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Patti Wigington

Reader Mail: What About Yule Songs?

By November 27, 2013

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A reader asks, "I've been looking for some songs I can sing to the gods of my tradition at the winter holidays. I saw a few Christmas carols where someone had substituted "Goddess" for references to God and Jesus. Would these be good Pagan songs to sing at my Yule ceremony?"

Well, you're entitled to sing anything you like. However, merely changing words from Christian to Pagan gods isn't a "Pagan song." It's a Christian song with Pagan substitutions, and it's important to recognize the difference. For more on this, read: Are There Any Pagan Yule Carols?

Want to share your favorite holiday songs? Stop in at our Readers' Picks: Yule Songs page!

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Comments
November 28, 2011 at 8:47 am
(1) Kat says:

The whole of the Yule season was pagan at one time. The christians could not stop the general population from celebrating it so the changed it to a worship of the birthday of the Christos.
If you look into the old Songs–The Wassail Songs–Deck the halls–Good King Wenceslas–Oh Tannenbaum, ect. they are pagan in origin.
Trying to worship a specific Goddess at christmas (unless it is her season) might not be the way to look at this. Try looking up references to the Gods of the woods, as this was more what was celebrated as the seasons changed. The holly and the Ivy, and mistletoe, are pagan.
I personally worship the Christos as I do the 17 other gods who share his humble beginnings and tragic end. Though he is not my main God/Goddess focus, he too, is worthy of notice. As you get to my age (I am a great-granmother) and have researched a lot of the religions in the world–What the Christos said and did in his lifetime does not jive with how he is worshiped.
In my family we celebrate christmas as a time of loving and caring, not the birth of the king of the jews. I love the nativity story, as a story, and in fact collect nativity figures, but when I put them out they each have the jewish and pagan touches that would have been there when the story took place.
Have a Cool Yule!
Kat

November 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm
(2) pixie says:

I really enjoyed you views. in my family Christmas was a time for love family and friends, it was the end of one year and so to be the beginning of another
Blessed Be
Pixie

November 29, 2011 at 8:42 pm
(3) Wynter Frazier says:

Kat,
I agree, there has always been poetry and songs that reflect the Solstice, not necessarily Christian references, that the Christians changed to reflect their agenda…There have always been traditional myths that many people identify with…We can respect the origins of these song/poetry/ ideas. We can even understand the very beautiful Christian teachings too…The respect and balance of these themes can be adapeted without changing the beauty and hope, love these themes teach us.

November 29, 2011 at 9:55 am
(4) grey fox says:

Our group uses a variety of songs, some are reworked Christmas Carols. They are tunes most are familiar with, but the lyrics have been more than lightly touched when necessary. I believe it is a long standing tradition to borrow from one culture and adopt to a new one. Some Christian liturgies are based on Jewish melodic themes. Those are now thoroughly Christian. So we are continuing the human experience. Some of our songs are new works, but that doesn’t take away from the spirit we awaken singing old tunes to new words.
Brightest blessings

November 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm
(5) Rowan says:

Our group has a songbook of reworked holiday favorites that we use every year. Some of our favs are “Mithras the Sun God” (to the tune of “Frosty the Snowman”), “God Rest Ye Merry Pagan Folk” (to the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”) and “Chistmas Time is Pagan” (to the tune of “Gloria”), to name just a few. We have a great time singing them every year and the continuity from year to year gives a sense of shared experience and community that we would not trade. Whatever you decide is right for you. Have a very Merry Yuletide!

November 29, 2011 at 8:34 pm
(6) KylalaKitty says:

If you look around there are songs for Yule. The pagan artist Lisa Thiel has a song called Yule. Damh the Bard – Noon of the Solstice is another one, ect. A good way I found to find pagan holiday specific songs is by, get ready, looking them up on YouTube. Its true, was not what I was expecting either at first but they are there :)

November 30, 2011 at 11:47 am
(7) Runesmith says:

Jethro Tull also have some splendid songs, particularly “Ring Out Solstice Bells.” Look around online, you’ll find plenty.

December 2, 2011 at 8:43 am
(8) James says:

I know how this person feels, there is a lack of original Yule songs. I have two young witchlits and they asked my the same thing. Emerald Rose has a good one for kids who have question Yule
it is called Santa is pagan too. I managed to put together a Yule list on YouTube, but a lot of it is Icelandic beautiful songs, but we don’t speak their language. There are other original Yule songs on it to if you search Pagan Yule songs, Hope it helps

December 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm
(9) Aryn says:

My personal preference would be to write the songs myself, I play piano, so it makes writing the music a little easier to me ( it’s really easy, and fun, whenever the muses decide to strike), I just think that as a pagan, I get so tired of religions not being very origional. Think of it, the christians borrowed a lot of the pagan and jewish holidays, the borrowed the halo that goes over the saints heads from the buddhist religions, and the list goes on and on, all so that they could get the conversion numbers to spike. I just feel like that for religious music to be truly religious and meaningful that it should come from the heart for the deities that I hold close to my heart, they help me in tough times, they’ve lead me out of trouble by the hand (metaphysically speaking), and they’ve helped me appreciate not only myself as a human being, but as a woman. So when it comes to singing Yuletide music, or any religious music, I feel like I should at least use music that was meant for them, and if I can’t find any, then I can write it. Because they at least deserve music that was meant for them.

November 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm
(10) Penny says:

All these can be found on Sporify

Santa Clause is Pagan too,
Stag Lord and Queen The Dolmen
Golden Sickle Sunrise
The Oak and Holly Kings
Winter Solstice Night
Holly and Mistletoe

Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow Jethro Tull
Greensleeved
Ring out Solstice Bells

Unconquered Sun Steeleye Span
Solstice Carol Ravens
Holly Lord Spiral Dance
Solstice Evergreen

Wintery Queen Gwydon Pendderwen
Deck the Halls Smithfield Fair
The Holly and the Ivy Nancy Rumbel
Frosty Solstice Moon Kiva
Red and Green Maddy Prior

Christians and the Pagans Dar Williams

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