Location Woodfin – 5 mins from downtown Asheville.
When my grandmother died we had a wake. I remember her friends and neighbors gathering – there was much talk and tender words as they approached her body and gently touched her face and hair. I remember the rattle of teacups and the sound of rosary beads. While my Gran was Irish (although lived in Scotland) the wake was probably still common but the art of Keening had long died out.
Wise Women In a Time of Crisis
The wise woman in various forms has always been called on in times of crisis. This can be personal crisis, community or global. Women lamenters can be found in cultures throughout the world. It is said that it was the Goddess Brighid who created keening in lamenting the death of her son.
In this workshop we will explore the ancient roots of Keening as well as picturing the life of the Keener woman – who was often a figure outside of normal society. We’ll explore how Keening was eventually banned by the church and why. Also the American Wake – the Keening of those immigrants leaving Ireland to go overseas and likely never to return. We’ll also listen to some keening singing to hear the qualities of the singing as well as listening to modern songs which are inspired by keening.
We will listen to what recordings exist of women Keening – and discuss why there are very few. We’ll see Greenham Common Protest outside of the UK Parliment.
Create a Keening Doll
In the afternoon we will make a Keening woman dolls and a fabric holder – honoring that lineage of women mourners and their important role in society. We will explore how we can tap into this tradition.