The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3]

The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?

O, SAVE US FROM FAUX PAGANS (Or, Observations at a Renaissance Faire)

Related threads:
Folk artists who are pagan (124)
pagan yule (7)
Pagan/Wiccan songs for Samhain? (37)
BS: Help: Pagan Stuff Hiya, I've loved it (4)
BS: Witches! Good and Bad? (124)
Pagan Songs (133) (closed)
Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing* (48)
Pagan thoughts on 'Santa Claus' (109)
'Pagan Chant of the Month' site May '02 (8)
Pagans v. Hell's Angels AGAIN! (57)
BS: Free pagan E-Cards with GOOD music!! (14) (closed)
Lyr Req: Pagan/LARPS songs (3)
Link: Pagan versions of Christmas carols site (3)
UK Pagan Fed Conference (16)
BS: Paganism: an exploration (28)
BS: More pagan stuff (118)
Pagan/Folk/Earth Music Research Project (75)

Lady Mondegreen 13 Aug 09 - 05:49 AM
katlaughing 30 Oct 03 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 02 May 00 - 11:42 AM
Lonesome EJ 27 Apr 00 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,Okeimockbird 27 Apr 00 - 03:48 PM
Bert 27 Apr 00 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Phil Shapiro 27 Apr 00 - 02:54 PM
SDShad 27 Apr 00 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 27 Apr 00 - 02:34 PM
katlaughing 27 Apr 00 - 01:01 PM
Lonesome EJ 27 Apr 00 - 12:53 PM
SDShad 27 Apr 00 - 11:37 AM
Peg 27 Apr 00 - 11:16 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 27 Apr 00 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 27 Apr 00 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,L. Whitfield 27 Apr 00 - 07:57 AM
katlaughing 27 Apr 00 - 07:31 AM
Escamillo 27 Apr 00 - 04:29 AM
catspaw49 27 Apr 00 - 01:29 AM
katlaughing 27 Apr 00 - 01:09 AM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 27 Apr 00 - 12:44 AM
Rick Fielding 26 Apr 00 - 10:54 PM
T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 26 Apr 00 - 10:49 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 26 Apr 00 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 26 Apr 00 - 09:47 PM
bbelle 26 Apr 00 - 09:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Apr 00 - 09:02 PM
Jim the Bart 26 Apr 00 - 08:18 PM
bbelle 26 Apr 00 - 07:24 PM
katlaughing 26 Apr 00 - 06:49 PM
Bert 26 Apr 00 - 05:55 PM
Lonesome EJ 26 Apr 00 - 05:53 PM
katlaughing 26 Apr 00 - 05:42 PM
MMario 26 Apr 00 - 05:37 PM
Joe Offer 26 Apr 00 - 05:33 PM
SDShad 26 Apr 00 - 05:25 PM
Bert 26 Apr 00 - 04:52 PM
katlaughing 26 Apr 00 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 26 Apr 00 - 03:17 PM
Bert 26 Apr 00 - 03:17 PM
MMario 26 Apr 00 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,firehair28 26 Apr 00 - 02:31 PM
katlaughing 26 Apr 00 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 26 Apr 00 - 01:53 PM
Wesley S 26 Apr 00 - 01:51 PM
Hollowfox 26 Apr 00 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 26 Apr 00 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 26 Apr 00 - 11:44 AM
Mbo 26 Apr 00 - 10:58 AM
MMario 26 Apr 00 - 10:49 AM
Share Thread
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Lady Mondegreen
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 05:49 AM

A copy of a post my partner Corwen made to another forum answering the same question:

Well you know Damh the Bard...
The Dolmen: (lovely folk who host great camps)
Druidspear (Don't know if these guys are still going)
Dragonsfly: (Celtic/eastern folk with the odd pagan song. Nice)
Spacegoats: (Not going any more but luckily their fantastic music is still available from Pondlife)
Jabberwocky: Andy Letcher's project with Krismael of Spacegoats. No website and the band only made one album, called Mimir, buy it if you see it! Funky Pagan music with hammer dulcimer and bagpipes.
Andy is still active, currently in a project with my partner Kate's brother Colin and his wife Jane, called Telling the Bees Don't know how 'Out' pagan it is but I'm sure they are worth watching.
Heathens All who were an out Pagan band became Seize the Day (more political, but worth listening to.) (I'm hoping they will re-release the Heathens All stuff as none of my old tapes work!)
Silver on the Tree: (the first Pagan music I heard. Eye of the Aeon and Mystic Spiral are classic Pagan albums)
Paul Mitchell: (wonderful satirical songs about Paganism from a really great bloke.)
Paul is in a new band Mad Magdelin
Paul Newman but his website seems to be down.
Last but definitely not least, the wonderful Carolyn Hillier and her partner Nigel Shaw. (they play apart and together, beautiful shamanic pagan music, and run a really nice festival every other year at their home on Dartmoor)

And of course if you are desperate theres always Kate and I...
We play as a duo called Rigantona:
but Kate also has a CD of her own called Kate Fletcher, Fruit which received good reviews in Pagan Dawn, Sacred Hoop, TDN and the folk press:

A lot of North European music has really Pagan or Shamanic elements, try

Gjallahorn: (fantastic Swedish 'New Folk' band)
Garmana: (driving moody Hurdy Gurdy, big percussion with lovely female vocals)
Hedningarna: (techno with joiking, singing and lots of ancient instruments)
Korpiklaani: (Finnish Pagan Heavy Metal)

Schelmish: (Bagpipes and big drums)
Omnia: (Dutch I think? Upbeat pagan music)
Faun (have heard of these guys but haven't heard their stuff yet)

Wimme Saari: (Joiking [shamanic singing] with a really dark voice and beautiful jazz folk accompaniment)
Marie Boine: (most famous joik artist)
Ulla Pirrtijarrvi (my favourite but I can't find a web presence.)

have just discovered Ivan Kupala, they are like a Russian version of Enigma, slightly dated Euro-techno with Slavic folk instruments and old Karelian (Russian Finnish) ladies singing, which sounds kind of Saami/Native American. Completely wonderful, and oddly compelling. Just found some videos on You Tube and I like the band even more now. Great to see pop videos full of old ladies. (beautiful) (moving) (funny)

Plus USAnia
Reclaiming (Political Feminist Paganism, 4 chant CDs to date)
There are a lot of Usanian artists I don't really know judging by this CD:
and lots more producing music that might be categorised by some as Pagan, like Jennifer Berezan and some who are definitely Pagan but whether what they produce counts as music... (Isaac Bonewitz)

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 06:44 PM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 02 May 00 - 11:42 AM

Just to say I've been over to Greensted this weekend - missed out on Bradwell, but saw some wonderful paintings at Great Burstead, the first Essex church. Greensted, inside, is a wonderful, small, quiet room, with the dark wood of the half trunks of oak still adze marked from the old carpenters. Great Burstead is larger, with ochre outline paintings on the south wall. One is of St Michael with the scales for weighing the soul, and a female figure who may be Mary Magdalene (to whom the church is dedicated), tipping the balance in favour of the soul being saved. So I was told. I don't know how the photos will come out, nor what to do with them if anyone wants to see them. (no web site - can get them on the computer).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 04:09 PM

More Pagan discussion clik it

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Okeimockbird
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 03:48 PM

Phil, I disagree with almost everything you just posted, though some of the disagreements are admittedly on minor points.

