Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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'So Mote It Be': Three Musical Settings



Public prayer is often sung prayer—to one another, we speak; to the gods, we sing—and good prayer (whether sung or spoken) deserves a good, communal conclusion.

What follows is three musical settings for “So mote it be,” two serious and one satirical.

You can draw your own conclusions.


First Tone

“So mote it be” is sung on the same note for each word, but “so” is held twice as long as the other three, thus giving it an emphasis: SO mote it be.

X  x  x  x

 As in all good music—or poetry, for that matter—the tune reinforces the meaning of the words.


Second Tone

“So mote it be” is sung with three notes, all held to equal length. “So” establishes the base note. “Mote” goes up a step from the base note. “It” goes down a step from the base note. “Be” returns to the base note.

x  x+1  x-1  x

This setting has a nice “circular” quality to it; here, also, beginning and ending on the same note musically restates what the words say.


Third Tone

“So mote it be” is sung repeatedly (I get eight repetitions) to the tune of the theme (the sax part, anyway) from the early 60s family drama My Three Sons.

I won't even attempt to represent this one as a formula, but it's guaranteed to get a laugh out of the old folks.


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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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