Today for the 4th day of Yule I thought I would keep things short and sweet and share some videos of some Yule songs. As you all know, I love music and music is a big part of my life. I especially love Pagan music and music with Pagan themes. At Yule song is always a great part of the holiday but amidst the often Christian holiday music we might find it hard to find songs that speak to us of the earth, the returning light, and the magick of the season. While we know it’s all there in the Christian songs, it isn’t as obvious and sometimes you just want things that are specifically speaking to you through your spirituality. So below you’ll find a few videos of songs and chants for the winter season. We’ll look a little bit more specifically at chants and prayers for your Yule rituals and celebrations next week.
Yule (Winter Solstice) by Lisa Thiel
Wiccan Joy to the World (a Wiccan rewording of the song Joy to the World honoring the Goddess and the rebirth of the God)
Solstice Evergreen by Spiral Dance
Oh, Holly King (this is one of my personal favorites; a rewrite of the words to “O Christmas Tree” talking about the battle between the Holly King and Oak King)
One thing that I know someone somewhere down the road will comment on is the lack of Loreena McKennitt in this brief list. While she is one of my all time favorite singers and her winter music is wonderful for the season, it is mostly traditional music and not specifically Pagan. I think we often assume that when something has a Celtic overtone that it is Pagan in nature and that’s just not true. While many of Loreena McKennitt’s music pulls on traditions from all over the world she herself is not Pagan (something that many people assume for some reason) and her holiday music often reflects the more Christian themes of the holiday.
Her song The Holly & The Ivy (a song that last year someone emailed me trying to argue was Pagan) includes the chorus
The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do sinners good.
Snow is simply a song about the weather outside on a winter day, which I suppose if you want to get really technical and split hairs you could see that as Pagan. Seeds of Love has really little to do with the holiday even though it’s on a holiday/winter themed album.
Now, this isn’t to say that she has no Pagan or earth-friendly songs on her holiday albums, but these albums are, at their core, not specifically Pagan. The closest that she comes is in the song The Seasons off her first winter album To Drive The Cold Winter Away. I was unable to find a video of the song, which was somewhat ironic given I found several videos people made of the seasons using other Loreena McKennitt songs. So instead I’ll include the lyrics below.
The Seasons by Loreena McKennitt
Come all you lads and lasses, I’d have you give attention
To these few lines I’m about to write here
Tis of the four seasons of the year that I shall mention
The beauty of all things doth appear
And now you are young and all in your prosperity
Come cheer up your hearts and revive like the spring
Join off in pairs like the birds in February
That St. Valentine’s Day it forth do bring
Then cometh Spring, which all the land doth nourish
The fields are beginning to be decked with green
The trees put forth their buds and the blossoms they do flourish
And the tender blades of corn on the earth are seen
Don’t you see the little lambs by the dams a-playing?
The cuckoo is singing in the shady grove
The flowers they are springing, the maids they go a-Maying
In love all hearts seem now to move.
Next cometh Autumn with the sun so hot and piercing
The sportsman goes forth with his dog and his gun
To fetch down the woodcock, the partridge and the pheasant
For health and for profit as well as for fun
Behold, with loaded apple trees the farmer is befriended
They will full up his casks that have long laid dry
All nature seems to weary now, her task is nearly ended
And more of the seasons will come by and by.
When night comes on with song and tale we pass the wintry hours
By keeping up a cheerful heart we hope for better days
We tend the cattle, sow the seed, give work unto the ploughers
With patience wait till winter yields before the sun’s fair rays
And so the world goes round and round, and every time and season
With pleasure and with profit crowns the passage of the year
And so with every time of life, to him who acts with reason
The beauty of all things doth appear.
But even though her holiday music may not be specifically Pagan it certainly is a nice change of pace to the traditional carols that you can play among mixed company for the holidays.
There will be more on music and the Yule holiday in the weeks to come!