The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20699 Message #216608
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
23-Apr-00 - 02:53 PM
Thread Name: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
"Wicca" (from the Anglo-Saxon word) and most current "neo-pagan" practices were invented in the 20th century; Gerald Gardiner (a master fantasist in his way) was a prime mover, partly inspired by the theories -now largely discredited- of Dr. Margaret Murray. All religions have to start somewhere, and have all at some point been "made up" by somebody or other, so I make no value-judgement here on their worth or otherwise; but these cannot be proven to have any linear connections with pre-Christian traditions, though obviously they draw heavily on whatever scraps of information can be salvaged, in a "mix and match" kind of way. The same goes for Morris dance; there may at some time have been links to pagan practices, but there is no evidence that that was ever the case in England. Your average pre-revival Morris dancer would probably have been outraged at any suggestion that he was conducting a pagan ritual! Equally, there is (to the best of my knowledge) no known "Pagan" music that has survived in Western tradition, though the trichordal melodies associated with ritual songs and children's games are very old and may well have existed before the advent of Christianity; the point is that the evidence simply is not there, and wishing will not make it so.