22 March 2011

Sing To The Moon

Was it my love for the moon that inspired my childhood
love for Sailor Moon, or was it the other way around?
Picture of the heroine of that lovely show from here.
One of Fire Lyte’s recent posts about the love-hate relationship between Pagans and the Pagan Music sphere got me thinking about my own rather sparse collection. I happen to enjoy almost all music, with the exception of rap that is demeaning to my gender (so, pretty much all of that genre) and depressing country with too much twang. Of course, there is also the exception of such artists as Rebecca Black who are 14 years old and have no business being famous nor singing about “partying, partying, yeah!” on a song very creatively titled as “Friday.” Why in the nine hells that music video has gone viral on YouTube and Facebook, I will never understand. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, consider yourself blessed. My ears—and eyes—were bleeding as a result of seeing pimply preteens (who can’t at all sing, I might add) going clubbing and driving convertibles. What has the world come to? Maybe Betelgeuse should just hurry up and go supernova already and, if we’re lucky, the cosmic rays will cause the music industry to implode and we the human society can start producing REAL music again. Ok, I’m done ranting. Now back to my thoughts on Pagan music specifically.

I happen to own a few album and some change worth of songs by Damh the Bard, and if you’ve ever scrolled down the sidebars of my blog, you’ll see I also enjoy listening to his podcast (Druidcast). I have an album by Libana, a few songs by such artists as Gaia Consort, Laura Powers, SJ Tucker, and Wendy Rule. While I’m not sure of Midlake’s spiritual preferences (I discuss this in a previous entry here), their music is a perfect precursor to ritual, especially anything involving a deepening of one’s relationship with the natural world. Midlake’s lyrics paint absolutely beautiful imagery of the forest and all the paths that there intertwine. Similarly, I’m not sure what Loreena McKennitt would call herself, but I own three fabulous CDs with her gorgeous voice and eerie, worldly melodies that just make me itch to do something magical. Enya, too. I also happen to maintain a mild obsession for Celtic and Celtic-crossover music, in addition to my more overtly Pagan music and somewhat Paganish New Age. In fact, I’ve even employed some soundtracks (Lord of the Rings makes an excellent one, as does Pirates of the Caribbean and, believe it or not, Titanic) to put me in the mood before some rituals.

And, as many of you know, my love for music includes composition and lyric-writing. I’m still trying to figure out how to upload my songs to add to a page here, in case anyone wants to listen to what I’ve recorded, but for now some of my lyrical compositions can at least be read. I’ve often talked about how music can be as much a magical practice as any spellworking, and growing up Catholic in the middle of a very Baptist Bible Belt taught me that music can be as much worship as it is entertainment. Music is background noise, mood setting, distraction, calming, uplifting, depressing, violent, sexy. Like the many faces of Baba Yaga, it can be hideous or beautiful at will (and, sometimes, against the will of the musician or the listeners).

The other night, when the full moon was at the largest I’ll ever see it, I stood outside. I had worn a flowy, ivory dress to a cocktail party earlier that evening with family, friends, candidates, old grads, heroes, and politicians. However, in the cool spring night, with the full face of Luna peering between the just-starting-to-bud-green treetops, that ivory cocktail dress made me feel more like a child of the Goddess than I ever have. The glass or two of chardonnay might have contributed, too, but that’s beside the point. I felt like a priestess, a princess, a Mayan sacrifice, and like my old warrior badass self all wrapped up into one, and I knew my deities were smiling.

And, then, I sang.

I sang quietly, not wanting to compete with the Coyotes howling in the distance—likely at the same moon to which I was singing then—nor did I want to attract the attention of the less-than-friendly neighborhood black bear, nor did I want to wake my brother sleeping upstairs, even though his room was far away. Nevertheless, I sang, and what I sang felt so right at that moment to be singing, even though I have always been a coven-less solitary and have never danced with Sisters nor attended a big festival. I sang a capello S. J. Tucker’s folksy rendition of “Witch’s Rune,” which is the version I know best. The opening lines of the song, I think, are what inspired me to sing that particular song to Selene, Luna, Diana, Artemis that night: “Darksome night and shining moon, balance of the dark and light.”

Once again, I am reminded—this time, courtesy Pagan music—of how all things must balance, finding first contrast and, maybe one day, harmony.

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