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Songs of the Deities

Photo of shekhinahmountainwater dressed in black and holding a lantern. from: PWCD - Goddess Movement -

SPIRITUAL

Written by: Maurice Hendricks

The female deities resurrected during the “Goddess Movement” of the 1970s and which make up today’s ‘Goddess spirituality,’ are derived from faiths all over the world such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American, Afro-Caribbean, and ancient Europe – dating back to 4000 BCE. Shekhinah Mountainwater is one of the musicians most notably ascribed to the “Goddess Movement,” which occurred during second-wave feminism 1960-70s (80s). Shekhinah (meaning “dwelling” or “settling” in Hebrew) Mountainwater, whose music has been compared to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, began as an American folk singer – playing in some of the same NYC Village venues as these two globally known stars. On the “Her Story” page of the website, she describes how spiritual exploration affected her musical expression, a style that is fused with Celtic, Appalachian, Arabic, and Scottish traditions, and which utilizes an experimental guitar-chord tuning technique sometimes referred to as “Modal Music (Wikipedia).”

“One doesn’t say one believes in the Goddess when one experiences the Goddess or Goddess energy.” ‘[The Goddess is a] verb not a noun – as personality but also energy, as motion, as movement.’ – La Monte

Of course, this more western form of modern Goddess religion is not exclusive to the 20th century – and is found in various works attributed to first-wave feminism by authors such as Matilda Joslyn Gage and Elizabeth Cady.

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Goddess worship was also illuminated by the anthropological innovation, discovery, and published hypotheses of the 19th century (such as by classicists J.J. Bachofen and Lewis Morgan). However, due to the political-environmental-social, and economic activism, numerous civil court actions, globalization, and widespread practice of Neopaganism occurring during the 1960s, the movement is attributed to second-wave feminism.

Leaving the 60s…

It has been stated before that there is not much information in the media about neopagan/occult-style female singers of the 1970s like Carolanne Pegg and Judee Sill – a list of artists that may also include groups like Pentangle and Steeleye Span (both described as more mystical than Goddess oriented). While at the same time, “Goddess Movement” music may refer not only to the introduction of lyrics related to feminine deities and witchcraft but also emotionality, multiculturalism, and perhaps folk music. Mountainwater, who passed away in 2007, was outspoken about her Goddess worship, describing herself on her website as a “muse-ical, mystical, magical lady who loves the Goddess and women, a foremother of the Womanspirit movement, a teacher of Women’s Mysteries, and an Aphrodite priestess.”

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Mid 1970s second wave into the 80s…

Gwydion Pendderwen (Thomas deLong) was a musician, writer, poet, environmentalist, and witch from Berkeley, California. In his song On Lady Day, he writes of a Faery entity and Holy maiden who brings about rebirth, as well as nourishment to the elders. Before dying in a car accident in 1982, he did much to popularize Feri Tradition witchcraft (a blend of Wicca, Tantra, etc.) in the Neopagan community. His first album, Songs for the Old Religion, was released in 1975, and a book of his music and lyrics called Wheel of the Year in 1979. Another of his recordings, The Music of Gwydion – Serpentine Music, was released posthumously in (1991).

Chanting the praises of the mother goddess, a refusal of betrayal, women were dying to be free.

ISIS-ASTARTE-DIANA-HECATI-DEMETER-KALI-INANNA

-Charlie murphy

Charlie Murphy’s Catch the Fire released in 1981, and contained songs such as Mother Ocean and another called Burning Times. In Burning Times, Murphy sings the names of Goddesses – Hecate, Astarte, Diana, etc. in the chorus, and is drawing attention to, not only the women (and men) accused of witchcraft during the witch trials of the early modern period, but also of the execution of a people belonging to an organized religion with a Goddess as its central figure, says Patheos.

Burning Times and Gay Spirit were later recorded by Christy Moore and Roy Bailey in 2005, further establishing Murphy’s music as anthems for pagan mysticism and LGBT rights.

More recently…

A Witches & Pagans Magazine article comparing S.J. Tucker, (a contemporary Neopagan artist and activist), to Ani DiFranco, suggests that the “folk” label is too limiting for her musical style, which ranges from ‘a Capella to world fusion technobeats.’ She has released 14 albums since 2004, and newWitch is cited in Wikipedia stating that no pagan should be without her albums. Tucker’s 2007 album “Blessings” is said to be one of her most neopagan, containing songs such as “Witches Rune’ and “Hymn to Herne.” However, S.J. Tucker is probably more pagan than Goddess-centric, as compared with other Neopagan artists like Kellianna, whose songs like “Freya” (the love Goddess of Norse mythology) from her album “I walk With The Goddess,” and “Lady Moon” are recognized globally as ‘Goddess-inspired folk music,’ says Women of the World. Kellianna is also a certified spiritualist/instructor in SpiritSong – the technique that utilizes sound as a medium for entering into spirit, and uses her recordings to ‘move energy.’

Shekhinah Mountainwater

S.J. Tucker

Kellianna

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