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Pagan Songs

DigiTrad:
ALLSOULS NIGHT
LORD OF THE DANCE (PAGAN)
O, SAVE US FROM FAUX PAGANS (Or, Observations at a Renaissance Faire)


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GUEST,JTT 14 Jan 09 - 03:09 PM
Jack Campin 14 Jan 09 - 08:29 PM
Sleepy Rosie 15 Jan 09 - 01:30 PM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jan 09 - 02:05 PM
Sleepy Rosie 15 Jan 09 - 02:43 PM
VirginiaTam 15 Jan 09 - 03:00 PM
Suegorgeous 15 Jan 09 - 03:17 PM
Sleepy Rosie 15 Jan 09 - 04:57 PM
Jack Campin 15 Jan 09 - 06:25 PM
Jack Blandiver 15 Jan 09 - 06:48 PM
Suegorgeous 15 Jan 09 - 07:12 PM
Jack Campin 15 Jan 09 - 07:46 PM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Jan 09 - 09:00 PM
Sleepy Rosie 17 Jan 09 - 05:26 AM
Sleepy Rosie 17 Jan 09 - 05:32 AM
Sleepy Rosie 17 Jan 09 - 05:37 AM
wyrdolafr 17 Jan 09 - 08:42 AM
Anne Lister 17 Jan 09 - 08:55 AM
Phil Edwards 17 Jan 09 - 09:15 AM
wyrdolafr 17 Jan 09 - 10:18 AM
wyrdolafr 17 Jan 09 - 10:21 AM
Sleepy Rosie 17 Jan 09 - 03:25 PM
Jack Blandiver 18 Jan 09 - 05:20 AM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 06:48 AM
Jack Blandiver 18 Jan 09 - 07:06 AM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 07:19 AM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 07:58 AM
Jack Blandiver 18 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 11:08 AM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM
john f weldon 18 Jan 09 - 12:07 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 01:36 PM
Jack Blandiver 18 Jan 09 - 02:03 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 03:45 PM
Jack Campin 18 Jan 09 - 06:22 PM
Sleepy Rosie 18 Jan 09 - 06:38 PM
Jack Campin 18 Jan 09 - 08:25 PM
Jack Blandiver 19 Jan 09 - 06:43 AM
Stu 19 Jan 09 - 07:18 AM
Sleepy Rosie 19 Jan 09 - 11:25 AM
Jack Campin 19 Jan 09 - 11:40 AM
Sleepy Rosie 19 Jan 09 - 11:49 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Jan 09 - 12:04 PM
Jack Blandiver 19 Jan 09 - 12:13 PM
Sleepy Rosie 19 Jan 09 - 12:24 PM
Jack Campin 19 Jan 09 - 02:21 PM
Sleepy Rosie 20 Jan 09 - 04:56 AM
Jack Blandiver 20 Jan 09 - 05:32 AM
Stu 20 Jan 09 - 07:01 AM
Leadfingers 20 Jan 09 - 07:07 AM
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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 03:09 PM

Come Mayday, the radio in Ireland always plays (about a million times) a Catholic hymn that has always seemed utterly pagan to me. It goes:

Bring flowers of the rarest,
Bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.

O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
Their lady they name thee,
Their mistress proclaim thee,
Oh, grant that thy children on earth be as true

As long as the bowers
Are radiant with flowers
As long as the azure shall keep its bright hue.
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,
O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May,

Sing gaily in chorus,
The bright angels o'er us
Re-echo the strains we begin upon earth;
Their harps are repeating
The notes of our greeting,
For Mary herself is the cause of our mirth.

and you can hear it here, in rather a
sugary version

It's also available on a CD called Faith of Our Fathers, which has all those old Irish Catholic hymns.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 08:29 PM

There is a book by Norman Iles from about 1980 called "The Pagan Carols Restored". I have a sample copy of it. They're rather like the songs in The Wicker Man, only not as good.

There is one surviving community that preserves Indo-European paganism, the Kalash of Pakistan. There are some YouTube videos of their ceremonies.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 01:30 PM

Really like that May Day hymn JTT. Though as you say, the 'sugary version' isn't all that great.

Personally I rather enjoy the ambiguity in much Catholic imagery, and indeed some of the pragmatic folk magical practices (remnants of earlier pre-Christian practices, which became absorbed into the new Christian Cult?) that would have had many a devout Catholic burned as a witch. It possibly appeals more to me than some of the more blatant contemporary Pagan material out there.

