When I was little there was nothing more magical than the music at Midnight Christmas Mass. The church was left in darkness most of the Mass. Melodies seemed to arise from all corners of the church seemingly of their own accord. It was music that was easy to sing to for most ranges. More people knew the lyrics and tune and would sing along even if they claimed to never sing any other time of the year. It was bliss to hear the old stone structure alive with music late into the night.
Eventually, I went to different churches after moving and such. Music wasn’t the same and midnight mass was often at 10pm rather than in the secret, dead part of the night. The magic dimmed for me. Frankly, the magic of that Mass also was dimmed by my growing frustration with the Catholic Church of my birth.
Now, I celebrate the solstice as my Winter Holiday. I honor the darkness and silence that comes with the season. I create my own traditions and rituals to mark this turning point. There is magic again in the timing and the words I use. I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to find the music to fit my mood on Solstice Night. There is a memory of magic and darkness and song that I am desperately trying to resurrect in my current tradition. It’s been harder to do than I imagined.
Pagans love music. We adore our gypsy and rocker musicians. They are the bards of our time, mixing old world magic and modern elements. We have chants and new lyrics to old songs. Still, we don’t have the same level of profound Winter Solstice music that Christmas celebrants can rely on. There are some Pagan artists that have done seasonal albums with, in my opinion, mixed results. I want more. I want the darker, deeper, sounds that convey the darkness and hope for peace all at once.
The only song that has really captured the music I’m searching for is S.J. Tucker’s “Solstice Night”. It was a single that she released in 2013. It has lyrics easy to remember. There is space for vocalists to keep it simple or build upon. There is depth and hope in the melody. The message is clear, Light and Peace.
This year I attempted to incorporate some drumming into my ritual. I’m starting to learn the bodhran, an Irish drum. It was lovely and added a bit of what I was looking for. Maybe Awen will inspire me to create some Winter Solstice music, but that really isn’t the strongest of my gifts.
I will dream of the day when I can envelop my space with during Winter Solstice Ritual with the sounds I imagine help bring the Sun back into our lives.
Enjoy your holiday celebrations! May you have all the time in the world to spend with loved ones!
If you know of great Yule songs, please leave them in the comments below 🙂