Music, Witchcraft and the Paranormal

Contents, II





"Prologue II"



"Music in Witchcraft Before Its Modern Revival"



"References to Witchcraft in Classical Music"



"Music in Modern European Paganism"





"Prologue II"


p. 140 coven or s^abbat

"'coven' ... is a Scottish word that appeared during the sensational trial of Isobel Gowdie {i.e., >izebel ("Jezebel") the Goodie (Goodwife)} in 1662 (Hutton, [1999], p. 100). ... .

... these Sabbats were referred to as 'synagogues' ... (Maxwell-Stuart, 2001, p. 19)."

{This reference is taken from the New Testament : "synagogue of Satanas" (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 2:9 & 3:9 -- "I-TS5TRD", p. 10), where /Satanas/ is a transliteration for /S`}

Hutton 1999 = Ronald Hutton : The Triumph of the Moon : a History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford Univ Pr. (reprinted 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006)

Maxwell-Stuart 2001 = P. G. Maxwell-Stuart : Witchcraft in Europe and the New World, 1400-1800. Basingstoke : Palgrave.

"I-TS5TRD" = "Inter-textual Study of Five Terms Referring to “the Devil”".

p. 144 modern European "witchcraft" is of Hellenic provenience

"Witchcraft was part of a continuing pagan religion. ... In The Triumph of the Moon Ronald Hutton ... illustrates that ... modern paganism originated in ... the ancient Greeks' culture".

{More specifically, the particular local variety of Hellenic religion whence modern European witchcraft is reconstructed, is largely a replication of practices endemic to Thessalia ("WTh").}

"WTh" = Brian Clark : "The Witches Of Thessaly".

p. 145 books promulgating paganism in modern Europe

"The influential work of Sir James Frazer, The Golden Bough, promoted a belief that paganism underlay and informed all Western religion. ... .

{The book, The Golden Bough, is largely a description of customs in sub-Saharan Africa and in southern India, though with some similarities noted to various customs in Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and Western Europe.}

... later the works of D. H. Lawrence (The Rainbow) and

Robert Graves (The White Goddess) continued to promote ... the modern Pagan movement."

p. 145 proveniences, other than Hellenic, of modern European "witchcraft"

"Another influence on the modern ... witchcraft, were the meetings of Charles Godfrey Leland with ... Florentine witch ..., culminating in his book Aradia in 1899."

{Currently (and historically), "witchcraft" is even more rife in Slovenia ("RGWCES" & "ChCMPCS") than in Etruria, however.}

Charles Godfrey Leland : Aradia. 1899. (reprinted C.W. Daniel Co, 1974

"RGWCES" = Mirjam Mencej : 'The Role of Gender in ... Witchcraft : the case of Eastern Slovenia".

"ChCMPCS" = Monika Kropej : "Charms in the Context of MagicPractice : the case of Slovenia".

pp. 145-6 books promoting caerimonial magic within modern European "witchcraft"

p. 145

"Aleister Crowley ... promoted techniques of ritual magic ... . Pagans also acknowledge the work of Dion Fortune (Violet Firth) ... The Goat-Foot God (1936) and The Sea Priestess (1938).

Margaret Murray's ... works had the stamp of authority from

the Folklore Society via Sir Lawrence Gomme and

the University of London via Karl Pearson,

both of whom had pioneered

p. 146

... that paganism had survived as wichcraft. Her views of the practice of a persisting pagan witch religion ... paved the way for Gerald Gardner to reveal an actual witch religion. She wrote the foreward to Gardner's influential book Witchcraft Today (1954) ... . ... In 1949 he had already published a work about witchcraft in the guise of a novel High Magic's Aid, but in 1951 the Witchcraft and Vagrancy Acts were repealed, thereby allowing witches to advertise their existence. ... .

... Doreen Valiente and Patricia Crowther provided an intellectual and glamorous approach to the religion [of wicca] and many covens started to be formed around the country".

