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Blessed Winter Solstice!  Merry Yule!  Hail the sun and hail to life!

We’ve finally made it to the 21st day of December and my series of Solstice music!  I give you a classic with a Celtic twist – “Deck the Halls” from the seemingly generic Lifescapes album “Christmas Celtic.”  It’s one of those atmospheric CDs you can buy in card shops.  My mum gave it to me when I first started studying Druidism.  I love it.  I’ve never heard holiday music like it.  Deck the Halls is an old standard with incredibly Pagan lyrics, and this begins sounding typical – but wait until the middle!  Everything picks up and all I want is to be in an Irish pub dancing away the Solstice with the tribe!  It always gets me in the mood for festivities.  I’ve played it several times tonight as I prepare the Solstice dinner.

On the menu tonight: a vegetarian roast with baked potatoes, carrots, and scallions; steamed brussels sprouts; fresh bread, and bread pudding.  We’re going to eat, have a Solstice ritual in honor of the sun and the Nature Spirits enduring the cold, then open gifts – but only after giving a garland of popcorn and cranberries to the Nature Spirits.

May everyone have a wonderful Yuletide filled with love, joy, good food, and light!

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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I’m back from a successful and amazing craft show!  I will post more about that some other time.  For now I need to catch up on the 21 Days of Solstice Music!  Eeep!

Let’s start off something psychedelic.

http://www.youtube.com/v/PVvmTv4iKsI?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x234900&color2=0x4e9e00
“Shaman Spirit Reindeer of Siberia” by Magicfolk is one of the most interesting holidays songs I’ve ever heard.  The music video is bizarre but playful*.  I can’t help but love it.  You see, each December I find myself contemplating the complex origins of Santa Claus.  Was he a Christian saint?  Is he the modernized, transformed winter Odin or Thor?  Is he a demi-God?  Or was he originally a reindeer shaman in Siberia?  (There are whole books dedicated to that possibility.)

The next selection cannot be embedded so I’ll link it here.  It’s Jesse L. Martin singing “Abundance and Charity” from “The Christmas Carol” musical.  I’m posting this because the Ghost of Christmas Present reminds me of An Dagda.  The actor in this video isn’t how I imagine An Dagda looking, but the Good God is all about providing for the tribe.  His cauldron makes sure everyone gets what they’re due.  Sometimes that magic manifests in us and inspires us to take care of each other.  (Perhaps there’s a little bit of An Dagda in Santa?)  He is also, in my experience, all about enjoying life.  Food (his cauldron and ability to pack it in), music (his magical harp), and sex/flirting are some of his specialties.  The actor in this clip really captures that.

http://www.youtube.com/v/t_KiHRHwaAs?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b

Here’s a classic – “The Christians and the Pagans” by Dar Williams. It’s another one of those songs that can (should) be common ground for multi-religious families.  It captures the real meaning of this time of year – coming together as a tribe, no matter our differences, to celebrate the season and love.

http://www.youtube.com/v/n6j4TGqVl5g?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01

Finally, I couldn’t celebrate the Winter Solstice and the sun without George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.”  Ok, so it’s not what most consider a traditional holiday tune, but 1) I’m a huge Beatles fan and 2) it’s all about the sun and how its “coming” gives us happiness and reassurance – even in the cold of winter.

Join me tomorrow for the final selection!

* I totally own the dragon plush they use…

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Goodness, I’ve been really delinquent this time!  I apologize for the lateness.  As usual, I’ve been really busy working on items for the craft show this (THIS) weekend.  I also celebrated my birthday which kept me away from the computer.

Anyway, here are some Winter Solstice tunes!

First off, the Daws of ADF composed a Winter Solstice song.  If you’re an ADF member, you can see the lyrics and even listen to an audio clip!   The Daws are wonderful, musical people and I love to show off ADF’s talent.  I apologize to the non ADFers who weren’t able to sample their piece.

Second, I give you “Once Upon a December” from the movie “Anastasia.”  Ok…so the fictionalized recovery of a Russian princess isn’t particularly festive or Pagan, but I’ve come to view this song as a seasonal favorite.  It’s all about memories associated with winter.  We all have them – a song, scent, or object triggers our memories and we remember something from our past.  Sometimes it’s dreamlike.  Did it even really happen?  There can be magic to it, as in the magic of childhood we are forced to recall this time of year.