Bonfires at Lúnasa ? I've heard of bonfires at Samain and Bealtine, but not at Lúnasa. Maybe there were, but I can't remember hearing reliable reports about them anywhere.

The bonfire customs were not secret. How, in a world with no electric light, to you hide a bonfire ? The bonfire-sports were carried on by Christians, not pagans, though they might have originated in pagan times.

There was no such place as "England" when Constantine was Emperor, unless it was in Germany. It was the Roman province of Britannia. This is picky, I know, but I at least find I get a clearer view of the past if I avoid anachronistic geographical references when possible.

The Saturnalia occur, or at least begin, on December 17, I vaguely recall. December 25 was bruma, "midwinter". It seems to be true, though, that Christmas was placed there partly because of a deep-rooted, ancient tradition of midwinter festivity of which the Saturnalia were a part. But so what ? Did Saturn continue to be worshipped with the same processions and sacrifices as before ? Everything we know about this holiday shows that it became a Christian holiday. Saturn was forgotten except as a literary reference.

The "thin veil" at Samhain seems originally to have been, not between living and dead, but between the workaday world and the otherworld of the fairies. It was Christianity which added a commemoration of the dead to the day.

Pagans did not "get really quiet when the church took over" Into the 5th century pagans and Manichaeans engaged Christians and Jews in debate. Some of the literature survives. Augustine's famous City of God is part of that debate (though written with other intentions as well) as well as his Contra Faustum (I may not remember the title right). On the pagan side I belive we still posess the writings of an author named Symmachus. The Platonic Academy lasted until Justinian's time.

We know of the goddess Eostre only from Bede. The name suggests a dawn-goddess. I don't remember anything about hares.

Samhain cannot reliably be demonstrated to have been "New Year to the Celts". It was the beginning of winter for the Irish. It may have been a new year for the Irish as well, though (as I mentioned in an earlier post) I don't know of any medieval Irish author who begins the year on that day.

The idea that self-conscious paganism has persisted in secret comes from Margaret Murray's now-discredited theory about the 17th-century witch-hunts. We have from the past reports (sometimes true) of Jews outwardly conforming to Islam or to Christianity while secretly practising Judaism. The "secret", in other words, was not always very well kept. But did the Platonic Academy move to Lithuania, the last European country to convert to Christianity ? Where then is its literature ? Did any farmer in the 19th century ever sacrifice a pig, a lamb, and a calf to "father Mars" in accordance with a custom he had learned from his father, who learned it from his father before him, and so on back to ancient times ? You must provide plausible evidence not only for the sacrifice, but for the chain of transmission. Was the perpetual fire of Vesta kept up ? Were the nuns of Kildare Vestal Virgins in secret, deliberately decieving their bishop while continuing the very same ancient rites of Vesta and the Bona Dea that Cicero wrote about ? Everything we know about these women is consistent with the view that they were sincere Christians, not cunning pagan decievers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Bert
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 03:32 PM

This snippet of Barbara Allen seems to me to be a pagan reference. I don't know of anything in any modern orthodox religion that teaches of such a relationship between plants and the character of the interred.

They buried her in the old churchyard,
Sweet William's grave was nigh her,
And from his heart grew a red, red rose,
And from her heart a brier.

They grew and they grew o'er the old church wall,
Till they couldn't grow no higher,
Until they tied a true lover's knot,
The red rose and the brier.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Phil Shapiro
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 02:54 PM

Whew. Geez, all I wanted was the lyrics to a sort-of pagan song, and here I am an hour later, responding to a thread that will probably be a whole lot longer by the time I finish typing this. This Saturday, about 75 of my closest friends will be coming over to celebrate Green Day, more or less Beltane, which I guess makes me a neo-pagan. Green Day is the day you look out your window and say IT'S GREEN!!! (Hasn't happened yet on my mountainside). We'll have a 25 foot tall maypole, and plenty to sing and to say. And a great dinner and a folksing afterward. Much of what we sing we have written ourselves, but we've stolen parts of it from other sources. A couple of fairly recent neo-pagan songs that I particularly like are "Blessing", by Donna Hebert, which I found on Lui Collins' "Stone by Stone" album, and "Water, Fire, and Smoke", by Betsy Rose, on Magpie's "Give Light" CD.

Now, where to start?

Emperor Constantine, in 323 a.d., declared the Roman Empire, including England, to be Christian. Nobody asked the Romans. Many of the old hearth gods became saints. Many of the holidays got taken over at that time. Jesus' birthday got moved to the Roman Saturnalia, the birthday of at least 6 other ancient Gods, including Mithras, who had a big cult following :-) Easter is originally Aestre, a goddess of rebirth (from where I don't know), who had a spring festival, and who is associated with the hare, so the Easter Bunny is older than Jesus. Samhain not only became Halloween. It never went away. Samhain is, more or less, New Year's to the Celts. It is also the time when the veil between the living and the dead is at it's thinnest. So to this very day, small children walk the streets of our towns carrying skulls of the dead (pumpkins in the US, apparently big turnips in northern Europe, I am told), lit with the tiny flames of flickering candles, showing the persistance of the spirits of those who have passed on. And having a lot of fun.

When you read of a first historical mention of a song or a dance, be suspicious. That's the first time that it rose into the consciousness of a literate, usual Noble, person, who wrote it down. That only means that nobody wrote it down before, or that we have lost the reference. And be suspicious of anyone who says that Christianity stamped out the old religions completely. I recently met a fellow who claims unbroken family lineage as a Druid. Well, I'm suspicious of that claim, too. But, as any neo-pagan knows, in these relatively enlightened times it's still dangerous to say you're a pagan. I, for example, know, by saying, more or less in public, that I am a neo-pagan, that I can never run for public office, not even school board. The Republicans will immediately brand me as a devil-worshipper. Use your common sense. Pagans got really quiet when the church took over. They didn't get organized to prove that they were heretics, but, instead, kept various of the old ways going in their homes. To this day, it is said, in the hills of Ireland people jump over bonfires on Lughnasa (Lammas Day, Aug 1, festival of first harvest, one of the "cross Quarter" days). Is that true? I don't know. I've never been there. But if they do it, I doubt that they advertise it. The consequences are still pretty hostile. I don't claim any direct connection to earlier pagans. But I can learn from them. I don't feel like sacrificing animals, not to mention people (I wonder how often that really happened). But I do think that reverence for the earth is very important and growing more so. I don't have any fixed liturgy or religious rules, though I know some who do. But, looking at Christianity from the outside, it's not too hard to see it as part of the problem, not part of the solution. By the way, HI, RICK. Come visit some Sunday night.

Phil Shapiro

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: SDShad
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 02:41 PM

That's cool, kat. I'm both or neither, depending on context and what definitions you want to use.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 02:34 PM

Further comment on Sheelas-na-gig and green men:

When I mentioned Ronald Hutton's discussion of these figures before, I was working from memory. Now that I've had a chance to go back to Hutton's book, I find that his remarks were more elaborate than I remembered.

