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Five Virginia artists with a Halloween treat: Their film features a cargo of skulls and bones

Wolf woman
Lilly Bechtel
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The cast and crew of Desert Psalm: L to R: Lilly Bechtel, Brooke Ray, Zap McConnell, Kristen Finn, and Cat Rider.

In the early 90’s, a book called Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of The Wild Woman Archetype appeared on the New York Times’ bestseller list for 145 weeks. The work of a psychotherapist who specializes in treating trauma, this intensely spiritual work featured a character named La Loba – she wolf -- who resurrects a wolf from its bones.

The book spoke deeply to singer Lilly Bechtel, who was inspired to write a song about La Loba.

“In the mountains she collects many animal bones, but her specialty is wolves, and once she has collected the bones she sings over them and conjures them back into life,” Bechtel explains.

Stuck at home during the pandemic, the Charlottesville musician re-read the book, collected a trove of animal skulls and bones from her local butcher, picked up four fellow artists and drove south in an RV. They stopped near Terralingua, Texas in a desert near the Mexican border to make a music video.

The eight-minute movie evokes the importance of intuition, the nature of grief and the human need for connection which was, Bechtel says, sorely lacking during the pandemic.

“In the early stages of the pandemic, a good friend of mine gave me a walkie talkie," Bechtel recalls. "We were walkie-talking each other from either side of this river because of social distancing, and actually that made it into the song. What it’s partly mimicking, I hope, is the sporadic and often un-nourishing mode of connection that technology can offer, and this is an extreme introvert speaking. Even I had more reverence for human connection and the relationships in my life.”

The film premieres Sunday, October 30th at Potter's Craft Cider in Charlottesville. To see the video go to:

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief