Column: Healing to the Beat of a Different Drum

Having been raised in both Cuban culture and in Lukumí (or Santeria), it is impossible for me to underestimate the significance drumming and rhythm in both my cultural expressions and spiritual development. They represent one of the fundamental pillars that create “Cuban-ness.”  My godfather used to say “Los tambores de la tierra tienen que oírse en el cielo.” Very loosely translated, this means, “Play the drums so they are heard in Heaven.” The saying speaks to the vigor and ecstasy with which drums must be played during ceremonies because of their deep and raw power. With little exaggeration, their rhythms have changed and sustained cultures as well as brought forth new musical forms to the world.

Layne Redmond 1952 – 2013

[This tribute to the life of Layne Redmond was written by academic, activist, and performance artist, Wendy Griffin. Wendy Griffin is the Academic Dean at Cherry Hill Seminary and Professor Emerita from California State University in Long Beach. She and Layne have been friends since the early 90s.]

Layne Redmond, author, mythologist, teacher, historian and drummer par excellence, passed over early Monday morning on October 28, after fighting breast cancer for several years. Born in 1952, Layne lived her early life in Florida, graduating from the University of Florida and doing Master’s work in art. A move to New York put her in touch with well-known drummer Glen Valez, who promised to teach her how to play the hour-glass drum known as the dumbek.

RIP Mary Daly and other Pagan News of Note

Top Story: Word is now emerging that pioneering feminist theologian Mary Daly passed away yesterday, after suffering from poor health for the last two years. With books like 1973’s “Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation”, Daly became hugely influential on the then-emerging field of feminist theology, and in turn, hugely influential on certain strains of modern Paganism in America. “The Goddess Movement would not be the same without her. Contemporary Paganism would not be the same without the Goddess Movement. The radical essentialism of thinkers like Daly was a challenge to the pole that said “only men can communicate with the divine”.