Relying heavily on earlier workers (as any Historian writing broadly must do), he provied the following synthesis:

1) Sheelas-na-gig originated in Aquitaine in the 11th century, "Reaching Poitou and then (around 1070) northern Spain, before crossing to England in the next century. The earliest which can be dated there, in Herefordshire, were certainly brought over as part of the French school of carving patrionized by Oliver de Merlimont. They seem to have got to Ireland slightly later. They travelled with two other motifs, the beaked head and the biting horse's head, and were part of the great high medieval architectural style known as Romanesque."--PRABI, p. 311.

2) There are no precedents for these pictures which can be dated to pagan times. "There appear to be no images like them in Celtic or Romano-Celtic art. Elsewhere in the Roman Empire there did exist splay-legged female figures displaying their bellies and vulvas; these are found especially in Egypt. But they are generally modelled in clay and never carved upon buildings." --Id.

So far, so good. This is approximately what I was trying to convey in my post yesterday. Hutton goes on to discuss the 1986 theory of Wier and Jarman, that the figures were originally intended as a warning about the perils of certain kinds of sin.

However, (this is the part I had forgotten) the Irish use of the new figures seems to have been influenced by some very old attitudes:

"[The theory of Weir and Jarman] fails to explain the presence of some of the later Irish Sheelas upon structures such as castles. Here it is necessary to look again at the examples quited by Jorgen Andersen of several nineteenth-century antiquarians who were told by local Irish people that Sheelas were intended to ward off evil...It seems wise to suggest that the device of the Sheela, which arrived in Ireland as part of a Christian campaign against sin, was absorbed there into a native belief in powerful female protectors. These carvings on later medieval buildings in Ireland may, then have been a last manifestation of the old tutlary godesses."

I think the reference here is to the view that a land was protected by godesses such as Maeve, or Eriu herself, whom (we have some grounds to believe) the king was said to have "married" when he became king.

Hutton goes on: "But to propose this is very different from arguing, as Ronald Seridan and Anne Ross did, that the people who carved them still viewed them as pagan deities."

In other words, the pictures are entirely medieval and Christian in their origin. In Ireland, and so far as we know only in Ireland -- not in Britain -- the pictures were interpreted in terms of a thought-pattern which indeed had pre-Christian roots. But the thought-pattern had by then become a Christian thought-pattern. The Irish who saw the carvings did not think they were seeing Maeve, or Eriu, or the Morrigan or a "goddess of fertility and destruction". They thought they were seeing a carving which had the ability to chase away evil.

Hutton's citations for this synopsis are:

Jorgen Anderson, the Witch on the Wall, London, 1977.

Anthony Weir and James Jerman, Images of Lust, London, 1986.

Concerning the relationship of the Green Man to the folk-figure of Jack-in-the-Green, Hutton notes that "Lady Raglan's original comparison [of Green Men] to the foliage-covered figure who danced in May Day processions was shattered in 1979 by Roy Judge, who proved that this folk ritual had itself only appeared in the late eighteenth century." --p. 316.

The citation here is:

Roy Judge, The Jack-in-the-Green, Ipswich, 1979.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 01:01 PM

Just for the record, I am neither Christian nor neo-pagan.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 12:53 PM

My interest in this subject is neither based in a defense of paganism as a great religion that preceded and was repressed by Christianity, nor is it based on any defense or justification of the actions of the early Christian Church. My interest is from an archaeological standpoint: To me the past is a mystery, and the more far distant the past, the greater the mystery. I see a sheela-na-gig carved in masonry over the door of an 11th Century Chapel, and it conjures the mystery in my mind. Why would a congregation of Christians be welcomed to worship on the Sabbath by the image of a woman with legs spread and genitalia prominently displayed? Whether the answer is that these people saw both the Church and the Sheel-na-gig as potent aspects of magic (the more magic the better), or it is that the the image was an ancient in-joke from a time when sexuality was viewed in a more relaxed and humorous manner, I find the possibilites fascinating and nearly endless. But it is certain that the more clues we have, the closer we are to understanding the mystery.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: SDShad
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 11:37 AM

T-Bird, I don't think you have anything to worry about on that score. You're definitely not a flamer, and you've made some very valuable contributions to this thread.

Myself, I'm mainly a pagan-friendly Christian, and in addition to practicing the Christian faith, I also practice a faith that gets classified as pagan a lot of the time, and certainly has a lot in common with Western paganism, that of the Dakota Sacred Pipe. Of course, many Dakota/Lakota/Nakota I know would tell you that their spiritual ways are in fact monotheistic. There is a creator god in their mythos: Grandfather Great Spirit. The Goddess motif is also present, and I see no conflict. A Grandfather needs a Grandmother, and so the Dakota call the earth Grandmother.

So I'm very careful never to question or debunk another person's spiritual beliefs, since I think the whole framework of spiritual belief systems, including my own Christian and Pipe ways, is just a gauzy metaphor through which we get a glimpse of Unity. Thus I'm probably not quite as skeptical of neopagan claims as you are, but I'm a little skeptical when they venture into historical claims that may well be true (rather than spiritual claims, whose truth is in their meaning, not their happening), but my understanding of history and how it works (my father is a historian) tells me that there's no way we could know for sure some of the things that are claimed as certain fact about the distant past by a lot of neopagans. Many of the claims strike me as more wishful thinking as anything else--though I must add that people of my own faith are often guilty of the same thing.

But then I'm skeptical of many of the historical claims of my own faith(s). I don't believe that a universal flood literally happened (although I think it's entirely possible that it does come from some specific cataclysmic flood, like perhaps the filling of the Black Sea at the end of the last Ice Age), or that Methuselah, if he existed, actually lived 900 years, or that Eve was made from Adam's rib, or that the two of them, if they aren't just mythic archetypes and were real people, were actually the true "first humans." By similar token, I don't believe that the Lakota have lived in the sacred Che Sapa (Black Hills) since the dawn of time, or that the Che Sapa are literally where creation began, or that all land came from the back of a giant turtle in the middle of an endless sea (although I love "This Turtle Island" as a metaphor for our continent). The earth-centered creation myths of all our religions are marvelous tales at a symbolic level, but they fly in the face of (and pale in comparison to) the much grander cosmological truth that scientific inquiry has brought us.

Other historical claims, it doesn't particularly matter to me if they're true. I don't need to believe that Mary was actually a Perpetual Virgin, or that Peter actually considered himself the first Pope, in order to be a Christian. I don't need to believe that the White Buffalo Calf Woman story actually happened to believe that the original Pipe at Greengrass is very sacred, or that there's power in the Sacred Pipe way of prayer.

I do believe in the Resurrection, but never claim it as historic fact.

I believe that pagans and neopagans are on a path to the One that is just a valid is my own. I do think we all are mistaken in assigning gender to the Creator; "the Goddess" is just as gender-centric as the old white-haired, bearded Canaanite deity on whom our monotheistic "Yahweh" seems to be based. Creator and creation are far beyond all that, to me. "The Goddess" is just as effective a metaphor as "The God of Abraham," but they're both exactly that: metaphors.

