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Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*

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


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CapriUni 30 Oct 03 - 05:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Oct 03 - 05:26 PM
Mr Red 30 Oct 03 - 05:29 PM
katlaughing 30 Oct 03 - 06:49 PM
sloop 30 Oct 03 - 06:50 PM
TheBigPinkLad 30 Oct 03 - 06:51 PM
LilyFestre 30 Oct 03 - 07:04 PM
CapriUni 30 Oct 03 - 07:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Oct 03 - 07:33 PM
Amos 30 Oct 03 - 07:43 PM
Uncle_DaveO 30 Oct 03 - 08:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Oct 03 - 08:53 PM
LadyJean 31 Oct 03 - 12:21 AM
katlaughing 31 Oct 03 - 12:46 AM
CapriUni 31 Oct 03 - 12:57 AM
CapriUni 31 Oct 03 - 01:10 AM
hesperis 31 Oct 03 - 02:02 AM
katlaughing 31 Oct 03 - 03:11 AM
Catherine Jayne 31 Oct 03 - 03:26 AM
katlaughing 31 Oct 03 - 03:34 AM
greg stephens 31 Oct 03 - 04:13 AM
CapriUni 03 Nov 03 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,MMario 03 Nov 03 - 03:43 PM
CapriUni 03 Nov 03 - 05:04 PM
Willie-O 03 Nov 03 - 05:08 PM
CapriUni 03 Nov 03 - 05:38 PM
Peg 03 Nov 03 - 06:35 PM
katlaughing 03 Nov 03 - 06:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Nov 03 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,Suzanne 03 Nov 03 - 08:47 PM
CapriUni 03 Nov 03 - 09:44 PM
katlaughing 03 Nov 03 - 11:09 PM
Blackcatter 04 Nov 03 - 12:15 AM
Blackcatter 04 Nov 03 - 12:31 AM
LadyJean 04 Nov 03 - 01:11 AM
katlaughing 04 Nov 03 - 01:26 AM
Blackcatter 04 Nov 03 - 09:23 AM
Peg 04 Nov 03 - 09:26 AM
EBarnacle 04 Nov 03 - 09:27 AM
katlaughing 04 Nov 03 - 10:00 AM
CapriUni 05 Nov 03 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,arlan@thingsto.com 24 Dec 05 - 06:42 PM
Goose Gander 24 Dec 05 - 07:07 PM
Janice in NJ 24 Dec 05 - 08:14 PM
Peace 24 Dec 05 - 08:17 PM
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CapriUni 24 Dec 05 - 09:15 PM
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Subject: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: CapriUni
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 05:00 PM

I had tried to refresh this thread:Pagan Music: what's the alternative?. But it's closed ... and I guess my topic is a little bit different, anyway.

It all started when I was reading the Mudcat Secret Santa threads. Yule carols were going through my head, even though we're in the season of Samhain (aka Halloween / Day of the Dead). And I wondered why there weren't carols for Samhain, too -- or any of the other Sabbats besides Yule.

When I mentioned this to a fellow Pagan friend of mine, she said something to the effect of: "Well, I wouldn't call it a carol, and besides, there are lots of chants."

And while I love a good chant (one of my favorite archives is here), I often miss the oportunity to open my mouth and really sing, especially in a group. But many of the local Pagan groups around here seem especially shy of melody -- even reciting chants, rather than singing even those simple melodies (which often strips them of their proper scansion, too).

I know there are several musical Pagans on Mudcat from all over. ... Do you find that Pagans in your area are also shy of song? And if so, have you found a way to encourage singing?

(And yes, I'm trying to write a Samhain "Carol" -- I'll post it when it's ready)


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 05:26 PM

Some of the best Christian Carols incorporate pagan elements. For example this one.

Which is only right and proper.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Mr Red
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 05:29 PM

less risky I guess - I always thought Gregorian was a game of chants

I'll get my sheepskin................


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 06:49 PM

CU, I followed your link and found the thread open, so I refreshed it, but I agree, this is different and, I think, deserves its own thread.

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

Maybe start out with some very simple songs? Or, if they are open to it, play them a CD of some of which you are fond? I did print out the words to several for our loose-knit group and the shy ones seemed more comfortable joining in after that.

