There was once a tale of a mute boy who could not pray with his peers in his place of worship. When they would pray in unison, he felt that God was displeased with him, and therefore prevented him from the ability to speak. At one prayer session, the young boy took out his flute while the others were chanting their words. Displeased with the music, some of the elders became angry and told the boy to stop. Then, another brave boy stood up and told the elders that it was neither the words nor the method of prayer that mattered, but rather that the prayer came from the heart. The Divine would be pleased with the boy’s prayer however he chose to approach it, so long as he was true to himself. From that day forward, that particular place of worship began all their prayer sessions with the young man playing the flute.
Music has the power to move us. It can change our moods. Whether the tune and beat make you reflect upon the Universe and ponder the natural wonders surrounding us, or simply get up and start dancing, we do not often think of music as such a powerful tool, especially when relating to the Divine. This music can span across all times and cultures: a simple beat from a mamba drum, a fiddler on the roof, pop music from the new age, or a grand symphony orchestra. It does not matter what your preference is as long as the music triggers an emotion inside of you that makes you feel something greater than yourself.
Songs are often used in Rituals. Some even say that without any melody, the chanting of the Coven is a composition in itself, which includes many different ranges of voices and a steady beat. Nonetheless, music that includes a melody can be useful as well. Because a major part of the Ritual is to raise energy, music can be key in obtaining the necessary energy to achieve a transcendent level of consciousness.
Beyond this, music is used in many Rituals and celebrations such as Imbolc and Samhain. They come at a time when the seasons are changing, and we find ourselves at a new beginning. Music has different phases, both throughout time, and within an individual song. The Wheel of the Year parallels this idea, and one may even say that it is a song in itself. There is a beginning – an introduction which may start of slow, fast, soft, or strong, depending upon how you make it. There is a verse, where we are adapting to the new environment, learning what the song is about. Then there is the chorus or refrain. This repeats itself as we become more and more familiar with what the Universe has to offer. There will likely be a bridge as well; an unexpected happening, with which we are all too familiar with, but once listened to carefully, you may recognize the bridge’s pattern, which is not so different from the other parts of the song after all. In fact, as its name implies, the bridge is the unifier of the other parts.
Whether you use music in Rituals, to relax yourself, or perhaps pump yourself up, it is not the type of music that is of importance, but rather that you feel something from it. I expect that many individuals might think that our Coven utilizes a sort of medieval Greensleeves-esque tune for every ritual that we perform. The truth is that everybody has their own individual tastes. I was once told that an individual could only be a Beatles or an Elvis person. I like them both! They take effect differently upon my thoughts, but both have great value for the purpose at hand.
What kind of music do you like to listen to? If you would like any suggestions for music that you can use for Rituals, or just for your own enjoyment, please do not hesitate to ask.