Top Ten Lists

Beth's Pagan Chant "Top Ten" Lists

Well, okay, most of the lists are not a full "ten", but no matter. These lists reflect my own preferences and opinions only, and are based on my own CD collection (which is slightly biased toward Reclaiming artists) and my personal experience. So take them with a grain of salt and a sense of humor.

Some of the chants listed here are on my Chants Page. If you want to know more about the Pagan recording artists mentioned here, you may want to check out my reviews of Pagan chant CDs.
Top 10 Most Widely Known Pagan Chants
Top 5 God Chants (Beth's Favorites)
Top 5 Gods/Goddesses With the Most Chants About Them
Top 3 Most Frequently Recorded Pagan Chants
Top 5 Chants to Uncommon Deities (Beth's Favorites)
Top 3 Culturally Appropriated Chants I Can't Resist
Top 3 Types of Pagan CDs We Don't Need More Of



Top 10 Most Widely Known Pagan Chants

I'm sure everyone has an opinion on this one. This is a list of the chants that (in MY experience) are most commonly sung and most widely known throughout all areas of the Pagan community.
  1. We All Come From the Goddess
    Z Budapest
    On Reclaiming's Chants CD. There are several popular God versions of this chant which have also gained wide currency.
  2. Isis Astarte
    Deena Metzger & Caitlin Mullen
    This popular Goddess chant has also been used (in slightly different forms) as a refrain for two songs, "When God Was A Woman" and "The Burning Times." The chant itself is recorded on Reclaiming's Chants CD.
  3. Hoof and Horn
    Ian Corrigan
    Definitely the most well-known God chant among Pagans. Often sung together with one of the two previous chants. Also on Reclaiming's Chants CD.
  4. Blood of the Ancients
    Ellen Klaver
    Recorded on Charlie Murphy and Jamie Sieber's Canticles of Light, among other places. The tune and words have sometimes mutated a little, but stay fairly close to the original.
  5. The Earth Is Our Mother
    Native American Traditional
    Is this chant really a traditional Native chant? I don't know, and you probably don't either. It sounds more Native than many other chants I hear passed off as "Native". Either way, it's being sung by Pagans all over the country. KIVA has a lovely recording on Mother Wisdom, and the chant is also on Libana's album A Circle is Cast.
  6. We Are A Circle
    Rick Hamouris
    Few people actually know all the verses to this chant (I definitely don't), but you'll find them on Rick and Deborah Hamouris' CD
    Welcome to Annwfn. The chorus is recorded on Reclaiming's Chants CD.
  7. Kore Chant (She Changes Everything She Touches)
    Starhawk
    Again, most people don't know all the verses, which are in The Spiral Dance and on Reclaiming's Chants CD. Libana has an unusual recording on a Circle is Cast of the words set to a different tune, which I think is really cool.
  8. Spiraling Into the Center
    Lorna Kohler
    There seems to be some debate about who wrote this chant, but this is the most reliable information I have. It's recorded on Victoria McCarthy's CD Flight of the Hawk, as well as Beverly Frederick's In the Arms of the Wild (where it's credited to Shekhinah Mountainwater).
  9. The River is Flowing
    Diana Hildebrand-Hull
    A version of this chant is recorded on Victoria McCarthy's CD Flight of the Hawk. It's a little different than the version I learned, which you can hear here.
  10. Earth My Body
    Author Unknown
    This chant has been recorded by Moving Breath on She Changes and by Spiral Rhythm on I Am (with a great descant!). Michelle Mays also recorded this chant. You can hear the melody here.

Top 5 God Chants (Beth's Favorites)

  1. Honor to the Untamed God
    Starhawk (lyrics), Mara June Quicklightning (music)
    This is really more of a song than a chant. It has been recorded on Reclaiming's Spiral Dance CD, but my personal devotion is to Lunacy's kick-ass arrangement on their album Hand of Desire.
  2. Lugh Return
    July Lewis and Beverly Frederick
    Recorded on Beverly Frederick's Through the Darkness
  3. Come Brothers Come
    Sparky T. Rabbit
    Recorded on Lunacy's self-titled album
  4. Herne
    Circle in the Greenwood
    Recorded on MotherTongue's All Beings of the Earth
  5. Hoof and Horn
    Ian Corrigan
    Recorded on Reclaiming's Chants CD