In fact there are plenty of Protestants who might think that Catholicism is a heathen Idolotrous religion too... ;-)


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 02:05 PM

Here's a couple, based on incantations of Isobel Gowdie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw7FUAsiVyc

YouTube won't me let put the notes up yet, so here they are by way of clarification:

Two songs based on the confessions of the celebrate witch Isobel Gowdie of Auldearne at her trial in 1662, here performed by Northumbrian folk singer and storyteller Sedayne (Sean Breadin), accompanying himself on Hungarian Citera, electronic Shruti Box and Noah Bells.

The Allansford Pursuit is a poem by Robert Graves (found in a footnote on p. 402 of The White Goddess) based on Gowdie's shape-shifting incantation I shall go into a hare, with sorrow, and sych, and meikle care, and I shall goe in the Divellis name, ay will I com hom againe. This is interleaved with The Ragwort Road by 'Dancing' Jim Wetherspoon, (Northumbrian trickster, shapeshifter, and former village idiot of Haltwhistle who also put the tune to the Graves' poem) inspired by Gowdie's Horse and hattock, horse and go, horse and pelatis, ho, ho! (p. 290 of The Faber Book of Popular Verse) which relates to the practise of rubbing the body with an hallucinogenic ointment brewed from ragwort (Senecio jacobeae) to give the illusion of flying, thus the witches broomstick was, in fact, a stalk of ragwort, a plant which still causes no small alarm today - see http://www.ragwortfacts.com/ for more.

A riddle now to you I'll tell to you,
It's of a horse that has no shoe;
It's mane is of the glittering gold,
and in the dark earth it was foaled.

*

I will go into a hare
with sorrow and sighing and mickle care,
and I will go in the Devil's name,
aye 'til I be fetched hame
- Hare, take heed of a bitch greyhound
will harry thee all these fells around
for here come I in Our Lady's name
all but for to fetch thee hame

Cunning and art he did not lack
but aye her whistle would fetch him back

*

A riddle now to you I'll tell,
It's of a horse that has no tail,
Nor need is there of saddle nor bit,
Nor spur nor whip to take to it.

*

I will go into a trout
With sorrow and sighing and mickle doubt,
And show thee many a merry game,
Ere that I be fetched hame.
- Trout, take heed of an otter lank,
will harry close from bank to bank.
For here come I in Our Lady's name
All but for to fetch thee hame.

Cunning and art he did not lack,
But aue her whistle would fetch him back.

*

R - for the Rowan, quick and light;
A - for the dark sweet Aconite;
G - is for the grass green goad,
To ride a weed, the ragwort road

*

Yet I will go into a bee,
With mickle horror and dread of thee
And flit to hive in the Devil's name,
Ere that I be fetched hame
- Bee, take heed of a swallow hen,
Will harry close, both but an' ben,
For here come I in Our Lady's name,
All but for the fetch thee hame

Cunning and art he did not lack,
But aye her whistle would fetch him back.

*

W - for the Witches Brew
O - for the Ointment, known to few,
R - for Rune
T - for toad, as dance we down the Ragwort road

*

Yet I shall go into a mouse,
And haste me unto the miller's house,
There in his corn to have good game,
Ere that I be fetched hame.
- Mouse, take heed of a white tib-cat,
that never was baulked of a mouse or rat,
For I'll crack thy bones in Our Lady's name,
Thus shalt thou be fetched hame.

Cunning and art he did not lack,
But aye her whistle would fetch him back.

*

Horse and pelatis, horse and go,
Horse and hattock, ho, ho, ho!



The provenance of this piece is antique, but mention must be made of the lads of South Tyne, The Storyteller at Fault, The Ragwort Roadshow, Badger in the Bag, Blenkinsopp Castle, and Rivermeet; to all this, and more, this is my personal homage.

Sedayne, Thursday 15th January 2009


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 02:43 PM

Wonderful.
And some profoundly evocative lyrics there.

Didn't know about the supposed Ragwort 'Broomstick'...

Though I've heard other things about contemporary witches, broom-handle dildos and herbal lube.

Whatever they rode, I do think that some of those girls knew a thing or two about hallucinogens, as well as abortificients. No wonder they were unpopular with the Church.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 03:00 PM

Maybe Merlin's Song?

Not strictly trad. Composed in the 1970's and only loosely pagan. It is dirge like in a good way. The melody makes it hauntingly remarkable.

