Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
Nothing Special... Part Two
The Third Path
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichťs
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
Reading the Book of Nature
A Plea Against Religious Discrimination
December 9th. 2012 ...
The Elephant in the Room: Physical Fitness In Pagan Spirituality
Magic Is Not for Free (Sometimes)
Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
How Music Shapes Paganism
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Article ID: 11539
Age Group: Adult
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Author: True Pagan Warrior
Posted: April 8th. 2007
Times Viewed: 2,544
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 Iím 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 itís a Handel run or a ringing barbershop seventh, itís all sacred to me. I love singing Christmas carols and I wonít 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 thatís used in rituals and generally for praising our gods. However, it doesnít 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 ďThe Burning TimesĒ 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 ďBe Pagan Once Again!Ē and ďBring Back the Snakes, Ē 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 isnít 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.
Itís perfectly natural to find ways to bring our community closer together, and since we donít have the luxury of finding that common bond in the deity we worship, itís 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 itís a good thing to work towards a time when the US military acknowledges the pentagram on veteransí 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 naÔve 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 donít 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, itís 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
Author's Profile: To learn more about True Pagan Warrior - Click HERE
Bio: Terence P Ward (a/k/a Dak) is a devoted Gaiaped with occasional Foolish tendencies.
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