Violet M. Firth : The Goat-Foot God. London : Williams & Norgate, 1936. (reprinted York Beach (ME) : S. Weiser, 1980)

Violet M. Firth : The Sea Priestess. London, 1938. (reprinted Wellingborough : Aquarian, 1957 & 1989)

Gerald Brosseau Gardner : High Magic's Aid. London : Michael Houghton, 1949.

p. 146 Alexandrian wicca

"Alexander Sanders in combination with his ... wife Maxine. Their willingness to be photographed and give press interviews brought them considerable fame and a large number of followers.

One such initiate was a journalist, Stewart Farrar, who together with his eventual wife Janet went on to form their own coven in Ireland and write numerous influential books about Wicca (Farrar, [1981])."

Farrar 1981 = Janet & Stewart Farrar : A Witches' Bible. 2 voll. London : Robert Hall. (reprinted New York : Magickal Childe, 1984; Custer (WA) : Phoenix Publ, 1984.)

pp. 146-7 wicca journals; wiccan novel

p. 146

"The impetus for Wicca was maintained during the 1970s with the apperance of journals such as 'The Wiccan' in 1974 and 'The Cauldron' in 1977".

p. 147

"Hutton mentions

the novel The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1982) with its Wiccan interpretation of the female roles within the Arthurian epic and

the Terry Pratchett books where Wicca and magic are pertectly normal".

Marion Zimmer Bradley : The Mists of Avalon. NY : Knopf, 1982.

p. 147 pagan conferences held at colleges & universities in England during the 1990s



King's College, London


Newcastle University


Lancaster University


King Alfred's College, Winchester




"Music in Witchcraft Before Its Modern Revival"


pp. 151-2 Edmund Spencer : The Faerie Queen. 1596.

p. 151

"Hecate ... rides dressed in a green gown astride a bearded goat ... . The work initially paints ...

a witch causing mists

{The Latin word for 'mist' is /caligo/, which is etymologically cognate with the name of goddess /Kali/.}

and transformations and using

herbs and ointments".

{henbane and wolfbane (for astral projection)}

p. 152

[quoted from Faerie Queen, II.xii :]

"There, whence that Musick seeme`d heard to bee,

Was the faire Witch her selfe now solacing,

With a new Lover, whom ... she from farre did thither bring."

p. 153 Shakespeare's Macbeth (1606) and Middleton

"In Macbeth, Act III, Scene v, between lines 33 and 34, there is a stage direction : "Music and a song within" : "Come away, come away etc." during Hecate's speech.

Both of the songs ' Come away, Hecate' and 'Black Spirits' are used in Middleton's The Witch ... . It has been suggested that ... the songs in Macbeth ... were added by Middleton when he was revising the work in 1609-10 ([Schafer, 1994], xiv). ...

In the following Act IV, Scene i, between lines 43 and 44, "Music and a song" is specified : "Black spirits etc." ...

The Witch was written in 1615-1616".

Schafer 1994 = Elizabeth Schafer (ed.) : The Witch by Thomas Middleton. London : A & C Black; NY : W.W. Norton.

pp. 153-4 Ben Jonson : The Masque of Queens.

p. 153

"Jonson's The Masque of Queens (1609) ... depicted witches in the first part of the masque together

p. 154

with 'infernal music' (... cited by Kors and Peters, 2001). Jonson represented twelve hags paying homage to a "devil-goat" and their dance was accompanied by "a strange and sodayne [sudden] Musique". Their "magicall Daunce" had "contrary and backward motions, and antic gestures" (Clark, 1999, p. 92).

Jonson cited Johan Nider's Formicarius and mentioned two male witches from it --

'Stadlin' and

{'of STADium-LeNgth strides' : cf. the Ogre's "boots of seven leagues" ("AHMTh")}


{HOP-O'-My-Thumb (whose hopping is to complement the Ogre's striding)}

Kors & Peters 2001 = Alan Charles Kors & Edward Peters : Witchcraft in Europe 400-1700. Philadelphia : Univ of PA Pr.

Clark 1999 = Stuart Clark : Thinking with Demons. Oxford Univ Pr.

