Hopelessness – Presence Of Light Talk | Reflections of Riverman

Hopelessness – Presence Of Light Talk
|  Reflections of Riverman

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Well I just finished my Presence of Light talk on Humanity Healing / Facebook Live and I’m actually going to post it on the day of doing it. Yes, this is a 1st for me!

The whole process of this show and what comes through me is always an amazing journey each week and today was no exception.

YouTube Video link – Hopelessness
Yourlisten MP3 link – Hopelessness


I will just post the Show notes and Prayer which came through an hour before I went on the air and let you reflect quietly.


At times it may feel hopeless.
That life is unforgiving. Breathe.
In the hopelessness of life, we find hope and promise.
We find strength.”
― Tania Elizabeth


What is hopelessness but a very deep inner sadness which feels insurmountable.

A deep inner struggle with choices which seem unreasonable and unresolvable.

A belief in separation or alienation from the true inner self.

Separation is in fact the energy of sadness both as cause and result.

We are now living in a physical world where separation is being broadcast daily though our news and how we react to differences which are in essence just a form of our lack of awareness.

We are continually being told who, what, when, where, and how to think and have been throughout our entire lives. However the problem now is that it is leading us to a deeper sense of not being able to trust our innate Conscious Awareness.

The Collective Consciousnesses of Humanity is being undermined which is all about the freedom to know and receive information which co-creates rather than selectively separates.

So how can we reverse this.

Let us try quiet listening to our thoughts as we banter back and forth of why we are not worthy or have made so many wrong choices that we are afraid to make another.

Allowing ourselves to have the freedom to ask for help from our  Source of Inspiration and Creator  knowing that it is we who judge ourselves more harshly and any other.

We sometimes refer to this darkness and depression as the Dark Night of the Soul and yes it is all of that.

It also repeats as we fail to address the real problem of our separation from Source… however you choose to honor that.

The Truth is that we can always choose LOVE over death.

We can liberate ourselves from this false prison of energy.

We can change everything in one moment of clarity.

The key for me was Surrender.

To whom or what is always the same as we are to surrender ourselves to the remembrance that we all have value or we would not be here.

Even the smallest speck of dirt or microbe has value and although it may not seem relevant or important it is a part of something so great that it shines brightly in our Solar System as Planet Earth.

We are seen as an amazing Life Form by billions of others who continually are encouraging us to see ourselves as the Divine Creators We are and live it to the fullest of our capabilities in Unity not separation.

Charlie Riverman Bergeron

Prayer for Hopelessness

Beloved Mother/Father Creator find my Heart

whisper gently into its cavernous presence
in soft and kind syllables of Love

Allow me to feel the warmth of your Breath
as the Spirit which calms the storms
and quells the ravaging seas of despair

Send to me in those moments of deepest despair
my precious family of Light to carry me
Across the dark abyss of emptiness

Allowing me to feel fulfilled in this Presence
which sustains us all in every moment
even when we have lost the will to carry on

I know I AM not worthless
I Know I AM not alone
I Know I AM only suffering for but a moment
and now choose surrendering to you
over continuing to struggle within my small self

May Your whispers now become the winds
which lift me gently above it all

To see with new eyes

Hear with new ears

And speak with a new tongue
renewing and instilling a greater faith in myself
based on non-judgement, forgiveness and compassion

Thank You for the freedom
to make choices now
which align fully
with my Divine Blueprint

Charlie Riverman Bergeron


Prayer For Floods by Charlie Riverman Bergeron

Prayer For Floods
by Charlie Riverman Bergeron


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At the closing my Presence Of Light Live Video on Humanity Healing Facebook  I spoke on the recent flooding and offered the prayer written below.

Here is the video replay…


Dearest and Most Beloved Creator of all that exists… the waters have come, wreaking havoc, chaos and destruction.