Can't wait to hear/read your carol! Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: sloop
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 06:50 PM

What is a pagan?


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 06:51 PM

One that pagues


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Subject: ADD: Lord of the Dance (Pagan Version)
From: LilyFestre
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 07:04 PM

One of my favorites (sang it at church last week) is The Lord Of The Dance. This is a listing of the pagan version which I like just as well!

When She danced on the water and the wind was Her horn
The Lady danced and a universe was born
And when She lit the sun and the light gave Him birth
The Lord of the Dance first appeared on the Earth

Dance, dance, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He
I'll live in you if you'll live in Me
And I'll lead you all in the dance, said He

I dance in the circle and the flames leap on high
I dance in the fire and I never, never die
I dance on the waves of the bright summer sea
For I am the Lord of the waves' mystery

I sleep in the kernel and I laugh at the rain
I dance in the wind and through the waving grain
When you cut me down, I care nothing for the pain
In the spring, I'm the Lord of the Dance once again

I dance at the Sabbat when you dance at the spell
I dance and sing that everyone be well
When the dancing's over, do not think that I am gone
To live is to dance so I dance on and on

The Lord and the Lady cast a song across the plain
The birds took the notes and sang them back again
'Til the sound of Her music was the song of the sky
And to that song, there is one reply

They danced in the darkness and They danced in the night
They danced on the Earth and everything was light
They danced in the darkness and They danced in the dawn
And the day of the dancing still goes on

I gaze on the Heavens and I gaze on the Earth
And I feel the pain of dying and rebirth
And I lift my head in gladness and in praise of the day
For the Dance of the Lord and the Lady gay

I see the maidens laughing as they dance in the sun
And we count the fruits of the harvest one by one
We know the storm is coming, but the grain is all stored
So we sing to the praise of the Lady and the Lord

We dance even slower as the leaves fall and spin
And the sound of Her horn is the wailing of the wind
The call of the Hunter as He rides across the plain
While the Lady sleeps 'til the spring comes again

The Sun is in the southlands and the winds they will chill
And the sound of Her horn is fading on the hill
The herd stands in the stillness as we move in a trance
But we hold on fast to our faith in the Dance

The Sun's in the southlands and the days lengthen fast
And soon we will sing of the winter that is past
But now light the candles and rejoice as they burn
We dance the Dance of the Sun's return

The snow is slowly melting and the clouds bring the rain
The Lady wakes, for the spring has come again
We dance in the meadows and we dance in the groves
And rejoice in the Lord's and the Lady's love

Michelle


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: CapriUni
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 07:17 PM

Sloop --

"Pagan" comes from the Latin for "Country Dweller" or "farmer." Ancient Roman soldiers used the term as an insult for civilians (kinda like the modern "hayseed"). Later, when Christianity became the official religion of Rome, it was used as an insult for anyone who wasn't Christian -- i.e. not a soldier in the "Army for Christ."

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, it now means anyone who isn't Jewish, Christian, or Moslim, though it's used most often to refer to those religions, both ancient and modern, that center around nature dieties and holidays (or Sabbats) that honor the changing of the seasons.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 07:33 PM

Atheists are pagans? Sikhs are pagans? Some dictionary...

When is a chant a song and when is a song a chant? Myself, I can't decide whether a song is a kind of chant, or a chant is a kind of song. But I don't think either way there is any big divide between whatever it is the two terms encompass.

And is a shanty a song or a chant?


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Amos
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 07:43 PM

NOUN:
1. One who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, especially a worshiper of a polytheistic religion. 2. One who has no religion. 3. A non-Christian. 4. A hedonist. 5. A Neo-Pagan.

ADJECTIVE:
1. Not Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. 2. Professing no religion; heathen. 3. Neo-Pagan.

ETYMOLOGY:
Middle English, from Late Latin pgnus, from Latin, country-dweller, civilian, from pagus, country, rural district.

It should be mentioned, probably that the modern practices that have sprung up since WW 2 seeking to resurrect the world-view of paganism are actually a different philosophical and cultural group altogether, called Neo-Pagan.