So when someone I know finds spiritual comfort in ritual practice that involves the Goddess, I share in the joy of their path of spiritual discovery. But when historical claims are made that neolithic, pre-literate societies were idyllic, matriarchal, exclusively-Goddess-worshipping societies, all networked together in planet-wide love and harmony until those nasty patriarchal IndoEuropeans or Kurgans or whatever happened along, I cannot agree. The archeological record shows us instead, that sadly women were often devalued in ancient societies as well, if Neanderthal burial practices, for instance, are any indication.

I'm on board for anything spiritually that uplifts and unifies; but I'm with you, Okie, in objecting to "men and Christians (and often Jews and Moslems) are the enemy, if only we could undo everything they've done" type historical claims. I agree that I've not seen that attitude from an 'Catters, they being a special breed. But I have seen it in 3D World, in spades.

Wow, that was much more rambling and far less cohesive than I'd thought. But it does pretty much say what I believe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Peg
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 11:16 AM

just a few random thoughts:

kat; with all due respect, and I like Walker's book a lot, but it is far from being flawless in terms of its research or citation. It was the first book of its kind at the time and is a great starting point of reference to pursue various trajectories, but I am quite sure she is NOT seen as an historian...and certainly not a writer who sticks to the standard modes of footnoting or attribution (maybe that is a good thing, but it is dangerously close to the Llewellyn-style mode of non-researched, plagiarized books which have flooded the market in recent years)or an expert...that said, her book is intriguing and I believe a "must-have" on the shelf of any serious student of pagan religions...

other books I would HIGHLY recommend for those interested in the actual history (such as it is) of modern paganism (based in folklore, folk magic, etc. and pretty much debunking the myth of "The Burning Times"):
Keith Thomas' Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971-recently reprinted)
The Witch in History by Diane Purkiss
anything by Ronald Hutton, including Stations of the Sun, and his newest, The Triumph of the Moon
The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology by Hans Holzer (out of print; has an excellent section on the wise women and cunning men of antiquity, taken from the extensive literature of the mid-18th century)

re: J.G. Frazer, it is my understanding that, far from trying to discredit Christianity, he was actually attempting to cast the subjects of his research in a poor light! By exposing their animistic, primitive tendencies...I recently read a quotation to this effect and I will try to dig it up and post it...

re: Tony Barrands: he is very cool and actually has taught some interesting classes at BU on these subjects. I actually started to audit a class at one point a few years ago; it combined lectures on the history of Morris Dancing with classes _in_ Morris Dancing! Unfortunately I injured my foot after the second class and had to drop it...but he was extremely interesting...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 10:49 AM

Scholarship and comment on pagan memories and survivals has suffered, I think, from unacknowledged, semi-hidden agendas. I have a suspicion (so far supported by very slight evidence) that the work of James Frazer and Madame Blavatsky was partly motivated by a desire to discredit Christianity and/or Judaism. Anti-Jewish bias seems to have been part of Joseph Campbell's personality for much of his life, and may have been apart of his scholarly agenda as well. (That one modern pagan movement, Nazism, had such an agenda, and indeed went well beyond a desire merely to discredit, is however not just a suspicion but a very well-documented fact.) If a scholar or commentator is producing evidence of pagan survivals as a way of saying, "heh heh heh, those Christians/Jews think they are monotheists, but really they are polytheists", or "heh heh heh, those Christians think they converted the population of Russia, but really many Russians were only pretending to be Christians, while worshipping their pagan goddess under the cynical cover of pretending to honor Saint Paraskyeva" or something like that, then the scholar or commentator ought at least to acknowledge such bias.

I consider myself an interested amateur who is seeking understanding. But I own that I also have an agenda of giving no ground, even unwittlingly, to hostile agendas such as I described in the first paragraph above. Fortunately the quest for understanding and the quest against hidden anti-Christian and anti-Jewish hostility have led me in the same direction: that of trying to respect the facts, recognizing the complexity of human life and spirituality and the diverse ways the past can bear on the present; also recognizing that people are capable of rejecting the past and changing from what went before.

I don't suspect anyone here at the Mudcat of holding to hostile agendas such as I imagined in my first paragraph of this post. I think everyone here is seeking understanding, as I am. Also I have tried, in all my posts to debate-threads, to stick to the issues and avoid ad-hominem remarks. I'm sorry if I ever crossed, or seemed to cross, the line.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 09:42 AM

I think there are LOTS of songs in some sort of code; I believe that somebody went through Mother Goose -- one of Pete Seeger's columns in Sing Out maybe 30 years ago told the story of little Jack Horner. . . As for L. Whitfield's specific request-- I know an old Christian hymn out of the Sacred Harp: Amsterdam, which is the best description of the Aristotelian theory of motion that I know: (not QUITE what you're looking for but. . . )
Rivers to the ocean run, nor stay in all their course
Fire ascending seeks the Sun, both speed them to their source
So a soul that's born of God Pants to view His glorious face
Upward tends to His abode to rest in His embrace

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,L. Whitfield
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 07:57 AM

Wonderful debate! However, I read once in a pagan book (I forget which one) that many original pagan traditions were hidden in the lyrics of folk song to protect and preserve the original beliefs from the authorities who sought to stamp it out. There are many mentions of witches and magic - for example Tam Lin, Thomas the Rhymer, Alison Gross, The Cruel Mother etc - but these all refer to the fantastical aspects, and in some cases totem beliefs involving animals. I'm yet to find an authentic folk song that refers in any way to the sacred elements of earth, air, fire and water, or anything that might show the moon and sun as the goddess and god, or anything that might give a clue to early ritual activity. Am I being too culture-bound within neo-pagan ideas, or are there songs that I'm missing? Anyone got any ideas?

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 07:31 AM

Andres, thank you for that most excellent link. It is very interesting and I enjoyed the music sound clips.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Escamillo
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 04:29 AM

If someone gets interested in pagan music and culture of South America, there are many sources of info, and music to hear,here:, a Brazilian site dedicated to the second popular religion in that large country: CANDOMBLE. And this is only one of the African-American cultures that survive in Latin America in a state fairly unaffected by European music or commercialism.
Another reference I don't see in the thread, is the famous Karl Orff's Cantata CARMINA BURANA which was written 1937 under a modern inspiration based on medieval chants. The lyrics are said to be authentic secular poems of the 13th century, discovered in the ancient German abbey of Benediktbeuern, in the Bavarian region. I have had the pleasure of participating in Carmina performances many times. Carmina here .
Thanks for letting us learn a lot at the Mudcat, as always.
Un abrazo - Andrés

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 01:29 AM

Well........I can't shake the feeling that I have slipped back in time 30 years and I'm sitting in a classroom or back at the dorm reading really dry authoritative works or madly writing as fast as I can to summarize the stuff......all those things that I had to do as a philo/religion major. Every philosophy major was required a minor in religion....Why, I have no idea. I also have no idea why I majored in philosophy.

