My Winter Solstice Playlist

Last year I had a fun time sharing music videos and counting down to the Winter Solstice.  This year I’ve decided not to do that but I will share with you my current Solstice playlist.  It includes several Pagan tracks – both explicitly wintery and some that just strike me as such.  Also included are some secular holiday tunes and traditional Christian ones.  Anything that strikes me as particularly magical, fun, or archetypal tends to make my playlist.  I’m always looking for new tunes.  I would love to get my hands on “Santa Clause is Pagan Too” by Emerald Rose but it’s not available for digital download.  If you can suggest anything new, let me know!

  1. “Deck the Halls” – From a “Celtic Christmas” Lifescapes album. – It’s an instrumental but I love it, particularly the drumming.  This tune has always struck me as very Pagan given the emphasis on “Yuletide” rather than Christmas.
  2. “A Winter Wassail” by Faith and the Muse – A great cover of a traditional song.  How can you go wrong?  Wassailing.  Singing to trees.  Fun times.
  3. “Greensleeves” by Loreena McKennit – While not explicitly wintery, I grew up hearing “What Child is This” at Christmas mass so the tune is linked to this time of year.  Coupled with my love of anything that sounds Renaissance or Medieval and it just makes sense that I like it.
  4. “Fairy Tale” by Omnia – Again, not really about the Solstice or even winter.  That said, winter was the time our ancestors gathered around the fire and passed the dark nights by telling tales…
  5. “Carol of the Bells” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Oh come on.  It’s epic.
  6. “Mr. Heatmiser” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  You’re probably laughing about this one.  It’s nostalgic since it’s a cover from a holiday special.  It’s also vaguely Pagan since heat and cold are personified into spirits!
  7. The “Main Title” of “Game of Thrones” by Ramin Djawadi.  What could be more wintery than “winter is coming!?”
  8. “Now Make Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Lhiannan.  This is a Pagan cover of a Christmas song.  The instrumental in the beginning and the end is a bit corny sounding, but the singing is enjoyable.  It’s all about the sun!
  9. “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl.  This is not your average Christmas song thanks to the content (drunk Irishmen and broken hearts) and the language (“faggot”), but it’s very enjoyable, especially if you’re into Irish music!
  10. “Natural Dance” by Trobar De Morte – I’m not sure why I originally added this.  I think it has something to do with the bells and the sound of wind at the beginning.  I guess it just sounds like a dark winter night.  Unfortunately I can’t find a translation…  For all I know this could be the antithesis of the Winter Solstice but c’est la vie.  Anyone have any leads to this?
  11. “Ring Out Solstice Bells” by Jethro Tull – An excellent Solstice song.  Very catchy despite the fact that my husband thinks Tull is singing “sausages” instead of “Solstice bells.”  If you’ve never seen it, do search Youtube for the animated music video.
  12. “Winter Harp” by Lori Pappajohn – I love harp music.  Going back to our ancestors sitting around a fire and listening to tales, I imagine music would have been particularly comforting during those hard, blustery days.  Thanks to a FB friend for recommending this!
  13. “St. Patrick’s Christms Jig” – This is another Lifescapes song from “Christmas Celtic.”  The title is very Catholic seeming, but it’s a fun Irish song.  Very celebratory!
  14. “Snow Angel” by Tori Amos – I can’t help but like this song.  Although about an angel, it could easily be about a snow spirit of some sort who brings comfort during a dark Midwinter.
  15. “Christians and Pagans” by Dar Williams – A classic!  No Winter Solstice playlist is complete without it, especially if you have Christian family members and/or are trying to reconcile your new beliefs with your old.  It’s all about finding “common ground.”
  16. “White Night Fantasy” by Nightwish – From their album “Once,” this is another wintery song featuring an enchantress.
  17. “Silent Night” by Sarah Brightman – Although this is a very Christian song, I still feel touched when I hear it.  It’s very archetypal when you get down to it.  It helps that my mum sang this to me as a lullaby when I was little.
  18. “The Holy and the Ivy” by Landscapes “Christmas Celtic” – This is an example of how Pagan and Christian symbolism have combined, creating a lovely song and common ground for multi-faith celebrations.
  19. “Waltz of Flowers” by Tchaikovsky – From “The Nutcracker” of course!  While about flowers, it’s difficult to remove the wintery connection!  This is my favorite from the ballet…  It makes me want to twirl!
  20. “Carol of the Meows” by Guster – A friend sent me this one year and it continues to delight me.
  21. “The Coventry Carol” by The Mediaeval Baebes – This is a very sad, traditional Christian song sung in remembrance of the children killed by King Harod.  I added it to the mix because I love The Mediaeval Baebes and this is a very deep piece so full of meaning and different from a lot of what is played on the radio at this time of year.  It is right to be joyful, but we also need to stop and remember those who suffer at this time.
  22. “Lord of the Dance/Simple Gifts” by Blackmore’s Night – Again, more Christian music but it’s hard not to smile at the lyrics.  There’s something very Pagan about it…  In fact, I heard a Pagan cover once upon a time.  I wish I could find it…  “Simple Gifts,” an old Shaker song, is also good during this time of excess.  Also, I adore Blackmore’s Night.
  23. “Cloak of Feathers” by Damh the Bard – A song about Blodeuwed or “Flower Face”. It is easy to interpret her flowery face as the spring and her owl face as the winter.
  24. “Brawl Official” by Wolgemut – The tune sounds like a traditional Christmas song, ok.  Just…substituting Germanic bagpipes for lyrics.  Very joyous!
  25. “Christmas Dirge” by Nellie McKay – Another sad song but I love it.  The singer finds sympathy for Christmas trees through paralleling their treatment with her broken heart and ends by empathizing with all living beings.  “Death is no requirement for your happiness.”  Thought provoking and very different from what you hear at the department stores!  And hey, being a treehugger is very Druidic!
  26. “Sugar Plum Fairy” by Tchaikovsky – Once more, from “The Nutcracker!”
  27. “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles (sung by George Harrison) – Number one, I’m a huge Beatles fan.  Number two, this song about the sun returning after a difficult time is perfect for this celebration!
  28. “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson and the Boston Pops – A traditional instrumental for the winter season.  I remember playing this in orchestra…  I have many fond memories attached to this song, but also can’t help but imagine playing in the snow when I hear it.
  29. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” sung by Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer – Provocative, sexy, and mildly offensive.  My husband and I love it.
  30. “Good King Wenceslas” by Lifescapes on “Christmas Celtic” – Another from that album, I know!  The musicians are really quite good.
  31. “On Midwinter’s Day” by Damh the Bard – An excellent celebratory song from Damh!  Very Pagan and fun.
  32. “December Ends” by Enter the Haggis – This song gets caught in my head all the time.  Enter the Haggis is an interesting, Canadian band – kind of an eclectic, “Neo-Irish” sound.  This is a neat song that includes references to December, snow, and sun!

