Fun fact: I love music. I love listening to anything from a concerto to a rock opera while going about my day. I love going to live shows. When I was young, I loved playing the oboe in my high school orchestra (and I wasn’t half bad if I do say so myself). I especially love incorporating music into my rituals, workings, and Pagan prep work.
When I am thinking of using music for spiritual purposes, I have very loose criteria. It needs to make me feel expansive for one. If my spirit feels like dancing, then it is usually a good fit. If the song has some theme from nature or the spiritual world, that is a big plus. And of course, it has to fit with the theme of the ritual. For example, I love to break out the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas while setting up my Yule altar. As each Pagan is different, the music they incorporate into their practice will be different. Personally, I gravitate towards classic rock, alternative, folk, classical, and pretty much anything involving a bagpipe. I enjoy incorporating music into ritual, especially if I plan to do the Spiral Dance or any other ritual of movement.
In general when I need to put myself in a witchy mood, I have a go to playlist to help me shift my focus, to calm me down, and to help me get into a spiritual (and slightly sassy) mindset. Below is not an exhaustive list of tracks, but a few examples to help you think about creating your own playlist.
“Raise the Roof” by Carbon Leaf, Indian Summer 2004
I have been a huge Carbon Leaf fan for about five years now. “Let Your Troubles Roll By” and “What About Everything” are absolute anthems for me. Lately, I’ve been struck by the opening lines from “Raise the Roof”: Raise the roof, that I might see the stars
To gain wisdom, to see things for what they are. It is a good reminder to look beyond ourselves and to see the bigger picture.
“Manifesto II” by Nahko and Medicine for the People, Dark as Night 2013
I am relatively new to Nahko and Medicine for the People. I saw a live performance of “Wash It Away” on Youtube about a year ago and got hooked. What has been drawing me to “Manifesto II” lately has been its upbeat positivity and raw honesty. Sometimes after a long day at work or during a hard time, I need that reminder to look at the good things in my life and to be grateful.
“Pagan Ways” by Damh the Bard, Cauldron Born 2008
For the longest time, Damh the Bard was the only Pagan musical artist that I could find. A lot of his stuff does not resonate with me and my music tastes, but I love the whole album Cauldron Born. It’s witchy, it’s over the top, and I love it. “Pagan Ways” in particular serves as a call to look at the old ways in the modern context.
“Dancing in the Rain” by Gaelic Storm, Matching Sweaters 2015 (no video)
I am a sucker for upbeat, positive songs, and “Dancing in the Rain” is no exception. It’s all about taking life’s chances and being in the moment.
“Freya Shakti” by Emerald Rose, Bending Tradition 2000
If you are looking for a good Goddess centered chant to get you grooving, I highly recommend Emerald Rose’s “Freya Shakti.” If you are looking for a more dark and mellow Goddess centered chant song, consider checking out Inkubus Sukkubus’s “Wytches Chant ’98.”
“One Last Drink” by Enter the Haggis, Soapbox Heroes 2006
As most of the people in my life can whole heartedly attest, I can’t make a playlist without a little ETH. I had a really hard time picking between a couple of tracks for this article, but decided to go with “One Last Drink” because it encompasses the joie de vivre of life in the face of hardship.
“Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac, Rumours 1977
In my humble opinion, no Pagan playlist is complete without a little Fleetwood Mac. “Gold Dust Woman” doesn’t actually have any themes to do with magic (it’s about Stevie Nick’s relationship to drugs), but that howl at the end…bone chilling! Perfect for when you want to feel a little witchy! Other appropriate choices include “Rhiannon” and “Sisters of the Moon.”
© Ariadne Woods