But my best to all who have contributed here and it does show the depth of knowledge and overall intelligence of the members here. I'm in no way being sarcastic when I say this, but I admire anyone who has enough interest in this to research it in the way it has been done here by many of you, since I find it the most boring shit imaginable. You are all to be congratulated on this thread ... one of Mudcat's best.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 01:09 AM

Well, you might take Hutton's word for it, T-Bird, which means you are expressing an opinion, which is no more supported by evidence than those of some of the rest of us. BTW, J.B. Russel is one of Walker's many reference sources, too.

Bartholomew has a point and I think he did a pretty good job of stating it, even if he did use a little sarcasm. I mentioned it before, that the tone of some of what T-bird writes is rather authoritative and not very welcoming of dissenting opinions. I don't know what kind of library you are accessing, T-bird, but it must be impressive. Would it be possible to include a few links, that is, if you are accessing them online?

At this point, I don't feel like trying to state any more points. I do have some but it just doesn't *feel* worth it when others are so sure of other views.

Thank you, it has been very interesting,


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 12:44 AM

Here is Ronald Hutton's summary of the "Diana" business in Devon, from The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, Blackwell, Paperback edition 1993, p. 299-300:

"[I]n 1351 the monks [of Fithelstock Priory] erected a chapel in a wood nearby, where thy installed an altar, a rack of candles and an image which the Bishop of Exeter described as being of 'proud and disobedient Eve or of unchaste Diana' rather than of the Virgin Mary. To this they attracted the local people, and made money out of them by reading their futures according to the casting of lots. The racket was broken up by the bishop, who had the chapel and its contents destroyed. The only other evidence we have that bears on the case is that the priory already had a bad reputation: in 1340 its sub-prior had to do penance for laziness and sexual misconduct. What is missing is any indication of the viewpoint of the monks themselves. It would be very interesting to know whether they were conducting a self-conscious parody of the Christian religion, or whether they were so ignorant and undisciplined that they genuinely did not realize that they were acting outside it. Whatever the truth of the matter, there is nothing in the story to indicate that they were acting in accordance with a local pre-Christian cult. Rather...they were deviants from medieval Christianity."

I agree with Hutton that it is most likely that the monks were spontaneous deviants, not bearers of an ancient non-Christian tradition. I note that it was the Bishop, not the monks (as far as we know) who identified their statue as "Eve or Diana". Without the image, we don't know if the bishop was reasonably shocked by the way the statue was carved, was overreacting to sculptural ineptitude, or whether the sculptor simply produced what we would see (even if the biship did not) as a portrayal of the Mother of Jesus as a strong, self-confident matron.

I must take Hutton's word for it that there is no evidence of Diana-worship in the same area in Roman times. If I ever want to check up on him myself, I'll take the route I mentioned earlier: search the Corpus Inscriptionum and the archaeological literature for evidence of a Diana cult.

Hutton's citations for this incident are:

W. H. Mandy, "An Incident at Bexley", Woolwich and District Antiquarian Society Annual Report and Transactions 1920-5, 23, pp. 25-37.

Jefffrey Burton Russel, Witchcraft in the Midddle Ages, Ithaca, [NY] 1972, p. 164.

R. P. Chope, "Frithelstock Priory", Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association 1928, 61, pp. 175-176.

I have not seen these sources yet.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 10:54 PM

I feel like a cheerleader on the sidelines after starting this...and it feels great! I've learned a lot here. This is Mudcat at it's best. The flamers wouldn't have a chance , when it's at this level. Thanks again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 10:49 PM

Oops. The inscriptions collection should be Corpus Inscriptionum LatinArum, not "LatinOrum".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 10:43 PM

Forgot to provide the cite for the Bede quote: It is Church History of the English People, Book II, Chapter 15 (J.E. King, ed., Bedae Opera Historica, Loeb Classical Library, Vol. 1, p. 292.)

Catullus's Diana poem is, I think, poem #34 in his "little book".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 09:47 PM

Here is Bede's own account of Raedwald:

"Reduald...ab uxore sua et quibusdam perversis doctoribus seductus est...ita ut in morem antiquorum Samaritanorum et Christo servire videretur, et diis quibus antea serviebat. Atque in eodem fano et altare haberet ad sacrificium Christi, et arulam ad victimas daemoniorum. Quod videlicet fanum rex eiusdem provincia Alduulf, qui nostra aetate fuit, usque ad suum tempus perdurasse, et se in pueritia vidisse testabatur."

("Redwald...was led astray by his wife and perverse that, in the manner of the ancient Samaritans, he appeared to serve both Christ and the gods that he formerly served; and [so that] in one and the same temple he had both an altar for the rites of Christ, and a little altar for sacrifices of daemons. Which temple the king of the same province [Ease Anglia], Aldwulf, who lived in our time, said lasted into his own time, and that he had seen it in his childhood.")

This is the sort of politic flip-flop that a king, in a time of religious change, might find necessary for reasons of state. Bede's adding the source of his information might imply that he thought his readers would otherwise find the account incredible; which if true means that paganism had entirely disappeared by his time.

The other quotes kat provides illustrate some difficulties for studying the history of paganism. (1) Many people cannot separate religion from magic, while other people separate them quite easily; and (2) many Christians have had a tendency to fling the word "pagan" at other Christians whose customs they found strange or inappropriate.

The reports of people singing and dancing on Sunday tell us nothing about the religious opinions of those singers and dancers, though it tells us something about the moralist's opinions about proper behavior in church. The same applies to the report of people "conjuring the Rhine". We don't know, from that report, what those people thought they were doing, but analogous cases suggest that they considered themselves good Christians (see the "Shoney" practice referred to above.)

References by moralists to "Diana" are suspect. Diana is one of the Roman gods to be mentioned in the Latin Bible (Acts 19.28ff) so a moralist with a touch of scripture knowledge might not simply call people of whose customs he disapproved "pagan", he might go further and accuse them of worshipping "Diana". If he had a touch of classical learning he might accuse them of practising the "rites of Venus". Before I concluded that monks were actually worshipping Diana in woodland shrines, I would

(1) check the primary sources; the reports might contain less than meets the eye;

(2) survey the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinorum and the archaeological literature for Roman inscriptions to Diana in Britain, to see if, and where, this goddess was popular in Britain in pagan times. If she was little known, it is hard to imagine that a cult could "survive" where it never existed. If she was very popular, it would strengthen the case for such a survival.

(3) check the manuscript history of Catullus's poem Dianae sumus in fide/peullae et pueri integri. (One of the lovliest poems ever written in any language.) Though there are many motivations for studying and transmitting this poem, one supposes that if there were actual worshippers of Diana, they would have copied this poem if they had kown it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: bbelle
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 09:41 PM

Well, Bartholomew ... it looks to me like you are trying to interject incivility into an otherwise civil and interesting discussion. I don't think anyone cares why you are not a Christian. I do think that they respect the fact that you are not. No one has asked Joe or me why we are Christian and Jew, respectively, and not pagans (is that the correct term?) So, keep it clean and allow the discussion to flow, please ... moonchild

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 09:02 PM


The fact that church authorities accused people of indulging in Pagan practices doesn't mean that that is what they were doing; just that whatever they were doing was not approved of by the authorities.  It isn't really the same thing.  As for a "cult of Diana" in 14th century Devon...well, I'd be very interested in seeing some evidence!  


