The following craft essay discusses the process of creating the “Leneia a’Min & An Earthen Collisions” project available on my “Additional Writings” page. To view the project and the video for this project, click the link on my “Additional Writings”.
I almost jumped when Logan described the process of audio recording in this way. This concept of nonlinearity was something that I had been contemplating for months in regards to Leneia a’Min and Leneia a’Min Maserna. To learn that the process of creating chants to go along with some techniques I had created was almost a relief. In a way, it solidified my belief that what I was doing was in all ways a challenge to the common linear and logocentric worldviews.
After setting up and organizing our things, Logan and I prayed and I put on my head covering without hesitation. Logan knew that he was recording Byzantine music in another language for a fictional setting, but he also knew as well as I did that regardless of what language I was about to chant in, this was an intentional prayer to the same God that the Orthodx church believes in. Therefore prayer and the humility and concentration that the head covering represented was necessary.
Logan also informed me that I should wear the headphones because they would expand the space and allow me to feel more comfortable, and potentially even enhance my own chanting. I remember stopping in place, staring at the headphones. I didn’t understand how an object meant to block the senses’ perception of space could instead expand it. Yet, when I put on the headphones and tried practicing I heard it—the temple I imagined in Vedam.
At first, my voice sounded like broken glass, but with a few deep breaths my soul settled and the closet I stood in became a temple. This process of recording was non-linear as Logan had mentioned not only in process, but also in thought. As I chanted, I was thinking of the various components of this project and the created religion. For one, I was reading the phonetics of a language I had created. However, I was also watching the true script of this language, which was similar in many ways to Byzantine notation. Additionally, I was pondering the true meaning of the words I was chanting—which discussed the relationship between breathing, the land, and the sky (which has a similar parallel in Eastern Orthodoxy). I was also imagining the movements my dancers would be completing alongside this recording, which would be the physical breathing practice of Leneia a’Min Maserna. These multilayered thoughts surprisingly eased my mind and allowed me to chant with increased clarity. With each new recording that sounded over the headphones, I synced with my own spirit’s voice and fell deeper into meditation.
The process of videotaping and working with my dance students was also unique. While I knew I was leading and directing my dancers, I felt that it was wrong of me to direct their bodies if it didn’t resonate with the meditation that their spirit needed. Essentially, I felt unworthy to be telling them what to do, as I was experimenting with movement just as they were. While I had created a multilayered (and really a multidimensional) religion, it was my students that were bringing it alive and allowing it to manifest in the tangible and material world. And in a way, they seemed to understand the religion even better than I did.
“You’re a practitioner too,” they told me when I mentioned I wasn’t sure if I should be in the video. I stopped and smiled at my dancers, my fellow practitioners. Truly, they understood this religion and they understood the importance of inclusivity and connection, which Leneia a’Min promotes.
We, this body of dancers, had synced and not only performed, but helped create this religion by simply moving together. It was during the videotaping process that I finally recognized that together we could be counted among the depths of the Leneia a’Min Maserna heritage. I was not directing their bodies or spirits, I was moving their bodies to sync with each other in order to pray and meditate together. This change in perception dawned on me and for the first time in my life, I realized that I had created something that could heal people.
The creation of this project was more than simply creating and making other people do the things. It was also more than just writing lore and words on a page. This project engaged multiple art forms and methods of thinking in order to fully understand the depth of a spirit and the necessary attributes of a religion that fully invigorates and heals the body, mind, and soul. As I have already explained, I worked with dancers (and non-dancers at several points in time) to develop the physical component of this practice. I also worked on progressing my own chanting both in church, and for the purposes of Leneia a’Min. This extended into the development of the ancient language of Vedam, Mero Verne, in order to accurately connect Leneia a’Min and the history of Vedam with an accessible communication method. Other activities also included writing poetry that engaged in a vast assortment of genres and purposes, and engaging in discussion regarding the correlations between language, religion, art, self, and knowledge, as well as the larger network of my own fiction with dance and chanting. My research was not formally conducted by means of pre-arranged interviews, secondary and tertiary research, and the like, but instead occurred spontaneously through informal conversations, personal activities, and reflection on my creative processes.
In the following collection of poems I reflect on the multilayered and multidimensional experience of creating, developing, and manifesting Lenia a’Min and Leneia a’Min Maserna, the first Qaslesna of the galaxy Vedam in the universal plane of Emprevar. Evidence of my research is found in footnotes (which demonstrate the complex thought processes that occurred to mesh culture and language in a fictional world), photos (which show my process of creating a language alongside learning Byzantine notation), and the complementary video (which displays the collision of Byzantine chanting, Mero Verne, dance, and Leneia a’Min Maserna).
This research is far from complete and as I continue to shape Leneia a’Min, Leneia a’Min Maserna, and Vedam, I intend to use these research experiences to further challenge limitations of Western epistemology and Earthen practices. I believe that this research and further investigation can provide a beneficial reading experience of my fiction, but also a healing experience for those who choose to practice Leneia a’Min and Leneia a’Min Maserna.