Songs by Others Often Sung by

Isaac Bonewits

Songs on this page: The Burning Times, Circles, The Lair of Great Cthulhu, The Thuggee Song, Witch of the West-Mer-Lands.

Typographical notes: A tilde (~) is used to indicate ornamentation throughout, with double tildes indicating more of the same. Either a slash (/) or an "incorrect" comma may be used to indicate phrasing. Foreign language text (usually Irish) is set in a "Plain" typeface, since diacriticals (accent marks) in italics are too hard to read. Lines in italics usually indicate a chorus or refrain.

The Burning Times

original words and music © 1980 by Charlie Murphy
(words modified by Sally Eaton 90% & Isaac Bonewits 10%, around 1983)
Key of __

In the cool of the evening / they used to gather
Beneath the stars in the meadows / circled by the ancient trees,
At the times appointed to them / by the seasons,
By the phases of the moon / and the rhythms of the sea.
In the center of all of them / there stood a woman
Equal with the others / and respected for her worth;
One of the many / that now we call the "witches,"
The healers and the teachers / of the wisdom of the Earth.
And her people grew strong / in the knowledge that she gave them:
Herbs to heal their bodies, / spells to make their spirits whole.
Oh hear them chanting / healing incantations,
Calling on the Goddess / with their bodies and their souls:
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali -- Inanna!
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali -- Inanna!
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali -- I~nan~na!

There were those who came to conquer / and to have dominion
Over the Earth and Her children, / no matter what the cost.
And by fear they took control / of every Pagan nation,
Forcing their alliegence / to a dead man on a cross.
And in the name of his God Almighty / the Pope unleashed his Inquisition;
It was a war against the women, / who he feared and despised.
And in the fires of genocide / against the Nature people,
Half a million / European women died.
And the tale is told of those / who by the hundreds,
Clinging to each other / cast their bodies in the sea;
Chanting still the praises / of the Mother Goddess,
Refusing to deny Her, / women were dying to be free:
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali -- Inanna!
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali -- Inanna!
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali -- I~nan~na!

Now the Earth is a Witch / and still the greedy burn Her,
Stripping Her down with mining / and poisoning Her skies.
Still to Her own the Earth is a healer, / a teacher and a mother,
She's the weaver of the web of love / that keeps us all alive.
She gives us the vision / to see through the chaos.
She gives us the power: / it is our will to survive!
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali -- Inanna!
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali -- Inanna!
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali -- I~nan~na!

This song, and especially the chorus, is one of the best known songs in the Neopagan community, even though the original author didn't know about us at the time he wrote it. As I sing it, a few changes to make it more historically accurate are made: I insert the word "now" into the seventh line because those Paleopagan priestesses probably weren't called "witches" originally. I corrected the original "nine million" murdered to a more realistic "half a million." I left the original "women died" in that same line, even though some 10% or so of the victims were men and some 10-15% were children, since women certainly were the Churches' primary target. The rest of the changes were made by my former spouse Sally Eaton. Back to Top of Page


© 1979, 2001 c.e.
words by Gwen Zak (verse 1-4) and Ann Cass (verse 5)
modified by Isaac Bonewits
music by Alan Bell ("Windmills")
Key of D

In days gone by, when the world was much younger,
We wondered and prayed in the winter's cold night;
Marveled at the glory of the moon and the sunrise,
We saw then the Lady and Lord of all light.

And around, and around, and around turns the good Earth;
All things must change as the seasons go by.
We are the children of the Lord and the Lady
Whose mysteries we know, but will never know why.

In all lands the people were tied to the good Earth,
Plowing and sowing as the seasons declared;
Waiting to reap of the rich golden harvest,
Knowing Her love in the joy that they shared.

Through Flanders and Wales, and the green hills of Ireland,
England and Africa, Denmark and Spain,
Circles grew up all along the wild coastline;
They worked for the land in the wind and the rain.

And around, and around...

Circles for healing and working the weather,
Circles for knowing the moon and the sun,
Circles for thanking the Lord and the Lady,
Circles for dancing the dance never done.

And we who reach out for the stars in the heavens,
Lifting our eyes from the meadows and rows,
Still live in the love of the Lord and the Lady ­
The greater the Circle, the more the love grows!

