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In This Issue

Goddess "" Earth "" Cosmology "" Women's Health "" Reader Contributions "" Book Reviews "" Editor's Desk

Thunder from Down Under — The Amazing Life of Anique











Performing the chakras from Invoking the Goddess in Glastonbury
courtesy of herwill.net

As a product of my environment, that is to say the Midwest United States, I have always found that Beltane held special mysteries that I did not quite get. I love the ideas, the energy and the feeling of Beltane, but I've never been able to completely submerge myself in the spirit of the Holiday. When I was introduced, by email, to the subject of this quarter's column, I recognized immediately that this is a woman who lives Beltane fire, and I wanted to know more.

Anique Lamerduc's larger-than-life personality comes clearly through her emails and music. This Australian singer and priestess is a remarkable woman who has lived, and is living, a remarkable life. I knew she was the perfect feature for Beltane after first writing her, asking if she would be agreeable to the idea. She wrote back:

I would love to send you my music, as I know you would obviously appreciate it after reading your column. I have always been a closet opera singer, and have often said that if my parents had realized what a "talent" they had on their hands, I would have been an international diva! But then I would not have found feminism, nor lesbianism and I would not be living in paradise, doing the Goddess's work and living with a gorgeous amazon and three feline familiars and a canine companion, would I?

I laughed out loud and knew I was hooked. While waiting for her interview responses by email and her CDs to come by snail mail, I did some reading up on her website at: www.herwill.net. Reading in her newsletter about her 2004 trip around the world was one of the most inspiring experiences I've had in a while. A self-titled Crone, Anique displays a vibrant energy and a spirit of adventure that would be the envy of most maidens. Her travels included such locales as the Glastonbury Goddess Conference, The Isle of Lesbos and the Kuan Yin Temple in Taipei. The travelogue is an excellent read.

Not Your Usual Goddess Music
Receiving international mail is always a treat, but I must say this package packed more of a wallop than most. The outside was stamped with purple goddesses and spirals and inside were four of Anique's self-produced CDs. Hot and Mellow is a delightful collection of Jazz classics on which Anique is backed by an impressive Jazz trio. She has a powerful and unique voice reminiscent of Patty Lupone, one of my personal favorites. The album begins, I'm guessing not by coincidence, with the very witchy Moondance and the liner notes tell us:

Anique Lamerduc has been a fine jazz vocalist for over 34 years… Starting out on the club circuit at 19, Anique has worked with many of the world's greats as supporting artist — Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Shirley Bassey, Peter Allen, Carmen McCrae, Vaughn Munroe, Jerry Lewis and Dave Brubeck.

She had me at Ella Fitzgerald. This was my first clue that Anique's Goddess music was going to be different from anything we grow here in the states. How right I was.

The next album I listened to was Lover Mine, the cover of which features a geological feature bearing a strong resemblance to a vulva. The first song, Mother Earth, is an indictment on the state of the earth through music and poetry/rap set to a techno beat. Different indeed. This album is another excellent offering of out-of-the-ordinary Goddess-themed music, with some very playful lesbian themes tossed into the mix. Track 11, Lesbiana, is a charming soft-shoe expounding the joys of loverhood. But where Lesbiana is fun and frivolous, Lover Mine, the title track and an award-winning song, conveys an astounding depth of emotion regarding romantic relationship. Taken as a whole, the album conveys a sophisticated feeling using a fusion of electronica, world music, chant and jazz.

The other two albums in the package are part of a three CD set, the third of which is yet to be produced. Invoking the Goddess and Embracing the Goddess will eventually be joined by Living the Goddess. Invoking is designed as a daily spiritual practice. It seems the perfect way to start the day; I may have to get one of those CD alarm clocks. After the first two tracks, which serve to relax, open and focus consciousness, the songs work sequentially through the seven chakras. The album ends with the title track which brings the listener back around to awareness. There are important messages throughout the work which seems like the more inward of the two.

Embracing, the liner notes tell us, is a collection of songs "meant to be sung anywhere, anytime, and in any way you wish." Indeed, these songs would benefit the repertoire of any priestess (played or sung) and, I predict, will prove to be a meaningful and powerful addition to the collection of many Goddess women. It includes songs for each of the solstices and equinoxes as well as a circle casting and — my personal favorite of all of the songs — Moonmother, which you can download and listen to.

When I asked Anique how she finds inspiration for her music, she told me:

Words and music for songs come to me while I meditate. I began meditating everyday in 1996, and after a few months I began to get songs which I would sing spontaneously whilst I was meditating.… I feel I am channeling directly from the Goddess now. The songs come through complete — I don't have to change a word or a note.

Real Life Lesbiana
Anique and her partner DJ live on 55 acres of sub-tropical paradise on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. Her home is a large, open plan "shed" which serves perfectly for Goddess events. Together she and DJ are working to turn the land into a self-supporting retreat center. Anique has turned one of her out-buildings into a clay studio where she has begun to create ritual objects of art. She also creates beautiful sacred gourd rattles each dedicated to a different Goddess.

A plethora of opportunities are listed on her website including Goddess tours of England and Australia, three different workshops, and two Goddess conferences including one focusing on Women and Depression. Anique tells me:

Last year it became evident to me that many of my sisters were on anti-depressants. This was alarming, so I resolved to do something about it. I am convening a forum for women on the link between anger and depression.

You can read her original article on the subject at her site.

As if all of this wasn't enough, this globe-trotting powerhouse of Goddess-fueled energy is also working to raise a Goddess Temple on her land. Inspired by the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury and the Sekmet Temple in Nevada, she has detailed her plans on her website and has taken a gigantic leap of faith towards actually making it happen. The deposit has been made and she is now raising money as it comes due to build a large shed, like the one she lives in, to house Australia's first Temple of the Goddess. How inspiring is that? You can read all about it, and even donate funds. This is one techno-savvy Crone!

All in all, I am thrilled to have gotten the chance to learn more about Anique Lamerduc and her unapologetic and glorious brand of Goddess Spirituality. I look forward to the time when I get to meet her face to face and give her a big hug. I can't imagine it will be long at all before she's gigging in the Midwest! And to Anique and all of our sisters in Australia and the rest of the southern hemisphere, I wish you a blessed Hallows and Samhain!

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