"AHMTh" = "Annotated Hop o' My Thumb".

p. 154 the music in Middleton : The Witch.

"Music is mentioned at various times during The Witch when Hecate is present. In Act I, Scene ii, she conjures up

a cat playing on a fiddle,

{"High diddle diddle! The cat's got the fiddle!" ("OIYC")}

{"The cat ... Bast was a local deity associated with Bubastis and many depictions show her holding a sistrum." ("C&F")}

and the witches dance in Act V, Scene ii. ...

It has been suggested by the musicologist Ian Spink ([Schafer], 1994) that the composer Robert Johnson wrote the music to these songs because this would fit in with his time working for the 'King's Men' from 1609 onwards."

"OIYC" = "Organic Interludes at Yale College".

"C&F" = Sarah Hartwell : "The Cat and the Fiddle".

{"The little dog laughed to see such a craft" might refer to queen Hekabe, who, after she had become a bitch, joined (GM 168.n) the entourage of Hekate. Because Hekate is "of Carian origin" (OCD, s.v. "Hecate"), and because the fiddle originated in Anatolia, this Mother-Goose rhyme may likely be of Anatolian provenience : if so, the "cat" would be a polecat.}

OCD = Hammond & Scullard (edd.) : The Oxford Classical Dictionary.

p. 154 adaptations of Macbeth

"Later in the seventeenth century, Macbeth was revived {rejuvenated} with fresh material added to it. Davenant produced one such ... in the mid-1660s with music by Matthew Locke and a further production in 1673 "in the manner of an opera" (Hartnoll, 1966, p. 53). However, the music was lost {or simply bye-then obsolete in style?} and in 1694 the composer John Eccles wrote new music for the play. William Boyce published a collection of pieces ... by Locke ... . (Dent, [1928])"

Hartnoll 1966 = Phyllis Hartnoll (editrix) : Shakespeare in Music. London : Macmillan; NY : St Martin's Pr.

Dent 1928 = Edward J. Dent : Foundations of English Opera. Cambridge Univ Pr. (reprinted NY : DaCapo Pr, 1965.)

p. 155 adaptations of The Witch

"J. F. Reichardt, a Berlin Kapellmeister, composed music for the Witches' scenes and the little-known M. P. King wrote a 'Witches' glee' in the nineteenth century ([Dent, 1928])."

p. 155 adaptations of The Tempest

As for "Shakespeare's The Tempest ..., the 1667 adaptation by Dryden and Davenant introduced singing parts for devils and spirits. ...

Much of the music by Locke, Humfrey and others has survived and been transcribed (Tilmouth, 1986) and the latter's 'Masque of Devils' ... performed by witches ... .

Shadwell's Psyche was the first English ... 'semi-opera' ... . The music was composed by Locke and first performed in 1675. ... The Romano/Greek pantheons are well represented with Venus, Pan, Bachus, Mars, Apollo and others."

Tilmouth 1986 = Michael Tilmouth : Dramatic Music (including Psyche) : Matthew Locke. MUSICA BRITANNICA 51. London : Stainer & Bell.

pp. 155-6 theatre of the Restoration (of the Monarchy in Britain, after the Cromwell interlude) : music for devils, for spirits, and for ghosts

p. 155

"There was a prominence of ... magical beings in Restoration Theatre ... for unusual music ... . Works sometimes even referred to ... popularity ... of ... magic. For instance, Dryden and Lee's Oedipus (1679) mentioned the audience's love of ghosts in the epilogue. (For an expansion of this [theme] see Plank, 1990 ... .) The reasons for this popularity may have included an enjoyment of masques and

the grotesque qualities of the 'anti[-]masque' ... ."

{The term /antimasque/ is inaccurate, "replacing antemask" (D.C"A-M"); "usually preceding the main masque and used for ... grotesque contrast." (M-W"A-M")}

p. 156

"Jonson's The Masque of Queens set a precedent ... with its 'hollow and infernal music ... with spindles {spinels}, timbrels, rattles, or other venefical instruments ..., with strange gestures' (ibid. p. 395). ...

with strange gestures' (ibid. p. 395). ...

