Wednesday 3 December 2008

Yuletide songs

I've always felt there are too few pagan Yuletide songs. Apart from Jethro Tull's "Ring Out Solstice Bells" from the album Songs from the Wood, which came out in the late 1970s, I can't think of any that have made the charts.

Now, pagan organisation Children of Artemis is promoting a pagan Yule song called “Bringing the Outside In”, by Celtic folk rock band The Dolmen. If enough people download the track this week, the song has a chance of gaining high enough ratings to be a Yuletide hit. You can download it from for 80p.

You can also listen to a preview of the song on the site to see whether you like it before buying it. To me, it sounds a bit like another 1970s classic, "Children of the Revolution" by T-Rex, which is on The Essential Collection: 25th Anniversary Edition. I've always been a bit of a Marc Bolan fan, so any song that is an homage to his style is worth listening to in my opinion.

I was also thinking it might be a good idea to put together an all-time top 10 pagan Yule songs, so if you have any suggestions leave a comment below.

Songs from the Wood
The Essential Collection: 25th Anniversary Edition


Anonymous said...

I too love that Jethro Tull song, it is on my Christmas album, and I love listening to it.


slothgoth said...

Lots of people have issued versions of the lovely winter reel 'To Drive the Cold Winter Away', including Loreena McKennitt and Horslips. That always makes me feel ready for midwinter.

Various midwinter wassails appear to have had 'God' references tacked on at a later date, and 'The Holly and the Ivy' has clearly been very lightly 'christianised' indeed. I always imagine some early priest in a forest chapel adding his lines to the older carol to make the Christian story easy to remember for a people more accustomed to its praise of nature.

( gives a very likely origin for it, the older carol 'The Contest of the Ivy and the Holly')

One carol I just played yesterday is 'Down in Yon Forest', on the album Fire and Sleet and Candlelight - a nativity song, but again the chorus 'sing May, Queen May, sing merry!' suggests something older to me.

Joyous winter hugs. Stay warm!

slothgoth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
slothgoth said...

Some make the line 'May, Queen May, sing Mary'.

The original is probably the Grail Carol which mentions no Mary but a 'may' (maiden) mourning for a fallen knight.

*ceases babbling*

Anonymous said...

Love this Dolmen track. Apparently it debuted at Witchfest, so I can say I heard it first!
I also love the Mediaeval Baebes' version of Gaudete - all ethereal.

abruxa said...

The American group Mother Tongue has a truely lovely Pagan Yule cd, with great choral harmonies & instrumentation. I've had a copy for years now, and start playing it as soon as Samhain has past. You can find information at

Unknown said...

There's a Hawkwind album called Yule Ritual, though it doesn't realy look any more pagan than a standard Hawkwind album. It looks to be a live recording of a gig done at Yule. It can be downloaded at

Unknown said...

Ooops, just noticed that Hawkwind album can't actually be downloaded from the Progarchives site.

Anonymous said...

Although silly, what about Santa Claus is Pagan by Emerald Rose?

Anonymous said...

You can start with "Deck the Halls," "The Contest of the Holly and the Ivy," and "Hail Smiling Morn."

Anonymous said...

Free pagan / solstice greeting cards are at
Just click on the card, download it and print it from home.
See the instructions on how to fold your printed card. I love it.

Katherine Blake said...

Only just discovered this blog!! How about "On Horseback", Mike. Oldfield,, there's also "Unconquered Sun", Steeleye Span," Holly King", Inkubus Sukkubus, and also Damh The Bard "Pat a pan". )0(