My first introduction to the word Pagan was from my mother, who used it to name a sad-eyed, snuffly, slow sort of black and white cocker spaniel who lived with us in New York in the house where I was born. As a result, I have never taken the term as seriously as I am sure it deserves. He escaped from the family car during a pit stop on the road to Maine one summer, and the whole family wandered up and down the road's edge calling "Pagan!! Pagan!!" to no avail, which must have made the locals think we were pretty barmy, eh?

A

See also www.WorkingWitches.com


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 08:50 PM

And "heathen" has similar roots, meaning a person from the heath, a country person.

I hadn't heard the Roman army/soldier of the Lord explanation for the application of "pagan" to non-Christians. I had understood that it arose from the fact that the strength of the Christian movement in the early days was in the cities, especially after it was the official religion, with Imperial sanction, and so it was in the country districts where the old practices and religions held on. Thus, the old religions/practices were of the country, the pagus, and so pagan. Can't remember where I read that.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 08:53 PM

Not really an adequate definition. Still the Concise Oxford Dictionary in front of me doesn't show up any better:

pagan n. & a. Heathen; unenlightened or irreligious person.

An as for heathen:

heathen a. & n. 1 (One who is) not an adherent of any of the worl's chief religions, esp. (one who is) neither Christian, Jew, nor Muslim; (O.T.) Gentile. 2. n. Unenlightened person; person regarded as lacking culture or moral principles.

Dictionaries, of course, should be treated with caution.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: LadyJean
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 12:21 AM

For the purpose of this thread, pagans are nature worshippers, also called witches, or wiccans. Many, though not all, believe their religion goes back to prehistoric times. They do sing. A number of my friends are pagans, and they do have songbooks, and songs.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 12:46 AM

Dave, that's the main definition I'd always heard, that of a country dweller, more likely to adher to the old religions.

kat


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: CapriUni
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 12:57 AM

From Kat:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: CapriUni
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 01:10 AM

LadyJean: sorry to pick a nit, here, but: the terms "Wiccan," "Witch," and "Pagan" are not interchangeable.

"Pagan" is a broad umbrella term for many religions, just as "monotheism" is.

"Wicca" is one specific Neo-Pagan religion among many.

"Witch" is often used as a synonym for Wiccan, but its use in this way is not universally accepted. Many define "Witch" as: "Someone who practices folk-magic, regardless of theology," and while many Wiccans fall into this catagory, not all do. And also, I've met up with people who consider themselves Christain witches.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: hesperis
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 02:02 AM

This is half a chant and half a song - only four verses in the song part though. It is definitely for Samhain and *IS* fun to sing. :)

Life Lives On - Lyrics
Short soundclip here


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 03:11 AM

CU, it might have to do with the size of a group, too. The one larger group I went to was well organised, by a different woman each month, and almost always featured music, as a creative expression of whatever the focus was for that month's meeting.

The other group I met with was quite small. There were a couple of people who were very shy about singing, but once they learned the tune and I passed out the words, they'd join in.

I am solitary, too, miss those groups, but I've always "done my own thing." I don't know anyone in this area and have no idea what they might do here. I did try a women's drumming circle here and it was not at all what I expected...more instructional by one ego-driven person, with no room for spontaneity nor song. Not my cuppa!

It may also have to do with our culture. I was visiting with another Mudcatter recently who noticed a marked difference in the US and the UK, while visiting the UK. They were asking when our society (US) decided it was not "cool" to feel free to sing. They'd noticed in the UK that ordinary folks, on public transport or what have you, would just break out in song and others would join in. They felt that we've lost that over here, to our detriment. There seems to be a kind of unspoken inhibition which keeps folks from feeling free and spontaneous. Just a thought, fwiw.

kat


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Subject: LYR ADD: Amazing Grace - Pagan version
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 03:26 AM

Im a Pagan....more specifically a Witch...although I am not Wiccan. I have practiced as a solitary and as part of a group/coven. Shortly (at Imbolc) I will be going into another group near where I live which is a big and important event in my life. Music is also important to and plays a large part in my life. All the Pagans I know love music in many forms and some of the chants have some lovely 'tunes'! I have sung the 'Lord of the Dance' posted above although it is rather long but wonderful, there are others such as 'Amazing Grace'


Amazing Grace,( to the tune of Amazing Grace)
Amazing grace,
how sweet the Earth that bore a witch like me!
I once was burned, now I survive,
was hung and now I sing.