Top 5 Gods/Goddesses With the Most Chants About Them

(Definitely not a scientific poll.) Runners-up probably include Aphrodite, Diana, and Herne. (I'm not counting archetypes, like "Green Man" or especially "Maiden, Mother, and Crone".)
  1. Brigid
    She's got this one wrapped up. Personally, I blame Reclaiming. But no matter who's responsible, I own recordings of six chants dedicated to Brigid, some with more than one recording: Holy Well and Sacred Flame (Beverly Frederick; Assembly of the Sacred Wheel); Brid (Lunacy; Beverly Frederick); Holy Water, Sacred Flame (Anne Hill); Sweet Brigid (Moonrise); and Way to the Well (see below). Beverly Frederick has also recorded an instrumental piece and a wordless vocal piece to Brigid, while Ruth Barrett has recorded a spoken invocation. I also know two Brigid chants written by friends of mine.
  2. Inanna
    Starhawk is the writer of the popular "Barge of Heaven" (see below). Reclaiming also performs the chant "Inanna" on Second Chants, and Beverly Frederick has written and recorded "Inanna (Take Us"). ALisa Starkweather's chant "I'm Going Down Like Inanna" is super catchy. Not to mention cameos in "She Touches Me Deeply" (not recorded) and "Isis Astarte."
  3. Hekate
    Let's put aside for a moment my pet peeve about how chants do not accurately represent this Goddess, who was NOT a crone or a "dark mother". She is one of the names in the famous "Isis Astarte" and is also paired with the (COMPLETELY DISSIMILAR!) Celtic Goddess Cerridwen in "Hecate, Cerridwen" and a verse of "Silver Shining Wheel," both performed by Reclaiming. She is also in "She Touches Me Deeply" (not recorded). Ruth Barrett has a song "Hecate", although I don't have the CD and haven't heard it.
  4. Persephone/ Kore
    Mostly this is because of the very well-known Kore chant, "She changes everything she touches," written by Starhawk. Libana also recorded an unusual and lovely version of this chant. There's a cheerful spring chant ("Persephone Song") written and performed by Anne Hill.
  5. Lugh
    Awwww yeah. At least there's one God on the list (don't get me started on
    that topic). Okay, from Beverly Frederick we have "Lugh Return" (recorded on Through the Darkness), and then Reclaiming also has "Sun King", i.e. "This is the wake of Lugh the Sun King" (on Chants). Um, that's not very many chants, is it? Everybody go write some God chants so this list can be reasonably balanced!

Top 3 Most Frequently Recorded Pagan Chants

Also not a scientific poll. More research is needed, but I suspect "Isis Astarte" is a runner-up.
  1. Way to the Well
    This chant by Starhawk, set to the tune of a South African freedom song, has been recorded at least four times:
    Lunacy, on "Hand of Desire"; Beverly Frederick, on "In the Arms of the Wild"; Chants for Peace Project, on "Home to the River of Love"; and Ruth Barrett, on "The Year Is A Dancing Woman" (Vol. 1).
  2. Barge of Heaven
    This chant by Starhawk, adapted from the Sumerian Inanna texts, has also been recorded at least four times:
    Lunacy, on "Lunacy"; Moonrise, on "Songs of Love, Magic, and Other Mysteries"; Reclaiming, on "Second Chants"; and a group called Tathata (I'm not familiar with them - you can look
    here).
  3. Light Is Returning
    This song/chant by Charlie Murphy has been recorded at least three times:
    Charlie Murphy & Jami Sieber, on "Canticles of Light"; MotherTongue, on "Fire Dance" and "This Winter's Night"; and Chants for Peace Project, on "Home to the River of Love".

Top 5 Chants to Uncommon Deities (Beth's Favorites)

These are powerful chants devoted to divine faces which may be a little unfamiliar and may not even have names we recognize. This list honors and celebrates the creativity and diversity of our Pagan culture.
  1. Eye in the Dark
    Lunacy
    Recorded on "Hand of Desire"

    "She is an eye in the dark/ He is a guide in the night/ He says, Touch with your heart/ She says, see with clear sight"
  2. Goddess of the Sun
    Mer/Mary DeDanan
    Recorded on Beverly Frederick's "Through the Darkness"

    "From her dark bed she arises/ Goddess of the sun/ Fill us with your song of joy"
  3. Purple God
    Sparky T. Rabbit
    Recorded by Lunacy on self-titled album

    "Purple God, Queer God/ Open heart and passion's flame/ Purple God, Queer God/ Come, we call your holy name..."
  4. The Fool
    Suzanne Sterling
    Recorded on Reclaiming's "Second Chants"

    "Night and stars are falling down/ A wild breeze is blowing/ Earth and moon are whirling round/ The fool walks through the door."
  5. Snake Woman
    Starhawk
    Recorded on Reclaiming's "Chants"

    "Snake Woman, shedding her skin... Blossom Woman, opening wide... Star Woman, shining bright... Moon Woman, riding the night..."

Top 3 Culturally Appropriated Chants I Can't Resist

Despite
my issues with white people using material from other cultures, these chants are performed so beautifully I always find myself singing along.
  1. Jai Ma
    Hindu Traditional
    Recorded on KIVA's album "Mother Wisdom"
  2. Chango
    Recorded by Lunacy on "Hand of Desire"
  3. Divine Mother
    Paramahansa Yogananda
    Recorded by Beverly Frederick on "In the Arms of the Wild"

Top 3 Types of Pagan CDs We Don't Need More Of:

  1. CDs of Goddess chants.
  2. CDs that are not labeled as "CDs of Goddess chants" but do not include any God chants.
  3. CDs with one token God chant and ten Goddess chants.

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