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 08:18 PM

Thank whatever God(s) there be! I was in the middle of a post when it mysteriously disappeared. And that little demon inside of me that pops up occasionally (I think its Pazuzu) was forcing me into saying things I would undoubtedly regret. I will not enter into a debate about articles of faith in a public forum. All I could possibly do is offend my host, Mr. Offer, and so many other gentle and sincere folks, which is farthest from my intent. Besides I'd just get my butt kicked by Okiemockbird who is obviously well-read and also a person of faith. I admire you for the one and envy you the other. If anyone would like to enter a discussion on why I am not a Christian (Although I do admire Christ - and Buddah, and Lao Tzu, amongst others) I would gladly do so via personal e-mail.

I do like to find out about religious practices and beliefs and regret that so little reliable source material is left of the Pre-Christian practices. I am particularly intrigued by the Druids. That's why this thread has been a treat for me. Peace.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: bbelle
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 07:24 PM

I am Jewish with a tremendous amount of faith and spirituality. And I have no interest in delving into paganism. This thread has, however, been interesting. Being descended from oppression, I have a great respect for other people's religions or non-religion. Plus, I now know, and please forgive me for my ignorance, that Morris dancing has nothing at all to do with the cat and meow mix ... shalom ... moonchild

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 06:49 PM

That's exactly what happened, LeeJ. Just couple of tidbits from Walker's book:

The Venerable Bede said Redwald, kind of the East saxons, kept in the same temple an altar to offer sacrifices to Christ and another altar to offer sacrifices to "devils." Source: M. Harrison: The Roots of Witchcraft 1974


Giraldus Cambrensis complained in the 12th centruy that the people of Ireland were still given over to "old barbaric and obscene customs." The cult of Diana coexisted with Christiianity in Devon as late as the 14th centruy, when the Goddess was worshipped in woodland shrines even by monks. At Cologne in 1333, Ptrach saw "women conjuring the Rhine" in what was described as "a rite of the people." Sources: Lethbridge, T.C.

Witches 1972 ; Borchardt, Frank German Antiquity in Renaissance Myth


The 9th-century Synod of Rome recorded pagan worship in the churches: "Many people, mostly women, come to church on Sundays adn holy days not to attend the Mass but to dance, sing broad songs, and do other such pagan things." Source: J. B. RussellWithcraft in the Middle Ages

Cool church, Bert. Thanks for the link, Joe.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Bert
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 05:55 PM

Yes, that's the one Joe, that's a great site you found there, I looked, but could only find a pencil sketch on some Norwegian site. I guess my date was off by 100 years or so but 845 AD is even more impressive. They have a "leper's squint" in the back wall so that leper's could see and hear the services without mixing with the congregation.

The one above it, 'St Peter's on the Wall' is also another MUST for anyone visiting Essex. They used to have a Youth Hostel in Bradwell which is just a mile or so from there. St Peter's Chapel is all alone in a farmer's field. We (My sister & I) went there in November about 1955, the place was deserted.
England is so packed with history that it probably possible to spend a complete vacation on just 'The churches in Essex'.

Thanks for the link.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 05:53 PM


My statement early on, that the early Celtic Christian Church in Britain was comfortably intertwined with pre-existing pagan ritual and icons, perhaps errs in the use of the term "comfortably." Putting aside the issues of faith for a moment, the early Christian missionaries in Britain were very much involved in a struggle for the minds and hearts of the people. Pre-Christian belief in England was certainly a varied pastiche of Roman, Celtic, Scandinavian and assorted other mythologies. Add to these an abundance of local sacred relics, altars, and deities. What the early Christians had going was a unification of effort, belief, and purpose. Rather than uproot age-old existing beliefs, I think that these practices were either replaced (if thought to be threatening) or absorbed (if thought to be relatively innocuous). If certain spots were sacred to the old beliefs, the Christians could have taken the tack that these areas were somehow tainted,building their early churches on newly staked-out Holy Ground. But they didn't. The approach, at least initially, would seem to be less confrontational, allowing the practicioners of the old beliefs to gather in the same spots, practice some of the same rituals, and celebrate on many of the same days, so that the transition was slow and relatively painless.

And where else but on the Mudcat, may I say, would you find a group of people knowledgeable enough in these areas to have a discussion like this one. I have certainly learned a lot, and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 05:42 PM

Well, SD, she has 13 pages of small print for a Bibliography, with an average of thirty sources per page, so that makes about 390 sources, only one of which is Murray, and to be honest, I haven't even run into Murray, yet and my book's spine is gone, we've used it so much. It's a full three inches thick and first came out in 1983 by Harper & Row.

Here's what some reviews had to say about it:

Honored by the London Times Educational Supplement as 1986 "Book of the Year"

"Awesomely researched.... Walker has distilled 20 years of research into an absorbing treasure house." - Los Angeles Times

"Whoever ventures into this . . . book runs the risk of being totally absorbed." - Shirley Horner, The New York Times

"A mountain of scholarship, a vast mass of supremely documented material . . . demonstrat[ing] the dominant role women have played in the cultural evolution of our species. " - San Francisco Chronicle

"Barbara Walker upsets the complacent Judeo-Christian apple cart of orthodoxy. [An] outstanding, endless well of information.... Her literary excellence and the unrelentingly fascinating material . . . redresses two millennia of cultural and sexual misrepresentation. " - East West Journal

"A whopping compendium of history, legend, and myth" - The Denver Post

"A vast and detailed resource on women's history . . . offer[ing] a wealth of fascinating detail. It will indeed give a clearer picture of our total cultural heritage." Yoga Journal

"Walker has written a tribute to the goddess . . . Walker has eyes to see what the rest of us cannot: the figure of the goddess hidden behind rites, dogma, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, superstitions, even our very language. She sees the restoring of the goddess to her rightful place as an essential healing act for women and our whole culture . . . You can rely on it to be witty and compulsively readable." - The Philadelphia Inquirer

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: MMario
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 05:37 PM

Considering how little we know, and how much is vague from 100 and 200 years ago WITH WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION AVAILABLE I truly find it hard to believe that we have any body of accurate knowledge extending back to the christianization of Britain (or any other area). People argue about the "correct" religious beliefs and practices of the polynesians - and that time period is much shorter, likewise the practices of Native Americans - so much has been lost...

however - as has been said of folk music...the version being sung is the corrrect that time

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Greensted Church
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 05:33 PM

Say, Bert - is this (click) (see bottom of page)the church you're talking about?
-Joe Offer-

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: SDShad
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 05:25 PM

kat--how much does Walker cite Murray, though, I wonder? (Or at least, how much does she cite Murray-infuenced scholarship or other Murray-quoters?) Problem is, you can't really venture into this area without running smack into Margaret Murray, for better or worse. And Murray's theories have been greatly discredited. Unforunately, unbiased skeptical inquiry into the histories of alternative belief systems is hard to come by; seems everyone has an ax to grind. Research that supports the ancient Goddess cult tends to be from sympathetic neopagans, and research skeptical of it tends to be from conservative Christians or atheist cranks for whom their skepticism has become as much of a rigid agenda as any religion.

