Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
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Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
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March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
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Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
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February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
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Words of Power!
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February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
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The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
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January 19th. 2014 ...
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January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
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January 5th. 2014 ...
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Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
How Music Shapes Paganism
Article Specs |
Article ID: 11539
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,528
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Author: True Pagan Warrior
Posted: April 8th. 2007
Times Viewed: 2,839
I am proud to be a Pagan. It thrills me to hear the call of the Earth; I rejoice at being in the green woods of the Mother, of raising my voice with others who believe as I do. All things of the natural world are precious to me, and even though I occasionally get morose about what damage we humans wreak, I am glad to be one.
One of the gifts I hold most dear as a human (and one of the reasons I’m really glad to be one) is the power of song. I love listening to, and especially being part of, powerfully woven harmonies that lift up to the heavens themselves. Whether it’s a Handel run or a ringing barbershop seventh, it’s all sacred to me. I love singing Christmas carols and I won’t deny that if Roman Catholics had more really good music I may never have left the church (Well, it would have to be lots more).
I see songs as a way of defining a religion. The Christian hymns based on Gregorian scales say something very different than the tonals and percussion of sacred Islamic music. The topics, too, speak quite a bit about what a religion feels and how it wishes to be perceived. Most Christian music speaks of glorious communion with Jesus, with a fair smattering of strategies for casting out Satan, for example.
What then, does Pagan music say about Paganism? Well, we have a fair amount of music that’s used in rituals and generally for praising our gods. However, it doesn’t take much of a search online to find other songs, songs that are not based on the love and respect that I find important to my faith. These songs, rather, are built upon anger and hatred.
There is a good message in “The Burning Times” by Charlie Murphy. It is saying that the Goddess does not abandon Her followers. However, that message is at the end of a diatribe about the evils of the Inquisition:
There were those who came to power, through domination
And they were bonded in their worship of a dead man on a cross
They sought control of the common people
By demanding allegiance to the church of Rome
More derisive towards Christianity are such songs as “Be Pagan Once Again!” and “Bring Back the Snakes, ” both penned by Isaac Bonewits. The former is particularly chilling as it states:
Both Catholic and Protestant, led us round by our noses,
Distracting from the deadly scent, of England's bleedin' roses!
Kick every preacher 'cross the sea, burn out their golden dens.
It's the only way we'll ever be free -- let's be Pagan once again!
Paganism isn’t a really a religion, in the sense the Hinduism and Islam are religions. Self-identified Pagans believe an incredibly diverse number of things, and any author that has tried to define Paganism is either forced to be so incredibly broad that virtually every thinking human is included, or narrows the definition in such a way that a group that identifies itself as Pagan is left out in the cold.
It’s perfectly natural to find ways to bring our community closer together, and since we don’t have the luxury of finding that common bond in the deity we worship, it’s understandable that we draw upon stories and documents from history to find that commonality.
But is anger the common bond that will draw us together? Hatred about acts committed centuries ago? Is this one of the Five Pillars upon which Paganism will stand?
There are innumerable instances of persecution against Pagans in the modern day. Such acts are offensive and it’s a good thing to work towards a time when the US military acknowledges the pentagram on veterans’ headstones and children are not taken from parents because of their religious beliefs.
But ask yourself, if you were a devout Christian and heard the verses I quoted above, would you think of Paganism as a threat? Certainly you would, and with good reason!
Songs serve as our emissaries and diplomats, and these old ditties are not serving us terribly well. How Paganism is perceived by the world at large is shaped by how Pagans act, the art they create, and the way they relate to the members of other faiths. Is it possible that the perceptions we create for ourselves lead to these misunderstandings? I think it would be naïve to think not.
I understand that the songs I reference here are not recently scribed, but they are still being performed. These songs, and others like them that seek to cast blame upon Christians for the plight of the Pagans of old, is as specious as the argument that war is good for the economy, and as vindictive as the Christians themselves casting out Jews because some of their number crucified Jesus two millennia ago.
Unspeakable crimes have been committed by groups of humans upon other groups of humans since before recorded memory. Genocide and torture, slavery and disenfranchisement, rape and swindling are all part of the lowest levels that human beings can sink to in dealing with one another.
Do I bear the karmic responsibility for white people who enslaved Africans, or for men that subjugated women? Is it my responsibility to atone for the sins of all Europeans that brought disease and murder to North America? Of course not!
My job is to see that such acts are not committed again if it is within my power. I should not remain silent and allow the Holocaust or other genocide to occur. But I don’t see how having a foaming rage over heinous acts committed against alleged Pagans six centuries ago is going to help me be a moral and caring human being. Instead, it’s more likely that it will foment unreasoning hatred in me, and make me more likely to heap abuse upon the descendants of those criminals using acts no less despicable.
I prefer not to walk that fine line between moral outrage and immoral vengeance.
Copyright: Copyright 2007 Terence P Ward, all rights reserved.
True Pagan Warrior
Location: New Paltz, New York
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Bio: Terence P Ward (a/k/a Dak) is a devoted Gaiaped with occasional Foolish tendencies.
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