Wiccan Wheel of the Year: Imbolc Music
I'm a total Pagan music junkie-- I admit it.
For me, a holiday is just not a holiday without some kind of seasonal music. I guess it goes back to my childhood as a Christian; one of the first signs of Christmas coming was the sound of carols being played in the local stores.
Good Pagan music-- specifically music dealing with Wiccan themes and holidays-- can be difficult to find. I thought I'd put together a little lens so that if you're anything like me, and you find the sounds of the seasons inspirational, you can find them.
Looking for Imbolc Spells? Look here.
Reminder About Fair Use
There are a lot of sources where you can download music for free-- you may or may not realize, they're not all legal. A famous rock star might not miss the income (not that it makes it right). But our Pagan musicians are usually not so financially secure.
Majority of Pagan artists are struggling artists who work for years sometimes to pay to produce, record and distribute their own music. Sometimes the money it brings in never covers their time, efforts and expenses.
So please be careful when looking for Pagan music if you find any to download for free, making sure it was offered legally by the artist; and please respect the rights of those who give so much to our community by way of their talents and time. Thank you.
I am such a huge fan of Lisa Theil; she has a gorgeous voice that sounds Goddess-like. Playing her music as I decorate, set up the altar or prepare a holiday meal always gets me in the right mood.
Imbolc is one of the major sabbats on the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. Around our house, we often refer to it as the 'Feast of Waxing Light' and we like to try to get off work and make a full day of the holiday.
In my trad, it marks the first day of spring (the spring equinox in March is the first day of spring on the secular calender, but in my trad the equinox is the height of spring, and Imbolc is the start of it).
Since the Winter Solstice, the light has been growing noticably longer day by day, and for ancient Pagans, this time of year was sort of when they could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Dreams of spring began, and everyone knew it wouldn't be long now.
It's a time for purification, for shaking away the winter with spring cleaning and preparing for the new life and new opportunities to come. It's a time to bless the hearth fire, and honor all things domestic-- our homes where we retreat to keep warm and sheltered from the winter cold. It's a time for honoring the household spirits and Gods, to thank them for their presence and their blessings.
Starhawk and Diane Baker founded the feminist, NeoPagan Witch community 'Reclaiming', and, occasionally, they make some really kick-butt recordings. I've been listening to their albums Chants and Second Chants for almost 20 years now.
I first purchased them at a small, hole-in-the-wall type Pagan shop in New York City-- in audio cassette tape form. I proceeded to purchase the CD's a few years later, and now have them on MP3's. And if another new-fangled music device comes out in a few years, I'll get them again.
These CDs are well known around my house for for anyone who designs a ritual with me, as I often throw in music from one of these CDs. Some chants somber and soulful, others uplifting and empowering, there's music for all occasions.
'Touching Her Deep' and 'The Awakening' are two great meditative chant for Imbolc. 'Rise with the Fire' makes for an excellent energy-raising chant. If your ritual is focused on transformation, you'll want to include 'Snake Woman' or 'I Am But One.'
Of course, you can't go wrong with 'The Circle Casting Song' or 'Air I Am,' songs that work great in just about any ritual for building sacred space and calling the quarters.
Celebrate Imbolc with Music
If you practice Celtic Wicca or Celtic Paganism, and worship Brighid, this is an awesome song of praise for her.
Did you know that another name for Imbolc is Brighid's Day? That's because it's long be a festival of the Goddess Brighid, or Bride. She's the Goddess of healing, poetry and smithcrafts.
On this day, people asked for blessings of Brighid. It is believed she visits every house, and people would leave an article of clothing at the end of the bed for her blessings.
Goddesses of the Hearth and Earth, of protection and purification, are usually the focus of the Imbolc rituals, as are Sun Gods and Gods of the Hunt.
Some of these songs are particularly appropriate for honoring your Goddesses.
I had the good fortune of seeing Dahm the Bard, who now goes by Dave the Bard, at the Caldera Pagan Music Festival in 2016. He's an amazing Pagan artist and a lovely person. His folksy style of music puts me right into a spiritual mood, so a lot of times I'll just pop in one of his CDs on the morning of a holiday. Nothing helps me get into the spirit of the festivities quicker than that!
Some favorites on this CD are 'Brighid' (of course), 'The January Man' and 'Ceridwen and Taliesin.'
The Wintry Queen
This one's a real favorite of mine.
Blood red skies in the morning,
Pitch-black heavens every night
Take them both as a warning
That the winter fire need be bright.
Fierce the blaze on the mountain
Sheds its light for miles around
While the stream and the fountain
Lie frozen and locked in the ground.
Gwydion Pendderwen © 1972 Nemeton
Thus begins the hauntingly beautiful lyrics that tell of a tale of the eternal dance of the seasons-- of the Goddess and her Consort in his endless cycle of life and death. I own several different recorded versions of this song, many of which are no longer available. But this is one of the best.
Every time I hear this song it makes me want to jump up and dance. My daughter is the same way. Heck, sometimes my husband pounds the powerful beat on his drum and we all get into it, dancing around the fire.
Unfortunately, the Amazon sample doesn't do the song justice. They give you the musical flourish leading up to it in the beginning, but cut it just as the music picks up and the lyrics begin. Luckily there is a Youtube video below shows the band giving a live performance.
More About Imbolc
Imbolc is a rich holiday full of meaning; as a major sabbat, it's important to acknowledge it in some way, formally or informally. If I could do nothing else, I'd just set some time aside to pour a glass of wine, light some candles and sing some songs.
But there are so many ways to go about observing the sabbat. If you are interested in reading some more of my hubs about this holiday, please check out some of my other hubs on this topic, and there should be more to come this week.
Have a Blessed Imbolc!
All Public Domain images used here are available at Pixabay.