such an honor to hear Sarah Lee Guthrie & Hoping Machine sing my song at the Climate March in DC!


new CD available on band camp click on cover image below to download tracks

new CD available on band camp          click on cover image below to download tracks

Friday, July 22, 2016

Magic Words

"Spirit Down to Matter" totem by J. Spies

Just completed totem for my Incantation and Song Magic workshop to represent: Wampus (Body), Pukwudgie (Heart), Horned Serpent (Mind), and Thunderbird (Soul)



In the very earliest time
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes they were animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen ~
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody can explain this:
That’s the way it was.

Thanks to The Sun Magazine for publishing this Inuit poet in their July issue.
sheds light on incantation..          

To register for workshop e-mail by July 28th
More info at Berkshire Edge ~> calendar listing.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"incantation totem house" - j. spies

Building an incantation house for upcoming workshop makes me think that function follows form. Adding birch mask creates new dimensions to explore with group.

This old print from my Art Cart work is perfect for the roof. How does the Ilvormorny school take into account Native American culture? 

"Shar-I-Tar-ish, A Pawnee Chief"
from Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Incantation House

It was exciting to create a three-sided 'house' in a workshop with artist Robert Hite and others at the Berkshire Museum and Hancock Shaker Village.
Hite's wonderful sculptures and paintings can be seen at both venues over the next few months.
  "Incantation House" in Round Barn
at Hancock Shaker Village  ~ J. Spies

"Incantation House" will come up to Mt. Greylock with me for the incantation workshop I'm leading at 2:00, July 31st.  To register, e-mail

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Melville, Hawthorne, Thoreau and Wharton..... Ilvermorny School?

ancient horned serpent


Melville and Hawthorne at Marconi Beach

Do you think traces of the Ilvermorny School influenced Moby Dick?
Getting ready for my July 31st performance on Mt. Greylock, I'm pondering what Melville, Hawthorne, Thoreau and Wharton might have encountered when they visited this lofty peak.

Would all these writers fall into the Horned Serpent category at the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardy? 
It's fascinating to study the mythology of Thunderbirds and Horned Serpents. Pukwudgies and Wampuses will require more imagination. We'll look into this at the Incantation Workshop before the performance.

The horned serpent symbol is one of many snake-like deities with horns associated with Native American tribes, often symbolizing rain, thunder and waterways.
Moby Dick, indeed!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The sound at the heart of the snake horn fragment

2:00 - 4:00 pm   Sunday, July 31st
Incantations and Song Magic
Mt. Greylock is not only the highest mountain in Massachusetts, but J.K. Rowling has designated it as the home of the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardy!

Hogwarts Classroom​ = Bascom Lodge?
In this two hour workshop we will determine if we’re Thunderbirds, Horned Serpents, Pukwudgies or Wampuses and then create incantations, chants or poems based on our character. What is the sound at the heart of the snake horn fragment? Our creations can be performed at the evening show or kept secret.
Rhythm instruments will be provided or found outdoors.

Senator Elizabeth Warren said: “Defense Against the Dark Arts, Prof? (J.K. Rowling)? Where do I apply? Trump, Death Eaters - I got this!”
Let’s see what we got in the way of defense and magic.

To register by Wednesday, July 27th e-mail
Pay what you will: legal tender or dragon heartstring

( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call; Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

 According to J.K. Rowling, --->The Ilvermory School was located atop Greylock in its misty past.
Like at Hogwarts, Ilvermorny students are sorted into four houses, and as with Hogwarts, fans can take a quiz on Pottermore to determine which Ilvermony house they belong to. The choices on this side of the pond are named after magical creatures rather than school founders: Thunderbird, Horned Serpent, Pukwudgie, and Wampus. The first two are exactly what they sound like, the third is “a short, grey-faced, large-eared creature distantly related to the European goblin” (one of whom helped the school’s founding family in their time of need), and the fourth is a kind of panther.

I envision Senator Warren leading our chorus Sunday evening, with a few incantations from J.K. Rowling thrown in for good measure.   

I will work out choral parts for the Thunderbirds, Horned Serpents, Pukwudgies and Wampuses in the audience. Best to find out who you are before July 31st.