I can teach it to you, when you visit.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 03:17 PM

Insane - I like those 2 songs. Do you by chance have a net link to those 2 books you mention?

Thanks
Sue


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 04:57 PM

Hey VTam, I'd like that. Though I'm interested in trad songs, I've no desire to stick to learning *only* trad songs. Anything that captures my imagination is game.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 06:25 PM

For the effects of (one guess at a) witches' ointment, look on the web at the Vaults of Erowid for a description (insofar as she could remember it) by a woman in Slovenia who tried it. She was rather lucky to emerge from the experience alive, but didn't regret it.

Somewhere I have a German ethnobotanicohistorical journal of psychedelics with a long article (in German, which I don't read very well) suggesting that witches' ointment was mostly mythical, with the formulas all invented long after the fact.

There is an interesting take on paganism in the writings of Carlo Ginzburg, particularly "Ecstasies". Try that stuff in song and you would *really* give your audience the willies.

Another weirdly different book: Martenengo-Cesaresco's "The Stufy of Folksongs", which mainly focuses on southern Europe. She's very good on the stuff that emerged from interactions between paganism and Catholicism.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 06:48 PM

Do you by chance have a net link to those 2 books you mention?

Indeed so.

The White Goddess by Robert Graves (A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth) - unofficially, The Pagan Bible. It too has pride of place on my bookshelves...

The Faber Book of Popular Verse - 2nd hand copies for 1p; no home should be without at least one copy.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 07:12 PM

Thanks Insane. I meant links to the actual book though? Some books you can actually read online.

Sue


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 07:46 PM

No online copy of the Martinengo-Cesaresco, but the edition I've got (Dent/Everyman 1914) is pretty cheap via used.addall.com.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 09:00 PM

The books Sedayne mentioned aren't very old and are still in copyright. Second-hand copies aren't difficult to find; even nowadays, worthwhile things still must sometimes be bought with money (though Amazon doesn't necessarily offer the lowest prices). Sedayne certainly understood your question, but answered with tact.

Though I describe The White Goddess as 'worthwhile', I mean that it's a fascinating -though in places quite demanding- read. It's a curious mix of genuine scholarship and complete fantasy, and many readers are likely to have difficulty telling where the one ends and the other begins, so anyone trying to base some sort of belief system on it runs the risk of making themselves look ridiculous. Nevertheless, anybody interested in poetic myth should read it.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 05:26 AM

My personal take on Graves is that he was in fact doing what all good Druids do, and that is creating under the inspirational influence of the Awen.

Suegorgeous, although you won't find Graves or the Faber book there, here's a great site to bookmark for its incredible resources. Scroll down the left hand side catalogue to click on suject areas that might be of interest:

Sacred-Texts.Com


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 05:32 AM

Oh, and Jack C, Eroid.Org is a fascinating reference site. Another of the most intriguing sites on the internet. Anyone interested in experiments in dodgy DIY Shamanism, amongst lots of other interesting stuff, should take a look:

Erowid.Org


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 05:37 AM

Oh, wonderful. Think I'm going to spend the rest of my life buried in here:

Sacred Texts Yeats Pages


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: wyrdolafr
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 08:42 AM

Interesting discussion and nice to see Toni Arthur get a mention!

The only way I can really add anything is if the definition of 'pagan' refers to non-Abrahamic religions*, beliefs or magic systems and that 'songs' stretches beyond just folk (whatever that is).

The late, great Graham Bond did quite a lot of later material that stretched from Crowley-related beliefs to Druidry**. Perhaps some of Dr. John's material fits into the same or a similar category with his Night-Tripper persona with it's nod of the head to voodoo.

Alan Moore (of comic fame) recordings as 'The Moon and Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels' might be of interest too.

Of course there's always the bands that use a lot of the Edda-related material as the basis of songs with the 'Viking-Metal/Folk' scene.

*I'm aware that the likes of the Golden Dawn/Crowley and even voodoo have some Abrahamic link, but I'd think the fact that the majority of Christians &c. would like to play up the differences rather than any commonality!

**The song 'Druid' reminds me of Chas'n'Dave singing from some of the book's published by Llewellyn or something!


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Anne Lister
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 08:55 AM

Quite a few of my albums please quite a few pagans ....but luckily for me they don't alienate people from other faiths either!

