Hallowe'en: Night of Spirits

Kristen Lawrence, Hallowe'en: Night of Spirits

Hallowe'en: Night of Spirits

Historical Background & Links

Music & lyrics © 2018 Kristen Lawrence, except where otherwise noted

Ancient Halloween fascinates me ... mostly because it was a night for discerning spirits.

Pagan Celtic tribes of the British Isles believed the dead visited on the eve of Samhain (pronounced SOW-en, meaning "end of summer"). These ghostly visits could be comforting or frightening, so one must discern which visitors were benevolent — for which food offerings were set out — and which visitors were malicious — against which masks were donned to fool and lead out of town.

Whom to welcome? Whom to ward away?

The medieval Christian church adapted this festival by encouraging people to remember the departed saints, or hallows. Eventually the eve of Samhain became known as All Hallows' Even. Over the centuries it shortened to Hallows' E'en, then Hallow E'en, then Hallowe'en, then finally Halloween.

NIGHT OF SPIRITS

I'm titling this CD "Hallowe'en" to take us at least one step back into these intriguing ancient traditions. "Night of Spirits" is one of the old names for Halloween (along with Mischief Night, Nutcrack Night, Colcannon Night, Bonfire Night, Snap-Apple Night, and more).

The etymology of "haunt" relates to the concept of "home" — "to inhabit, to frequent, to reside, to house." It also means "to visit, linger, or stay with." Who or what do we want to haunt us? Which spirits do we invite into our abode? Which do we dismiss?

This new group of Halloween Carols™ explores various spirits that might visit us:

 

“Ghoulies and Ghosties” my setting of the traditional Scottish prayer … listen for the “Scotch snap” rhythm in the organ and vocals

Demons” — a demon-slaying pipe organ rock anthem with triumphant guitar slashes and galloping bass and drums … listen for the eldritch rub rods throughout the song

“Scary Fairies” — a cute-and-dark jig telling of historical Irish superstitions and folktales about protecting oneself against the fairies who were supposedly more dangerous on Halloween … listen for the banshee guitar howls, the fairy-like organ zimbelstern (small bells), and the fairy-warning words spoken into an acoustic guitar

“Hallowe’en” — a sweet-and-spooky counterpoint of organ and bells (and toads) … about all the trick-or-treat flavors of visitors … and friends from the other side

“Naked Skeletons” — a pounding dance beginning and ending with bare drums, symbolic of bare bones dancing on their own

“Zombie Ambience” — a lively romp with the dead in voodoo-jazzy-bluesy style, featuring an undead choir with B-3 and Farfisa organs … listen for the round at the end of the instrumental version

“Bumps in the Night” — an old-timey, vaudeville-esque radio program showcasing charming and whimsical sound oddities

“Monsters” — a tightly harmonic terror demonstrating stomping pipe organ pedals and percussive grand piano growls … listen for the odd rhythmic meters and piano string plucks

“Wickéd” — a wafting swirl of acoustic guitars accompanying a plaintive melody mingled with stately organ interludes … about a candle, its light and warmth symbolizing visits from loved ones (dead and alive) … listen for the round in the guitars

“Jack o’ Lantern” — a “soundtracky rock” journey with the spirits of the Old World coming to the New World, the turnip bowing out to the pumpkin, and how the jack o’ lantern tradition came to be … listen for the round in all instruments

“Gust” — pipe organ rock featuring baritone guitar, mandolin, and gusty choir spirits … listen for the round at the end of the song and the theremin in the instrumental version

• “Visitors” — pipe organ background music to play when setting a place at the dinner table for deceased loved ones, a tradition in Mexican and Wiccan cultures … also related to the Jewish Passover practice of setting a place for Elijah

“Mostly Ghostly” — I released two versions of this carol on A Broom With A View, but neither of my arrangements featured the round, so this version is the round only … background music for haunted houses, spook alleys, and trick-or-treat porches

 

BONFIRES

Historic Halloween had much to do with fire. It was by bonfires that the Celtic druids conjured their divinations on Samhain night (their calendric new year's eve) to foretell destinies in the coming year. In many religious rites, firelight symbolizes enlightenment from God or gods. Light allows one to discern.

(Interesting to note here that a lasting offshoot of this ancient divination practice manifested in romantic fortune telling; Halloween was commonly associated with games of romance up until the first part of the 20th century.)

Bonfire traditions carried well into recent centuries, especially in Scotland where youth begged house to house for peats to build bonfires (a related thread of trick-or-treating). Historian James Frazer observed in 1922, "In the Isle of Man also, another Celtic country, Hallowe'en was celebrated down to modern times by the kindling of fires, accompanied with all the usual ceremonies designed to prevent the baneful influence of fairies and witches."

