Singing to the Darkness: What’s in a Title?

Singing to the Darkness: What’s in a Title?

Every author ponders their title.  Does it capture the essential message of the book? Will it attract readers? Already we are discovering that Patricia Vickers’ choice – Singing to the Darkness – is a perfect fit for her stated purpose:

May these writings be an encouragement to you on your journey.

Her title speaks to the human condition.  Before Patricia’s book went to press, the title itself evoked a response from an educator recently bereaved; she confided to Dorothy that she would need to sing to the darkness if she were to grieve and heal.

We can all learn from Patricia’s experience of singing to the darkness rooted in Indigenous teachings.

Meditation and quietness in the fasting and Sweat Lodges have taught me that everything unfolds as it unfolds. The Fasting Lodge prompted me to unravel fear while fastened in at night by a long line of tobacco ties, when time and time again I was pressed to get up and sing to the darkness, to sing from the place where the ancestors procreate. It is a sacred place of blood red and charcoal black and there are sparks of turquoise lichen yellow, and goat-hair crème. It is a place of great stillness. Where one faces fear with song.

Patricia’s vivid encapsulation of the book title reinforces its genre as a visual inquiry that unfolds through words and images.  It is also an embodied, multi-sensory inquiry.

Although Patricia Vickers’ writing and work as a mental health professional are deeply rooted in Indigenous healing principles of the northwest coast of British Columbia, the healing path she sets forth in Singing to the Darkness is accessible to everyone.  Dr. Gabor Maté emphasizes this in his endorsements and in the Foreword.

In a colonialist society everyone is colonized even if we do not all suffer the extremes that have beset First Nations history in this country. The colonized lose connection with their essential selves. …  But the writer and poet and deep meditator Patricia has found that path, has depicted it in ‘winged words’ … and illuminates our own way with the truth and beauty she sees there.

2 Replies to “Singing to the Darkness: What’s in a Title?”

  1. Cathy DeWitt

    This title reminds me of a line from one of my favorite songs, one I sing a lot, called How Can I Keep from Singing.
    I’m sure you’re familiar with it, as it is a traditional Quaker or Shaker song. “What though the darkness round me falls, songs in the night it giveth…No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging. It sounds an echo in my soul…How can I keep from singing?”

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