Arden & the Wolves – Mary Did You Know

Introducing our cover of Mary Did You Know, by Mark Lowry/Buddy Greene, performed by Arden & the Wolves, produced at BoxEIGHT Studios by Jeremy Dawson with additional production by Stacy O’Dell. Video by Adam Lyons. Album art by Anthony Montemarano with photography by Evgeniya Lyons.

I first had the idea to cover Mary Did You Know because I wanted to listen to a gothier version of it that didn’t yet seem to exist. I first sang it when I was 17 at my Catholic high school’s annual Christmas festival, accompanied on piano by my music teacher, and I had chosen it even then for its dark, haunting melody. I couldn’t believe that in the years since someone hadn’t made a darkwave version of it, and I felt an eager pull to fill that gap.

It seemed like a perfect interim project to embark on while I was still letting the dust settle after February’s release of the Who Can You Trust EP, a way to keep creative momentum before returning to songwriting for the gestation of the next album and all its attendant narrative decisions.

And that was supposed to be it.

Of course, I should have known by now that any narrative work I choose to focus my attention on is bound to show up in my life in deeply transformative ways. “Oh, I’ll just take a break from manifesting for a while by doing a Christmas song” was always going to be famous last words.

Since releasing Who Can You Trust, an album designed to be a work of trauma healing coinciding with the zeitgeist of the #MeToo movement (and let me assure you, nothing on my path was more healing than seeing the cool kids of the indie music journalism world witness and acknowledge my pain through my music, so thank you for your role in that, while we’re here), I’ve thrown myself into the creation and launch of my course The Re-Patterning Project, an 8-week group incubator for resetting beliefs and habits formed by trauma and by social conditioning alike, and among other fascinating research this has led me to the study of epigenetics – the idea, now scientifically proven, that we can inherit trauma generationally through the passing of genetic alterations to the interpretations of our DNA. (Witches have described this for ages as “ancestral curses,” but now science is catching up.) This means that when I work with my clients in the re-patterning modality, not only are we allowing them to restructure their behavioral programming formed by frightening or disappointing incidents in their early lives, but we are also allowing them to make changes to beliefs and behaviors they inherited from their bloodline, through apparently both nature and nurture. Everyone in the spiritual communities talking about getting DNA upgrades? Well, they’re not entirely off-base. And as so many in those communities have said, “When someone tells you it runs in the family, you tell them here’s where it runs the f-ck out.”

What much of gnosticism states – and what I understand to be true – is that polarity is the law of the universe, that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction, meaning that the more negative programming a soul has chosen to transmute in this lifetime, the greater their capacity for bliss. As Carl Jung said, “No tree can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.” The most difficult ceremonies always produce the greatest transformations. Trauma has long been associated with extraordinary gifts.

What I have also come to learn about Jesus is that there is strong documented evidence that the years of his life unaccounted for in the Bible (age 13-29) were years that he spent traveling to India and Tibet to study as a Buddhist monk, where he was known as St. Issa. Coincidentally, after my own dive into spiritual philosophy I started to feel a greater understanding for the teachings and parables of Jesus that I had learned so many years ago in Catholic school. What if Christianity was basically the product of Jesus Christ translating Eastern philosophy to his Jewish followers? What if when Jesus told the story of the lazy workers in the vineyards who got paid just as much for working a few hours at the end of the day as the workers who’d been working since sunrise, what he meant was that it’s never too late to decide to be happy? That you can choose to be at peace at any time, which means your soul will go to heaven (that is, you will be in a state of joy), and you will be just as happy as the people who chose happiness long before you did, because the reward of heaven is infinite, because when you heal your trauma in the present you are also healing it all the way back along your timeline? What if when he said “The Kingdom of Heaven is upon us,” he meant that we don’t have to wait until we die to experience it, that we can choose it right now? Ooh, heaven is a place on earth.

Mary Did You Know asks Mary Mother of Jesus if she knew at his birth that her child would grow up to realize himself as the Son of God. At that time she had been a young unwed expectant mother crossing the desert on camel nine months pregnant for a government census, unsure if she would have a safe space in which to deliver her child, and ultimately having to do so in a stable, using a manger for a crib. Even if the Holy Spirit did visit her to inform her of her path, it’s hard to take paranormal reassurances at face value when there is so much hardship to face in confirmed reality (not to mention that suddenly seeing the Holy Spirit can in itself be terrifying, especially the first time). There’s no way that a soul as evolved as the Christ’s wouldn’t have felt the effects of that hardship when his soul was first anchoring itself on earth in her body, as epigenetics would now seem to back up.

And it is that capacity for darkness arising from traumatic experience that, when understood and alchemized, is often exactly the key that opens up our extraordinary abilities in the psychic realms, just as shamanic ordeals are often curated to do to initiates on purpose.

Because when you dedicate your life to self-mastery as Jesus did, you can not only heal yourself and your lineage but also bring those same healing codes to others around you just by existing and speaking it into life – a lighthouse in the dark, an example of what is possible. You can work miracles (or, as witches like to call it, magick), you can calm the storm and walk on water. The blind will see. The deaf will hear. The dead will live again. You can liberate souls from hell – that infernal prison with no walls – while they’re still on earth, the way I did for my own. And in John 14:12 Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” I’m not saying I’m anywhere near as good at it as Jesus was, but if I have the capability to teach people what I figured out how to do for myself in my own trauma healing and happiness these last few years, then I figure I owe it to him to at least try. I mean, Jesus didn’t even have YouTube in his day so I really have no excuse to hide my light under a bushel.

This song is my Christmas gift to you, for whatever holiday you choose to celebrate, if any at all. It’s a spell to remind you that even when your path seems darkest, you have all the power you need within you to catapult yourself into the light. You can heal everything in your body that came before you, and the more you heal yourself, the greater healing you bring to the collective. Miracles are real. Happy holidays.

Arden, 11.17.18

(For more on The Re-Patterning Project, beginning again in January 2019, visit therepatterningproject.com.)

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