Art/Roots Music

These New Pagans by Mark Pilkington


In honour of this week’s summer solstice, Mark Pilkington – author of Mirage Men and Far Out and operator of Strange Attractor Press – looks at some contemporary neo-pagan tribes and their music.

While we’ve marvelled at what’s left of their art, culture and architecture, we know precious little about what our ancient ancestors actually believed, or how they enacted their beliefs. One thing we can be sure of, however, is that all cultures – at least all those that have left traces of themselves behind – observed the slow spin of the cosmos above their heads and developed stories about the heavens and their inhabitants. Early astronomers paid particular attention to the days when the sun appears to stand still, rising and setting at the same point on the horizon: the summer and winter solstices. Ancient architectural sites all over the world, from Ireland to Mexico, are aligned to the midsummer or midwinter suns, or to the equinoctial points in-between. By watching the world around them, early human cultures began to tell stories about what they saw; over time these stories became myths, and eventually these myths became religions, the most powerful of which were capable of birthing and destroying nations. If the ebbs and flows of religious power throughout human history can teach us anything, it’s that the gods don’t die when people stop worshipping them, and that cultures don’t die when their gods do.

Great piece, lots of music. Scope it out.

These New Pagans @ Red Bull Music Academy


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