Pagan Chant-Song Project
Article ID: 10742
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Brendan Myers
Posted: June 25th. 2006
Times Viewed: 5,263
My name is Brendan Cathbad Myers, and I've a project in the works now for which I would like some help from the Pagan community around the world.
Having attended Pagan ceremonies of various kinds in five different countries over the last four years, I am always impressed by the way Pagans use music and song, both in ceremonies as well as well as at gatherings and parties. I keep hearing several of the same concepts and sentiments expressed in the lyrics, and sometimes I hear the same tunes and melodies as well. But I'm also sometimes surprised at how many Pagan groups use recorded music, or never sing at all, and equally surprised at the reactions provoked when someone tries to sing instead. People say things like, "I wish I knew more Pagan chants and songs", or "We Pagans should sing more". Well, I quite agree. Singing together is one of the ways that group of like-minded people becomes a unified community, able to share and build and live together.
Music has a special effect upon our minds and bodies. It resonates with our bones and internal organs. If someone was making a beat by thumping her foot and clapping her hands, one after the other, you would know instantly which was the down beat and which was the back beat. It is already in the structure of your brain to hear music and understand it. Music has specific emotional effects: In the first few bars of any song, even before the singer has begun, we know right away whether we are hearing a rough, energetic song, or a soft romantic love song. Even the descriptive words I am using here bear witness to the sensuality of music: we tend to describe it with the metaphors of touch, texture, and shape.
Music is one of the easiest ways to induce a trance state in the mind. A good grove can get a foothold in your consciousness whether you like it or not. It lifts you from your present emotional place and takes you elsewhere. Physiologically, it triggers the brain to produce various neurotransmitters from endorphins to hormones. And these physiological responses prepare the mind for further religious experiences. They might be interpreted as an invigoration of the energy in our 'other' physiology, the chakras and the meridians. Or it might be interpreted as a spiritual transportation-device that leads to contact with the divine.
It is for this reason, among others, that various religions sometimes control the kind of music that their adherents are allowed to listen to, and the circumstances in which they may hear it. The group-mind that a good Gospel choir can produce, and the energy it can raise, is likewise a witness to the magical power of music.
It is a great credit to Paganism, then, that of the five things mentioned in the Charge of the Goddess, 'make music' and 'sing' happened to be two of them. Performing music is for me the finest of rituals, and its value only increases the more that it is shared.
The project for which I am looking for help is this. I would like to put together the largest collection of Pagan chant-songs possible. I am interested in both the short repetitive refrains used in rituals, as well as longer performance pieces‚ used at parties, gatherings, and similar events. The songs that people sing together, whatever kind of song it is, are the ones that interest me most. I want to track different regional variations, track their popularity, track the usual circumstances and situations in which certain songs are performed or not performed, and if possible find the authors to the most popular ones.
Please, if it should not trouble you to do so, email to me the words of as many Pagan songs as you know, along with, if possible:
1. Where you are from (i.e. what country, and what city or region)
2. the author (if known to you) ,
3. how often you usually sing it, or how popular you think it is
4. in what situation (i.e. a ritual, a party, etc.) you usually sing it
5. where and in what situation you learned it, and
6. any other information you think may be relevant.
But please keep these extra remarks short (one sentence each, preferably) as I am hoping for thousands of people to write to me. Please do not assume that someone else might already have sent one to me. I'm also interested in the popularity of the most well known songs.
Use the button below on the Witchvox page to write to me, and put the words "Pagan Chant-Song Project" in the subject line. And please spread this message to as many friends as you know. I will accept responses for this project until the end of September 2006.
Also, please forgive me if I do not respond quickly, or at all, to thank you for your contribution. My ability to reply will largely depend on how many responses this call for help generates.
Once this is all put together, I also wish to write a philosophical commentary on them. For it is my theory that in the great collection of Pagan chant-songs, there is already a wisdom-tradition, mostly orally transmitted, in which the most important beliefs, principles, proverbs, and ideas are expressed with the greatest clarity and beauty.
The results of this project, along with any conclusions I may reach, will be made available probably in the late fall or early winter of this year. I will publish some of the results on my own web site, and will look for a mainline book publisher to publish the whole results. If I do find a mainline book publisher interested in carrying the results in book form, I will acknowledge the community contribution to this project by donating some of my royalties to Pagan community development projects.
Of myself, should anyone wish to know, I studied folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and philosophy at NUI Galway in Ireland, and so I feel well prepared to undertake a project of such far-reaching scope.
I hope you agree that this is a worthwhile and useful community-building project, and I hope that you will consider helping me out.
Copyright: (c) Brendan Myers, 2006. But distribute freely, with my name and contact info attatched.
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Author's Profile: To learn more about Brendan Myers - Click HERE
Bio: Brendan Cathbad Myers recently earned his Ph.D in philosophy from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is the author of two books: "Dangerous Religion" (Dubsar House, 2004) and "The Mysteries of Druidry" (New Page, 2006)
Other Articles: Brendan Myers has posted 7 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Brendan Myers... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
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