{"The witches do all things at their meetings “... with strange fantastic motions of their heads and bodies. ..."" (CHE&AL VI.XII.6, n. 40)}

Purcell's use of 'flatt' trumpets for the devils' appearances in The Libertine Destroyed (Shadwell 1675) may have set a precedent for Monteverdi's low brass for the Hades scene in Orfeo. The rapid semi-quavers, repeated notes and chromatic progressions of the 'infernal symphony' for the spirits in Rinaldo and Armida (J. Dennis 1698 with music by J. Eccles) ... were to accompany such scenes."

Plank 1990 = S. E. Plank : "Music and the Supernatural on the Restoration Stage". EARLY MUSIC XVIII (August):392-407.

D.C"A-M" = Dictionary.Com "Anti-masque".

M-W"A-M" = Merriam-Webster "Anti-masque".

pp. 156-7 music of witches in poe:ms of the 17th and 18th centuries Chr.E. in Britain

p. 156

"Robert Herrick published The Hag in 1648 ... . There are various musical settings of the poem by Frank Bridges and an early setting by J. Liptrot

p. 157


R. Burns provides further information in his poem Tam O' Shanter ... :

"Warlocks and witches in a dance; ...

... hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels, ...

There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast; ...

He screwed the pipes and gart them skirl ... !""

Tam O' Shanter

p. 157 music of witches in theatrical plays of the early 18th century Chr.E. in Germany and in Britain

"Goethe's Faust was completed in 1801 and it contains two parts where witchcraft and music are brought together, namely 'Walpurgis Night' and the immediately following 'Walpurgis Night's Dream' (Goethe, translated Wayne, [1951]). Dancing takes place during the sabbath in the Harz Mountains ... and in the following 'Lyrical Intermezzo' Ariel is said to play upon a lute. An orchestra ... and ... the bagpipes are spoken of ... (ibid. p. 182)."

Byron's Manfred (1817) introduces ... the 'Witch of the Alps' ... in Act II. The only references to music can be found in Act II, Scene iii ... 'A voice without. Singing' ... and in Act II, Scene iv where a 'Hymn of Spirits' is presented".

Goethe tr. Wayne 1951 = Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (transl. by Philip Wayne) : Faust (Part 1). Harmondsworth (Middlesex) : Penguin. (reprinted 1967)

p. 158 instrumental music accompanieth erotic revels in vodun, as likewise in European witchcraft

Summers [1945] "continues ... with a comparison with Pe`re Labat's account of voodoo in the eighteenth century ... :

"A kind of madness falls on the dancers. ... They tear off their clothes and ... promiscuous prostitution holds ... sway.

This might almost exactly serve as a picture of the dancing at the witches' sabbat, only in place of the drums mention is made of various other instruments : violins, tambourines, flutes, rebecks, fifes and drums, hautboys, the bass-horn, a hurdy-gurdy, the Jew's harp, and (especially in Scotland) the pipes." (ibid. p. 285)"

{In accounts of European witches' s^abbats, however, the witches are already astrally projected out of their material bodies; so that the musical instruments, and the music-playing supernatural devils, are all immaterial and praeternatural.}

Summers 1945 = Montague Summers : Witchcraft and Black Magic. London : Rider & Co. (reprinted London : Arrow Bks, 1965.)

p. 160 music of witches according to Doreen Valiente

"songs were sung at Esbats including Greensleeves, Hares on the Moun tain and The Coal-Black Smith : "In fact, the music of the witches' Esbats and Sabbats wsas mainly the popular tunes of the day. In the accounts of Scottish witchcraft, there is mention of a number of lively and bawdy old ballads being sung and danced to ..." (Valiente, 1973, p. 11)"

{Because the music and songs heard in dreams often replicate the one's heard while awake, so likewise the praeternatural music and songs at European witches' projected-astral-body s^abbats may sometimes approximate waking-state music and songs.}

