Music, Witchcraft and the Paranormal, II.3



"Music in Modern European Paganism"


p. 227 music used by NeoPagan covens

[quoted from Magliocco & Tannen 1998 :] "Some covens have songs or chants for opening and closing the circle, for calling the quarters ["invoking the 'spirits' of the four cardinal points of a circle ..."], or for invoking the deities. ... Pagans also use songs as raw materials for spells and rituals."

pp. 229-30 [quoted from Godwin 1987, 62] shunning musical instruments

p. 229

"Not for many centuries did the organ, the instrument of the circus, become a fixture in Christian churches, and other instruments were never ... at home there. The fears of the Fathers were justified in post-Reformation times, when the High Mass and major Offices

p. 230

tended to degenerate into concerts".

pp. 233-4 shaman's drum; flautist for incense-offering; fairies' harp

p. 233

The "shaman's drum is an important tool of his craft and voodoo ... African drummers all use these instruments in their rituals. ... Gilbert Rouget ... devotes ... in his book Music and Trance (1985) ... one complete section '... Effects of Drumming' ... that

drumming can act as a "triggering effect" upon trance ... but only in so far as it is a part of the overall experience.

{The drumming during a sung invocation of the deities may induce spirit-possession, but only insofar as the prospective possessee is already proprely initiated or otherwise chosen by the possessing-deity owing to pious attitude and devout behaviour.}

He cites candomble` drumming as an example of this".

p. 234

"in antiquity "music at the time of the offering of incense to the gods was prevalent" (Ralls-MacLeod, 2000, p. 163) and ... flute players were present on these occasions in ancient Rome."

""... enchanting music of the fairy harp is referred to ... as having a ... 'twang of the fairy spell'" (Ralls-MacLeod, 2000)."

Rouget 1985 = Gilbert Rouget : Music and Trance. Univ of Chicago Pr.

Ralls-MacLeod 2000 = Karen Ralls-MacLeod : Music and the Celtic Otherworld. Edinburgh : Polygon; NY : St Martin's Pr.

p. 235 a combination of voice with drumming can heal

[quoted from Howard 2000] "Lines of {praeternatural} power exist all around us. What I ... do is tap into that power through sound and vibration using my voice and a drum. ... When the lines of power are met, ... a healing can occur."

Howard 2000 = Keith Howard : "Shamanism, Music, and the Soul Train". In :- Peregrine Horden (ed.) : Music as Medicine : the History of Music Therapy since Antiquity. Aldershot : Ashgate.

p. 237 musical pieces for the solstices & the aequinoctes




A Midsummer Night's Dream by Mendelssohn

Hope 1987, p. 44


The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky

"'Drawing Down the Moon' ... at Midsummer"

Sinfonia Antartica ('Antarctic Symphony' the 7th symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams)

Farrar & Farrar 1984, p. 186


The Danse Macabre by Saint-Sae:ns

McCoy [1994], p. 52

Midsummer Solstice

Here Comes the Sun

McCoy [1994], p. 171

Hope 1987 = Murry Hope : Practical Celtic Magic. Wellingborough (Northamptonshire) : Aquarian Pr; NY : Sterling Publ Co.

Farrar & Farrar 1984 = Janet & Stewart Farrar : A Witches' Bible. Custer (WA) : Phoenix; London : Robert Hale.

McCoy 1994 = Edain McCoy : The Sabbats. St Paul (MN) : Llewellyn.

{For a "Drawing Down the Moon" caerimony, why not use Moon Water (sold along with Sinfonia Antartica)? }

pp. 237-8 musical pieces for the elements (Green 1970, p. 23)






Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg


Fingal's Cave by Mendelssohn


Pas de deux by Tchaikovsky



The Magic Fire by Wagner

Green 1970 = M. Green : "Music for the Elements". QUEST 4 (Dec).

pp. 238-9 musical pieces for astronomy






Daphnis and Chloe by Ravel

Gosselin 1998, pp. 5-6


Clair de Lune by Debussy


Birth of Liquid Pleiades by Tangerine Dream


Also Spracht Zarathustra by Strauss

cinema-film 2001 Space Odyssey



Planets Suite by Holst

Gosselin 1998 = C. Gosselin : "Esoteric Music". BROOM CUPBOARD 2, issue 3 (Feb).

p. 239 "Mercury is also a trickster god". {Wrong! Not Mercurius, but instead Hermes (who is different from Mercurius) is a trickster-god; and planet Stilbon ('Glitterer', the metal quicksilver) may be aequated with Mercurius (though not with Hermes). Nbo> (Nabu, aequated with DH.WTJ as god of writing) is no trickster either. Furthermore, neither Mercurius nor Hermes is god of loss of clothing (as alleged on p. 240); but the god of clothing (and loss thereof) is, instead, Oba-tala.}

p. 241 Why employ specifically Christian music?

