Worship Arts Blog

Chants On Demand

During this time of social distancing, chanting together is one of the things I miss most.  A congregant recently asked about a particular meditative chant, Sa Ta Na Ma, which inspired me to post this page with a bunch of different meditative chant recordings from our archives.

I encourage you to see if you can get value from singing these chants at home.  I know that’s not the same as being together in a service, and sometimes it’s even a little bittersweet to remember something we had before, but don’t have right now. And yet. Singing songs can help.

Sa Ta Na Ma

This very simple chant comes to us from Sada Simran Khalsa. According to some online kundalini yoga resources, each syllable is a primal sound, symbolizing a different underlying idea.

Sa connotes birth, infinity, and emotional expansiveness.
Ta connotes life and a feeling of transformation and strength.
Na connotes death, but also a sense of universal love.
Ma connotes rebirth, as well as a communicative quality.


The Greatest Thing

This one by Mark Pendergrass comes from our old hymnal, called The Wings of Song. We held on to those hymnals longer than many other churches did, but finally let them go when we moved into our transition space.

We have no plans to reintroduce them in the new building, however, we’ll keep some our favorite classic tunes, to teach the next generation.


Pour Yourself in Me

This lovely contemporary chant is an early piece from Rickie Byars. Rickie is one of the main songwriters in the New Thought movement, and it is well worth checking out her web page and buying her materials or tithing to her works.

Rickie has appeared at the old Seattle Unity in person (at right, with then husband Michael Beckwith) but her music is played in most New Thought communities around the country, every Sunday.


And I will Sing Your Praise

I wrote this devotional chant based on the story of 8th century Sufi female mystic Rabia of Basrah. The story says that as a slave, she was discovered by her master praying all night, with a lamp miraculously hovering in the air before her. He was so impressed he set her free, and she went on to become an influential spiritual leader.

More about Rabia is here, including discussion of her as an early example of feminism in Muslim culture.


My Soul Rises Up

This easy one usually goes along with releasing ceremonies, like the Burning Bowl services at New Year’s. However, summertime campfires are also excellent opportunities for releasing, and this chant works perfectly as accompaniment.

Try swapping out ‘burden’ for whatever you’d like to lay down — anger, sorrow, worry, heartache, whatever it is you can do without.  And bonus: this is just two chords, D and A, so it’s perfect for people learning ukelele or guitar.


Happy chanting, one and all.


Send Your Blog Ideas

Do you have ideas about more Worship Arts we can share online?  Worship Arts means anywhere that creativity meets spirituality, so don’t be shy about suggesting something.  W/A Director Erin McGaughan would love your input.  ErinM@seattleunity.org.