T'was grace that drew down the moon
and grace that raised the seas.
The magic in the people's will
will set our Mother free.

We face the East and breathe the winds
that move across this earth.
From gentle breeze to hurricane
our breath will bring forth the change.

Turn towards the South and feel the fire
that burns in you and me.
The spirit's flame will rise again
and burn eternally.

We greet the West, our souls awash
in tides of primal birth.
Our tears and blood, our pain and love
will cleanse and heal the earth.

Reach into the North and know your roots
down deep ancestral caves.
We find the wisdom of the Crone,
Of circles we are made.

Amazing earth, enduring life,
from death into rebirth.
T'is earth I am and earth I love
and earth I'll always be.

Amazing grace, how sweet the Earth
that bore witches like we.
We once were burned, now we survive,
were hung and now we sing.

Goddess bless, so mote it be,
Our magic spirals on.
Merry meet and merry part and
merry meet again.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 03:34 AM

Beautiful, Khatt!! Thanks for posting it!


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: greg stephens
Date: 31 Oct 03 - 04:13 AM

CapriUni:
hope you listened to that very interesting tape of Halloween/Bonfire Night stuff that your very kind Secret Santa sent you last year!!


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 03:29 PM

Hi, all! Sorry I've been away just when this conversation was starting, but I was taking a three day respite from artificial light for Samhain, and that included the light of the television and computer screen... but I'm back, now! :-)

Hesperis, Re: "Life lives on" -- the lyrics are indeed lovely, and I only wish the sound clip was longer! It faded out just as the chant bit was ending, I think.

Kat: There seems to be a kind of unspoken inhibition which keeps folks from feeling free and spontaneous. Indeed. I was blessed with a mother who loved to sing, even though, in my toddler wisdom, I was convinced (and announced loudly, I'm afraid), that she "got all the notes wrong," nonetheless, I learned not to be bashful with music. When I was in college, I'd sing on my way to class or whenever the tune popped into my head. Others would comment on how cheerful I was, but not one person joined in.

I don't know whether it stems from our Puritan forefathers, who decreed secular music to be sinful, or our overbearing music industry, which pushes music arranged to the hilt, or a combination of both, but there you have it.

Phiddle -- thank you for that! I may just try introducing that song the next time I'm at a gathering... maybe the familiar tune will help...

Greg -- indeed, I did listen to it, and it gave me shivers -- oooh!


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 03:43 PM

whether it stems from our Puritan forefathers, who decreed secular music to be sinful, or our overbearing music industry, which pushes music arranged to the hilt, or a combination of both

I doubt if it is the first - because "we" as a society certainly haven't had any problems overturning and or ignoring any of their other strictures. *grin* I strongly suspect the music industry - combined with radio and television; public and communal singing was common into the fifties and even in some areas into the early sixties.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 05:04 PM

Hmmm... It may also be a simple, unexplainable American quirk --- I think our culture, in general, is afraid of looking foolish, or making public mistakes... and tv and mass music, may be part of that: piping images of perfection into our homes...


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Willie-O
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 05:08 PM

Hey, damn, I'm not surprised to be a heathen. And now it turns out I'm a pagan too! And here I thought I was just an atheist.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 05:38 PM

Willie-O --

*Grin*

Actually, I think quite a few people who call themselves "atheist" are just working with too narrow a definition of "god."

Personally, I'm a Polytheistic, Pantheistic, Agnostic (or: Ann, the polly-anna, Poly-Pan-Aggy-Pagan)

;-)


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Peg
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 06:35 PM

i have been in at least four different pagan groups/bands that sang...

Mothertongue
Urban Myth
Brigid's Brood
Green Crown

Desite the somewhat pedantic tone of some who question how to define a pagan, not that this thread is about that, but it came up, I think maybe it would help if we use the term "neo-pagan" 9as opposed to paleo-pagan).