And around, and around...

This was written by SF fans Gwen Zak and Ann Cass. I rewrote the verse about the countries where stone circles were raised to make it accurate. I have a great music video idea for this one.

The Lair of Great Cthulhu

words © 1979, 2001 c.e. by Larry Press & David Geller
music: "Chattanooga Choo-Choo"

Pardon me boy -- is this the lair of Great Cthulhu?
In the City of Sli~me, / where it is night all the ti~me?
Bob Hope never went / along the Road to Great Cthulhu,
And Triple-A has no maps, / and all the Cho-chos lay traps.

You'll see an ancient sunken city / where the angles are wrong.
You'll see the fourth dimension / if you're there very long.
Come to the conventicle, / bring along your pentacle --
Otherwise you'll be dragged off / by a tentacle.

A mountain's in the middle / with a house on the peak;
A gnashin' and a thrashin' / and a clackin' of beak.
Your soul you will be lackin' / when you see that mighty kraken.
Oo-oo! Great Cthulu's / startin' to speak!

So come on aboard, / along the road to Great Cthulu.
Wendigos and dhols / will make Big Macs of our souls.
Under the sea, / down in the ancient City of R'llyeh,
In the lair of Great Cthulu, / they'll suck your soul away!

Great Cthulu, / Great Cthulu / suck your soul --
Great Cthulu, / Great Cthulu --
In the lair of Great Cthulu, / they'll suck your soul away!

[Obliggato saxaphone solo, ala Tex Beneke.]

In the lair of Great Cthulu, / they'll suck your soul away!
Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah / schlurp-schlurp!

 This is one of several silly Cthulu songs written by a group of us. Back to Top of Page

The Thuggee Song

words and music © 1979, 2001 c.e. by Clayton Clark
(a.k.a. Clayton Chaitanya O'Cleareach O'Crowley)
with possible modifications by Sally Eaton & Isaac Bonewits

[Mostly spoken, in a Cockney accent]

This is the story of / my first funeral, / this is exactly / how it was. / They wrapped me up / in a linen shroud / and hauled me off / to Benares. / Just as they was / lighting me pyre, / up jumps a saddhu, / just like that! / Pays three ruppees, / hauls me off, and / down on me rotting / corpse he sat. / Well, / he starts in to / meditating, / mumbling mantras, / waving lights, / burning water, / sipping incense, / doing all kinds of / strange weird rites.

When suddenly, / from the surrounding darkness, / comes a busty goddess / with a necklace of skulls. / "Would you like a sip / of me bloody chalice?" / says She, / in a voice that lulls. / "Cripes!" / says the saddhu / "Holy hare! / What in the Hell / do I do now?" / And he jumps / all the way / from the ghat / to the Ganges, / lands in a heap / in a garbage scow.

Well that / left only me / and the Goddess. / "Excuse me, Ma'am," says I / "I'm only a stiff, / but if you'd like a / drinking companion, why / a swig or two of that / would sure give me a lift!" / "Oh dear!" / says She, / "A devotee of mine, / dead as a doornail / and talking too! / Why sure, I've a sorcerer / friend to resurrect you, / only cost / three rupees too!"

"Dear Ma'am," / says I, / "You're a good looking goddess, / what say we team up, / you and me? / I'm sure / that you'd be / able to support me / in the manner to which I've / become accustomed to be." / "I aint marrying no stiff!" / says the Goddess with the Skulls, / "Shiva alone / is husband to me!" / [Cough] "How good / is this sorcerer friend of yours," / says I, "where you are / taking me?" / "Not good / at all!" / says the Peerless Goddess, / "Wicked in fact / and a cheapskate too. / Good / at poisoning / little children / and he works part time / as a siddhi guru!"

Soooo, / that's how I got / resurrected / and became / the fellow I be. / Spent the rest of the night / in a downtown whorehouse, / after drinking three hours / with the Goddess Kali! / And now I am the thuggee / representative / anywhere / that good yogis am. / Tiptoeing quietly / down the corridors, / smiling sweetly, / mild and bland.

