Best Music: What Song Do You Like to Sing With?
Day One of the 30-Day Song Challenge asks for a song that I always sing to when I listen to it. Without a doubt, the song that comes to mind is “We Won't Wait Any Longer.” This anthem written and performed by the late Feri bard, Gwydion Pendderwen, was one of the first songs I encountered when I discovered Pagan religion, and it has always resonated deeply with me.
A Pagan Struggle
The theme of the song is the many ways that Pagan peoples have been persecuted over the centuries, and how we are still strong despite the attempts to erase our cultures and religions from the world.
When I was young, the boldness of the lyrics was what most impressed me. The song was militant, and at that time most new Pagans tended to have a bit of a swagger about our choice of religious paths. I was no different. The scholarship was perhaps questionable, but at the time the importance of the song was to speak of the re-emergence of Pagan religions in the modern era.
We were a generation of Pagans who simply wanted to be able to come out of the broom closet again, without fear of reprisals. More, we wanted to be able to be proud of our various paths, and to feel equal to those of other religions. In many ways. I think we have achieved that. Gwydion's song spoke to us of taking our place in the world again, and it urged us to work toward that end.
Born Thomas deLong, Gwydion was a native of California. He studied theatre at university, and is said to have been a very talented actor. He was heavily influenced by Shakespeare and also by the Greek dramatists. He identified strongly with the concept of ritual – and of course, music – as a form of ritual. But he also became a conservationist, and the second verse of the song deals with some of the ways that “progress” has harmed our planet. This verse always gives me goosebumps when I listen to it.
You have grazed away the heather
And have razed the sacred grove
You have driven native people
From the places that they love
Though your greed has been unbounded
You have felt the pangs of shame
Every time you trod upon the Mother's name.
~ “We Won't Wait Any Longer” by Gwydion Pennderwen
You can listen to the song as Gwydion recorded it , but I think it's also very moving to see what an impact this song has had on generations of Pagans. One of the most touching instances of this is the performance of this powerful anthem at the funeral rites of Isaac Bonewits , the founder of Ar nDraoicht Fein (ADF,) and the author of Real Magic .
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/nature-mother-earth-landscape-woman-670025/ by Comfreak