Back to original question: I think on the whole many neo-pagans would prefer more singing and less chanting.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 06:56 PM

CU - I think our culture, in general, is afraid of looking foolish, or making public mistakes I think that's the main reason in the US. I thank the stars and gawds and gawdesses that I, too, was blessed with parents and siblings who've always loved to sing and loved music.

It's weird, in American it seems the norm is now to not sing, for those reasons above and also because of the media and so-called perfection as you noted.

I also love your PollyAnna...very clever! I've always been a pantheist, too.:-)


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 07:34 PM

"I think our culture, in general, is afraid of looking foolish"

I think that applies here as well much of the time. It really does seem strange that societies which, to an outsider, are in all kinds of ways among the most peculiar and laughable in humanities peculiar and laughable history, should throw up this kind of psychic self-mutilation..

Singing is probably a lot older and more deeply rooted in human beings than spoken language. When you think of it, and of what is involved in somehow producing and varying notes to order, and combining them with words - it's breathtaking. And we can just do it. It comes as naturally to us as breathing - and in it's way it is as necessary for our well being.

I can't think of anything more foolish than a society where people don't feel entitled to sing. Or whistle, as we go about our lives.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: GUEST,Suzanne
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 08:47 PM

Three 'pagan' songs, as taught to my daughters by our neighbor,
Two Moons:

Oh Great Spirit:

Oh great Spirit
Earth sun moon sky sea
You are inside
and all around me

if you start on the A above middle C you sing:

A C A G E
A A C D E
E E D C A
A C A A G A

only one verse, sung many times slowly


Fly Like An Eagle

this one is call and response

Fly like an eagle
(Fly like an eagle)
Flying so high
(Flying so high)
Circling the universe
(Circling the universe)
On wings of pure light
(On wings of pure light)

We all fly like eagles
Flying so high
Circling the universe
On wings of pure light

Before and after and in between the verses there
is a 'chorus' which I can only describe phonetically as

o itchee tai tai
(o itchee tai tai)
o itchee tai o
(o itchee tai o)
o itchee tai tai
(o itchee tai tai)
o itchee tai o

and again, if you start on the A above middle C it sounds like

A A G A E
(A A G A E)
G G A E
(G G A E)
A A B C B A
(A A B C B A)
E G G A E
( E G G A E)


and finally, The Earth Is Our Mother

The earth is our mother
we're taking care of her
The earth is our mother
We're taking care of her

Her sacred ground we walk upon
with every step we take
her sacred ground we walk upon
with every step we take

and before and after and between the verses, another phonetically
spelled verse that sounds like

Hey yunga ho yunga hey yung yung
hey yunga ho yunga hey yung yung

and I'll spare you my primitive efforts at relaying what the
melody sounds like.
They're all really easy to sing, as they go no more than five
notes above or below the starting note.

Just as there are many definitions of 'christian', some of
which boggle the mind, there seem to be many different ways
to be 'pagan'. Out here in the American Southwest, the
'primitive' pantheistic traditions from which modern pagans
'borrow' seem more likely to be Native American than greek/roman,
so more references to the great spirit and totemic animals
than to the goddess. That said, most of the people I know
who I would be likely think of as pagan on the grounds that
they do observe solstices and the like, and don't observe
Christmas or other celebrations of the judeo-christian tradition,
would be likely to squirm uncomfortably under any label at all.

--Suzanne


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 09:44 PM

Peg -- I think maybe it would help if we use the term "neo-pagan" (as opposed to paleo-pagan).

I know. It seems like human nature to abbreviate, though, especially when "talking amongst ourselves."

Kat -- glad you like my PollyAnna string... I'm wondering if I could register it as the name of an "official" trad ;-).... though, now that I think of it, "poly-pan-aggy-paggy," would have a nicer ring to it.

McGrath -- I can't think of anything more foolish than a society where people don't feel entitled to sing. Or whistle, as we go about our lives.

Hear! (here!) Hear! (here!)