Haven't seen the / Guru lately, / wonder where / in the world / can he be? / Haven't seen the ashram / manager neither, / nor the cook, / nor the sweeper, / gee! / No one ever notices / the smiling thuggee. / Note the smile on the Goddess too. / Hare Krishnas / are the choicest -- / "Kali om! / Good luck to you!" / On the dark / moonlighted highway, / where deserted / Indians roam, / comes that heartfelt / cry of worship... / "Kill for Kali! / Ka~~li om~~~..."

This song is one of dozens of serious and silly works by a certified madman who was also one of the finest keyboard players I've ever met.

Witch of the West-Mer-Lands

words & music by Archie Fisher
© 1976 by Ard-Ri Music, Dublin
(Slight modifications by Stan Rogers & Isaac Bonewits)
Key of C

[Two verses instrumental]

Pale was the wounded knight / That bore the rowan shield.
Loud and cruel were the raven's cries / That feasted on the field,

(Saying) "Beck water, cold and clear, / Will never clean your wound.
There's none but the Maid of the Winding mere / Can make you hale and soond."

(He said) "Course well, / my brindled hounds, / And fetch me the mountain hare
Whose coat is as grey as the Wastwater / Or as white as the lily fair."

(They said) "Green moss and heather bands / Will never staunch the flood.
There's none but the Witch of the West-mer-lands / Can save thy dear life's blood."

"So turn, turn thy stallion's head / Till his red mane flies in the wind,
And the rider of the moon goes by / And the bright star falls behind."

And clear was the paley moon / When his shadow passed him by;
Below the hill was the brightest star / When he heard the owlet cry,

(Saying) "Why do you ride this way, / And whafore came you here?"
"I seek the Witch of the West-mer-lands / That dwells by the winding mere."

"Then fly free your good grey hawk / To gather the goldenrod,
And face your horse into the clouds / Above yon gay green wood."

And it's weary by the Ullswater / And the misty brake fern way
Till through the cleft o' the Kirkstane Pass / The winding water lay.

(He said) "Lie down, my brindled hounds, / And rest thee, my good grey hawk,
And thee, my steed, may graze thy fill / For I must dismount and walk."

"But come when ye hear my horn / And answer swift the call,
For I fear e'er the sun shall rise this morn / Ye will serve me best of all."

And it's down to the water's brim / He's borne the rowan shield,
And the goldenrod he has cast in / To see what the lake might yield.

And wet rose she from the lake, / And fast and fleet went she;
One half the form of a maiden fair / With a jet black mare's body.

Now loud, long and shrill he blew / And his steed was by his side.
High overhead his grey hawk flew / And swiftly he did ride,

(Saying) "Course well, my brindled hounds, / And fetch me the jet black mare.
Stoop and strike, my good grey hawk, / And bring me the maiden fair.

[Two verses instrumental]

(She said:) "Pray sheathe thy silvery sword, / Lay down thy rowan shield;
For I see by the briny blood that flows, / Thou wert wounded in the field."

And she stood in a gown of the velvet blue, / Bound 'round with a silver chain.
She's kissed his pale lips aince and twice, / And three times 'round again.

And she's bound his wound with the goldenrod; / Full fast in her arms he lay.
And he has risen hale and soond / With the sun high in the day.

(She said:) "Ride with thy brindled hounds at heal / And thy good grey hawk in hand.
There's none can harm the knight who's lain / With the Witch of the West-mer-land."

[One-half verse instrumental]

There's none can harm the knight who's lain / With the Witch of the West-mer-land!

This was written by Archie Fisher as a "new folktale" for an album of traditional Scots folksongs. To the best of my knowledge, he isn't Pagan and this isn't based on a real legend. But it's a great "shamanic journey" song!

All songs are copyright © as marked and renewed in 2005 c.e., by their respective owners. Individual song lyric changes by Isaac Bonewits may be freely distributed on the Net, provided that no editing is done, copyright dates and names are properly listed and everything in this notice box is included. If you would like to record one or more of these songs, please contact the owner(s). If you would like to be on one or more of Isaac Bonewits’ emailing lists, click here to get subscription information.

No assertion of copyright by Isaac Bonewits to his adaptations, parodies or rewrites of material originally copyrighted by songwriters known or unknown to him should be taken as infringing upon or questioning the legitimate copyrights of those songwriters. Creators have a duty to honor each other. But then, there is the folk process.

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