Valiente 1973 = Doreen Valiente : An ABC of Witchcraft, Past and Present. London : Robert Hale; NY : St Martin's Pr.

pp. 160-1 ritual use of music by Aleister Crowley & by Leila Waddell

p. 160

"Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) ... played the piano reasonably well (a recording is available at The Meuseum of Witchcraft, Boscastle) and he wrote ... : "The violin is the most useful of all, for ... it is so mobile that it has a greater emotional range than any of its competitors. Accompaniment must be .. a harpist ..." (Crowley, cited in Dearn, 1977, p. 12)

He used music in his ceremonies, especially when he had the services of his 'Scarlet Woman' Leila Waddell ... :

p. 161

"... the figure enthroned ["Leila Waddell"] took a violin and played ... with such an intense feeling that in very deed most of us experienced the ecstasy ..." (Sketch, 1910, cited in King, [1977], p. 64)"

Dearn 1977 = G. S. Dearn : "Renaissance of the Celtic Harp". QUEST 30.

King 1977 = Francis King : The Magical World of Aleister Crowley. London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson. (reprinted New York : Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1978; London : Arrow Bks, 1987.)

p. 161 books & ritual use of music by Gerald Gardner

"witchcraft in its modern form was instigated by ... Gerald Gardner and the publication of his book Witchcraft Today in 1954 ... . ... Gardner wrote other books including

High Magic's Aid under the pseudonym of 'Scire' {Latin 'to Know'} in 1949 and

The Meaning of Witchcraft in 1959 ... .

I was told by Patricia Crowther, his high priestess, that he did ... use music in his rituals ... through simple chants and a few simple percussion instruments."

p. 162 ritual use of music by Alexander Sanders

""... I have been humbled to have heard the majesty of his ["Pan's"] pipes and this is what he said to me ... : '... The pipes of Pan which shall play forever ... help you along for another day ..." (Sanders ... lecture given in 1986 ... Museum of Witchcraft, Boscastle.)

Furthermore, there were ... Sanders with the music of Phillip Thornton. (Sanders ... : Mother Matrix an Invocation, The Ritual of ... Moon Magic -- 2nd degree initiation, all with music by Phillip Thornton, 1984.)"

p. 162 panpipe dream-music for rodents etc.

"The music of Pan is magically conjured up ... when

Rat and Mole search ... : "... Such music I never dreamed of ...!

{cf. "dreams and shews" mentioned in Daniel : Twelve Goddesses (CHE&AL VI.XII.6)}

... Mole stopped rowing as ... that glad piping broke on him ..., and possessed him utterly." (Grahame [1960], pp. 112-13)"

CHE&AL VI.XII.6 = Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume VI. The Drama to 1642, Part Two. XIII. "Masque and Pastoral". § 6. "Introduction of the Antimasque".

Grahame 1960 = Kenneth Grahame : The Wind in the Willows. NY : Scribner 1960.

(reprinted New York : Ariel Books : Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1980)

p. 163 apparent musical bow in Magdalenian cavern-painting

"Murray speculates quite dramatically in stating [1931, p. 84] : "The musical bow of the little masked figure of the Palaeolithic era is very primitive, the player is dacing to his own music as the Devil so often did in Scotland.""

{Whenever the Devil is dancing in European witchcraft-literature, this is always with witnessed by persons astrally projected or by persons dreaming. The figure allegedly "masked" is likely an animal-headed humanoid so often witnessed in dreaming undertaken upon ingesting of a psychedelic herb.}

Murray 1931 = Margaret Alice Murray : The God of the Witches. Oxford Univ Pr. (reprinted London : S. Low, Marston & Co, 1933; Hedingham : Daimon Pr, 1962.)

p. 165 witches' conspiracy to overthrow the government with the assistance of [devils/divinities summoned by means of] a music-accompanied dance-ritual

""The North Berwick witches (1590), when at the special meeting called to compass the death of the king, 'danced along the Kirk-yeard,

Geilis Duncan

{"a maid named Gillis Duncan, who worked ... in the town of Tranent" (VME, p. 109)}

playing on a Trump'." (Spalding Club Misc. I, 114-15, cited in Murray, 1921, p. 136)

She implies here that the group of witches met to plan the King's death and then danced in the churchyard {cemetery?!} to the accompaniment of Duncan's Jew's harp [infra p. 169, citing Pitcairn 1833, p. 217] playing."