Singing has such a different energy than speach, it carries so much further -- not only physically, but emotionally as well. I think it quite literally "lifts our spirits"

Suzanne -- those songs are just beautiful! When I'm not so tired, I'll sit down and really learn those melodies.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Nov 03 - 11:09 PM

Libana has "The Earth is our Mother" on their first cassette, now on CD, "A Circle is Cast." It's got a beautiful tune. I think the second one Suzanne posted is also on one of their CD's, maybe the second one, "Fire Within." And, I used to know the eagle one, thanks Suzanne, for posting the tune so I can relearn it! Having grown up in the Rocky Mtn. West, I relate more to the great spirit, etc. designations, too.

Great discussion, CU, and yes, I like the ring of the "poly-pan-aggy-paggy," too!

kat


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Blackcatter
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 12:15 AM

When it comes to chanting vs singing - what exactly is the difference? In my Pagan community, we call some things chants and some things songs, but we SING them both. We also have invocations and other things that look a lot like poetry that we don't sing, just speak.

To me the difference between a chant and a song is rather difficult to pin point. Chant's are usually simple melodies (but is Row, Row, Your Boat a chant? Mostly, we call a lot of Pagan folk music chants to distinguesh it from non-religious songs, jsut like we sing hymns in my Unitiarian Universalist church instead of just songs.

Here's a few more examples of "chants"

We are a Circle
Rick Hamouris, 1986

We are a circle within a circle
With no beginning and never ending . . .

You hear us sing, You hear us sigh
Now hear us call you Spirits, air and sky

Inside our hearts there lies a spark
Love and desire, a burning fire

Within our blood, within our tears
There lies the altar of living water

Take our fear, take our pain
Take the darkness into the earth again

The circle closes between the worlds
To mark the sacred space,
where we come face to face




Weaving the Web

Powerful sun of radiant light
Weave us a web that spins the night
Web of stars that holds the dark
She is the power that feeds the spark

Strand by strand, hand over hand
Thread by thread we weave the web





We are Alive
Rose May Dance/Starhawk

We are alive as the earth is alive
We have the power to create our freedom

If we have courage, we shall be healers
Like the sun we shall rise!
or
Like the moon we shall rise!




Pentagram Chant
Selena Fox

Hey-ho pentagram glow
Guard this hearth, this home, this land
And we shall be merry

Hey-ho pentagram glow
Bring us peace and health and light
And we shall be merry

Hey-ho pentagram glow
Speed our love, our strength, our power
And we shall be merry

Hey-ho pentagram glow
Grant our dreams, our wish, our will
And we shall be merry

Hey-ho pentagram glow (5X)
Hey-vo-hey



Air I Am
Andreas Corbin, 1982

Air I am. Fire I am
Water, Earth, and Spirit I am

other verses:
Breeze I am. Sun I am
Mountain, brook and Goddess I am

Maiden I am. Mother I am
Sister, lover, crone I am



Air Moves Us
Cathleen Sheil, Moonsea, Prune

Air moves us
Fire transforms us
Water shapes us
Earth heals us

And the balance of the wheel goes round & round
And the balance of the wheel goes round




Fun God

There is a fun god
He is the sun god
Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra




Ancient Mother
African chant

Ancient Mother, I hear you calling
Ancient Mother, I hear your song
Ancient Mother, I hear your laughter
Ancient Mother, I taste your tears

traditional African:

O la mama wa ha su kola
O la mama wa ha su wam
O la mama kow wey ha ha ha ha
O la mama ta te kayee




There are dozens more that I know...


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Blackcatter
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 12:31 AM

And 2 examples of Pagan songs (which are actually religious in nature, so go figure...)


