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A Review of Sacred Alchemy by Devaa Haley

Sacred Alchemy is a diverse album of music created to honour the Divine Feminine. If you are looking for Goddess music for your own use, for a celebration, or for a gathering then there will probably be a track here that fits the occasion perfectly.

I was sent the Sacred Alchemy CD for review. I listened when it first arrived and wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Then I listened several more times and still couldn’t fathom whether I really liked it or not. This album contains so many different flavours that I couldn’t get a handle on it for a while. Several months on I am writing this review as the album has grown on me and with a few notable exceptions I enjoy listening to it.

The collection opens with a track to honour Narayani. I have to admit this was an aspect of the sacred feminine I hadn’t encountered before, but the sleeve notes tell me she is the Great Mother Goddess in her Indian form. I like this track, it warms up to a good rhythmic Indian drum beat and the vocals in English and Sanskrit sound great together. There follows a track in honour of Tara.

The third track, Love, Lover & Beloved contains the prominent chant, “There is no God but God.” Whilst I understand and agree with the sentiment in the lyrics that All is One and know that God/Goddess are the two faces of the Divine the chant dominates this track and it grates on me, feeling out of place on an album of music devoted to the Goddess.

My absolute favourite track follows, so now I skip past Love, Lover and Beloved and get straight on with honouring strong and powerful Kali. It opens with the chant “Shakti, Shakti, Kundalini.” It is sensuous, rhythmic and a great piece for dancing to as it contains several exciting changes of pace to get your hips swaying and your feet moving. ‘Lady of Communion’ which follows is a complete contrast, with a feeling of peaceful British devotional music. It is a well written and melodious song and I would imagine it would go down well in many women’s groups.

‘Saraswati’ begins with giggling, whispering children and is too sweet and syrupy for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I love happy, playing children, but not in my music! It is a relief when ‘Aphrodite’ takes over with her distinctly adult theme of pleasure and being pleasurable. This is a song celebrating the deep well of sensuality that women can all access through the energy of Aphrodite. There is such a contrast between these two neighbouring tracks and I think this is both a strength and weakness of the album. It is so diverse!

Pele follows with a strong tribal beat, most fitting for this fierce Goddess of the volcanoes. I really enjoy this track and find it raises my energy. It’s a good vibe for any woman who needs waking up to her inner wild woman. Pele is a Goddess of power and fierce, assertive strength and the music reflects this. I love the volcanic rumble the track ends with. 'Isis’ starts with a boldly spoken edict that it is time to set ourselves free. I absolutely agree, it’s a good message, but I’m not keen on spoken dramatic proclamations within music.

‘Shekinah’ is a much gentler, hypnotic track which blends a Hebrew chant with English lyrics to create a beautiful fusion that is quite lovely. Listening brings me quietly back to my centre. ‘Spider Woman’ maintains the peaceful energy and is a pleasant storytelling of Hopi myth. She is followed by the very relaxing and gentle ‘Magdalena’.

‘Sacred Alchemy’, the title track, brings the album to a close with a catchy, upbeat pop song celebrating the alchemical power of womankind. It's as close to a 'single' as you will find on this album and rounds it all off with gusto.

The Goddess is so multifaceted and complex that to encompass her energies on any one album is an impossible undertaking, however I think in Sacred Alchemy there has been an attempt to portray her many faces and in doing so it is unlikely to please anyone consistently all the way through. I suspect this album speaks to the aspect of the Goddess that is uppermost in the listening woman. From this point of view listening becomes an interesting psychological exercise.

I noticed the tracks I responded to most positively evoked the powerful energies of Kali and Pele. Perhaps these assertive, strong faces of the Goddess are what I need to resonate with most at the moment? Listening to their tracks I can draw readily on their support. Ironically I also enjoyed the tracks I found most peaceful, Shekinah and Magdalena. Perhaps I am balancing the polarities of assertive action and peaceful centeredness within my persona? What does this say about the tracks that irritated or left me cold? That has given me food for thought!

You could just download the tracks that you like the sound of and leave those that don’t appeal, or you could listen to the whole album and see which aspects of the Goddess you embrace and which resonate less for you at this time.

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