Getting Funky with God (and Robert Plant)

This year, I did something shocking for Xmas Eve-I attended mass at Grace Cathedral. Grace Cathedral Carnivale_8473699111_m

(Admittedly, with a friend who agreed to leave before Communion and agreed to have after drinks at Cinch).

Surprisingly, the sermon was given by a female pastor (love the Episcopalians!) who based her sermon on the glory of singing for God and referenced a child in the boy’s choir who said “Singing in choir is kind of like getting funky with God“.

The sermon was based on us all finding our own voices-in whatever version-to ‘Get Funky” with God.

This was a revelation to me- I’ve struggled with my choice of music in my spiritual practice.

Musically-I’m a bad yogini. 

I’m the one who bails after 2 hours of endless Kirtan, I struggle with the bad Indian pronuciation at most chants, and I can’t STAND the harmonium.  This is not cool for the average San Franciscan yogini.

But, let me explain!!   I am a child of the  70’s and with a dad with excellent music taste.

I grew up on the Yardbirds and Jethro Tull and the Beatles and of course, Led Zepplin.

So-I found my religion, or spirituality, or Jesus, or whatever- in rock n’ roll.

Hearing my dad sing or whistle along to Hey Jude or Aqualung was, in it’s own way, a spiritual process.  It was a celebration of the soul and of an era of rebellion and meaning of voice. 

No band celebrated this as much as Led Zepplin.

Boner-RobertThey embodied the spiritual connection with music  connection and it became apparent to me again this week when I saw Heart’s rendition of “Stairway to Heaven”-possibly the most amazing song ever made.

This is the song that was never released as a single, the one that was said to be influenced by Aleistar Crowley, the song first played in Belfast in 1971 when Northern Ireland was a war zone.


I guess it’s interpretation.  That one person’s harmonium is another’s guitar riff and that the Divine can be found in all of it.  But, I find the spirit in Led Zeppelin as much as I find it in a harmonium or a sitar.  We express ourselves in different ways and mine is a little funky….

SO- I jammed out on the Heart rendition of “Stairway to Heaven” and I felt OK about not wanting to hear harmonium and I got funky with God in a way that felt right to me….

Isn’t that the stairway we are all looking for anyway?

RobertPlantRobert Plant:
The wonderful thing about “Stairway” is the fact that just about everybody has got their own individual interpretation to it, and actually what it meant to them at their point of life. And that’s what’s so great about it. Over the passage of years people come to me with all manner of stories about what it meant to them at certain points of their lives. About how it’s got them through some really tragic circumstances … Because it’s an extremely positive song, it’s such a positive energy, and, you know, people have got married to [the song].[1

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