Oh, Aretha. Her songs bringing me back to the scene of my budding confidence, the beginning sense of my own, adult femaleness: Power and pleading, freedom and vulnerability. I remember dancing to Respect in college dorm rooms with my friends before we headed to bars or clubs. Something about that ritual or Aretha’s lesson helped us stay safer out there, wordlessly closing our circle against creeps when our guts or intuition told us to. She helped cement that time and our friendship as fun, full, and sacred. We didn’t have much money, I could never seem to find a boyfriend, but in our circle we had and we were enough.
In grad school I remember making a mix tape with Natural Woman for the wrong guy. And I remember reclaiming that song for myself before I met the right one.
My brother Ted noted yesterday that most celebrations in America include Aretha’s music on the playlist.
Aretha was a queen, a coach, a diva, a preacher, a flame and a balm. Under today’s Scorpio moon, spend some time with her music or the memories of your own life unfolding, in awkward, hard, beautiful, holy, and just-right ways.