{It would be exceedingly foolhardy to attempt such a ritual (in the waking-state) as a mutually-witnessed group. In order to be safe (from being informed-on to the royalist government), each participant (if in the waking-state) ought to do the ritual separately and privately, unobserved by the others.}

VME = Lynne Hume & Nevill Drury : The Varieties of Magical Experience. Praeger, Santa Barbara (CA), 2013.

Pitcairn 1833 = R. Pitcairn : Criminal Trials in Scotland .... Edinburgh : Tait.

{Surely, the intent was to overthrow monarchy in order to institute democracy, a Hermetic/Rosicrucian/FreeMasonic plan not successful until the insurrection of the 13 American colonies commencing in 1776.}

p. 165 men in black as musicians

""the Man in black sometimes playes ["sic"] on a Pipe or Cittern, and the company dance" (Crowther cites Murray in Lid off the Cauldron, 1981, p. 88)."

Patricia Crowther : Lid Off the Cauldron : a Handbook For Witches. London : Mu:ller, 1981.

pp. 165 & 168 macabre music

p. 165 ""macabre music made with curious instruments -- horses' skulls, oak-logs,

p. 168 ""... has a horse skull which he plays as a zither ... . Another ... strikes an oak-tree, which gives out a note and an echo ... . ..." (Remigius, 1693 [-- cited in Purser 1992], p. 88)"

human bones, etc. ..." ... (Trevor-Roper, [1967], p. 16)."

{Human thigh-bones are used as trumpets in Bodish religious musical-instrument repertoire.}

Purser 1992 = John Purser : Scotland's Music. Edinburgh : Mainstream Publ Co.

Trevor-Roper 1967 = Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper : The European Witch-Craze of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. NY : Harper & Row. (reprinted Middlesex : Peregrine, 1984)

pp. 166-7 hymns for S`; musical instruments

p. 166

""At Tranent (1659) eight women and a man ... confessed to 'having merry meetings with Satan {S`}, enlivened with music and dancing ... and the two favourite airs of his majesty were ... Maggie, ... come thy way with me and Hulie thy bed will ... ." (Spottiswoode Miscellany ii, 1844-5, p. 68 ... is reproduced from the Skene manuscript, 1620 cited in J. Purser,

p. 167

Scotland's Music, 1992, p. 123. ...)

A typical witches' sabbath ... contained music, dancing and lewd activity ... where the musical accompaniment favoured appears to be bagpipes and horns from contemporary illustrations (reproduced in Robbins, [1959])."

Robbins 1959 = Rossell Hope Robbins : The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. NY : Crown Publ. (reprinted London : Peter Nevill, 1965)

p. 170 vogue of La Volta amongst witches

""Monsieur Bodins ... saith that at these magicall assemblies, the witches never fail to danse ... . ... Item he saith, that these ... night-dancing witches, brought out of Italie into France, that danse ... called La Volta." (I. Bod. De daemon. Lib. 2, cap. 4, cited in R. Scot, [1584], p. 24)

The fore-mentioned 'La Volta' was a popular dance during the period originating in Italy ... and containing a few risque' steps. ... (Hughes, 1952)"

Scot 1584 = Reginald Scot : The Discoverie of Witchcraft. 1584. (reprinted Carbondale : Southern Illinois Univ Pr 1965; Amsterdam : Theatrum Orbis Terrarum & NY : DaCapo Press, 1971; NY : Dover Publ, 1972.)

Hughes 1952 = Pennethorne Hughes : Witchcraft. London : Longmans.


Melvyn J. Willin : Music, Witchcraft and the Paranormal. Melrose Bks, Ely (Cambridgeshire), 2005.