Spiritual sensuality

Spirituality. Sensuality.

The two are intrinsically interwoven, don’t you think?

I’ve just returned from a carol service, as a singer as well as a listener. And I felt so fantastic when I came out, not because I’m particularly religious, if at all, but I think I am spiritual, and I adore that union of spirituality and sensuality which comes from singing in a choir in a beautiful building.

There’s something about singing which taps right into what makes us tick, what makes us who we are. Maybe it’s the beat reflecting our pulse, maybe it’s the physicality of working muscles and vocal cords and lungs to get that wonderful resonant humming in our heads. But it feels so good. And when it works well with others in a choir, it is a uniquely satisfying experience. Like good sex.

And there’s the music itself, which can be lively, soothing, calming, exciting, disturbing. You name it, it’s there in music (and Bach is normally the one providing … but that’s another story.)

And it can be sexy. Yes, even the humble Christmas carol.

Here’s one you may not know (Sting did a version, come to think of it). It’s worth listening to a couple of times to fully appreciate its richness. It is the most sensual thing. And the words are so heart-rending, no matter what your beliefs. It traces the life and death of Jesus through the love of his mother and what may be given to him in gifts. It’s called Bethlehem Down, by Peter Warlock. He knew a thing or two about sensuality, believe me.

Here are the words to accompany the beautiful, heart-rending and utterly sensual music.

When he is King we will give him the Kings’ gifts,
Myrrh for its sweetness, and gold for a crown,
“Beautiful robes,” said the young girl to Joseph,
Fair with her first-born on Bethlehem Down.

Bethlehem Down is full of the starlight,
Winds for the spices, and stars for the gold,
Mary for sleep, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold.

When he is King they will clothe him in grave-sheets,
Myrrh for embalming, and wood for a crown,
He that lies now in the white arms of Mary,
Sleeping so lightly on Bethlehem Down.

Here he has peace and a short while for dreaming,
Close-huddled oxen to keep him from cold,
Mary for love, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold.

Go on, try it. Remember, it’s like great sex. And I hope you all get lots of it this Christmas. 😉

Spiritual sensuality

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