Anne


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 09:15 AM

the Golden Dawn/Crowley and even voodoo have some Abrahamic link

Crowley was (among other things) a Kabbalist - you can't get much more Abrahamic than that.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: wyrdolafr
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 10:18 AM

Pip Radish wrote: Crowley was (among other things) a Kabbalist - you can't get much more Abrahamic than that.

Yeah, that was the point I was actually making. :)

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with any of this knows of the origins and links &c. However, I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of those who actually practice a Abrahamic religion - i.e. mainstream Christianity, Islam or Judaism - are pretty keen to distinguish themselves from 'the fringes' as it were. Look at the various 'variations' of Christianity for example

However, over the years, I've seen that 'us and them' type thinking can rife within 'pagan' thinking too, with increasingly smaller divisions as you go along.

I know it was intended as a bit of joke, but I've always thought there was at least some truth to the old 'pagan hierarchy'
flow diagram.

I think it's the nature of people in general to be honest: very divisive 'social' animals.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: wyrdolafr
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 10:21 AM

Oof, I pressed submit prematurely - I'm sure a Fruedian clinician would have something to say about that.

The unfinished sentence above should have read:

Look at the various 'variations' of Christianity for example, and how keen they can be to differentiate themselves and often present themselves as the definitive understanding of Christianity. Look at the historical Catholic vs Protestant issues, for example.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 03:25 PM

The flow diagram there I haven't seen before. Love the way that the top and bottom spots are occupied by arguably the exact same designation...


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 05:20 AM

Rapunzel & I sang Green Grow the Rushes O the other night, once more prompting speculation on the meaning of the thing in part and as whole. But a spiffing song for hoary symbolism, what? I was reminded of another version found in the pages of Where is Saint George? (and which also appears on Current 93's Earth Covers Earth, an album that might appeal to anyone with Pagan Sensibilities) wherein the hoary symbolism is suspiciously explicit. There are, I believe threads on this - even This which gives a specifically (and utterly dreadful) Pagan Version, which corners all the problems one might encounter in seeking out pagan songs.

Not wishing to blow my own trumpet (which I do on Rapuzel's new version of Blackwaterside, a demo version of which you might hear Here) in a recent interview I said singing a traditional song is rather like going for a walk in the country; following along a well trodden path through a particular landscape, replete with wonders both natural and man-made; ancient and traditional. For example, I like walking the ancient dykes at Saint Michael's (see Here, where the Brock meets the Wyre with vistas of the Bowland fells beyond. Not a long walk by any means, but as restorative to the soul as singing Green Grow the Rushes O, or some such song, thus prompting a consideration of shamanic landscape communion or else the inherent healing powers of traditional song, on whatever sort of level, but wheb you're out there you get the feeling that it's enough just to do it.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:48 AM

Strikes me from what I've seen out there thus far, that I might be better off looking for literature which draws on historical/mythological/poetic material (be it fact or fantasy, or preferably a nicely ambiguous blurring of both) and scavenge lyrics and imagery, which evoke the essence of whatever it is that I'm hoping to find - but which appears not to be out there. And with these, forge my own songs. The Wiccan songs I've found, frankly seem to fail dreadfully. No lust no fury no insanity no mana.

I've posted this elsewhere, but by rights I think it belongs here, evoking as it does, a primal earthy celebration of the 'Black Madonna' (and IMO one might equally well read 'Earth Goddess' there) which possesess the listener with a force (this listener in any event) and compells them to dance. I also utterly adore the singer/storytellers (unfortunately I can't remember her name..) stunning vocals, which she draws up out of some bloody womblike source: Cuncti Simus Concanentis from the Red Book of Monteserrat.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 07:06 AM

That's from the Ensemble Unicorn CD The Black Madonna, songs from the Llibre Vermell etc, which can be had for £5 or so on the Naxos label; the singer is Belinda Sykes. See Here.

Good as this undoubtedly is, it doesn't touch into the truly womblike darknesses of Hesperion XX's seminal Llibre Vermel de Montserrat album, where Cuncit Simus features the hurdy-gurdy of Renene Zosso! Also excellent is the Sarband CD...


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 07:19 AM

Excellent.
I'll look those up.

Can you recommend any more in a similar vein?

PS, I noticed with a smile, that your 'Wiccan Medley' has found interesting company in 'related videos'. In fact I could see you in a year hitting the big time doing a Wiccan duet with Loreena Mckthingumyinnit. Time to ditch those funny old fiddle things and reach for the funky drum synth backing and mystical echo....