Obviously, something was there before Christianity, and even before the Druids and their counterparts in other cultures. But I don't think we have nearly as clear a picture of what that something was as a lot of neopagans would like us to believe.

Just my $0.02,


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Bert
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 04:52 PM

Ah! talking of wooden churches! Has anyone been to Greensted Church (Essex, England)? It's a wooden church built in 900 and something AD and still in use. One of the oldest wooden buildings in the world.
Perhaps a nearby Mudcatter could take a picture for us.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 04:24 PM

Whoa, T-bird, I am not a Murrayite and I do not mean that you are repressive. Sometimes it seems your postings are worded in such a way that they will brook no argument, i.e. as THE authority, but that is okay. I've grown to know you, through the threads, and always look forward to reading your posts, and the rest of us can sound pretty sure of ourselves, too. I know that is what I love about this site, goodhearted, intelligent peoples who can discuss such a wide-breadth of subjects in such depth and camaraderie, with music as the unifying factor.

Again, I would urge anyone who is interested in differing viewpoints, with citations, to check out the book I mentioned.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 03:17 PM

katlaughing wrote: "If we fall into always requiring evidence for a person's faith and spiritual practises, we become repressive."

If a spiritual practice involves historical claims, the historical claims are not excused from the rules for such claims simply because they are related to a spiritual practice.

The Umatilla nation may believe that they have lived on their present lands since the beginning of time. If they claim that among themselves, I have no quarrel. But if they want to impose their claim on a recently-uncovered skeleton which by its age and physical features is clearly not a member of the Umatilla nation, then they are asserting a public claim with implications for what folk other than themselves may do, or not do. In that case I am entitled to dispute, if I so choose.

Adherents of the Murray thesis may sincerely believe that the execution of Charles Stuart was a ritual sacrifice to the god "Janus/Diana", by an English aristocracy which continued to adhere to the religion it had held prior to the conversion to Christianity. If this is in interpretation of a historical event in terms of an abstract paradigm, I disagree but have no deep quarrel. But to the extent that this belief goes farther and actually claims to identify the historical motivations and practices of the actors in the event, then I not only disagree, I am entitled to dispute, and say, There was no such god as Murray's "Janus/Diana", worshipped as part of a widely-organized "witch-cult" which invariably met in "covens" of exactly thirteen people; the English aristocracy were Christian; the religious issues involved in the execution of Charles Stuart were Christian religious issues. If a Murrayite feels "repressed" by my assertions of these things, that is regrettable, but inadvertent. I will try to spare people's delicate sensibilities where I can, but the other fellow's sensibilities need to make room for mine, as mine for them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Bert
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 03:17 PM

I agree with kat on this one. In instances where it is impossible to find 'proof' I don't see any harm in using a modicum of common sense and taking an intelligent guess at some things.

In pre Christian times people in Britain and France worshipped stones. Their leaders (or priests or scientists or whatever you want to call them) aligned stones as primitive observatories. It is reasonable to assume that those leaders also told people it is forbidden to move them(They are sacred).

Corn dollies, Now can we find a logical reason for them to have been sacred. Yup, Choose the biggest ears of wheat from the crop and make ornaments out of them, hang these ornaments in your home and don't eat the wheat (They are sacred). Then, come the beginning of the next season there is a supply of chosen seed for planting. Makes sense.
Don't forget that their leaders were 'The Wise Ones'.

The Early Christian Church used to incorporate the 'pagan stones' into the actual buildings of their churches (Stratford Church in East London, England has one), or they would build the churches near the stones (Beauchamp Roding in Essex, England has one in the churchyard)

It is also reasonable to assume that, seeing as the Church borrowed so much from the indigenous religions, they may also have borrowed some of the music (especially since music is such a powerful and prominent part of the worship in many religions). Some early hymns may perhaps contain vestiges of pagan origins, even though it is probably impossible to find any 'proven' instances.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: MMario
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 02:45 PM


Gregory the Great: Instructions to the Missionaries

The Letter to Mellitus of 601
When Almighty God shall bring you to the most reverend Bishop Augustine, our brother, tell him what I have, after mature deliberation on the affairs of the English, determined upon, namely, that the temples of the idols in that nation ought not to be destroyed, but let the idols that are in them be destroyed; let holy water be made and sprinkled in thesaid temples - let altars be erected, and relics placed. For if those temples are well built, it is requisite that the be converted from the worship of devils to the service of the true God; that the nation, seeing that their temples are not destroyed, may remove error from their hearts and, knowing and adoring the true God, may the more familiarly resort tothe places to which they have been accustomed.

And because they have been used to slaughter many oxen in the sacrifices to devils, some solemnity must be substituted for them on this account, as, for instance, that on the day of the dedication, or of the nativities of the holy martyrs whose relics are there deposited, they may build themselves huts of the boughs of trees about those churches which have been turned to that use from temples, and celebrate the solemnity with religious feasting, no more offering beasts to the devil, but killing cattle to the praise of God in their eating, and returning thanks to the Giver of all things for their sustenance; to the end that, whilst some outward gratifications are permitted them, they may the more easily consent to thee inward consolations of the grace of God.

For there is no doubt that it is impossible to efface every thing at once from their obdurate minds., because he who endeavors to ascend to the highest place rises by degrees or steps and not by leaps. This the Lord made himself known to the people of Israel in Egypt: and yet he allowed them to use the sacrifices which they were wont to offer to the devil in his own worship, commanding them in his sacrifice to kill beasts to the end that, changing their hearts they mad lay aside one part of the sacrifice whilst retained another: that whilest they offered the same beasts which they were wont to offer, they should offer them to God, and not to idols, and thus they would no longer be the same sacrifices.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,firehair28
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 02:31 PM

Boy, this is a fast-growing thread! New here, so please no flamage.

Regarding pre-christian imagery in Britain: Sheela-na-gigs, green men and so on were definitey relevant in different ways at different times as the cultures that viewed them changed. If Christians carved 'em, then they had meaning as christian symbols as well as any older, traditional associations. Also, local deities and spirits were not only revered by locals, but often propitiated by travellers and foreigners who were just passing through. After all, Britain has had a lot of traffic in the last 2000 years or so -- such "local" imagery might have been incorporated from Romans, Vikings, Saxons, Normans, Picts, you name it! It's not like there was one culture throughout britain in pre-christian (or even post-christian) times.

'Nuff said about that (What a mouthful!). What I really wanted to talk about was pagan music. I've been in circles where recorded music was used (lots of Doors tunes), but the best experiences were when we all sang together.

Diana Paxson and Adrienne Martine-Barnes wrote a number of truly beautiful goddess hymns for the Liturgy of the Lady, a ceremony that drew on Christian ritual but centered on the faces of the Goddess rather than the God. I think the Fellowship of the Spiral Path out of Berkeley still has copies, but they rarely perform it anymore.

I don't know the url, but they've got a web site somewhere... Hope this helps!

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 02:26 PM

I don't have time to go point by point, but there is much of interest under the heading "pagan" in the book I mentioned a few posts ago, The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths & Secrets by Barbara G. Walker.

