Song to Gorilla

by Marilyn Strong

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to be good.

You only have to let
The soft Animal
Of your body
Love what it loves.

Joy in the Body.
Joy in the Soul.

Joy in the simple things
That make us whole.

Album Cover - click to play clip of Song to Gorilla
play clip of Song to Gorilla

From the CD/album Songs for Sophia available from Marilyn Strong at the Hands of Alchemy web site. Words adapted from the Mary Oliver poem "Wild Geese"


'KindlingFire' Alchemy

KindlingFiresKindling Fire - Alchemical Fire Ritauls in Silver Spring

We are taking a break from our regular monthly KindlingFires this summer to concentrate on the many fire events we are hosting or helping other members of the community with. Once our schedules get back to almost-normal we will start these back up and look forward to seeing you by our fire.

For More Information...

What Is Alchemy?

Alchemy is the practice of the art of transformation. The ancient alchemists explored physical transformations to understand spiritual transformation. Their aim being, not to create gold from base metals but, to observer the process of refinement that matter goes through as it changes through each experiment. Their observations guided them to an understanding of the world of matter to be a holographic realm where every part reflects every other part. From this the ancients discovered what we know so well now, the most profound transformation is that of human consciousness towards Spirit.

What Is an Alchemical Fire Ritual?

Alchemical Fire Ritual Circle or 'Container'An Alchemical Fire Ritual is a laboratory for experimenting with the art of transforming conscious. As we share music, stories, dances and ourselves through the flow of the ritual, we have the opportunity to discover those hidden parts of ourself that we rarely get to see. All of this discovery happening in a safe, welcoming and loving space. What makes this type of magik work is full participation, as much as each person is able, by every one present. The real magik we create together is being present in the moment with each other so that we can perceive the wonder and bliss around us.

In an Alchemical Fire Ritual, the ritual space is known as the laboratory. Our lab has a particular set up that helps makes things work. At the center of our lab is our fire. It is the center of all that we do. It's the light we return to over and over again. It is the spark that lights our way through the ritual. Immediately around the fie is an open space used for offerings of movement, song, story, drama and wonder. This is where the action of our ritual takes place. This area is bounded by a ring of torches we call the Mars Line. From here folks can witness the magik of the ritual while giving their bodies a chance to rest. On one end of the Mars line is our Furnace, where the drummers and musicians gather to share their offerings of rhythm. Outside the Mars Line, is open space for conspiring and around all of this is a line of Prayer Ties.

No Bystanders

This ritual works through participation. Drummers and musicians make music for everyone to dance and sing to as they help others learn to share their rhythms. Singers share chants and help others to raise their voice. Dancers share movement and help others learn to move. Bards share stories, poems, news and help others to connect to their own story. We each share what we are good at. We all share in the adventure of trying out new ways of expressing ourselves in sacred space. The act of challenging yourself to test what you believe to be a limit is a powerful magik. When you can challenge yourself while surrounded by loving supportive witnesses the magik deepens and often become “real”.

There is no script to this. There are no doctrinal rights or wrongs. We are free to create with each other in the moment. And all are encouraged to share as they are moved to do so.


In order to help keep us all safe in the ritual, we do ask everyone to keep in mind a simple set of ritual agreements.

  • As we play in Sacred Space we agree to be fully present and plugged into the groove that is happening.
  • We help each other stay focused by acting on inspirations and creating opportunities to engage with each other, self and Spirit.
  • Encourage each other to share the magik we bring.
  • Keep casual conversation outside the ritual space.
  • Be sober and response-able within the ritual space.
  • Share what you are good at with the circle, but also try what you think you are weak at within the safety of the circle - you may be surprised.
  • Allow silence when it happens.

This last agreement may need some explanation. A tool we use in Alchemical Arts Circles is control. In particular, self control. One of the ways we focus and deepen the energy we create through all our activity is to allow silence from time to time. i.e.: at the end of a really good drum set or a moving story. Rather than applauding, cheering or condolences, we ask folks to let silence happen. Give yourself time to really feel what you hear/see/feel. The amazing thing is that from the silence, a voice always begins or a rhythm stars up. Give it a try and see how it feels.

drum altarWhat to bring:

  • Your self
  • Your sense of play
  • Your musical instruments and extras to share if you can
  • Your favorite stories, poems, chants, etc. to share with everyone.

We look forward to seeing you at the fire.

How to join or find out more about us

We invite others in the DC metro area interested in our path to join us and find out if this is a direction for you to explore. If you are interested in learning more about us or have questions about the ideas we are exploring, please contact us.

All genuine seekers are welcome. If this is not what you are seeking, then please seek elsewhere and blessings be with you.