Of course, Christmas is a nonsense, timing wise. Whether or not Jesus of Nazareth was real, and it seems likely he was, the timing of his December birth seems equivalently a sham, hurriedly shoed in to take advantage of the existing celebrations. And December 25 seems inescapably close to, roughly, Dec. 21, the shortest day, the winter solstice, long a celebration of the end of plenty, the beginning of famine and a time to kill the remaining cattle and get through the challenge of January through March. This has been drawn into focus recently for me by the History Channel's saga, "The Vikings", an accurate, yeah, right, portrayal of the life and times of Ragnar Lodbrok. Wonderful telly, questionable history. But it set me a'thinking. What music have we for a solstice? OK, so there are nasty Scandi death metal satanic tunes, but they seem not where the ancients were coming from.
Yule was the pagan winter celebration, 10-12 days of feasting, to celebrate the consequent dearth of supplies, full in the knowledge that the sun would return. Hopefully. Should you sacrifice sufficient. Here's a confident approach thereto, Jethro Tull, Ian Anderson always coming across a distinctly pagan man:
Should middle class English guy seems a bit scant, let's go Viking. Hedningarna are the obvious choice. A Swedish group who formed in 1987, working still to this day, angulating a steep path between ancient Scandinavian folk and more modern elements, rock and electronica. Here's an example of their hardcore:
Lest that be a bit impenetrable for our ears, I always feel that somebody stating the obvious can be a bit helpful. As a Celt of Hebrides lineage, brought up in the Anglo-Saxon interpretation of Christianity, something I have some difficulty in embracing, I think Dar has it just right:
So what am I saying? hell, I don't know, but probably it means, if you have something to celebrate, celebrate.
See you next year!