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Welcome to UK Pagan

For Pagans of all paths, and for Pagans of none.

UK Pagan has been an online home and discussion place since being founded in 2001. We pride ourselves on providing a safe space for active debate and conversation, and a place where followers of other religions are welcome providing they show respect and tolerance.

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  • Posts

    • UK Pagan

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      song.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1It’s a question I’ve been asked many times but it’s not something I’ve written about here on the blog so here goes!

      I’ll admit it.

      I’m a melody and riff man.

      I like pretty much straight forward music with a hook in the chorus and a great melody or riff. I stray into prog rock a little with a life-long love of Yes, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd, but newer prog bands like Dreamtheater and Opeth? No. They leave me cold. I really want to like them because the musicianship is amazing, but the songs just send me to sleep, and watching them live is a grind. So it won’t come as any real surprise that the first thing that comes to me in a new song is the melody.

      I’ll sit with the guitar (or bouzouki, or mandolin) and just play chords, singing nonsense over the top. After a while I’ll sing a melody or a chord sequence that pricks up my ears. I’ll go back and then build on that. Ask questions. Is that a verse? A bridge? The chorus? Decide where in the song it might be best placed, then play it through to see where the melody naturally goes next.

      Eventually, I’ll have a verse tune, a chorus tune, maybe a middle eight or bridge to go with it.

      Out comes the iPhone and I’ll record it.

      The melody might stay on my phone for years before I go back to it, ask the question “what does this melody say to me?” and it might become a song on a new album.

      So the melody first, then the lyrics.

      Almost all my songs have been written that way apart from two – Only Human and Pagan Ways. Only Human was a rant. I was going to write about what led to that song being written but as I typed it just brought me down. I don’t want you to feel that way reading this article, so I’ve deleted it. But the words of that song came first, then the tune, and writing it was pretty cathartic.

      Sometimes, particularly with the songs from the Y Mabinogi albums, the tune and lyrics come together. I already know what the song needs to say because of where it comes within the tale. I also know the feeling I want from the song for the same reasons. So with those songs, it feels like the initial ‘noodling’ is getting ready for a hunt, and then I head off and literally hunt the melody. Some of the lyrics will often arise as that hunt takes place. Writing the Y Mabinogi songs has been, and continues to be, a magical process which has often felt as if another hand is guiding me towards the prey.

      With songwriting, you are constantly switching between the left and right sides of the brain. If possible, to keep the flow, it’s important to spend more time in the right side, the creative side. But then come the rhymes. Making rhymes is often a left hand, logical, process. It can influence the entire line of the song and can change it which is obviously a part of the creative process, but that rhyme can sometimes drag you out of the flow if it takes too long. So there is no shame in using a good rhyming dictionary. I always have Clement Wood’s Complete Rhyming Dictionary to hand, just in case.

      Some songs take a few hours. Some literally land on the page in what seems like minutes. Others take weeks, months, or years to complete. They’re the ones that need to stay in the cauldron and bubble away until the spell is ready.

      The Awen is an elusive mistress. I can’t force a song. If I sit down with the whole intent to write a song I often just spend time looking at a blank screen and flashing cursor. I probably could just write, but songwriting is a part of who I am, it reflects how I see the world, life, my spiritual path, so above absolutely everything else it needs to be honest.

      That’s how it’s always been for me, and it’s how it’ll always be.

      I hope you enjoyed that, and if it’s inspired you to write a song, get strumming!

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    • Earthdragon

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      On 4/17/2019 at 9:59 PM, Moonsmith said:

      Right action, by my own tenets, is my contribution to my beliefs

      Hi Moonsmith,

      I wonder if you could flesh this out a bit?

      How does your action contribute to your beliefs and where does the tenets of your "right action ", as you put it, come from if the actions are a not a result of any of your beliefs?


    • UK Pagan

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      IMG_1313.jpeg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1A blessed release from the week’s rain but the chalk still wet underfoot. Slippery too, as we walked along the old track to the South Downs. A blue sky battling with scattered clouds, and rooks sharing their wisdom on the wing, calling to those walkers below that it was time.

      The Old One was here early.

      No white cloak across the land just yet, yet Her breath was beginning its late Autumn exhale, and it wouldn’t be long before that gentle breeze became a storm, stripping yellow and red leaves from dozing trees to leave them bare and reaching into darker skies.

      The hill not far now.



      People already there.


      And the Long Man standing in the Door to the Otherworld. The door open wide and the veil thin. Voices of those gathered on the hill joined by voices of those whose eyes looked through the veil, and the mists. A circle of people then. A circle conjured as the green turns to grey, grass becoming iron, and the hill, the hollow hill shape-shifts becoming the Great Cauldron with feet upon its rim. Before living eyes the mists of Annwn bubble and shift. And beyond, eyes of those who had gone before see those they love, those who love them.

      The Spirits called, the prayer spoken, the Awen sang – from The Deep it came.



      Names spoken into the air, names of those gone before, names said out loud. Never forgotten. Tears. Helping hands. So many names. From the four directions, food, offerings, love, shared. The Bards speak their words. Truth. Honour. Remembering.

      An Oath of Peace then, from lungs, into breath, into words, spreads out from the hollow hill, from the rim of the Cauldron, across the land, and the Awen is sung. The Spirits thanked, the circle uncast, returns to the land, and the Cauldron withdraws its mist and withdraws its iron rim, turning grey to green as grass lay underfoot once more.

      But look now…

      Can you still see it there, just below the surface, spinning slowly, the veil still thin? The rooks know. They see it, and they call out to Her, to bring the first storms, to exhale, as the Earth sleeps, and Winter’s cloak moves ever closer.

      So may it be.

      View the full article

    • Stonehugger

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      I think what I get most is a sense of oneness with what's around me. That's almost always a good thing in the sense that whatever is happening to me is happening to everything else and obviously I react differently to the way a rock or tree would react but it's clearly my responsibility to manage my reactions to things. It's a lot like the old saying that sailors can't control the weather but they can trim their sails. The downside is that very occasionally I can get dragged down by situations I don't understand at all. I worked in a troubled building for a while - I never worked out what the problem was but even another colleague with no pagan leanings could sense something. He thought the building must be on the site of a cemetery but that wouldn't have troubled me. On balance, being at one with my surroundings is very much more beneficial than not and it's something I work at.

      • Like 1
    • Ellinas

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      3 hours ago, Earthdragon said:

      Seems like a clarification of what you get out of your paganism, Rosa, which is the title of the thread.

      You beat me to it.

      There is no conceptual basis to assert that some people may not get out of their paganism a label which has some meaning or usefulness to them.  So, querying whether that was what was meant in this instance was, as far as I can see, entirely within the ambit of the thread title.

      Still, it's not an issue - save insofar as it fascinates me how the same words can be interpreted in different ways.

    • Earthdragon

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      15 hours ago, Ellinas said:

      so I was curious as to whether that was what you meant

      Seems like a clarification of what you get out of your paganism, Rosa, which is the title of the thread.

      • Haha 1
    • I see. Having moderated a forum for many years I have got into the habit of keeping to the threads subject title. That’s where labels come into their own. 😜

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