I recently interviewed author Judith Laura* about the audio meditations that she’s recorded for some of her books. I don’t know about you, but, for years, I’ve been reading books that contain interesting meditations, trying to do the meditations after reading them, and finding that process less-than-successful. Most authors suggest that we record the meditations or have a friend read them to us, but I have to admit that I seldom do either of those things. New technology now makes it possible for authors to record the meditations so that we can easily listen to them whenever we like. I asked Judith some questions about her new recordings.
Q: Judith, which of your books include meditations? For which books have you now recorded the meditations?”
A: The guided meditations in the audiobook are from my
books, She Lives! The Return of Our Great Mother and Goddess and
Spirituality for the 21st Century: From Kabbalah to Quantum Physics. A full list of which meditations are from which book, and which 5 are new (they appear in the audiobook but not in any of my print books) can be found here (this is the audiobook link). Here is a list of links to books from which meditations are drawn:
Q: What led you to this multi-media approach, where people can both read and listen to the meditations from your books?
A: Mainly two things: First, I had recently collaborated with a very good professional narrator in producing an audiobook of my award-winning novel, Beyond All Desiring. At that time, this was a new opportunity for authors through audible.com. So I was somewhat acquainted with the possibilities of this format. Second, I had been receiving comments from people who used various guided meditations from my Goddess print books either by themselves or for their groups. They told me how valuable they found the meditations, which, of course, is rewarding for an author. As I was reading these comments, I thought about how difficult it could be, especially for people using meditations by themselves, to be reading the meditation and attempting to get fully immersed in it at the same time. It also occurred to me that in groups — particularly in small groups — it would be useful to have a recording of the meditation available so that the person in the group who usually read the meditation aloud, could, instead, take part fully in the meditative experience with the rest of group. So I wrote to a few of those who had written to me to see if they would find the audiobook format helpful. They all said yes, and a number of them — without me asking about this aspect — said they would find it most valuable if I w[ere] the narrator. Now my guess is that most of these people had no idea what my voice sounded like — they just liked the idea of having the author reading what she had written. Fortunately, (if you will allow me a small brag), I have a pretty good voice for this kind of work, in terms of tone and expression. So I figured, why not? Another learning project!
Q: Judith, how would you suggest that people incorporate these listening meditations into their daily practices, or rituals, or magic workings?
A: I think the “how” of this question is really up to the individual and the group. So let me describe what types of meditations are in this book to give people some idea of how they might use them. The first part of the book consists of two meditations to familiarize people with Goddess concepts such as immanence and transcendence and other differences between Goddess and the Abrahamic God, and also to intensely experience being separated from, and then reunited with, Goddess.
The second section consists of Moon phase meditations: New, Full, and Waning.
The third section has 8 seasonal meditations for holy days commonly celebrated by Pagan and Goddess groups including the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarters.
The fourth section has the guided meditations from the Kabbalah, re-visioning in my award-winning book, Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century and so would be particularly valuable for people interested in this subject. But I think that it will also be appealing to those interested in other types of deep metaphysical work, as well as people who see nature as central to their spirituality. A full list of the meditations in this book, along with what book they are from and which are entirely new in this audiobook (also available as a Kindle e-book) is available here.
Q: Judith, this sounds like something that a number of authors might want to start to do. What advice do you have for other authors who want to provide listening meditations from their books?
A: Unless you have some professional experience in making digital recordings, be prepared for a challenging learning curve in the recording phase and an even steeper learning curve in the editing phase, which commonly takes at least three times as much time as the recording. Research what tools are available to you for both the recording and the editing. Be acquainted with the guidelines of the company with which you are recording. Some of them may surprise you. For example, a company may recommend that you don’t use background music or sounds.
Q: The process sounds challenging. Were there any rewards that you feel offset these difficulties?
A: Yes. There’s the reward of learning something new and eventually becoming good enough at it to pass the standards of a professional company. There is the reward of providing something for which people have expressed a need.
And then there may be what seem like magical happenings that occur during the recording and editing process. For instance, as I approached the end of recording the Summer Solstice meditation, a bird started singing outside my window. Ordinarily you are supposed to edit such sounds out. But because it occurred in such a perfect place — as we are emerging from deep meditation — I left it in. And it remains in the finished version. You may need to turn the sound up to hear it clearly at a little more than five minutes into the meditation, at the same time as the words “your light and your love.”
I consider it a Goddess blessing.
* Full disclosure: I consider Judith a friend and she’s read Tarot for me on important issues.