Ancient Ages
Arlan Andrews, 1980

CHORUS
Lost world of the ancient ages
Sung by poets, scorned by sages
Airy towers they've stricken down
Becoming part of earth and ground
Palaces, abodes of kings
Lie deep at sea remembering
And pyramids of earth and stone
Stand like mountains overgrown
With roots of plants and root of man
There was a pattern and a plan

Around the world today we see
Strange remnants of this mystery
A pyramid, a man-made hill
A group of structures standing still
That mark the channels where still flow
Energies we do not know
For purposes we cannot ken
Yet once were known by ancient men
With faith we may yet understand
There was a pattern and a plan

Around the world in massive stone
In standing circles and alone
The ancient wise enacted high
Their monuments to measure sky
To chart the course of earth and sun
And stars to mark the season's run
Size, form and shape help them to tap
Dear Mother Earth's sweet magic pap
For rites of gods and rites of man
There was a pattern and a plan




Around and Around

CHORUS
Around and around and around turns the good earth
All things must change as the seasons go by
We are the children of the Lord and Lady
Whose mysteries we know but we never know why

In days gone by when the world was much younger
Men wandered at spring born of Hunter's cold night
Wondering at the games of the moon and the sunlight
They saw there the Lady and Lord of all time

In all lands the people were tied to the good earth
Plowing and sowing as the seasons declared
Waiting to reap of the rich golden harvest
Knowing her laugh in the joys that they shared

Through Flanders & Wales & the green land of Ireland
In kingdoms of England and Scotland and Spain
Circles grew up all along the wild coastline
And worked for the land with the Sun & the rain

Circles for healing and working the weather
Circles for knowing the moon and the sun
Circles for thanking the Lord and the Lady
Circles for dancing the dance never done

And we who reach for the stars in the heavens
Turn not our eyes from the meadows and groves
Still live the love of the Lord and the Lady
The greater the circle the more love grows




There are Pagan carols as well, if you bother to use the term carol to mean songs sung about Winter religious holidays (and remember that while Yule (and the other names) is properly celebrated on the Winter Solstice, most experts beleive that Jesus was born sometime in the Spring, but that Rome's Saturnalia was too good of a party to just chuck out with the "old" religion.

Winter Solstice songs written by yours truly:

It Came upon a Midnight Clear
Thomas Cook (Blackcatter), 1993

It came upon a midnight clear
That witchy hour of night
From faeries flying close to earth
To celebrate the light

Peace on the earth, good will to all
From God and Goddess too
The world in joyous love shall sing
A message of love that's true

As time stands still on this long night
The elements circle round
The sphere is cast and friends come near
their hopes and dreams unbound

In perfect love, in perfect trust
Together we all should live
for life's too short and time's too dear
To ration the joy we can give


Joy to the Earth
Thomas Cook (Blackcatter), 1993

Joy to the earth, for Yuletide's here
The balefire's burning bright
Its flames reach up, up to the sky
And are enveloped by the night

Enveloped by the night
Enveloped by the night
Enveloped, enveloped by the night

Joy to the earth, the Sun God's come
Let Nature return to life
Let every field grow green and full

And flowers bloom again
And flowers bloom again
And flowers and flowers bloom again!




Silent Night
Thomas Cook (Blackcatter), 1995

Silent night, sacred night
Pagans come to the rite
Circle crowns our Mother earth
Fire symbols the sun's rebirth
Nature's spirit is peace
Nature's spirit is peace

Silent night, sacred night
With the dawn comes the light
Yuletide brings a bright new year
Flowing mead and songs of cheer
Nature's spirit is peace
Nature's spirit is peace


I'd say that over 3/4s of the songs that I've written are Pagan.

(and just for you definition junkies out there, I identify as either Pagan or Witch. I practice an ecclectic form of Wicca, and am also an active Unitarian Universalist).

pax y'all


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: LadyJean
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 01:11 AM

I believe Gavin and Yvonne Frost published a witches songbook, back in the 70s. I didn't think much of the songs, but it exists.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 01:26 AM

Blackcatter, I LOVE your lyrics for old favs.! Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Blackcatter
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 09:23 AM

You're welcome kat.

We sing a couple during our holiday service each year at church. It confuses a few people, but I'm glad they like them.

Of course, there are songs written for all the Pagan holidays.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Peg
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 09:26 AM

Mothertongue recorded a CD of winter solstice music: most of it rearranged folk material, some original. I think you can get it at   www.azuregreen.com, or maybe www.earthspirit.org.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: EBarnacle
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 09:27 AM

Many years ago, a Pagan friend sent me a Solstice Carol from the Oxford Book. This copy has since been lost. The first line goes "Back to us the Sun has come..."