"Another interesting observation is the pagan use of overtly Christian music in rites ... . Gregorian chant was popular and Hildegard von Bingen's music was mentioned".

{Would not music from India or from China be more pertinent to a pagan European theme than anything Christian, Muslim, or Yhudi?}

p. 241 little religious music currently being composed?

[quoted from Gosselin 1998, p. 5] "I have noticed that there is pathetically little good religious music of any sort ... being written these days."

{Is not abundant religious music being composed by Hindus, by Chinese, by AmerIndians, by traditionalist Africans, and by still other tribesfolk?}

pp. 242-3 harmony & mode in folk-music

p. 242

"Because folk music is often modal, it resisted assimilation into the well-established formulas of major-minor tonality and thereby challenged composers to adopt unusual harmonies."

p. 243

[quoted from Stewart 1988, p. 18 :] "There is ... a mass of evidence that plainsong modes were naturally developed from the types of scale and song used by the common people {laity}".

Stewart 1988 = R. J. Stewart : Where is Saint George? London : Blanford Pr.

p. 244 energy-raising? or spirit-invoking?

"recorded music being used in pagan gatherings. Countries mentioned included

North America (Native American {AmerIndian} chants),

Afro-Caribbean {of the African diaspora},

Egypt {Mis.r}

(... 'zaar' instrumental music for energy raising), ...

{Zar is a method not of raising mere "energy", but of raising spirits and inducing such raised spirits to enter bodies of the living for spirit-mediumship-performances.}

Irish traditional,

Finnish ... ."

pp. 247-8 Scottish & Irish music and song

p. 247

""And we avoid vocals, unless they're Enya/Clannad type vocals ... ."

Loreena McKennitt's music seemed to have a quality that was particularly in harmony with pagan concepts ... . ... . ... titles of some of the tracks on her albums ...

p. 248

include ... Samhain Night, Standing Stones and Huron 'Beltane' Fire Dance (from Parallel Dreams) ... . Her video releases include ... ('The Burning Times') ... a potted history of witchcraft that is attractive to pagans".

pp. 248-9 "New Age" music

p. 248

"the New Age movement's inclusion of music from different traditions such as Native American Indian encourages a broadening of listening ... . ...

p. 249

Watson and Drury ... (... 1987, p. 79) ... claims its origins to come from "cosmic rock music, Indians ragas {raga-s} ..."."

Watson & Drury 1987 = Andrew Watson & Nevill Drury : Healing Music. Bridport (Dorset) : [Nature & Health Bk Ser,] Prism Press; Garden City Park (NY) : Avery Publ.

pp. 252-3 Enigma; Mediaeval Baebes

p. 252

"Enigma ... of Michael Cretu ... was later joined by his wife Sandra who provides the vocals. The 'project' was started in late 1990 ... . The words highlight the conflict between the Church and sexuality."

"The Mediaeval Baebes were formed in 1996 when a medieval music enthusiast, Dorothy Carter, inspired Katherine Blake ... with the group Miranda Sex Garden, with her ...

p. 253

medieval instruments. ... The music is ... composed ... making use of medieval idioms ... . ... The sleeve notes confirm ... : "Mediaeval Baebes have played in such diverse venues as castles and S&M clubs, as well as ... Glastonbury and Lilith Fair.""

pp. 259-60 other named musical bands : Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, etc.

p. 259

"The Rolling Stones's song Sympathy for the Devil may have ... influenced ... the film Lucifer Rising ... . ...

In 1970, the group Black Widow launched a stage show described as a Satanic {S`at.ani^} rock opera complete with a naked girl as the altar. ...

p. 260

Other groups, such as Inkubus Sukkubus, Runestones and Druidspear were named as being overtly pagan.

