Pagan Studies

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

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What would you like to see?

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Hi Folks!


In the spirit of my more successful posts, I would like to ask you if there's any topic you'd like me to research, based on "Pagan Music" or "Paganism in Classical Music." What would it be?  Would you like to see articles on archaic, pre-christian music and instruments, or would you prefer that I show you the darker side of Classical music?


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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.


  • Andy Jaeger
    Andy Jaeger Monday, 24 February 2014

    I sing in a number of different choirs, and I'm consistently amazed by how much choral music is inspired by, and uses text from, the Christian tradition. I guess because the church was so rich and powerful for such a long time in European history? In any case, I'd be interested to read more about choral music with pagan roots, if you can find any!

  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ Tuesday, 25 February 2014

    I am interested in folk music and dance, and in information on how or whether its roots go back in time--perhaps to the Neolithic.

  • Peter Ringo
    Peter Ringo Thursday, 27 February 2014

    As we know, there are many "gender non-conforming" gods, whether they are transgender, intersex, gender-morphing, cross-dressing, or whatever. Has any music been written for or about any of these gods that specifically mentions gender as a revered aspect? I suppose this would need to be vocal music, unless gender were mentioned in some sort of preface or notes accompanying an instrumental piece.

  • Amarfa
    Amarfa Friday, 28 February 2014

    Andy: I belong to a pagan choir that's in Massachusetts. We sing a mixture of music that's written for us by our fearless leader, 'traditional' folksongs, and 'cover songs' from modern pagan artists. Every so often, one of our members will bring in a song that they thought would be appropriate for an upcoming ritual. We've sung a few verses from Beethoven's Ode to Joy (In German!), and eventually, I'd like to bring Brahms' "Die Mainacht" (The May Night) and "Die Schaale der Vergessenheit" (The Cup of Oblivion) to the group.

    Carol and Peter: One of my favorite causes to support is the modern pagan tribe of the Kalasha. They live in the mountains of the Hindu Kush, in the Chitral Valley, and their religious "lineage" has been unbroken for around a thousand years. They are polytheistic, nature-bound, and sex-positive. There are youtube videos of their festivals and dances, which are based on flute and drum.

    I'm not sure if this is a deity, but one of their most worshipped figures is Balumain. He's worshipped at the Winter Solstice festival, Chaumos, with dancing and drumming and flutes, and a major part of the ritual is when the men and women "change sex," or dress as the opposite gender. They do this in honor of the fact that Balumain is seen as partly female, and has the power to change between male and female at will. There are Youtube videos of this as well! :)

  • Peter Ringo
    Peter Ringo Friday, 28 February 2014

    The Balumain practice is awesome, but I'm looking for music literature--traditional songs and classical pieces that allude to gender nonconformity in some way, especially as a characteristic of a god/goddess. "Between" would be a modern-day example. I thought you may have come across some others in your exploration of paganism in classical music. If not, would you want to do some research in this area?

  • Amarfa
    Amarfa Monday, 17 March 2014

    @Peter: Sure! For example, there are a number of works from the 18th century that involve a man or boy cross dressing in order to get into the women's quarters and find out if a woman actually "loved" them... ;) And often, Mezzo-Sopranos are cast in "Pants" roles-they are cast as young boys. I'll find one or two and do an analysis :)

  • Peter Ringo
    Peter Ringo Monday, 17 March 2014

    I don't think I was real clear. The gender nonconformity would need to be connected to spirituality in some way--as an attribute of a god or goddess, as a spiritual state, as being "close to godliness," or the like. Something along the lines of Ode to Joy with its original wording--a tribute, a praise song, a piece dedicated to a god--but with some form of gender nonconformity specifically mentioned and with that quality residing in that god or somehow regarded as a blessed or spiritual state of being.

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