If you locate the song, it goes quite well with the melody from Good King Wenceslaus.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Nov 03 - 10:00 AM

You can get Libana's CDs, plus that of many other wimmin's groups and individuals at Ladyslipper dot org. Animaterra's group has done a lot on their concert CDs, too.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: CapriUni
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 10:46 AM

Blackcatter:

I actually know the chant:

We are a circle within a circle
With no beginning and never ending


It's one of the favorite chants of this unmusical community I'm bemoaning...

I'm not sure what melody you sing it to, but close as I can figure, picking it out on a midi keyboard, many of the Neo-Pagans around here sing "We are a circle within a circle" modulating between D# and D, "With no beginning" modulating between G# and G, and then sliding back to the D's for "and never ending" -- with no harmony or modulation, or any other verses. This was once kept up for over half an hour... I zoned out after that, and had a definite urge to break into a rousing chorus of "Oklahoma!" :-)

Now, part of the problem may be that many of these public rituals have all been organized by the same woman, who has the the philosophy that all emerging covens (and other groups, such as druid groves) must be taken under her wing and guided... There is currently a definite political split going on over this, btw. But nonetheless, I think many folks around here learned the chants from her before this break began.

And it may be that she's tone deaf. ;-)   

Ah, the quirks of culture!

Many of the other chants you give here can be found at the Pagan Chants of the Month page that I linked to, above (click on the archive), including "We are a Circle" and "Weaving the web" (Which is titled, there, as "Powerful Song". It has slightly different lyrics than the version you posted, possibly due to mondegreens). If you have RealAudio, you can listen to sound clips of the chants being sung, mostly by the webmaster of the site, Ivo Domínguez Jr..

Shameless Plug: And, speaking of Pagan carols, there is the Yule carol I posted to Mudcat last year, here: Winter Solstice Carol from CapriUni.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: GUEST,arlan@thingsto.com
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 06:42 PM

I was happy to find the (mostly correct) lyrics to my poem/song, "Ancient Ages" here, after all these years. I had heard it was being sung at pagan gatherings.

I had given permission to Larry Schoonover of Indianapolis, Indiana, to make a CD of it, years ago.

Has anyone heard the CD, or Larry, or have any idea how to contact him? I would love to have a recording of it; Larry knew the melody.

Thanks,

-Arlan Andrews


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Goose Gander
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 07:07 PM

A friend of mine used to sing this song back in the 1980s . . . .


THE SUN GOD (Dana Corby)   
   
High on a mountain top
up there, where the wind can blow free
   
I saw the Sun God
smiling down on me
He was the Sun God
smiling down on me
He was the Sun God
   
Cool was the morning breeze
like fire was the touch of his hand
   
He was the Sun God
and he came to me
He was the Sun God
   
Ten billion years ago
Mother Earth gave her love up to the sun
   
Lay with the Sun God
that her children might be
He was the Sun God
   
High on a mountain top
up there, where the wind can blow free
   
I saw the Sun God
I saw the Sun God
I saw the Sun God


And here's a little bit of controversy regarding authorship.


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 08:14 PM

If I recall correctly, The Deadly Nightshade were pagans or witches or something like that, and they definitely sang. Anyone else remember them from about 30 years ago?


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Peace
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 08:17 PM

Anne Bowen - guitar, percussion, vocals
Helen Hooke - violin, synthesizer, guitar, vocals
Pamela Brandt - bass, vocals


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Peace
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 08:18 PM

The Deadly Nightshade


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: Peace
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 08:22 PM

www.aurealm.com/deadly.htm


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Subject: RE: Chants vs. Song: why don't Pagans *sing*
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 09:15 PM

Talk about a ghost! This thread hasn't been renewed in a coon's age.

Thanks for the heads-up on the artists, Peace, I shall look for them.

Though I am still looking for ways to encourage the local Pagans in my comunity to add melody to their homemade gatherings.

I still wonder if it's a fear of hitting the "wrong" note, or whether it's a cultural thing -- if there's an aversion because of the strong connection between Christianity and singing hymns in Church.

It certainly does seem to vary widely, in different Pagan communities.


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