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Night of Hunters intro by tori


Battle of Trees

variation on: Satie, Gnossienne no. 1

Lyrics by Tori Amos

Our language of love
the Battle of Trees
we fought side by side
No one had more
sharper consonants than you love
and my vowels, well, were trusted

First comes the Birch
Rowan followed by the Ash
then through the Alder she forms
and merges with Willow

The Hawthorn blossoms
as the Oak guards the door
"She" is the hinge on which the year swings
He courts the Lightening Flash and Her

Summoning the Spirits through incantations
you said, "the Thunder God seems to have,
in our enemy, his own Laureate"
But we knew The Furies held the Holly sacred

We were insulated
in a circle of words we'd drawn
with wisdom sent from 9 Hazels
a Rowan fire, and a Willow rod

At 10 comes the Vine
that generates bramble wine
The constant change of the Night Sun
a song in the blood of the white bull

Our language of love
the Battle of Trees
we fought side by side
No one had more
sharper consonants than you love
and my vowels, well, were trusted

From Ivy leaves
is an ale that can unveil
The hidden meanings and serpents
only revealed through visions

Yes vowels could insert
"A" was for the Silver Fir

the Furze or Gorse then came next
with Heather at her most passionate

The White Poplar's gift to the souls of the dead
a promise that it was not the end
but for the Vine - the Yew its coffin

Vowels and Consonants
the power of trees
the power they hold
the power of prose
So when the church began to twist the old myths
They built their own Tower of Babel
from Ulster to Munster

The Reed gave way then
to the Elder
The Earth turns her wheel
so that Night follows Day
From Dawn to Dawn
From Winter to Winter
That day the Ash had Power
over the Alder

Our language of love
the Battle of Trees
we fought side by side
then he said to me,
"I've dodged bullets
and even poisoned arrows
only to be felled by the blade
of a vowel"


Tori Quotes

With Anabelle's ability to see the past Tori reclaims a key fragment of her past with "him." This epic battle took place possibly around 3,000 years ago. The battle was not only for those with physical weapons but always included poets on both sides who used the ancient tree [Beth-Luis-Nion] alphabet to fight each other. The power of the poet in ancient Ireland was unlike anything in our modern world. But a poet's wrath, if skillfully turned on a ruler of an opposing army, could shame them to such an extent that a psychological advantage could be achieved for the poet's army.

Eventually in ancient Ireland, as invasions grew steadily on the island, the respect for the Goddess in all her aspects was supplanted by those who worshipped the Thunder God in all his many forms. Our couple fought on the same side as poets against these invaders. We all know that the goddess-worshipping culture was subjugated by the Thunder God and then by Christianity, which suppressed any inkling of the goddess culture even further. [Night of Hunters commentary - July 2011]

I speak of the Furies, the God of Thunder... I read a lot of comments on the mythology and I've realized how ancient myths were important for authors, poets, writers... If you do not know not your myths, you do not know your weapons. Also if you are a visual artist, you must be able to know all the colors to choose yours. We do not understand the past without having heard the stories attached to them. If you understand the mythology, then you understand the art and the authors of the time... In Ireland, legends and myths were very strong. Culture goddesses prevailed, but when Europe was swept over the islands, they have been supplanted by the God of Thunder. Christianity then of course all eradicated. This project has allowed me to connect these myths studies to better understand the stories of the present. [OpenMag - September 2011]

When Deutsche Grammophon approached me about doing a 21st century song cycle, the first thing that I really had to get my head around was the arc of the narrative. I began to think, really, in terms of telling an epic story in mythology. And one of the great epic stories that inspired me from Robert Graves' The White Goddess is "The Battle of Trees" itself. I knew we had to come from the New World over, in order to have European mythology in our song cycle. [NME - September 16, 2011]

I was reading The White Goddess by Robert Graves, [a book] that really investigates the mythology from ancient Ireland. When I read about the power of the poets in those days, it took me a while to really comprehend that sort of world, because we don't have a world like that. It's almost going to an alien world where that exists. It excited me, but to get my head around the prose was tricky. That took quite some time, to deal with "Battle of Trees." Probably the longest of everything -- it was being worked on through this whole process, when I was building all the other works, this was constantly on the drawing board. [Salon - September 20, 2011]

"Battle Of Trees" has an interesting precept. The battle itself takes place 3,000 years in the past, and you explain that poets actually fought alongside militants, and that the two factions were originally on equal footing as warriors. But then the poets had to insulate themselves with words, as you say. It's hard not to imagine that division happening today. Can the role of the poet ever be noble again, or will it take a total decimation of the earth for that to happen?

I don't know... I was reading Robert Graves' The White Goddess, which was kind of a guiding light through this whole project. I've had it my life before but it's such a hard read for me personally because it feels like a textbook. In some ways I guess it is, because it goes through mythology from ancient, ancient times, but it explains how it came to Ireland, and also the British Isles, and the inception of it all. I don't know if he believed we would ever see poets acknowledged in that way again.

But also, as he said, to be considered a poet of great standing you had to have such an understanding of ancient myth. And it seems like our culture doesn't encourage our writers to know mythology. Neil Gaiman, he's my spiritual brother. He's one of the few writers that I've known that 20 years ago was talking about how essential mythology was to his palette. I don't really know what Neil would write without his mythological references. That's been the thing for me -- I wouldn't have many ingredients in my garden coming from the piano if I didn't have mythology at the core.


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