Pagan Studies

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

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These Nymphs That I Would Perpetuate

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Those of us who are deeply in love with classical music are already aware of the hot male sexuality that pervades these pieces.  Is this a sexuality pure and untainted, as though man were meant to hunt for woman, or is it forcibly imposed because he came upon them asleep? 



Today's Music:

Prelude a l'apres-midi d'une faune by Claude Debussy, based on the poem

Apres-midi d'une faune by Stephane Mallarme

Apres-midi d'une faune (English beside French. Click on p. 37 and scroll down one page to begin.)


A man dreams himself a faun, cutting reeds for his panpipe, when he spies naked females through the foliage on a heady Sicilian afternoon.   On closer investigation, he sees two nymphs playing in a pond by a waterfall, and follows them to a place where they had fallen asleep in one another's arms.  He charms them with his flute, and carries them up on the mountain to make love to first one, then the other one.   He loosens one nymph and begins his attentions, only to betray himself by crying out in pleasure while "Deep in the joyous recesses of one..."  the other one awakens, and he loses his grip and they both fly away.    The faun consoles himself - "Others will lead me on to happiness, their tresses knotted round my horns, I guess."-as though there were other fish in the sea-and then makes sexual metaphor of a ripe and bursting pomegranate, then the man awakes and bids his dream farewell.



The Faun is a supernatural being: goat-footed, pipe-playing, capricious, and apparently aggressively sexual.  Second is the afternoon, which Mallarme sets up as sultry, with light beaming and fluttering amongst the leaves and near a waterfall cascading into a pool, which you can hear Debussy's take on it at the end of the flute theme at 0:27.  The harps represent water, the horns have always meant hunting and woodland in classical music, and it is my belief that the flute represents a gentle mischief in male sexuality that we don't often see in modern media.   While the poem appears to have the faun bewitching the nymphs and stealing them away, the one he awakens and makes love to appears to accept his attentions, and keeps silent until the faun betrays himself.  And he doesn't force them to stay, either, though he's disappointed at their leaving.   


It makes me wonder:  Is a man's sexuality capable of being beautiful, as beautiful as this song?  Can we untie the knots of society's fumbling attempts at curtailing male compassion and understanding?  What would it be like if we taught our boys to be gentle and loving instead of aggressive and angry? 






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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.


  • Patrick
    Patrick Saturday, 01 December 2012

    Classical music and paganism? You've just become my favorite blogger.

  • Amarfa
    Amarfa Saturday, 01 December 2012

    Why thank you, Patrick!

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