The Black Sabbath track My Name is Lucifer was mentioned".

p. 261 what neo-pagan music is

"What is Pagan music? ... Songs and lyrics that reach inside you and touch the inner depths of your soul."

p. 262 music is for spiritual empowerment

"music would help raise energy levels that would contribute to greater empowerment and facilitate stronger magic, ... during an altered state of consciousness."

p. 263 benefits accrued from music

"Mentions of "altered states of consciousness", "trance inducement", "meditation" and accessing ... the psychic ... side ... were encountered in many of the replies and this is clearly an important part of the pagan ritual that music is thought to benefit. One reply said : "during the ritual[,] power raising can induce a trance effect or affect the psyche ...; can ... bind us with the ancestors. I feel that ... music ... enhances the ritual.""

pp. 264-5 the music is for inviting of deities

p. 264

"Spirit contact was said to be enchanced by the use of music and it was also said to be "a gift from the gods" and a "gift to the gods". ...

p. 265

In Egyptian rituals that I have attended, some people present have believed that they have been 'taken over' by various Egyptian deities."

pp. 264 & 266 music for healing

p. 264

"... a final use for music has been for healing. A group of folks build a 'tone cone' and focus on an individual {patient} in the middle. In other words, everyone sings a vowel and varies the tone and vowel improvisionally."

p. 266

"We have also used music in healing and have found that different notes and sounds are 'experienced' in different parts of the body ... ."

"Cyril Scott, the composer and writer on occult matters, believed that music would also be used to heal diseases directly ... :

"Before very long music will be used in a specific manner to heal diseases through special combinations of sounds. ...

{Such music is able to attract healing deities (Asklepios, Patecatl, etc.), who, while remaining unseen by mortals (except by those having "second sight"), perform the healings.}

At present, the majority of composers are working in the dark and are even unaware that their music produces any occult effects at all ..." (Scott, 1935, p. 159)."

Scott 1935 = Cyril Scott : An Outline of Modern Occultism. London : Routledge.

pp. 266-7 music for physically moving massive matter

p. 266

"The ... ability of music to physically move matter ..., has been discussed in various parapsychological sources (Playfair and Hill, 1978).

... concerning the power of the Awen (Druid empowering chant) : "... a stone circle was raised by the power of the AWEN. Stones

{The hefting and toting of massive objects is performed with, of course, the assistance of deities attracted by the music. Extra-ordinary feats of strength are routinely undertaken in shamanic performances by the same means.}

p. 267

weighing more than we should have been able to lift were set in place while chanting.""

Playfair & Hill 1978 = Guy Lyon Playfair & Scott Hill : The Cycles of Heaven : Cosmic Forces and What They are Doing to You. London : Souvenir Pr; NY : St. Martin's Pr.

p. 267 other praeternatural effects of music

"Several mentioned [that] spirits, ghosts, the 'Watchers', ... etc. contacted them during rituals : "the single drumming can cause ... a visitation ... ."

Another reply spoke of "possession" : "... esp. Loreena McKennitt -- The Visit which has invoked experience of the "possession type" by spirit." ...

Another reply spoke of music['s] helping a clairvoyant gift".

pp. 267-8 combination with darkness; rhythm for grade

p. 267

[quoted from Magliocco & Tannen 1998, p. 180 :] "The combination of the darkness and the a cappella performance ... created an expectation of the magical and transformative nature".

p. 268

"when I was working through the Bardic grade, I would put on her ["Gabrielle Roth"] music which is very rhythmic and driven by various storts of drums, and dance each element through her five rhythms."

Magliocco & Tannen 1998 = S. Magliocco & H. Tannen : "Towards an Aesthetics of Neo-Pagan Song". J OF THE FOLKLORE STUDIES ASSN OF CANADA 20.1:175-201.

p. 269 examples of Neo-pagan music

Among music "titles ... that are favourable to pagan concepts ... themes from nature, the cosmos, mythology, magic, mystery and the occult are popular. ... . ... the titles alone are representative of the themes encountered in music throughout the religion. These included

Burning Times,

Lady Moonlight,

Jack in the Green,

Ring out the Solstice Bells,

Twelve Witches,

Songs from the Wood,

Return of Pan,


Hooded Pan {Gri`mnir?},

Ancient Forest ... ."

p. 271 tonality of the music

""... most Neo-Pagan tunes are in what could be called the "Dorian/Aeolian hexatonic" mode, based on the notes D-E-F-G-A-C-D ... . When Pagans do fill the gap, it is usually with B, rather than Bb, which makes the scale Dorian rather than Aeolian." (Magliocco and Tannen, 1998, p. 182) ...

Most of the chants' harmonisations are very plain, often in 4ths and 5ths, suggesting an antique style that pre-dates Western key-based tonality."

pp. 274-6 music pieces recommended by the author for use in Neo-Pagan caerimonies







Philip Glass

"scenes from the life of the pharaoh"



" "

"from the ... Hopi Indian tribe"

Helios Overture

Carl Nielsen

"the sun rising"



Thomas Tallis


p. 297 Neo-Pagan music-websites recommended by the author


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