In "Wickéd," I mention the art term chiaroscuro (extreme contrasts of light and dark) — the atmosphere when we light the wick of a candle in a dark room. (I think the world in autumn looks like one grand chiaroscuro painting.) The spirit of the jack o' lantern, whether in a turnip body or a pumpkin body, is fire. In "Jack o' Lantern," I call this spirit the "light of autumn ... carved in the present, engraved with the past — haunting and beckoning fires that last!"

Discernment of spirits is an empowering force to practice year 'round, but accompanied by the enrapturing autumnal season and insights from history, it really seems no less than ... magic.

Happy Halloween.  Happy Night of Spirits.

Kristen

 

 

Ghoulies and Ghosties

lyrics - traditional Scottish prayer

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us.

 

Demons

And they don’t stop
All the pestering lies,
Love confusion
And make sadness their prize.
Away with you!
Be gone, untrue!
The demons vie,
The demons lie.

Made of half-truth,
Full of frivolous spite,
Mean accusers
Seek to dim and kill light.
Away with you!
Be gone, untrue!
The demons vie,
The demons lie.

Crushing
My lungs,
Teasing cowards
Steal my breath in sleep.
Jealous of flesh,
They try to pry into my temples,
My deep.

Second guesses
Tangle reason with mud,
Dam all pathways
With cerebral crud —
Endless doomsday,
Horses red, black, and pale,
Wars and losses,
Death in detail.

Rise, my mind,
Envision greater orbits.
Find the calm
By the steady star above night.
O logic sweet!
O reason’s fleet!
More be with me
Than be with thee.

Laying traps to
Catch me in my words
And seek offenses,
Evil counterfeits compassion
And love.

Mal den Teufel
Nicht an die Wand.
Devils rage
Enough outside.

In a mask or
Shielded only by face,
Sacred refuge
Stands inside its sure place.
Away with you!
Be gone, untrue!
The demons vie,
The demons lie.
Deceivers, fear
The white horse here.
Dismissed are you;
No more ado.

 

Scary Fairies

On Halloween don’t go outside alone,
For what may be is frightful on its own —
The fairies seek to take you away.
Beware! Beware! They thrive this holiday.

No souls have these who get what they demand,
And once they kidnap you to Fairyland,
There’s little chance escaping their stead.
Beware! Beware! They’ll dance you ’til you’re dead.

Oíche Shamhna —
Night of Spirits comes alive.
Oíche Shamhna —
Night when scary fairies ride.

Tam Lin was saved, but not before he turned
Into a snake, bear, lion, iron burned.
So, at midnight look out! These vindictive, jealous folk
Consort with ghosts — so easy to provoke.

Hang a little Harvest Maiden,
Stick a needle in the door
Lest Queen Mab exchange a changeling,
Granting your dreams whether they’re good or poor.

Let’s rub some oats and salt into your hair,
Protect you from what runs around out there —
The fairy hills are open today.
Beware! Beware! Their lights will lead astray.

Oíche Shamhna —
Night of Spirits comes alive.
Oíche Shamhna —
Night when scary fairies ride.

 

Hallowe’en

Wisdom of witches,
Musings of cats,
Hanging out with
Guileless bats —
Benevolent, similar companions
Alight from the stars tonight.

Sippings of cider,
Fall leaves bestrewn,
Sharing sweets
Under the moon —
We ponder illuminating pumpkins
Carved slowly from outside in.

RIP the veil between
Worlds upon Hallowe’en.
Ghost friends
Love and will be seen.
All souls knock at the door;
Give out your candy, but
Think back on old lore —
Who will you let inside?
Mind your core.

Night covers the words
And the poison in shadowy smiles.
Discern the eyes,
Whether they be loving
Or be hostile —
To glimpse at imps,
To peer at peers.

Toads wait at the porch,
Wanting more treats
In croaking contempt.
Cast out the spell of them
As with a diadem —
Ward away,
Welcome in.

Whispering spirits,
Questioning owls,
Stepping out with
That which prowls —
Good hauntings will come of inspiration
And fellowship magical.

RIP the veil between
Worlds upon Hallowe’en.
Ghost friends
Love and will be seen.
All souls knock at the door;
Give out your candy, but
Think back on old lore —
Who will you let inside?
Mind your core
On Hallowe’en.

 

Naked Skeletons

Dance your skin off,
Unveil the bones.
Sing your chin off,
Let out the tones.
Ribs and sockets reveal the ones
Living as naked skeletons.

Who are you and who am I?
Flay the covers, wonder why
Mulling can make the skull so vulnerable —
Will you dare to bare your soul?