Many families and animals are now scattered and lost and their homes uninhabitable.
Those who remain are seeking security, desperately in need of your comfort and support.
Help us to not be angry or condemn the floods or the water for their destructive nature.
Let us seek a gracious flow of Your Love and Comfort to be the Sun which dries all tears.
Water can become the great destroyer of life as it has in our past civilizations. The hurricanes, 
the tsunamis, and those floods of Biblical proportions are all reminders of the destructive abilities of these flood waters.
Yet, let us also recall now, that the world is also balanced and given abundance by Your Merciful Presence
Let us also seek You within the waters, remembering Your guiding us within the womb of our mothers.
Let us also remember how Your Springs have brought forth water to quench our thirst while in the wilderness and how You led us to wells which healed our parched throats from the deserts.
Our ancestors have traveled across many waters toward new life and new beginnings. And through Your Love, we are once again waiting for the waters to subside.
Be with us now, as we gather during these days of tribulation.
Drawing us close to all whose lives have been altered, harmed or taken by these waters which have no harmful intention toward humanity.
Let us hear the cries of those who are now homeless and hungry, responding to their needs.
Let us support those who will respond to their rescue, whose service is like a precious balm.
Let us all come together around the world to care for the weak, displaced and traumatized.
In our rapidly presenting future… May we all look deeper into our sense of purpose, of being better stewards and guardians of Mother Earth
May we give attention to how we can assist in even the slightest way, the many whose lives are forever changed by the disasters caused by our own greed and denial
May we give attention to how we can assist in even the slightest way, the many whose lives are forever changed by the disasters caused by our own greed and denial
May we begin to collectively alter the direction of our future as the Human Race, so that coming generations may dwell in an era of great cohesiveness and symbiotic relationship.
Charlie Riverman Bergeron 8.31.17


Jennifer Hoffman: Inspired Action Begins with Spirit | Enlightening Life

What becomes your inspiration? What moves you to take action, to focus your energy towards a specific intention? What encourages you to forget your doubts and fears and move forward with clarity of thought and purpose? Do you act only when you feel you must or are forced to and simply react to situations you feel you cannot control? Or do you take fear-based action in order to avoid difficult people or situations? Inspired action begins with spirit, by creating the connection to your divine source so you use divine timing, access your intuitive guidance, activate your co-creative partnership with the Universe, and empower your intention to move with divine congruence into the flow of energy that draws your desired reality effortlessly closer to you.

Inspired action is action that is taken within the knowing of your co-creative abilities, where you partner with spirit to add its energy to your intention. Then you can act with confidence and the certainty that a particular step is the right one to take in that moment. You will also have the courage to take a step in another direction when that is the appropriate thing to do and in your highest good.

Effortlessness is achieved when you are in the flow of energy, you allow events and situations to unfold and if they do not, you move forward with grace and reject the fear that you are wrong, doing the wrong thing, or that you must force every opportunity to become a blessing you enjoy. A good measure of your discernment is to reject those things which do not align with your intention or your highest potential. Once you commit to taking inspired action you walk with spirit – it does not lead you or control your outcomes — and you are in partnership with your divine self to create your heaven on earth.

Learning to use your guidance and intuition to decide when to take the next step and in which direction to go creates a balance between mind and spirit that utilizes the best of your learning and experience with the highest potential your divine connection holds for you, to create the possibility of a new reality.  How do you know when action is inspired? When you feel calm, at peace, you are in joy, and you trust your co-creative power. This is when the results flow and you use the power of your intention to create the outcomes you want to experience in your life.

And the opportunities present themselves effortlessly which does not imply you have to do nothing, you are a co-creator, not a passenger on the journey. Effortlessness is a matter of allowing energy to flow in the direction of your intention.

Your mind is conditioned to react to change with fear and uncertainty but when it is paired with your divine connection it can forge a new path towards different outcomes. The mind only knows how to react and then you are acting out of fear and engaging past emotions. Reactions are also based on past knowing and learning, so the result for you will be a repeat of what you have experienced in the past.  Learning to recognize inspiration requires that you trust in your own spiritual competence and are willing to try what is new and different, even if it is something that you have never done before.

Effortlessness is the energy of the Light Age when you learn to take inspired action because you will always be moving forward with spirit, taking inspired action, and are firmly on the path that is perfect for you. Living with inspiration means that you co-create with spirit in a way that supports your intention, and that you trust that your inner knowing, your intuition, will create the flow of energy that draws your intentional reality closer to you.

Karma and the path of destiny are part of the 3D paradigm that is dis-integrating. Your path is no longer pre-destined, nor is your life fated to go in a specific direction. Now is the time to take inspired action in your life, to act with clarity and confidence from your co-creative partnership with spirit. Accept that effortlessness is the way of the Universe and be in the flow of divine energetic congruence. This week, choose an area of your life that you want to change and invite spirit to support you with clarity and confidence.  Then take inspired action in the direction that you are at peace with. Your action may be to take a class, make a decision, consider a change or even see yourself in a different perspective. Trust that you know what is best and right for you, then take inspired action, remember that life is supposed to flow effortlessly and the Universe, as your co-creative partner, will reward your faith, trust, and efforts by assisting you in miraculous ways that  support your vision and create your joyful, joy-filled reality.