Much of it disagrees with was T-bird/Taskemus has posted. She cites many authorities. I have scanned in the first two pages, there are 2.5 more to go. If anyone would care for a copy, I can finish them and send them by email. It really does give a very different and thorough, IMO, telling of ther elationship or non between pre-Christian and Christian in the "old days", as I said, with very specific citations.

Someone said the winners write the history. I would ask all to remember that and realise that most of it was written by men; women did have secrets and did pass them on, but most of it had to be by word-of-mouth, out of necessity.

I would also like to say that I do not believe we should discount what people may *feel* is right for them just because there may be no written evidence to support their claims. In some instances there is evidence of a healing, but doctors cannot give any explanation. Similarly, one may feel they have lived before, been to a place before, know something which cannot be explained by this particular lifetime on earth. If we demand proof of such, we deny validation of something which could be very real in that person's heart. It is similar to the worship of science....which once said men would never fly, the earth was flat, etc. for lack of evidence. If we fall into always requiring evidence for a person's faith and spiritual practises, we become repressive.

Sir John Templeton's foundation, BTW, is doing some fantastic work in scientific and spiritual research. I'll see if I can find some info and post it.

Feel like I am rambling, but what else is new, huh?*BG* Hope some of this made sense.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 01:53 PM

Whatever may be the case with the spirits, the initiates who sing "Happy Trails" to them certainly have a sense of humor.

Christmas was set on "VIII Cal. Ian." (i.e. December 25th) long before Pope Gregory's English mission. The letter of Gregory to Augustine is famous and widely quoted. As I recall it advises A. not to supress his converts' urge to make merry, but to direct it into Christian channels. He specifically advises having them build lean-tos out of branches during their celebrations if they are accustomed to outdoor merrymaking.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Wesley S
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 01:51 PM

Joe Offer - Thanks for your post - there is a lot of wisdom there. I couldn't agree more.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Hollowfox
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 01:40 PM

Whew! This thread grew pretty fast. I took notes while I read, but this posting may jump around like a flea on a hot brick. (1) "Pagan" is as generic a term as "protestant", and covers as wide a range. "Protestant" can mean anything from a Baptist to a Unitarian, and "pagan" covers groups who almost make up their worship forms as they go along, as well as those who read their worship form out of a book , and gods-help-you if you misplace a semicolon. (2) That said, a good many groups include in their belief(s) that the Diety has a sense of humor, so I wouldn't worry about divine offense being taken from your wiswass aspect coming through. (3) Another good book on morris dancing is Dr Anthony Barrand's "Six fools and a dancer", available through Front Hall Records. Good scholarship, very readable, anf the author isn't afraid to give his opinions on the question under discussion here. (4) The placement of some Christmas holidays at certain calendar dates can be placed at the feet of Pope Gregory I, aka Saint Gregory (I think). He sent the papal equivalent of a memo to St Augustine of Canterbury noting the unfortunate habit of the non-Christian population to worship in sacred groves and have feast to honor their non-Christian gods. St Augustine was essentially told to cut down the groves, build churches on those sites (I would think with the newly available lumber), and celebrate Christian saints' days on the old dates, so that in essence the populace would be doing the same thing at the same place, but for the right reason. This project got underway in A.D.597, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. (The library I'm working at today doesn't have the (translated) text of the "memo" that I'm paraphrasing; I can provide a citation tomorrow, if anybody wants it.) Midsummer Day (late June) was/is St. John the Baptist's Day. This holiday isn't a spopular as it used to be in medieval times. Maybe nobody's figured out a way to secularize it yet. (5) Joe Offer - Amen, brother. The sooner worshipers of All Types get this us/them bit out of their heads, the better off we'll all be. My grandfather once said that the different religions of the world were like road directions, all going to more-or-less the same place, but from different starting points. (6) What was the original question? Oh, yeah, music! The Nonesuch/O She Will Bring... became very popular in the 1980's, thanks to the singing of a man called Gwidion. He died in the early 1980's, and I know of two casettes that he made. I can have a name, copyright claims to the songs, etc, in a day or two, if anybody wants them. // Bob Coltman once reasoned that, if ancient Greek music was/is pentatonic, then you should be able to play it with a boogie woogie vamp, at least. He was just starting his ancient Greece Talking Blues at a coffeehouse when a couple came in, heard a bit and immediately left. Oh, well. // As for what neo-pagans use in worship services, I've heard Ewan MaColl's Ballad of Accounting, Magpie's Living Planet, and Roy Rogers' Happy Trails to You (this was to "dismiss" the various supernatural beings at the end of the Circle). Luckily, these pieces of music were all done at different times and places, not in the same evening.// Chants do predominate however. After a while they do start to sound the same as regards tunes. This led to a composition by Isaac Bonewits (famous in pagan circles) with the following lyrics: E minor, E minor, A minor, E minor, E minor, A minor G. I might have mis-remembered some of the words, but you get the idea.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 01:15 PM

Further on "horned gods". I know of two depictions of antlered male figures from antiquity which are reasonably inferred to have been produced by, or for, people who spoke Celtic languages, and which are reasonably assumed to be depictions of deities. When I wrote the above, I had forgotten about the Gundestrap (sp?) cauldron. To me, neither of these figures looks like the so-called Green Man. Since the question is one of the transmission of iconographic traditions, I need not have brought the name "Cernunnos" into the discussion at all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 11:44 AM

In re the time of year when the House Carpenter of Nazareth was born: The Gospel According to Luke states that "in the sixth month, an angel was sent to a maiden named Miriam" (I'm quoting from memory, so don't be too strict with me). The context makes clear that this means the sixth [lunar] month of her kinswoman Elizabeth's pregnancy, not the sixth month of the year. But if we skip that objection and interpret it as the sixth month of the year, we still don't get a single result. The "first month" can mean either the month of Nisan in the spring, or the month of Tishri in the fall. The sixth month, then, is either Adar or Elul, and the nine lunar months of pregnancy would put the House Carpenter's birth nine months after that, in either Kislev just before midwinter, or Sivan (I think that's what the month after Iyar is called) just before midsummer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: Mbo
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 10:58 AM

That's right Okie. In my religion (Roman Catholicism) we don't believe that the earth is some evil place we must endure until we die and move on to Heaven, a better place. We believe that our supreme being (God in this case) created the earth for us, with love. That is why we have the rituals...yes, it may seem pompous sometimes, but it is our way of bringing a tiny bit of Heaven down to make even this holy and love-created earth we live on even a bit more holy, hence the candles, the incense, etc. The earth is the love for the living...not a "heaven on your mind" kind of thing at all. That's also where pantheism comes in too...God is in all things, the animals, the trees, the grass, the rocks...treat them as you would treat fellow human beings. So we're not so far removed from pagan religions after all...we shouldn't be slamming each other's beliefs that much becaue they are so Styx says "Just remember, it's a grand illusion, deep inside we're all the same..."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
From: MMario
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 10:49 AM

spent part of the morning browsing and found the following snippets of accurate they are I don't know. They are from various sources...

1) the term "Green Man" to refer to a variety of foliate heads was first coined in 1939.

2) the earliest known examples are from non-christian graves at the eastern end of the mediteranean. they date to the 2nd century ad.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")

Mudcat time: 24 February 6:26 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.