For me, the whole point of my Paganism is to use what tools we have (especially those that evolution has given us) to make the world a better place for both future generations and ourselves. Our brains are the most wonderful and incredible thing evolution has ever produced, and music unleashes so much emotional power directly in our brains that there’s not many things that compare to it.
So not using music in our spiritualities misses a lot of potential. Maybe it’s like communication systems that somehow overlook the entire electromagnetic spectrum (all the possible colors of light)? Many of us recognize that a whole book could be written on music and spirituality (in fact, I’m sure many books already have been written!). One small article is here, and there are many, many websites, blog posts, and youtube videos, from all kinds of religious traditions.
But a comprehensive overview of that massive topic is not what I’m attempting here. Like so much in our Naturalistic Paganism, doing and experiencing are so much better than just talking about aspects of our spirituality. So I invite you to draw on the power of music in your rituals and practices – and am overjoyed that we can offer you some tools to do exactly that!
John Halstead just finished a very useful resource providing music for each Sabbat of the Wheel of the Year, published here just before each sacred day. I’ve integrated each of those playlists onto the Naturalist Pagan Practices Hub page! It’s after each Sabbat, at the “Music” link. Now it’s here whenever you want!
And let’s not forget that Bart Everson also gave us the gift of music for each Sabbat of the Wheel of the Year, published here just before each sacred day, before that. His music too has been added in the same place – see the screen shot here. It’s after each Sabbat, at the “More Music” link.
Here is one of many good descriptions of the power of music, from this blog.
Music and your Brain
Music is one of the most magical things that a human can experience. There is nothing else in this world that can make a human feel so amazing. To me music is fun and can allow you to escape to another world for a little bit. It got me thinking, if music can have such a positive effect on such a large amount of people, it has to be good for us! I want to know what effect music has on the brain. I thought it would be really interesting and cool to describe the ways we react to it without even knowing.
There are many different parts of the brain that affect the way we listen to music. The motor cortex allows the muscles to play an instrument. The amygdala produces the emotional reactions to music. The auditory cortex is responsible for perceiving tones. The hippocampus records and stores the memories of the music. These are the main parts of the brain that effect our listening to music. The cerebellum, sensory cortex, visual cortex, and the prefrontal cortex are all important components in listening and interpreting music.
Like many a healthy, empowering spirituality, your Paganism can be the soundtrack to your life!