If you like this article and would like to work with me because you are ready for profound personal and spiritual transformation, consider a personal intuitive consultation or intuitive coaching, where we work together to examine your life path, purpose, potential, and possibilities and help you choose one that will bring you the joy, abundance, love, peace and power that you are ready for. Click here to explore the possibilities for transformation.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Jennifer Hoffman. All rights reserved. You may quote, copy, translate and link to this article, in its entirety, on free, non-donation based websites only, as long as you include the author name and a working link back to this website. All other uses are strictly prohibited.

Taurus New Moon (4/26) Wealth Forecast – Exciting Positive Developments… By Tania Gabrielle

Taurus New Moon (4/26) Wealth Forecast
– Exciting Positive Developments…

By Tania Gabrielle April 23, 2017 Astrology, Numerology, Predictions & Forecast


You’re in for a pleasant surprise!

The New Moon in Taurus coming up on Wednesday arrives with many enchanting blessings.

Taurus is a strong, sensual Earth sign – peaceful, secure and reliable. This New Moon on April 26 (at 8:16 am Eastern, 5:26 am Pacific and 1:16 am Universal Time) captures your heart. At and activating the 4 and 8 code of fate and destiny, you’ll feel a strong purpose to get out and manifest projects that attract prosperity.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • This Taurus New Moon is ruled by Venus and happens right after Venus moves direct again – magnifying the theme of beauty, love and abundance.
  • Venus, ruler of Taurus is conjunct (joined with) Chiron in Pisces – helping you to heal a relationship or your relationship with money.
  • Venus is at 29° Pisces the LAST degree of Zodiac – a powerful critical degree in astrology – a big magnification for Venus… so you can EMBRACE and ACCEPT love, sensuality and joy.
  • A magnificent Grand Trine is in place during the New Moon: Uranus conjunct Mercury are trine the North Node and trine Saturn attracting new positive relationships, a sudden positive turn of events, new perceptions, excitement about the future.

And that is just a taste of the wonderful beautiful alignments happening during this New Moon.

You will feel a major spiritual healing about the way you have built your life. Focus on what structures and beliefs you have you’ve carried with you that now need to be released, so you can make room for a healthy new way.

That’s why it’s so important to be clear, open and honest with yourself and in tune with the moment-to-moment guidance from your intuition.

Enjoy this Taurus Full Moon – filled with exciting positive developments!

Love and Blessings,

Tania Gabrielle

About Tania Gabrielle

Tania Gabrielle, Wealth Astro-Numerologist, has coached thousands of clients and entrepreneurs worldwide, helping them design fulfilling and abundant lives. She has been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Yahoo.com. Tania is the creator of Numerology Academy™ – the first online certification course integrating Astrology and Numerology. Learn more about Tania at TaniaGabrielle.com.

IMHO – #ThankYouObama

 It meant a lot to me to have an intelligent, articulate, thoughtful Constitutional Law Professor as our POTUS  for 8 years. He actually accomplished a lot, despite obstructionists and haters. I am sure he was made to do things that weighed heavy on his mind, make hard choices under threat of the Cabal, follow through with unpopular decisions that made him appear to be something other than the kind, Enlightened Visionary he is. More and more of us are seeing through that game.

Some day the Truth will be told, and a great healing will take place. Meanwhile, I will always remember his warmth, his sense of humor, his enduring strength in the face of  adversity, and his ability to rise above it all. #SoLongPresidentObama


@BarackObama #Enlightenment comes in all colors
#ThankYouObama  #BestPOTUSever

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I am going to miss this #POTUS
#intelligence #eloquence #vision #leadership #unity
#potusfarewell #FarewellObama #ThankYouObama


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You Retweeted
💗Brenda-liz Vélez
💗 Bliz617 28m28 minutes ago

Thank u 4 ur leadership 2 our country, 4 breaking racial & gender barriers,
& 4 making me proud 2 be an American.


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@+Barack Obama Now if only would finally announce
so we can have and

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Image result for obama will he tell the truth

Special Holiday Blessing for 2017: Let Love In!!! – davidji

It’s never too late to let love in! -PB


Audio version:


Good tidings spiritual warrior!!