Dance your skin off,
Unveil the bones.
Sing your chin off,
Let out the tones.
Ribs and sockets reveal the ones
Living as naked skeletons.

The skin will crawl —
This sarcous sheath —
But aren’t we all
Osseous underneath?
When blood has fled,
And all that’s red,
What’s really dead?

Bare the sternum, bare the spine —
See how much the two align.
Let teeth betray what lips would never say.
Sever nerves from vertebrae.

Dance your skin off,
Unveil the bones.
Sing your chin off,
Let out the tones.
Ribs and sockets reveal the ones
Living as naked skeletons.

 

Zombie Ambience

Voodoo! Love you!

Zombie ambience — shake your dirt and shake your
Zombie ambience — hey, hey, hey ya.
Swing your dead vibes, toss the old jives —
Time to slough the earth.
Arise and dance a trance in your shredded pants — hey, hey.
Spin your corpsey souls, throw your hearts and brains around,
And then find them again.
Again.

Eat sweet meat cerebral, undead lovers.
Taste and consume each other’s hearts
To live and let die.
Zombie-ombie … ambience.

Zombie ambience — fling your flesh and fling your
Zombie ambience — hey, hey, hey ya.
It’s been dull and days’ve been full of
Mindless wandering.
Come, join the crowds from shrouds where the grunts are loud — uh, uh.
Strut your dusty stuff! Fun apocalyptic times!
Oh, yeah! Feel you’re alive!
Alive.

Eat sweet meat cerebral, undead lovers.
Taste and consume each other’s hearts
To live and let die.
Zombie-ombie … ambience.

Voodoo! Love you!
Hordes of hugs come out to subdue.
Moth-mouth moans surround in the haunts.
Zombie-ombie ambience.
Voodoo! I love you!

Zombie ambience — bust your ribs and bust your
Zombie ambience — hey, hey.
Pounding beats for cuties of yore:
Billy Butcherson!
The boyfriend’s back! Alack?
Oh, no. Heart attack! — hey, hey, hey.
We can go to prom, kiss with stitchy lips,
And walk among Ishtar’s array.
Array.

Zombie-ombie ambience!
Zombie-ombie ambience!
Voodoo! I love you!

 

Bumps in the Night

Yesternight all was right.
So it seemed until a fright —
First a thump, then a scream,
Or was I just dreaming?

In the darkness, coming after me:
Everything that I cannot see —
Wizard wiles and snapping crocodiles!
How far will the darkness go?

As I peeked, rather freaked,
Down the hall where something shrieked,
Books flung out, chimes encroached.
Has my mind gone tricky?

In the darkness, coming after me:
Everything that I cannot see —
Monkey paws and raspy raven caws!
How far will the darkness go?

In the quiet of the night,
Things that go bump never quite
Show a face, yet they will bite.

Creaking doors, moving floors —
Out I crawled upon all fours.
What was there but a stare!
And some surly breathing.

Chilling heat ran up my neck,
Shook my skull into a wreck.
Shivers slid down to my feet,
Each of which desired retreat.

What is nothing? What is dread?
What is something in my head?
Things that go bump in the night
Trick my eyes, for what is sight?

In the darkness, coming after me:
Everything that I cannot see —
Witches’ rungs and fortune-telling tongues!
How far will the darkness …
How far will the darkness …

What things will go bump tonight?

 

Monsters

Under beds
And inside heads,
Their seething stares
Chase up and down stairs.
Horrid screams
Invade your dreams
As gnashing teeth
Coax your belief in
Monsters
Snarling, growling,
Coming for you.
Even so,
Let nightmares go;
Forgive your
Monster anguish.

Fearsome truths,
Fearsome falsehoods
Creep their way
To your room.
And they say,
“Don’t you move;
We have come to
Eat your soul.”

Under beds
And inside heads,
Their seething stares
Chase up and down stairs.
Horrid screams
Invade your dreams
As gnashing teeth
Coax your belief in
Monsters
Snarling, growling,
Coming for you.
Even so,
Let nightmares go;
Forgive your
Monster anguish.

When to walk?
When to battle?
Measure well;
Power resounds.
Now to say,
“Who are you?
I won’t feed your
Empty souls.”

Cinderella, are you scared?
Cinderella’s creed she shared.

Under beds
And inside heads,
Their seething stares
Chase up and down stairs.
Horrid screams
Invade your dreams
As gnashing teeth
Coax your belief in
Monsters
Snarling, growling,
Coming for you.
Even so,
Let nightmares go;
Forgive your
Monster anguish.

 

Wickéd

Candle, I set you out this night.
You’re wickéd and waxéd, casting light.
Oh, don’t obey that gust or blow,
But stay with me, flickering your glow.

