sing we joyous all together

- Music is Magic -

There Are Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn - or -  Don’t Panic...

“This is the place of my song-dream, the place the music played to me...”
- Ratty to Mole, The Wind in the Willows


Can we still learn from woodland spirits at the turn of the millennium?

In the old stories, whether fairy tales or myths, the woods are a magical place, full of wonder, but dark and dangerous. Though magic might be around any corner, they are not places to be taken lightly.

We think the city is the new forest. There are wonderful discoveries to be made; adventures to be had; music bubbles up from underground. But remember- the big bad wolf might be around any corner, the towering trees are made of stone and cast long shadows, it’s easy to get hurt when you’re not paying attention, and if you drop breadcrumbs to help find your way home, the pigeons are going to eat them.
We still need protectors for our wild places. So we bring you two, Herne and Pan.

Woodland protectors are often thought of as scary or amoral, but that’s just because we like our good guys in a white hat so we can identify them. Wood deities have more than us to protect. It isn't cruelty, but the fierce inevitability of nature. Still, look a little harder, and you will often find them in the fight for the side of light - they just don’t feel the need to swear allegiance to any side.

Our favorite places to see them in action are The Dark Is Rising for Herne, and The Wind In The Willows for Pan. In both cases, magical music plays a very important role.

Herne’s oak stands as a vantage point to look out over the horizon. When he blows his hunting horn, all of nature responds to the sound. The music of the wild geese as they fly across the sky masquerades as the yelping of the Gabriel Hounds on the trail. The Wild Hunt gathers to ride, and here, the quarry they pursue are the forces of the dark, and they will come home in the light.

Pan has given his name to that nameless dread we call panic, but also to words for bread and for thought. His syrinx is made of seven reeds - though they are weak alone, bundled together they have great strength, and have come to be a symbol for music and harmony. Reeds also stand for divine protection - Prometheus brought fire from heaven in a hollow reed, and the passion of the spirit has burned within ever since. Here, the music of the piper at the gates of dawn guides two friends on their quest, cradles a baby otter safe from harm, and later, gives everyone the blessing of being able to forget they were awed and afraid.

So, we hope the all night jam session goes on and on and everyone gets a chance to perform. Let music fill you during winter’s dark days, and keep singing. And remember, if you need us - sing out! We’ll be there with bells on.

At this holiday time, we wish you all the Joy and Light of the season, every season in turn. Whether you are into hibernation or celebration, in your heart, as in the heart of the wheat, enjoy the fruitfulness of the past and nurture the kernel that is the promise of the future. May your Dreams be as Bright as the Northern Lights and your Hearts as Warm as Live Arctic Fur. We wish you the Brightest of New Years– Safe Haven, Snug Harbour and Always the Welcome of a Loving Heart. As winter dances over the land, remember that you always have a warm, safe nest in our hearts.


Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn   ©Gryphonsmith Graphyx 2001

words and music by Jim and Tay with Frostbite, and Coypu

Special thanks to Chesley Bonestal for designing those fabulous falcons on the Chrysler building.