Do you know how beautiful you are?
I think not my dear…


But I can feel your courage right here in the sweetspot as you step into your power thousands of miles away
I can hear your mighty voice expressing your tender heart with divine whispers that ripple into every soul along the way
I know the pain you cradle just beneath the surface
And the sweet, salty tears you hide in the corners of your eyes
Waiting to be released


Let’s hold each others hands
Gaze into each others eyes
And each of us own the sadness we’ve inspired
Apologize to each other for the hearts we’ve broken
Wrong words we’ve spoken
The mindless fights – the Silent nights
The wasted time when time’s so short
The cold shoulders, tongues held, lips bitten, teeth clenched
for nothing that ever really mattered then or ever… really
Forgive each other right now


I say, “I’m…”
You say, “sorry”
I say, “I…”
You say, “love you”


Here we are in this sacred, precious, present moment
What else is there to do but
Kiss & makeup
Surrender & love


And commit to making better choices
Pledge to making Higher choices
More loving choices…


Let’s open our hearts to LOVE
Drop your guard
And let love in
Let kindness in
Let compassion in
Let forgiveness in
Let one person into your heart
Who you have been blocking all this time
Spending all that energy resisting
When you could be loving just a bit more


Let one person in
Who you’ve tried to teach a lesson to…
Let them in…
Let them learn the lesson of love and forgiveness
Instead of you being right


Let one person in
Who’s done you wrong
See how wide
Your understanding of the divine truly is
There’s room in your heart for your own reflection


Let one person in
Who’s been knocking for ages
Trying so hard
To turn your head
Let them into their own heart
Through the doorway to yours


Let’s open our hearts to LOVE
Drop your guard
And let love in
Let kindness in
Let compassion in
Let forgiveness in


I’ll let you in mine.
Will you
Let me in yours?
I’ll love you unconditionally
I’ll forgive you unconditionally
Let me shower you with sweet metta


In case you need a reminder of the power of your ripple
Listen to my heart whispering your magnificence
In the sweetness of the breeze
Feel my gratitude rain down upon you in every snowflake that visits your neighborhood


Are you willing to trust
That the universe will deliver you to exactly where you need to be?
Are you ready to trust
That your heart never lies
Are you ready to raise yourself up
Let the universe kiss your soul
Are you open to love again and be free?


Then celebrate love today
With me
Right now today
With me
Let’s merge our hearts right now
The best is yet to come.


Peace & love
-davidji & peaches – the Buddha princess

Praising Your Path in Life by Shanta Gabriel | Inspiration for the Week

Inspiration for the Week

We are drawing on the compassionate and timeless wisdom of The Gabriel Messages to provide insight and inspiration that we can apply every day of our lives.

This message from Archangel Gabriel helps us to see our lives in a more expansive way.

The Gabriel Message Card for this Week:

Praise God and Praise Yourself for the Path You Have Chosen.

I usually receive this card when I am questioning how my life is going. It is always a message that encourages me to step back from the immersion in what is happening in front of my physical eyes and take a more neutral view of my reality.

Obviously it is easier to break into hallelujahs and exuberant praise when our lives are moving in ways that evoke our happy place.

The challenge is to know that our life has power and merit when we are looking at appearances that may not please us. But that’s when we start flexing our spiritual muscles — to balance our emotional states and to see beyond appearances to know that there is a blessing in every situation. It’s not only a blessing, it’s a call from our souls to notice that we have an opportunity to create something wonderful that really works much better for us.

Sometimes it is only this one step back into neutrality that helps me to be more present to the Creative Solutions available to me. First I need to recognize that whatever I am experiencing is a part of the work I am here to do for my soul, and then I can use the situation as a stepping stone to higher-frequency living.

When I make new choices from a higher perspective, from a place of multidimensionality, the path takes on a more enhanced aspect, with many more opportunities for the kind of creativity and expansion that I love. I have found that everything I love raises my vibrational frequency. That is really fun, because these empowered frequencies include really simple things like music, nature and beauty. All the things I love become qualities of consciousness that uplift and inspire me, thus changing my vibrations and making it possible for me to have more of what I want to experience in life. This very basic Law of Attraction principle is always valuable to remember.

When we celebrate life in all its myriad forms, it honors the Presence that lives in and through us and blesses our path. The uplifting of our thoughts and feelings to the ultimate truth of our existence is a substantial step forward to the recognition that our life is a true gift. We need to show up for our path in life with all the support and intention that we can muster, as well as all the resources we have within us.

