Chants: Ritual Music
This album is commonly referred to as “Chants” – a pretty catchy title in the world of pagan music.
Chants was recorded as a teaching album, and captures the sound of a Reclaiming circle. You’d think it was recorded in the Black Cat House attic, where the songs have been sung and re-sung in countless rituals and classes.
Turns out that Chants was recorded in a studio in the late 1980s. A small chorus rehearsed 19 songs, secured some pro bono studio time, and (according to legend) recorded the entire album in a single afternoon.
The songs are classic. At least 10 are still routinely used in classes and rituals, including: Air I Am; Air Moves Us; We All Come from the Goddess; Kore Chant/She Changes Everything She Touches; Rise with the Fire; The Ocean is the Beginning; and more.
Many songs were written or co-written by Starhawk. We All Come from the Goddess is by Z Budapest. Air I Am – maybe the most popular elements song ever written – is by Andras Corbin Arden.
The music on Chants is Neo-Pagan Minimalism – a dumbek and 8-10 homespun voices. A few descant parts. Fewer harmonies, even where you’d expect them. The recordings aren’t perfect, but considering the one-day recording process, the album is strikingly well-performed.
Second Chants was released in 1997, and includes popular Reclaiming chants from the 1990s as well as some new songs. Several classics like When We Are Gone and Barge of Heaven are included, as well as a 50-second acapella version of Thorn Coyle’s Harvest Chant (a longer version appears on Campfire Chants – Song 8).
The album is finely produced, and features singers such as Anne Hill, Suzanne Sterling, and Maxina Ventura as well as Magic Brook on guitars.
Witches Brew: Songs & Chants from the Reclaiming Cauldron, is a compilation of pre-existing tracks by Reclaiming musicians.
Reclaiming Quarterly compiled this album in 2006. A volunteer production team listened to about 20 albums and chose our favorite songs, making this a Greatest Hits of Reclaiming music in the early 2000s.
Let It Begin Now: Music from the Spiral Dance
The original 1979 Spiral Dance ritual in San Francisco was the publication party for Starhawk’s book of that name. The ritual was reprised by popular demand the next couple of years, and after three years was declared a Venerable Tradition which has continued to this day (see previous page).
The music was not part of the first ritual, but evolved song-by-song over the next decade. The album was recorded around 1992.
If you’ve been to the Spiral Dance, even though many of the songs have been swapped over the years, just hearing the title song will carry you back to the spiral.
If you’ve never been, the music still works as a personal ritual – learn the songs so you can sing along.