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 07:58 AM

Erk. Now I'm scanning Amazon again and looking to get myself into finacial disaster zone...

This looks sooo intriguing: Musica Notturna - Invocation a la Nuit and if the 'night music' referred to implies the term used by Bartok, should be very atmospheric, and perhaps even 'pagan'. Though to be fair I don't think I even know what I mean by that term any more! If indeed I did initially...


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM

Anything on Alia Vox is worth having I'd say, but then again I do worship at the church of Savall. I've got most of the catalogue (though not, as yet, Musica Notturna). Have a look at the site:

http://www.alia-vox.com/

For a flavour of the music:

Alba / A la una yo naci.

Folia Improv : Rodrigo Martinez


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 11:08 AM

At the risk of becoming horrendously boring (sorry folks!), I think I'm possibly failing to recognise a whole stream of Eastern European *folk-inspired* classical music, that probably evokes far more of the dark chthonic ambience of the 'pagan', than many songs derived from modern Pagan religions appear to do - at least for me. Lithuanian composer Katuvikius' (never 'eard of 'im) Last Pagan Rites looks like something a must in respect of this.

And in respect to this thread, I think I really better decide what exactly 'pagan' may possibly mean to me, outide of the dictionary defined boxes of neo-Pagan religion, or indeed *religion* of any kind.
Indeed is Pagan/pagan itself a term which has been reified in modern usage?


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 11:58 AM

Cheers IB, such beautiful instruments! I think my Amazon Wish-list should be well and truly packed out by next Xmas...

Wish I understood a little more (or rather anything at all!) about music theory, or indeed what I think they term 'Psychomusicology', ie: the effect of sound and music upon states of mind/consciousness (?).

The history of beliefs around music, I probably need to look into likewise. Weren't there some emotionally unsettling semi-tones which were forbad by the Medieaval Church as belonging to the Devil...? Something of a tangent to Pagan song there, but perhaps a pertinant one. I don't know enough about music to muse any further on that one unfortunately.

Anyway, there's been quite a lot of interesting discussion on this thread thus far. And I would be most interested to know if others have thoughts on what 'pagan' (possibly as a verb or adjective rather than noun), might mean to them. And is there another term which might be preferable, which succesfully encompasses and evokes the equivalent emotional and spiritual spectrum which 'pagan' appears to?


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: john f weldon
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 12:07 PM

Does this count?

Rugged Hammer


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 01:36 PM

Cheers for that John F.W! Grear stuff. And ironically comments on some of the pragmatism which our pre-Christian forbears would no doubt have indulged in: "Heh, that conquering tribes Top-God seem pretty hard, maybe it'd be worth sacrificing to Him as well."


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 02:03 PM

Don't know to much about Bronius Kutavicius, but I do have his sublime From the Jatvingian Stone on a slab of antique Soviet-era vinyl - & very fine it is too; somewhat prescient of Sigur Ros's equally sublime Odin's Raven's Magic.

Just a thought, check out Harry Partch. There's a BBC4 documentary in six handy 10 minute parts on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cKnTj2cyNQ

And when in doubt, some real Pagan Music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldPMifPbngc

Okay, I'm off - here's Portillo on Constantine!


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 03:45 PM

Sigur Ross is stunningly beautiful.
And what a fab rustical glockenspiel!

Thanks for forcing me to watch Portillo. But I do agree with his take on Catholicism. What the Christian Church might have been without the politically motivated usurpation of the fascinatingly compelling image of Jesus 'THE Christ', is something one can only imagine.

This also encourages me to think that some (at least) of the current neo-Pagan resurgance is *perhaps* Shamanic/Gnostic in essence or impulse. Both Shamanism and Gnositicism arise for me, out of the individuals own striving to experientially Know their own unique sacred universe. And thus are intrinsically anarchic and anti-authoritarian in nature.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:22 PM

Weren't there some emotionally unsettling semi-tones which were forbad by the Medieaval Church as belonging to the Devil...?

You're thinking of the augmented fourth, labelled "diabolus in musica" by somebody in the late Renaissance who was having problems fitting it into his theory. It wasn't commonly used in the Middle Ages but there was no prohibition on it, ever.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 06:38 PM

Very intresting Jack C. Thanks for that.

But why did 'he' attribute the apparently inconvenient augmented fourth, to the Devil - could such a term then be used then, without a dangerously antinomian meaning?

Did he simply mean "the pain-in-the-arse in musica"?


