracted other like minded souls who were oriented towards peace, consciousness and personal and planetary healing. I was fortunate to be one of several sourcing energies of our community in the 90’s. We began having meetings to look for a permanent home and when land in upstate New York became available to us a handful of our core founders moved to the Finger Lakes region of New York and the Peaceweaver “Thunder Mountain” Retreat Center in Bath was born. The crew at Thunder Mt. offers ongoing Peace Retreats, Fasting and Cleansing Retreats, Silent Meditation Retreats, Natural Building Colloquims. Teen Coming of Age Ceremonies, Kid’s Peace Camp and much more. www.peaceweavers.com
Our community has always been involved with music of all kinds but singing and chanting especially around a large native American drum as a community is something we learned from our elders when we went out on caravans in the 90’s to the Rosebud Reservation. We learned the magic and healing power of sacred songs while there and also from a dear spirit brother of ours named Eryn Paul Sackmann, who taught us many sacred songs he had learned from Hawk Little John, his teacher. Eryn was my dearest friend for many years and sang harmony with me for several years until he moved to Texas. After he moved I took a musical hiatus because it didn’t feel right to sing without him and when he suddenly passed away in 2005 I found it hard again to sing knowing that we would not sing together again in this life. When I had my CD Release Party I could feel him smiling down on me delighted that I had finally recorded my music and would have a musical legacy to share that would be my “progeny” since I did not have children this life.
What impact would you like your music to have?
I would like my music to accomplish the following things for my listeners. To engage their minds to new possibilities, to open their hearts to feel compassion, love, and the whole breadth of human feelings we are capable of and to soothe and feed their souls with stories and messages about life, peace, hope and the possible universal humans we can be.
I would like my songs to be emotional connectors for people to persons, places and things that deeply matter to them.
I see my music being performed in spiritual, inspirational milieu’s such as “New Thought Interfaith churches”, Yoga , Holistic and Transformational Centers, Peace, Healing, Consciousness Raising and Earth Supportive Events and Festivals that celebrate the Possible Humans we can be. Basically anywhere that people come together to be moved, empowered and awakened to the power of love, connection and truth is where I want to share my songs.
I feel called to be a voice for the people whose voices are being unheard. Songs like “We Are The Ones”, “What If Peace Broke Out” and others not on my first CD that still need to be recorded like “The Path to Peace” a song about the message of peace the Dalai Lama brought to listeners at Rutgers College a few years ago, “G-d’s Love” a song that speaks to the universality of G-d’s love for all humans regardless of race, religion or creed and “The Wake Up Chant” which is the perfect “Occupy wherever” chant.
I will also continue to write and sing songs for special ceremonies I am called to facilitate as an Interfaith Minister of the New Seminary. That has been with me as I mentioned at the beginning of the interview since being in a youth group in my young teens and is still very strong in me to write and perform meaningful ceremonies that celebrate life’s passages with story, song and prayer.
Recently I became aware that my music has a soothing quality that is deeply stress reducing to some listeners so I guess my other impact will be to be a “chill pill” for those needing deep relaxation and soothing. That’s perfect too because of how it fits into my Transformational Troy Method Healing and Hypnotherapy work with clients. There is great healing power in a voice. I am here to heal this life so if that can be accomplished thru listening to a song or doing a healing session, either way I am “on purpose” and happy to serve the greater whole always and in “all ways!”