The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20699   Message #216643
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
23-Apr-00 - 04:24 PM
Thread Name: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
Subject: RE: The Pagan Alternative. What's the music?
I'd guess that tunes like "Nonesuch" have been picked up by neo-pagans because some of them think that it is "ancient" and therefore somehow "pre-Christian".  That's the kind of woolly thinking that makes it so hard to take many of them seriously.  (There are plenty of sensible ones, of course, who don't have such illusions and probably just like the tune).  The same thing may be seen in many enthusiastic converts to "Keltic" music, who also often seem to believe, against all the evidence, that much of (particularly) Irish music is incredibly ancient.  The use of (completely anachronistic) uilleann pipes in such films as Braveheart, for example, just serves to reinforce such misunderstandings.

So far as Diesel's comments go, I'd just add a couple of caveats: the Church (of whatever denomination) is always inclined to characterise folk-belief as pagan or heathen, while the holders of those beliefs themselves would not do so, considering themselves to be good Christians.  While there certainly are pre-Christian influences visible in most folk cultures, only the outsider, or someone influenced by folklorists, is likely to make a clear distinction between different parts of the continuum of belief.

Llanfair makes a good point; all religions build on the traditions of their predecessors, and, if they are wise, absorb as much as they can in order to gain general acceptance.   It is probably a mistake to assume the existence in Western Europe, at any rate, of a continuous "underground" and consciously pagan tradition, however; while it is not impossible, it is very unlikely.