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 08:25 PM

Something like that.

BTW, gamelan kebyar is a pretty recent form, influenced by jazz from the 1920s. And gamelan in general is a Hindu aristocratic art form a long way removed from paganism. On the other hand, the ketjak dance is unmistakably animistic - the story that goes with it is from the Ramayana, but that's been retrofitted on top of a performance which is similar to a voodoo trance ritual, presumably aimed at getting you possessed by monkey spirits.

Ketjak dance clip

I've got that on an old Nonesuch LP, I think. Not much like Loreena McKennit.

(I mistyped "money spirits" - maybe somebody in Wall Street or Canary Wharf is this moment conducting a private ritual to extract Bernard Madoff's juju).


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 06:43 AM

And gamelan in general is a Hindu aristocratic art form a long way removed from paganism.

I'm given to understand gamelan still has a folk life & lore of its own, as far from any orthodoxy as the Bon Shamanism that still persists in Tibetan Buddhism. The exterior influences are an essential part of the process, though it's a two way thing, as testified by Debussy's reaction to Javanese Gamelan during the 1889 Paris Universal Exposition. I've got recordings of Sumatran village ensembles mixing gamelan instruments with old military brass left behind from colonial days. In any case I was thinking of Pagan more in terms of the Exotic, which might take us from the Icelandic lithophones of Sigur Ros to something even more remote... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJK2LwD_nEY


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Stu
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 07:18 AM

On a more poppy note, The Waterboys exhibited some pagan tendencies on Dream Harder, with The Glastonbury Song and The Return of Pan always striking me as being paganish in approach. Of course this isn't unknown in pop and rock music; Stairway to Heaven includes some pagan imagery and other Zep songs doff their cap towards pagan/folkloric influences.

Jethro Tull also seem to skirt the dark green heart of paganism sometimes, and songs like Jack in the Green, Songs from the Wood and the mighty Heavy Horses all seem to be include pagan themes.

The Quiet Village clip was superb, and the mention of Sigur Ros put one or two other artists in mind you might want to check out of you like expansive and more leftfield music.

Tod Dockstader's Aerial #1 and #2 albums are a particular favourite and the compositions are based around the ethereal and quite spooky noises he picks up on his short wave radio. If short-wave spookery get's you going then check out The Conet Project for some decidedly unsettling listening.

Chris Watson is a freelance sound recordist who works extensively for the BBC and has produced a remarkable album of his field recordings called Steeping into the Dark which features the sounds of storm systems over Inverness-shire, a rookery in Northumberland and the sound of a river in the Maasai Mara at dawn. Stephen Vitiello works in a similar vein but uses a variety of novel techniques to create his music but by far my favourite is his recording created in the World Trade Centre using microphones affixed to the windows and structure of the building, and it is an incredible listening experience.

Whilst not pagan, I've mentioned The Ghost Orchid before on Mudcat, but these recordings of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena, or recordings of dead people) are certainly worth a listen late at night in the dark and the album can now be downloaded from iTunes.

Then there's the Wicker Man soundtrack (original rather than the execrable Nick Cave version) . . .


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 11:25 AM

Saw a guy in a second hand bookshop coming over all feverish at his purchase of "the very rare!" Elaine Pagels 'The Origin of Satan' the other day. Just like a scene from The Ninth Gate.

Rather like the origonal Wicker Man soundtrack. Also rather like the origonal Wicker Man for that matter. There are some fabulous scenes, one of the kitchy best being the classic 'Willows Song' bum-slapping scene. Which no self-respecting Wiccan girly should be without.

And I also have something of an embarassing soft-spot for that particular Tull album...


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 11:40 AM

Another film I'm told has a lot of pagan content is Paradjanov's "Shadows of our Forgotten Ancestors" - there are a few clips from it on YouTube.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 11:49 AM

Thanks for Paradjanov Not a name I've heard before. Wiki say's his influences include Tarkovsky and Pasolini - looks interesting.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 12:04 PM

Just reading Pagels the other night actually (The Gnostic Gospels) & we were on about The Wicker Man a few months back too - though which thread it was I couldn't say - I'll have a browse... Never did get Songs from the Wood I must confess. They get my vote from the rootsy r&b of This Was to the genuinely folksy Stand Up, & the darkly tinged introspections of Benefit; bits of Aqualung, and most of Living in the Past and the mighty Thick as a Brick, after which I gave up.

