Pagan Studies

Learn how Classical Music harbors subliminal and not-so subliminal Pagan messages.

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Holst the Mayo!

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

My jaw DROPPED when I saw the words to "Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda."  In no uncertain terms, these songs directly invoke Hindu deities from a Hindu scripture and implore them for help.

 I wasn't sure what to believe about that-there were several composers whom I believe played their Polytheism close to the chest, and I didn't think for a minute that I'd get a direct call-out to Deities from an Englishman.  I thought maybe he had accepted some sort of commission and had only done it for the money or maybe the publicity. 

NOPE!  So happy about this: Gustav Holst actually learned Sanskrit in order to create a better translation from the Rig Veda itself.  You know what this means? It means that it was the composer's undeniable intention to write music invoking non-Abrahamic Deities.  You know what else is awesome?  Holst shared a number of biographical similarities with Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner-Asthma and ill health in general, as well as having been sent to warmer climates for health reasons.   Both Crowley and Gardner, and now Holst, too, moved toward Eastern Spirituality at certain points in their lives.  Like Crowley and Gardner, Holst was not a participant in the Great War (World War I), and it depressed him. He did find an outlet as a musical organizer for the troops at home.  

Check it out on IMSLP and YouTube: Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda by Gustav Holst.  I recommend reading the lyrics in the PDF of "Group 3" from IMSLP (H.99) while you listen to the YouTube video from the BBC. I couldn't make out the words otherwise.  The ethereal beauty of the harp and the womens' voices will take your breath away.  It's an incredible work, and I have such a hard time believing that it didn't originally do well.    Enjoy, my friends! 


*For the record, I absolutely HATE mayonnaise, but I couldn't think of a better pun for the article. As if puns could be good!*

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Amarfa has been studying the occult, wicca, and paganism for 17 years and counting.  She has been a musician since age 5, studying first guitar, then accordion for 10 years, placing 2nd in her division in the 1995 ATARI/ATAM New England Regional Competition,  and has been studying voice for 9. She has directed small early music ensembles, performed publicly, and starred in local theatre works, particularly the World Premiere of Nightsong, a musical theatre piece with direction and book by Jon Brennan and music by Kari Tieger and Kevin Campbell, as well as composing a musical of her own and writing music in her spare time.


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