Chanting the Psalms: A Practical Guide with Instructional CD

Cynthia Bourgeault, Author . Shambhala/New Seeds $18.95 (265p) ISBN 978-1-59030-257-6

The pointed and shaking finger of our adamant inner schoolteachers often accompanies calls to engage and stick with ancient (read: tried and proven) spiritual practices. Not so with Bourgeault's impassioned invitation to chant the Psalms. With a blend of Christian and Eastern mysticism running throughout, as well as recognition that learning to chant may be difficult, she gently guides readers through the "whys" and then through the "hows." Bourgeault, an Episcopal priest with a doctorate in medieval studies/musicology, clearly knows her material, but presents it simply; see the chapter on "Suzuki Psalmnody." The companion CD, illustrating the various techniques, encourages even the most vocally challenged reader to try the chants. Bourgeault's focus is not only on chanting, but on chanting the Psalms specifically, asserting that chanting them helps to integrate the shadow and heal the personal unconscious, as well as awaken the intuitive imagination. The book's final section explores other contemporary and popular forms of chant and song, including Taizé and Iona. Bourgeault will be a helpful guide to those who seek to find a viable daily Christian practice, while those who already have a daily discipline may find that her suggestions for chanting deepens and enlarges their experience. (Dec. 12)

Reviewed on: 09/25/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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