Songs for a Pagan Heart
My Pagan Heart
Let me make it clear from the start, this is a collection of songs. They could be classed as Folk Songs, they certainly have that feel. They are not hymns of praise or invocation to any god or goddess. All of that is a roundabout way of saying that I’m not trying to convert or proselytize, I just want to present a list of songs that touch my Pagan heart.
I have a Pagan heart. It’s just me, I don’t expect anyone else to see life, the universe and everything the same way that I do. I do not expect others to look at the stars and see what I see or walk through a forest and feel what I feel, and I certainly do not write to try and convert anyone. I have become convinced that each one of us is exactly where we need to be at this moment. Every one of us has a unique view of existence, even those who profess the same religious views have their very own personal relationship with the Divine, however they conceive the Divine to be. Even those who completely reject a supernatural force have distinct reasons and motivations for their views. The only suffering I have seen is when a person, through family or peer pressure, has found themselves in a faith system where they do not belong.
The Hills They Are Hollow
This is one of my favorite songs from Damh the Bard, The song can be found on his excellent CD, "The Hills They Are Hollow. I believe this was the first album Damh produced. It also ranks as one of the first Pagan music CD's I ever bought and I never tire of listening to it.
The video, titled "This Sacred Land" is the best visual expression of the song I have ever seen. The song gets to the very core of the Pagan experience with the pictures of sacred sites around the British Isles. We have very little in the way of written evidence of what the ancients considered sacred. However, we do have tales. Myths and legends that tell of worlds and peoples beyond the mundane while the stones and trees hold secrets that are waiting for us, if only we would stop to look and listen. Are the hills hollow? Do the Fae dance on midsummer’s eve? Many years ago I learned that it is wise not to judge what you do not know. I have met those who claimed to have danced in the fairy ring. Were they making it up or were they delusional? I don’t know, but I keep an open mind and am willing to entertain the possibility that it could be true.
This Sacred Land, (The Hills, they are Hollow)
The Pagan Music of Damh the Bard
This may have been the first album of Pagan music I ever bought. I still never tire of listening to it. It features the song played in the video above, the CD also contains a number of other songs, written and composed by Damh.
Incidentally, "Damh" is an Irish word meaning stag. It's a clever play on words because Damh is pronounced darv. The singers given name is Dave.
The Witch Song
Witches are wise women. It seems plausible that the first healers would be midwives and that these would be women. The rural communities of the Celtic past had women with knowledge of plants and herbs; they knew the potions that would heal the body and they understood how the scents from certain flowers could calm the soul. Watching the waxing and waning cycle of the moon, they felt the fertility cycle of their own bodies and their wisdom aided humanity in its struggle to survive and thrive.
Then there arrived the advent of a religion that said God is a man and there is no Goddess. The Priesthood was for men only, and it was a woman that led the first man astray. The witches were called “Workers of wickedness.” Those who were prosecuted for witchcraft were burned or drowned, and the Divine Feminine was driven from our lives.
The witches could never disappear forever and today they are back. As the song says; “There’s a little witch in every woman.”
The Witch Song by Bonnie Lockhart
Throughout time and in all places, the Goddess is known by many names. One of my favorite Pagan groups is Emerald Rose; here they are with a lively invocation to the Goddess. There are many other names for the Divine Feminine used by different people in different places and for different occasions. There has been so much emphasis on God as male over the centuries that for many it comes as a surprise to find that there is a place in our heart for the Goddess. Just as here on the mortal realm there is male and female, in the realm of the gods there is male and female also. As above, so below.
Emerald Rose have always had a special place in my list of musicians. They write songs that I want to sing. Their lyrics are unapologetic in their love of the Lord and Lady. As well as featuring the song in the video; the other songs will make you want to clap your hands and sing along at the same time causing the listener to stop and think about the spiritual life being one of boundless joy, not one of guilt. One of their songs declares that the Pagan lifestyle is not about sin and redemption but an affirmation of life.
The people of Northwest Europe were divided into many tribes but they were bound together by a priesthood known in Welsh as Derwyddion, in English, the Druids. Little is known of them in written form, only what Roman historians have passed down to us. The Romans were writing about the leaders of the people they were at war with so it can hardly be impartial. It would be difficult for anyone today to call themselves “Druid” in the classical sense. Then they were a respected class, set apart from the tribes and serving as judges and lawmakers, as well as spiritual guides. However it is possible to re-create the spiritual path they followed. It is possible by looking carefully and seeking wisdom from old legend and even from the stones around us to see what they saw and hear what they heard.
The following video features a deep meaningful song by Damh the Bard, "Merlin am I" The song can also be found on the "Hills They Are Hollow" CD. The video was made by the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids to present the seven gifts of Druidry.
The Seven Gifts of Druidry
The Heavenly Kingdom is not something waiting for us after we die. It is not an ethereal place that only those who believe can experience. The Heavenly Kingdom is here, it is now and it is inside each one of us. All we have to do is reach in and there it is. There is inexpressible beauty in everyone. Sometimes it is lost and for some it is buried so deep that it may never reach the surface in this life. It is there, and the most atrocious of criminals, the evil persons who do unspeakable deeds, even those have within them a spark of Heaven. The passing of that flame diminishes us all.
Those who see this world as a hell have never seen the sunrise from a mountaintop, have never drank from a clear mountain stream and have never felt a part of the wonder and miracle that is the Earth, our mother and our home.
The Heavenly Kingdom is within us and around us. Stop, Look, Listen, here it is.
Elaine Silver Heavenly Kingdom
The Pagan Path
The seasons of the Earth turn and the circle of life moves on. All I can do is watch and wonder and be glad that I am here on this beautiful world. These are some of the songs and images that touch this old pagan’s heart. They are not presented to change anyone’s faith. The pagan path is not one we choose. Yes, there are some who step on this path out of curiosity or rebellion and there are some who enter for less than honorable reasons. These do not last long and are soon known for what they truly are. The Pagan path, in some mystical way, chooses us and those who walk it see neither a straight and narrow way nor a wide and smooth road. Instead we walk a long and winding road that leads to the Summerlands and every turn in that road leaves us with a sense of wonder.
Many Bright Blessings.
Does the music featured in this article encourage or discourage an investigation of the Pagan Path
© 2010 Peter Freeman