We have had many attitude adjustments and learned many new skills and spiritual tools in this life that we can apply to creation of the most beautiful world we can imagine. Our imagination helps keep us expanded and inspired so we can incorporate the support from the Angelic Dimensions and all the help we have around us. When we keep our intentions clear and our focus strong, we are walking as blended beings in a greater world that has yet to recognize this imperative. Our Souls know that this is what we are here to do, and our path is celebrated in the heavenly realms. We are being gifted with so much love at this time. This real and practical multidimensional support is a blessed gift that we are here to experience right now.

When we honor the Infinite Intelligence that guides us and use the maturity and commitment to our spiritual path that hones our spirit, we are lifted into the enchanted realms of the higher dimensions moving from 3D to 5D and above. It is here that we can see the greater truths under the surface and join in an exalted co-creation of an empowered life.

All of us exploring together, using our most Divine resources combined with our diligent human selves, this is the enchanted and empowered collaboration that can create Peace on Earth, Love in every heart, and allow Nature and all Life to thrive.

Divine Presence,

I am calling forward my Soul Community in order to empower and share this special time on Earth. Together may we know that we hold the key to the Awakening within all humanity through our intentions and focus in life. Working together brings out the gifts and allows us to create more than we could by ourselves.

Thank you for this beautiful path I have chosen. Help me to bring more of my most divine and authentic self forward to be a blessing for the world.

May all beings know in their hearts the experience of true Freedom, Peace and Harmony on all levels. And so it is.

The Gabriel Messages #50:

Praise God and praise yourself for the path you have chosen.

Dear One,

Your path in life is decided upon before you take birth in human form. Your soul reviews the lessons necessary for highest growth, and then chooses those life experiences that will provide them. From a human perspective, this choice is often difficult to comprehend. Many outwardly horrendous lifetimes have powerful lessons and seem beyond human understanding.

To truly understand the soul’s growth, it is necessary to have an expanded perspective that sees an overall picture. When situations occur in life which seem very difficult to handle, a certain balance is provided in knowing that, on a soul level, a great learning experience is occurring and that you are given all you need to handle the situation, for the highest good of all concerned.

This does not mean that your emotions do not exist, or that somehow you should not feel upset, because in human terms your experience is very real and your feelings valid. Within the power of your soul, however, there is a great gift in your situation. No matter how senseless a condition may appear to your human eyes, a greater truth is available. It can assist you to remember this and to pray to see it. It can also help to remember that you live in a benevolent universe where the grace of God is available at all times.

From a human perspective, it is also often difficult to experience incredible joy and happiness. There are many in your world who say, “it’s too good to be true, watch out when things get too good,” etc. etc. The Angels say to you that you are a beloved child of God who deserves to be happy and to have incredible blessings in your life. If this is what you are experiencing right now, enjoy it. Live this blessed moment to the fullest. Never doubt that good things happen, and that joy and miracles are the natural state of being.

Do not doubt the path you have chosen. If there is something in your world that you want to change, pray that it be transformed for the highest good of all concerned. Trust in your Angelic teachers and in God’s presence, which is eternally within you. Be grateful for your life and most of all:

Praise God and praise yourself for the path you have chosen.

Shanta Gabriel for Archangel Gabriel
Jan 4, 2017

Join Me to Anchor the 11:11 Light Codes of the Divine Feminine
to Create Well-being on the Earth for 2017!

There are thousands around the world who will be praying and setting beautiful intentions while they anchor more Divine Light on the Earth the first 11 days of January. Group energy has great power to awaken consciousness! If you would like to join a more structured spiritual practice, I invite you to join our New Year’s Anusthan.

An Anusthan is a dedicated spiritual practice that has been used in India for centuries. My guru taught this practice, which is used to empower and celebrate a specific time on Earth.

We have a sacred opportunity, even a Soul Purpose, to do our best to use the first 11 days of the New Year to anchor the 11:11 Light Codes on the Earth. As we do this powerful practice together, we will help to Co-create a new Paradigm on the Earth.

When you register for The New Year’s Anusthan, you will receive a very practical and clear multi-page Anusthan booklet (PDF). It contains all the guidelines, mantras, affirmations, and information you need to create and empower your Anusthan.

This special Anusthan is offered to you by donation. I am not charging for the practice, but for the technical skills required to produce it. We are contributing to the global awakening by making this offering to an international group of heart-centered beings dedicated to anchoring the Light of Well-being in the world.

“I feel like there is so much information out there on how to work on your thoughts, how to live your life to the fullest, etc. But I don’t think there is much on how to ground yourself so that the rest of that work can fall into place. So I just wanted to thank you for giving me such a beautiful gift.”

Holiday Anusthan Participant

#VICTORY #NoDAPL – Army will not grant easement for Dakota Access Pipeline crossing

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PRAYER + THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE TO FIGHT FOR WHAT’S RIGHT!  Don’t miss the video of the official announcement to Water Protectors below, courtesy of Unicorn Riot. It is a joy to see their reaction!  #Victory


Army will not grant easement for Dakota Access Pipeline crossing

Army POC: Moira Kelley (703) 614-3992, moira.l.kelley.civ@mail.mil

The Department of the Army will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works announced today.

Jo-Ellen Darcy said she based her decision on a need to explore alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing. Her office had announced on November 14, 2016 that it was delaying the decision on the easement to allow for discussions with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies 0.5 miles south of the proposed crossing. Tribal officials have expressed repeated concerns over the risk that a pipeline rupture or spill could pose to its water supply and treaty rights.

“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Darcy said. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

Darcy said that the consideration of alternative routes would be best accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is an approximately 1,172 mile pipeline that would connect the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to an existing crude oil terminal near Pakota, Illinois. The pipeline is 30 inches in diameter and is projected to transport approximately 470,000 barrels of oil per day, with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels. The current proposed pipeline route would cross Lake Oahe, an Army Corps of Engineers project on the Missouri River.

You held rallies, prayed, and sent donations and words of encouragement. This is your victory too. Together, we can do anything.

Thank you, . You remembered us after all.



Unicorn Riot ‏@UR_Ninja 42m42 minutes ago

Water protectors celebrate in #OcetiSakowin #NoDAPL camp after announcement of Army Corps denying #DAPL easement

My tags:
#NODAPL, Army Corps of Engineers, Obama, POTUS, Ruth Hopkins, Standing Rock, Unicorn Riot, Victory, Awakening, Consciousness, Gaia, Governments, Gratitude, Healing, Health & Wellness, Humanity, Inspiration, Local Community, Planetary Change, Relationships, Spirit, Unity, Wake Up Call, White Hats, Water Protectors,

LEONARD COHEN – The Last Interview (September 2016) + Hallelujah and all that… Leonard Cohen remembered | The Guardian


LEONARD COHEN – The Last Interview (September 2016)

Published on Nov 10, 2016

David Remnick from The New Yorker shared yesterday his last interview with Leonard Cohen on September 2016.


Leonard Cohen, who died last week aged 82, was an inspiration to a host of artists over five decades. Here we remember a troubadour of the spirit:

leonard Cohen
‘They’ve filed me under gloom’: Leonard Cohen in New York, around 1970. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

‘I was born like this, I had no choice/I was born with the gift of a golden voice”, Leonard Cohen assured us on 1988’s Tower of Song, in laconic acknowledgment of his famously flat, funereal baritone. Later in life, Cohen’s voice would become a fractured croon that required a soothing chorus of three female vocalists to guide it through a song, while his departing gift, You Want It Darker, finds him reciting in an ominous, deathbed rumble.

Cohen’s lugubrious tones always divided opinion; for some they were intrinsic to his melancholic charms, to others a turn-off that blindsided them to the genius of his songcraft, which was always gilded, its cadences measured, its images polished. “They’ve filed me under gloom,” he would later complain. Yet Cohen’s gloom was usually consoling, and brought a wry wisdom to his principal focus, affairs of the heart. Anyone who has gone through a painful bust-up will find Closing Time a close companion, especially that line, “It looks like freedom but it feels like death”. Touche.

Contrary to the justified acclaim on which he bows out, Cohen was not always so revered. The opening trilogy of albums, which contains anthems like Suzanne, Sisters of Mercy, Bird on A Wire and Famous Blue Raincoat, barely troubled the US charts (they fared far better in the UK, where Leonard became the bedsit bard of choice).

