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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A 'Pagan Movement' Hymn to Earth and Sun, Circa 1975

 Quarter of Americans Convinced Sun Revolves Around Earth, Survey Finds -  ABC News

 

Founded more than 50 years ago in 1970, the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland was headquartered on a pagan communal farm in rural Carmarthenshire (Wales). It originally grew out of a London organization called the Regency, which in turn had its roots in (and was founded by former members of) Robert Cochrane's Royal Windsor Coven.

What follows is a hymn to Earth and Sun from the PM's Rite of Imbolc, which marked the reborn Sun's Coming-of-Age. (Though not directly named, Earth is the “thee” to whom the piece is addressed.) It is sung to the tune of Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March #1, familiar to Americans as the processional march at high school graduation ceremonies, also known as Land of Hope and Glory.

Though not attributed, the lyrics were clearly the work of Tony Kelly (1943-1997), the PM's leading light, and my own beloved teacher. Kelly was a brilliant but deeply flawed man; Old Craft historian Michael Howard once described him to me as having had “horns of gold and hooves of clay.” Truly one of the Wise, his understanding of the Old Ways and their gods was deep beyond telling. It was from him that I learned what many pagans, 50 years on, have still to realize: that the truest and most authentic pagan experience comes, not from dusting off some old god or goddess from Long Ago and Far Away, but from an active lived relationship with—to begin with—Earth and Sun, Here and Now.

Though a brilliant and articulate writer, Kelly's verse suffers from his fondness for archaic diction and his willingness to sacrifice anything, even clarity and grammatical integrity, for the sake of rhyme. (That said, rhyming "Goddess" with "forest" is sheer pyrotechnic verbal genius, brilliant.) Still, Proud the Sun Adore Thee has much to teach.

You can see the hymn in its original ritual matrix here. Please note that a number of errors have crept into the version cited in the Weebly Pagan Movement Archive, foremost among them the inversion of the first and second lines of stanzas one and three. I have here restored the song to its original form.

 

Proud the Sun Adore Thee

 

Proud the Sun adore thee:

fiery, fierce and free,

born to stride in glory,

blazing gold for thee.

Wax more strong, more mighty,

gleam the spear he'll wield;

wrought that he delight thee,

forest, fen, and field.

Wrought that he delight thee,

forest, fen, and field.

 

None shall claim him holden;

ever cleave he thine,

golden and more golden,

radiant more to shine:

stand o'er snow-topped mountain,

stride o'er dewy dale.

Gush thy spring and fountain;

grow thy verdant vale.

Gush thy spring and fountain;

grow thy verdant vale.

 

Yield thou fruits abundant,

Summer fair and fine:

We, on thee encumbent,

Hail bright Son of thine.

Keen his fire and keener,

beats his heart for thee.

Green thou'lt grow and greener,

lovelier more to be.

Green thou'lt grow and greener,

lovelier more to be.

 

Mighty, yet more mighty,

he shall stride above.

E'er for thee more brightly

blaze his fiery love.

Father of thy forest,

wide his seed is sown,

e'er for thee, O Goddess,

thee and all thine own.

E'er for thee, O Goddess,

thee and all thine own.

 

 

Lyrics: Tony Kelly

Tune: Edward Elgar, “Land of Hope and Glory”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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