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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in chants

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Not to Teach a Chant

“Here's the new chant that we're going to be using,” says the high priestess.

She launches in, joined enthusiastically (if not particularly accurately) by the host coven. The result is a muddy blur of sound from which not even a professional musicologist could successfully extract words or a tune.

One painful slog-through later, she smiles and says: “Great! Everybody got that?”

And the ritual begins.

Well, no, we haven't got it, and chances are excellent that—with a start like this—we never will.

So how do you successfully teach a new chant?

 

In an Ideal Pagan World...

Well, the ideal way would be not to teach it at all. Duly start up the new chant in its given place in the ritual and, with a strong leading voice and enough repetitions, we will all soon be singing along.

Alas, not all local communities have a culture of attentive listening and enthusiastic singing. Sometimes knowing even a little something about a new chant beforehand gives people enough of an investment actually to join in.

So....

 

The Law of Three

Three tips for successfully teaching a new chant:

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
ONE TERM prezzy-DENT

There are three things I've learned never to discuss with people:

religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.


(Linus von Pelt)

 

You may remember the chant from the demos following the last presidential election here in the States:

 

NOT MY presi-DENT!

(clap-clap clap-clap-clap)

NOT MY presi-DENT!

(clap-clap clap-clap-clap)

 

As chants go, it's really pretty good: focused, succinct, a nice alternation of verbal and non-verbal, words and percussion. And it certainly beats Hey hey! Ho ho! — — has got to go!

Unfortunately, they were wrong. If you're an American, the Troll-in-Chief is your president.

But it doesn't have to stay that way.

So I'm choosing to look on that chant, not as a statement of fact, but as a prediction which we know—and may it be sooner rather than later—will eventually come true.

So, riffing off the old chant, here's the new one that I'll be chanting:

Last modified on
An Imperfect Cane, or: Purism Is Its Own Punishment

When my friend got back from the hospital, it was clear that he was going to need a cane, at least for a while. I offered to go to the cane store to get him one.

My friend being who he is, he drew up a page-long list of what he wanted in a new cane. It had to be thus-and-so, it couldn't be thus-and-so.

When I got to the cane store, it was clear that I was never going to be able to find a cane that fit all of his specifications. So—on the principle that When you need a cane, it's better to have an imperfect cane than not to have a perfect one—I picked out one that came as close as it could.

***

As pagans, our situation in some ways resembles that of the Indigenous children of North America and Australia who were torn away from their families and sent off to residential schools for reenculturation. Forbidden to speak their own languages, or practice their own religions, they became the living lost. Cultural genocide is hideous, but you can't deny its effectiveness.

For the pagan peoples of Europe, this happened hundreds of years ago. Much has been lost forever to us, their latter-day children. Our laments for the wantonness of that destruction will never cease to sound while ever our people endure.

So we take what we have and go from there. Much of what passes for modern paganism just isn't anywhere near as good as I would want it to be. Much of what we have is pro tem: what we've made for ourselves. It hasn't had the centuries of honing and deepening that come with generations of transmission.

If as a people we manage to survive, we know for absolute certain that, in time, the excellence will come. That's how cultures work. In the meantime, we make for ourselves the best that we can and go on. When we see something that's worthy, let us take heed, praise it, and strive to emulate it.

And by all means let us avoid the deathtrap of premature canonization.

***

We were learning a new chant one night. One covensib objected to it on the grounds that the imagery was mixed and internally contradictory.

His critique was a valid one, but then arose the obvious question: Did he have something better to put in its place?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mask Song

Diane Don Carlos and I wrote this song for Merrymeet 1998, the year of the first-ever official male-male Great Rite at a pagan festival. It's set to the tune of Gula Gula, a hymn to the Earth Mother by Saami singer-songwriter Mari Boine Persen.

The chant explores the depths of the mysteries of the Mask, and, ultimately, the complex and layered nature of the Self.

 

The Mask Song

 

With these eyes, what are you seeing?

With these ears, what are you hearing?

With this heart, what are you feeling?

Who are you, the mask or me?

Who are you, the mask or me?

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Lady of the Labyrinth: A Chant

I was recently inspired to write a chant that's designed for labyrinth walking. It invokes the Lady of the Labyrinth, a goddess some people identify with Ariadne or with the Serpent Mother (snake goddess) from Minoan Crete. The name that works for me is Basilissa.

Please feel free to use this chant in your rituals and your labyrinth walking, and let me know how it goes.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

Call of the Horned God

Blessings be with our ancestors!

May it be so!

Mother of Witches, Lady of the Moon!

I adorn my King!

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I've made the change accordingly. I think we'll be hearing a lot more of this one. The instinct to edit is deeply embedded. I rar
  • Michele
    Michele says #
    for some reason this website tacks on stuff to the front of the link at the bottom of the article. It's just http://13knots.blogs

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