It came as a major bummer to me when Sunstone announced their 2022 symposium would be all in-person. The 2020 and 2021 symposiums offered digital attendance options, creating greater access for folks like me who live far away. Thankfully, this year Sunstone organizers offered a wonderful selection of live-streamed sessions on Facebook. This explains how I fell in love with a song called “Holy Magic.”
“They may say I’m crazy
But they didn’t bury my babies
Heft the weight of God’s own word
Or pull the feathers from your wounds
Excerpt of lyrics from Holy Magic, by Emily Marie Palmer
I would have borne with all these
things and even more
Until the ending of the world
Came beating at our door”
Through the song Holy Magic, singer-songwriter Emily Marie Palmer explores the inner thoughts and feelings of Emma Smith, wife of the prophet Joseph Smith. At Sunstone, Emily shared her process for creating the song—a process she described as both painful and healing to her Instagram followers. Emily also shared Holy Magic with her friend and fellow actor Tyner Rushing when the latter was cast as Emma for the recent FX miniseries Under the Banner of Heaven.
Holy Magic is one of the best artistic expressions of Mormon experience I’ve ever heard. Sonically tender, yet emotionally thunderous, Holy Magic touches meaningfully on everything from romance to childbearing to the aftermath of mob violence. I’d ramble on more but would much rather just point you to the song itself. Here is a link:
Bandcamp, the site hosting the song, should allow you a complete listen or two before putting up a paywall. Of course, it’s well worth the purchase. Bandcamp provides the complete lyrics and bio information for the artist as well. You’ll also find Holy Magic on music streaming platforms like iTunes and Spotify. Marie’s Sunstone presentation, which includes remarks from Lindsay Hansen Park on Tyner’s portrayal of Emma, can be viewed on Facebook.