The half-dozen albums he delivered in the 70s and 80s were even more a hit-free zone, addressed principally by critics, aficionados and Cohen’s fellow musicians, who knew a good song when they heard one. Numerous – often inspired – covers of his work helped seal Cohen’s reputation. Judy Collins, Joe Cocker and Nina Simone were early champions. Later, in the early 90s, a pair of tribute albums crewed by everyone from REM and Bono to John Cale helped reawaken interest. Hallelujah alone boasts 300 covers, including Jeff Buckley’s sepulchral 1994 take, which became a hit in 2007.

Hit-free yet somehow omnipresent – someone, somewhere was always playing one of his songs – Cohen occupied a singular position in rock culture. Older by a decade than most of his peers, he came with a former life as a literary pin-up in his native Canada, arriving with two books of poetry before delivering two “poetic” novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers, by the mid-60s. He had spent time on the Greek island of Hydra, where he bought a house with a $1,500 bequest, and lived the life of a lotus-eater, sporting a white suit to quaff red wine at the taverna, dropping acid with his partner Marianne Ihlen, writing songs and entertaining luminaries such as beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso.

leonard Cohen at a bar
Cohen in the early 60s – he arrived on the music scene with two novels under his belt.
Photograph: Roz Kelly/Getty Images

When Songs of Leonard Cohen arrived on the eve of 1968, he was one of a wave of singer-songwriters – alongside Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro – and initially considered a “folk” singer, but he was not slow in gathering a band and launching himself into the bear pit of festival rock. Cohen’s tender, reflective material and safari suit were an uncomfortable fit in some respects, but his charisma remained imperturbable. In a legendary moment at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970 he calmed an inflammatory audience (they had just set fire to Jimi Hendrix’s stage) with a somnolent set powered by sleeping pills, requesting that everyone light a match. His nickname at the time was Captain Mandrax.

Cohen admitted to experimenting with drugs “recreational, obsessional and pharmaceutical”, but as he grew older his refuge from the depression that had dogged him since childhood was most often red wine and beautiful women. His decade-long relationship with artist Suzanne Elrod broke up in 1979, leaving two children, Adam and Lorca, with whom Leonard remained close. Cohen’s persona in this middle passage was as a dapper roué, captured by the title of 1977’s Death of A Ladies’ Man, for which Elrod took the cover shot. The album itself proved a low point in his career, wildly misproduced by a gun-waving Phil Spector.

I’m Your Man (1988) was an act of reinvention, pushing the songs into more socially engaged territory. Who else would have attempted a dialogue between Joan of Arc and the fire that consumed her (Joan of Arc, 1971). His songs increasingly explored a philosophy that could underpin the art of living. Religion and spirituality were in the family – his great-grandfather had founded Montreal’s first synagogue – and Cohen became song’s most accomplished spiritual quester.

He never abandoned the Jewish faith, but Christianity and Buddhism were a powerful presence in his life and work; from 1990 he spent five years in a zen monastery atop California’s icy Mount Baldy. As a pop psychopomp, Cohen has often been compared to Bob Dylan – arguments about who is the better poet rage in the wake of Dylan’s Nobel prize; Cohen thought the award “like pinning a medal on Everest for being the highest mountain” – but while Dylan has most often played avenging Old Testament prophet (even when he was a Christian), Cohen has always pursued compassion and redemption. “Love’s the only engine of survival,” as he put it in The Future (1992), an otherwise dystopian vision that shows he could also give the devil his due.

leonard cohen live Hamburg
On stage at the Musikhalle in Hamburg, May 1970.
Photograph: K&K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns

While The Future consolidated Cohen’s critical reputation, it was the extraordinary third act of his career that brought him sales. After discovering in 2005 that his manager (and former lover), Kelley Lynch, had embezzled the best part of $5m from his accounts, Cohen was forced into “feverish activity” to raise funds. What followed were fresh packages of old numbers, reissues of early poetry books, albums written for and with his partner Anjani Thomas, two studio albums, Old Ideas (2012) and Popular Problems (2014), and four live albums culled from what Cohen called the Grand Tour, which saw him play to adoring crowds worldwide.

To put himself and his failing health through the military campaign of a world tour testifies to Cohen’s strength, his delight, his commitment to his art; and in You Want It Darker, like David Bowie’s Blackstar, we are left with a powerful missive from the very brink of death.

Leonard Cohen pulled it all off with his customary elan, the old suavity inherited from his haberdasher father – “Darling, I was born in a suit,” he told biographer Sylvie Simmons. Besuited, betrilbied and beloved, he’ll always be our man.