The Old Wine. The New Bottles.
The last few newsletters have been heavy and substantial. And perhaps that is proper because the times are such. So I thought I’d still try to be faithful to the times but be a bit lighter this week.
So I’ll start where all levity starts… Luke 5:36-39. Ha!
And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
There is A LOT I could say about these parables but I put it here to show that people have been grappling with old traditions versus new traditions for a long time quite publically and trying to make sense of how they intersect. Where does new wine go? What are the consequences? Do you stitch old fabric with new? What happens if you do? As much as any parable is clear, Jesus comes on the side of ‘old is better’…at least in the King James version. It actually is a pretty layered parable and not so simple as “old is better.”
But it came to mind this week because of two incredibly popular YouTube stars who sort of caught fire across social media in the last few weeks – Twins The New Trend and Hilda von Blingin’
Twins The New Trend are Tim and Fred Williams, 21 year old twins from Gary, Indiana. They were raised listening to rap music and church music and decided to start a YouTube channel to broaden their musical tastes by getting suggestions of great songs from years past that they had never heard of, let alone heard, and show their live reactions and thoughts. Their love for music is joyous and their enthusiasm is kinetic. They are learning to love Nina Simone, John Denver, The Carpenters, Queen, Pavarotti, Aerosmith and many many others. Their humility about the whole process is so touching. They want to learn, it is so clear.
But it is this particular episode where one of the twins listens to Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” at the direction of his grandfather. Not only is he mesmerized by the song but it is clearly a moment where he honors his grandfather as well. Take a listen!
Hildegard von Blingin’ is a play on the name of the 12th century German mystic Hildegard von Bingen. Hildegard was a truly extraordinary person. Religious visions, massive amounts of truly innovative (and beautiful) music for the time, master herbalist, wrote books on medicine and theology, invented an alphabet. If you want to hear what her music sounded like look up Sequentia and Hildegard von Bingen and it is stunning. I’ve adored it for a very long time. So Hildegard von Blingin’ is a playful honorific.
While von Blingin’s identity is not known she clearly is a lover of the medieval forms of music and instrumentation. She takes modern songs and re-writes a few lyrics so they are period accurate and sings them in the simple and stripped down style of medieval melodies. But these songs so often translate very well not just for their cleverness with antiquated language choices but there is something elevating about the style of music. Not every sonnet is beautiful but there is something about the form of a sonnet that can make beauty arise.
Listen here to Hildegard von Blingin’ taking on Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene”
These two examples are joys to be because they are elegantly submitting to something old and letting them make something new in the process. This seems to be, properly I’d say, one of the functions of the elder – to nourish the new, to be the temper in the clay. This is what Primal Derma also tries to do – build on these old traditions, remember them, praise them and offer something new while firmly footed in something worthy from traditions that walked a path that we are lucky to walk a bit too.
May you keep walking on such paths yourself.
Thank you so much for your ongoing support of Primal Derma and for keeping on reading these missives. I’m grateful.
Until next week,