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Raven (yes, really), a pagan, homeschooling mother of two -- one teen, one tot -- shares her adventures in parenting from a pagan perspective. Watch her juggle work, education, parenting, cooking, gardening, and . . . how many balls are in the air now? Sometimes they fall, and sometimes she learns from her mistakes. You can, too.

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Music of the Longest Night

To many, winter is a time when the grief of loss strikes hardest.  The symbolic death of spring and summer combined with the cold have us turning inward, some seeking a spiritual hibernation.

For me, this grief has been compounded by my mother's December birthday.  This year she would be turning sixty.  One of my friends grieves both her parents today, while another sits in a hospital waiting for her mother's unconscious body to relinquish its hold after a stroke.

Though this winter's reminders of grief and loss have been great, instead of focusing what is gone, I feel called to reflect on and celebrate what remains.

To celebrate life, both its joys and sorrows.

To celebrate all of this amazing world and to do so with music.

My mother played guitar in night clubs in her youth, my grandmother played piano and sang, and my grandfather's greatest dream was to compose music.  It seemed only right, on my birthday this year, to start taking piano lessons.

Serendipity brought me to an accomplished, blind piano teacher who has given me greater understanding of music theory than I ever gained in years of music lessons, choir, musical theatre, and a college music theory course ever did.  She has encouraged me to explore the music I want to learn, including the Solstice song "Winter Wassail" from the pagan band, Faith & the Muse.

In this active celebration of life through music, I have been gathering songs for the winter as squirrels gather acorns.  Because in the whirlwind of Christmas carols and calls to celebrate one life, I find myself needing deeper musical sustenance with lyrics or a sense of joy akin to my own spiritual path.

The tale of the two kings: Holly and Oak speak both of death and rebirth. Of grief and hope. I've written often of death, more than I expected to for a blog intended to focus on pagan parenting.  Yet as we are told in these tales, life and death are fingers forever entwined together.

Those of you whose lives have been upturned by the loss of a loved one or some deep part of your own life, I ask you to join me this month in take up an instrument and make music. Bang the drum, shake the rattle, ring the bell, play the piano, strum the guitar, pluck the harm, toot the horn, or just let the clarity of your voice ring out into the cold night.  

Let your music tell the countless tales of death and life, of grief and hope.  Welcome in both the sorrows and the joys.  Encourage the children in your life to take up the music and dance along with you.

Come Solstice night, if you're daring, you can even head out to the streets and carol with friends and family.

If you're like me, and wish to seek out songs to celebrate the Winter solstice in a way which honors nature's cycles, here are some suggestions for songs:



  1. A Winter Wassail - Faith & the Muse*
  2. Carol of the Bells - Various artists
  3. Ring Out Solstice Bells - Jethro Tull
  4. Solstice Night - S.J. Tucker
  5. Cold Sunshine - S.J. Tucker
  6. Deck the Halls - various artists
  7. Solstice Carole - Wyrd Sisters
  8. Sleigh Ride - Boston Pops Orchestra
  9. The Holly and the Ivy - George winston
  10. Winter Solstice Song - Lisa Thiel
  11. Wintertide - Alexander James Adams**
  12. Jingle Bells - various artists
  13. Sword and Staff - Heather Alexander**
  14. Lullay, Lully - Windham Hill Artists
  15. Solstice Evergreen - Spiral Dance
  16. Holly King - Spiral Dance
  17. Solstice Carol - Ravens
  18. Solstice Song - Denise Jordan Finley
  19. Dram to Warm the Piper - Three Times Through
  20. The Boar's Head Carol - Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band
  21. Here We Come a Wassailing - various artists
  22. Greensleeves - various artists
  23. Firedance - Jaiya***
  24. Winter Born - Unto Ashes
  25. A wassail, a wassail - Quadriga Consort
  26. Cold Winter Comin' - Gaia Consort
  27. Patapan - Damh the Bard
  28. Cold Coming - Thea Gilmore
  29. A Fire Fit for a Queen - Cernunnos Rising
  30. Drive the Cold Winter Away - Coope, Boyes & Simpson
  31. Sol Invictus - Thea Gilmore


*"Winter Wassail" is based on the Gloucestershire Wassail, and the track can be found on an album titled Dark Noel, featuring multiple arists and songs for the season.

**"Wintertide" and "Sword and Staff" can be found on the album Wintertide and features a mix of Yule and Christmas songs.

***"Firedance" is the title track on an album dedicated to the Winter Solstice by Jaiya.


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Raven lives in a forest with her two homeschooled children, partner, and several demanding cats. She enjoys performing, cooks a mean burger, and is obsessed with farming, but has yet to adopt a goat. Her publications are listed at


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