So, does anyone have any other suggestions for my playlist?  I’m always looking for more Pagan tracks.

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

6 thoughts on “My Winter Solstice Playlist

  1. Going to need to hunt down and listen to your suggestions! Having been brought up without religion, just celebrating Christmas, I usually don’t register the religious overtones of some songs. …Unless they are actually hymns… But I never really listen to those. I never did. Kinda don’t like them (unless they are very well done, and I can ignore the words and listen to the sound.) Not that I’m bashing!

    I don’t know if my suggestions are really what you’d be looking for-

    John Lennon- “Happy xMas (War Is Over)”
    Straight No Chaser- “Africa”
    Jimmy Eat World- “Last Christmas” (my fav cover of this song…)
    August Burns Red- “Carol of the Bells” (this is a metal cover. yes.)
    BarlowGirl- “Carol of the Bells/Sing We Now of Christmas” (really well sung…)
    Charlotte Church- “Dream a Dream”
    FlyLeaf- “Do You Hear What I Hear”
    Blackmore’s Night- “Good King Wenceslas” (no.. not in Czech. Still looking. but it’s the first version I heard that doesn’t say “Christian men”)
    TransSiberian Orchestra- “Christmas Canon” (The rock version is good, too!)
    TransSiberian Orchestra- “Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo”

    Comedy songs-

    Jonathan Coulton- “podsafe Christmas Song”
    Jonathan Coulton- “Chiron Beta Prime”
    Arrogant Worms – “Santa’s gonna kick your ass”
    Twisted Christmas Album by Bob Rivers (“12 Pains of Christmas” and more!)
    Stephen Colbert- “Another Christmas Song”
    Straight No Chaser- “Christmas Can-can”

    1. Thanks, Cat! I appreciate all the suggestions. I actually heard Lennon’s song on the radio the other day and thought that would make a good addition. Now that I don’t work in retail and have to hear it a million times each week, it’s less of an annoyance. 😉 And I’ll have to look into Blackmore’s Night(‘s?) version of “Good King Wenceslas.” I adore that band.

      And the Jonathan Coulton songs rock!

  2. Hi, this is Arthur from Emerald Rose. How about a free download of the new version of,” Santa Claus is Pagan Too.” Go to the Emerald Rose site , right click on the Santa link, and select, “download.” Happy yule/Solstice ! Enjoy, dance, and stay warm. So there. 😉

  3. There’s also “Bring back the Light” from the Enchantress album, and “In Praise of Winter” by Kiva. ^_^ (Looking for pagan music m’self, both as a listener, and one who’s working on the holiday edition of my podcast, Eclectica. :))

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