This sums it up quite perfectly, musically, theologically, or something: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh0woT7NkKI

Lose the flute solo though; if it's genuine Shamanic woodwind you're looking for (played by a genuine Shaman): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uRnvMwD6jM

Why is there no music like that anymore??


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 12:13 PM

The Wicker Man Thread (in two parts - 2006 & revived in 2008 when it gets interesting...)


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 12:24 PM

"Never did get Songs from the Wood I must confess."

Well that'll probably be because it's actually a bit pants!

Boyfriend reckons Ian Anderson there sounds like he's eating a hot pizza and got some molten mozzerella stuck to the roof of his mouth. But yeah, I think most people gave up after Tull stopped being any good. Pity the same couldn't be said for Genesis....


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 02:21 PM

It occurred to me that there is one mega-huge not-at-all-Christianized pagan festival which is very well documented and features lots of music: the "Honouring the Sea" festival in Brazil for the African sea goddess Yemanjá. But the structure seems pretty anarchic, there's no specific music for it - play whatever the hell you like.

Starts in a couple of weeks if Rosie wants to start looking round the bucket shops.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 04:56 AM

This has been and remains such an intriquing thread leading into multiple tangents from the various posters who have offered - via suggestions and examples cited - differing perspectives of their own reading of the OP term 'pagan song'. I'm left with an exploded view of what it may potentially mean or imply, one which I hope meaningfully coalesces itself via some form of creative endevour and expression...

Last night this dream where a terribly mild mannered oriental gentleman showed me the way to sing my song.

***

First I was shown a Crow circling overhead. And told to be still and observe. Then I was shown a Worm burrowing deep underground. And told to be still and observe. Then a Stone. Just sitting there. Obviously just being a stone. I was supposed to learn and understand by example. Amd implicit in these examples he was giving me was the instruction to spend time each day, meditating on Nature. And learning (remembering) by example or osmosis maybe how to be 'Me', and how to live my own right life. As yet another facet of this intricate but perfectly balanced and inter-related super-organsism that is the Earth.

The impressions that arose from his 'teaching' were not expressed so-much in words but in images and feelings: The bird lives where it's heart loves. And so too the worm. It lives where it loves. None of these things misunderstands itself or is confused about it's place in the scheme of things, or how to live it's own right life. It does not strive for answers from beyond or outside itself. The answer is at it's own heart. (Very simple stuff. But the primary message was for me to come to Know this directly and discover it experientially through periods of fully immersed contemplation of the natural world around me, rather than superficially or intellectually.)

In the middle of this dream, I had the realisation that Song itself connected me to my hearts desire, song led me to what my heart loves. That being an uncorrupted/unconfused 'primordial' state of truly being Me.

***

I'm not exactly how this dream fits into this thread, though I feel it does somewhat. It also reminded me of that piece of Whitman IB posted elswhere, which is used in Lord Summmerisle's soliliquy in the Wicker Man. Which is wonderful, but rather than looking it up again, I think this more pertinant in this context:

I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,        
And what I assume you shall assume,        
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.        
I loaf and invite my soul,        
I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.               5

My tongue, every atom of my blood, formed from this soil, this air,        
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,        
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,        
Hoping to cease not till death.        

Creeds and schools in abeyance,               10
Retiring back awhile sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,        
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,        
Nature without check with original energy.

And for good measure "Britt Eckland", singing of herself and of desire, and in the process giving poor virginal Edward Woodward a terribly hard time Willows Song


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 05:32 AM

For a free secure download MP3 of my Wicker Man tribute (via YouSendIt) click below:

https://www.yousendit.com/download/WnBTRm96RndvQnNLSkE9PQ

This is two versions Gently Johnny sung to the traditional Northumbrian melody, bookending Part 32 of Song of Myself from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass - as in the film, though not quite...


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Stu
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 07:01 AM

I actually like Songs from the Wood and some of the later albums, although I must admit by Under Wraps I was losing interest . . . until I saw them around the time of Crest of a Knave and was back under the spell. They were entertaining, musically excellent, self-deprecating and utterly enjoyable.

As for films, obviously Pan's Labyrinth draws heavily on European pagan influences and it's depiction of the faun is wonderful, in my view an excellent film.

I've always had a soft spot for John Boorman's Excaliber which is an admittedly flawed work but captures a certain spirit of the legend (even though it's based on the Mallory version). Something in it seems inherently pagan to me.


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Subject: RE: Pagan Songs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 07:07 AM

100


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