On Feminine Mysticism, Ritual and Making Music: Francine Thirteen, Musician

Francine Thirteen

Francine Thirteen is a mythmaker and music is her medium. Proprietor of the "ritual pop" genre, the Dallas native uses feminine energy to birth music into the world, telling stories that work with ancient female archetypes to reclaim what was once meant to control us. 

Below, she talks purpose, female archetypes, and the difference between religion and mysticism. 

Catch her this Saturday, July 29, at BABES FEST '17: MUSIC. 

You’ve described your music as “ritual pop.” Besides creating music, what rituals do you have in your life and what purpose do they serve?

They change/evolve, but one cornerstone is the honoring of my Ancestors. It's a reminder of what needs to be healed and what needs to be carried forward.

What is it about religion, myth, and mysticism that appeals to you as an artist?

I don’t adhere to any religion, but I can speak to the myth/mysticism question. In a sense, mysticism drives the world. A prime example of this is the way in which corporations use symbols/archetypes to sell us things. They are tapping into something very old and consumers respond to it. As an artist, I’m doing the same. I’m looking to provoke people — to tap into a particular energy with each performance/song.

What is feminine in religion, ritual or mysticism?

Although they often overlap, I make a distinction between religion and myth/mysticism. I, like many, have experienced religion as tool meant to suppress the feminine. Ritual/mysticism has been my remedy. The ‘Feminine’ for me is the creative spark/force that drives ritual/mysticism.

You use the story of Adam and Eve, and the myth of Lilith, to reference female power in your new album. Women are often reduced to archetypes (the Virgin or the Whore, etc.). How do you work with and against those archetypes to create new myths through your music?

I don’t work against these archetypes as much as I claim them and clarify them. People think that to be virginal is to be without sex or pure, as an example. There was a time it simply meant to be unowned; to belong to oneself. Programming causes us to forget that whatever archetype (Sacred Virgin, Holy Whore, Divine Mother, Destroyer) a woman moves through, she is worthy of respect. We can and do operate within many archetypes. The demand that women be reduced to one particular mode and the fact that women are often not allowed to freely define what they are is when archetypes become stereotypes meant to control us.  

What is your greater purpose in creating music and art?

Creating music/art is really a process of initiation and refinement for me. The creativity flows naturally, but birthing into the world requires a great deal of discipline on my part. Some days I prefer to bake, eat collard greens/yams, and keep my songs for myself and my loved ones.

Jane Claire Hervey