Speaking of memories…  and Russia…  I can’t help but post “Trepak” aka “The Russian Dance” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet.  It’s short but amazingly sweet.  I used to play the viola in high school and we traditionally played this every December.  Once upon a time, I could play parts of it by memory. One of these days I’ll buy a viola and this sheet music…  Anyway, I associate this with the holidays.  Really, any Nutcracker music.  Although the characters start off celebrating Christmas, the focus moves to a magical world inhabited by all sorts of spirits – outsider-like rat spirits, a plethora of fairies, and sprites associated with everything from different cultures to household sweets.

Finally, a new favorite of mine from the ever inspiring Damh the Bard – “On Midwinter’s Day.”  It’s another great song for Pagans and our more open-minded monotheistic friends!

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Another chunk of songs for your Solstice enjoyment!

We’ll start with something more serious.  This one was a suggestion from a reader (onelittlepagan) – a Paganized version of “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Craig Olson.  The images of an actual Solstice celebration are beautiful.  What a lovely home!  Thanks for sharing, onelittlepagan!  I had only ever heard the Christian version and this cover, I find, works well.

http://www.youtube.com/v/zwCYKYru1nw?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6

How about a song about nissers, spirits from Norway and Denmark who are basically gnomes?  They’ve become associated with both Christmas and Solstice.  Many families leave porridge with a pat of butter out for them during the holidays.  Perhaps nissers are in Santa’s spiritual DNA?  I wouldn’t discount it.  I don’t know if I have any Norwegian blood in me (if I do, it’s from a very, very long time ago…) but my husband does.  I wonder if there are nissers around, just waiting for us to befriend them?  Anyway, this adorable little song is called “Jeg Tror Der Findes Nisser” (“I Think There are Gnomes”) by Thomas Kjellerup.

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And while we’re dealing with European spirits, what Solstice would be complete without The Krampus Christmas Song?  While Nissers can have a malicious streak if crossed, the Krampus is a bit terrifying.  Meeting him and his birch whipping rod is way worse than getting coal.  Krampus is a huge tradition in parts of Europe (and even some parts of America).  On a certain day of the year, several adults will dress up as Krampus and roam the streets to frighten children with old chains.  Some even lightly hit people.  Sounds fun, to me!

http://www.youtube.com/v/6EmqsEHl3P8?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Tumakhunter sent me a suggestion for my 21 Days of Solstice Music series – a lovely Paganized version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”  It’s called “Make Ye Merry Gentlemen” and is by a group called Lhiannan.  Thanks for sharing, Tumakhunter!  If anyone else has suggestions, do let me know.  I have a few other songs lined up, but there’s always room for more. 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/v/QGrY-0QdfpI?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Apologies for the delay but I’ve been feeling ill.  Thanks to all my readers on blogger, lj, and facebook for your support for this series, and even some suggestions!  I’ve got a few more songs coming up later this week, but I wanted to post a couple new ones that I discovered through The Juggler.

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“Santa’s Pagan Too” by Emerald Rose.

I sometimes feel jaded by the trickery associated with parents performing as Santa.  This song reminded me that Santa is really a spirit who can possess or inspire us to give.  Sometimes his image, like so many, is used to excuse materialism – but I don’t think that’s really what he’s about.  Santa stands for generosity, fun, the magic of childhood, and good family memories.  Still, I think I would go about the tradition differently should I ever have children of my own.

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“The Solstice Song” by Finvarra’s Wren.  A lovely folk song that looks forward to the spring, much as our ancestors would have done this time of year.

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Don’t you love those traditional, non-denominational winter songs?  They can make us nostalgic, connect us to family and friends who celebrate Christmas, and help us find the positive in all the snow we have to shovel.  Up here in the North Country, we have a lot!  Be that as it may, I love leaving my home in the morning to see a frosted forest.  If you look at the snow just right, you can see it glitter like magical fairy dust.

Enjoy this old favorite – “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” – by Dean Martin.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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