Mudcat Café message #1045076 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #64049   Message #1045076
Posted By: CapriUni
31-Oct-03 - 12:57 AM
Thread Name: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From Kat:

I don't know anyone around here, but in the past when I've been around with other pagans mostly what we did was sing. There were a few chants, but mostly we sang, used drums, flutes, and danced. I'd find it kind of strange to be a group such as you've described.

We have lots of drumming -- there's a drumming circle that meets in the parking lot of a local Wiccan store every Monday night, throughout the year, and people dance to that. But I never saw a flute or fiddle or any other instrument that plays a tune while I was there.

It might be a deeper, cultural, thing... This area in general (Virginia Beach is the biggest city) doesn't seem to have a really strong folk tradition, compared to other places I've been. So maybe the locals aren't as accustomed to singing, period, whether they identify as Pagan or not.

Unfortunately, I'm not really in a position to influence a coven ahead of time, as I am a solitary, and only get to the public rituals when I can get a ride (we find the location by listening for the drumming). I've tried singing, extemporaneously, once I'm there. But so far, no one has joined in, or even seemed to notice. I've thought about bringing a bag of kazzoos, and handing them out to people ;-).

Michelle: I love that Lord of the Dance song (it's been one of the ones I've tried singing, in the hopes of getting others to join in).

McGrath: Yes, a chant is a kind of song. But it doesn't have the same sort of emotional energy that a carol does -- and I mean that not just as a Yule carol, but as any complex song that sings the praises of a season, like Candlemas Eve or I've Been Wandering All This Night.

I realize that the line of distinction between the two is fuzzy, at best, but I feel in my gut that there is one. Maybe, as with so much else in life, it boils down to purpose and intent. A chant is a musical tool for helping to bring someone into a trance-like state, perhaps? And a carol is for ... "exciting" the emotions -- magnify a sentiment? I don't know, for sure. I'm just beginning to frame my feelings in words ... (and yes, what I really mean in this thread is "Neo-Pagan," but thread titles have a limit on length).

DaveO: I found that soldier origin of "Pagan" in a couple of places, I think, in bits and pieces. One source that has most of it (and the one I can remember) is The Roots of English: A Reader's Handbook of Word Origins by Robert Claiborne (Times Books, 1989).

Amos: I first learned the word "pagan" from my mother when I was about 5 or six. She told me that it meant "peasant" and that pagan women were to be admired, because they were strong (this, from a woman who claimed "Mathematics" as her personal faith, and never bothered with subjects such as theology, but still enjoyed banging pots to scare away evil spirits on the night of the winter solstice).