Wafting and warm, your haunting smell
In chiaroscuro evenings’ spell
Allures as twisting shadows spread,
For Jack and I smile while lightheaded.

Dripping, your hours diminish, friend.
Your pleasant wax wanes, for all must end.
Then snuff, arise your smoky curls;
Extinguishing grace abides in swirls.

 

Jack o’ Lantern

Jack o’ Lantern, oh light us a path tonight!
Shadows tease with flickering shapes
On hedges and fences and doorsteps,
So smile your secrets to us!
Hollow yet filled with a luminous stare —
Eerie façade of what you’re aware!

Long ago in the Gaelic land of your roots,
You enthralled the ghosts of the time,
Then traveled the waters Atlantic
To find a home on new shores.
Purple no longer the color adored,
Turnips gave way to the orange gourd!

Jack o’ Lantern, oh light us a path tonight!
Shadows tease with flickering shapes
On hedges and fences and doorsteps,
So smile your secrets to us!
Hollow yet filled with a luminous stare —
Eerie façade of what you’re aware!

Light of autumn, you’re often quite mischievous —
Fairy glows or will o’ the wisps
Or corpse candles floating
Or Jack whom the devil spurned with a coal.
Carved in the present, engraved with the past —
Haunting and beckoning fires that last!

Edgar ALLAN Poe's "The Raven"

Kristen Lawrence, A Broom With A View

Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"

Historical Background & Links

THE RAVEN

If Edgar Allan Poe had been a musician, what would “The Raven” sound like?

This famous poem is noted for its lingering rhythms, sonorous rhymes, and gothic themes.  Who better, then, to bring it to musical life than classically trained organist and composer of Halloween Carols™, Kristen Lawrence?

Kristen’s setting of all 18 verses follows the feelings of the narrator as he falls progressively deeper into the maelstrom of despair over his lost love, Lenore.  Each verse was composed as a musical vignette to illustrate the growing madness as Poe’s character is tormented by the presence of the raven.  Kristen’s pure soprano sings the narrative, as if sung by the ghost of Lenore.

Like Poe, Kristen has written her own “Philosophy of Composition,” so to speak, with her essay, “A Musical Setting of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven,’” which details how she crafted her composition, verse by verse – available as a PDF download.

To help explain the genius of Poe’s poem, other PDF downloads are also available in the Teacher Ideas.  These may be used in the classroom in conjunction with Kristen’s music to help meet educational standards and requirements.

Poe declared in his essay, “The Poetic Principle”:

It is in Music, perhaps, that the soul most nearly attains the great end for which, when inspired by the Poetic Sentiment, it struggles — the creation of supernal Beauty. It maybe, indeed, that here this sublime end is, now and then, attained in fact. We are often made to feel, with a shivering delight, that from an earthly harp are stricken notes which cannothave been unfamiliar to the angels. And thus there can be little doubt that in the union of Poetry with Music in its popular sense, we shall find the widest field for the Poetic development. The old Bards and Minnesingers had advantages which we do not possess — and Thomas Moore, singing his own songs, was, in the most legitimate manner, perfecting them as poems.

Kristen hopes you find “Poetic development” and “supernal Beauty” in her musical offering to Poe.

Download PDF:

 A Musical Setting of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"

Poem:  Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"

Teacher Halloween Project Ideas

A Broom With A View

Kristen Lawrence, A Broom With A View

A Broom With A View

Historical Background & Links

All music and lyrics © 2009 Kristen Lawrence, except where otherwise noted

 

I have loved Halloween since I was a little girl. Every October 31st I sensed something intriguing and surreal in the air. Trick-or-treating was always so exciting, jack o' lanterns so mesmerizing. October itself was like an enchanted dimension with the lower angle of the sun, crisp air, beautiful trees, and early evenings.

 

As I grew older, my child-like love of Halloween never went away, but I wanted to know more about it on a scholarly level. What is it? Why is it? Where did it come from? How did its symbols come to be? Who are the people throughout the centuries who have celebrated it?

 

In my personal studies of Halloween, I enjoyed reading about cultural customs and lore, but saw a gap in musical traditions. I have found a few old melodies linked with Halloween, but most songs survive in poem form only, without a trace of a tune it might have once held. And this has disappointed me. Halloween is such a rich, historical holiday with an emotional spectrum of silly to meaningful ... so why isn't there a rich, thoughtful, quirky, lovely, fun musical tradition to match? Like Christmas carols! I love Christmas, but why should it have all the fun?

 

I determined to celebrate Halloween with beautiful, timeless music that matches the depth of its history and splendor of its season. And so, with my background as a classically trained organist, I began to write Halloween Carols — each in four-part carol/hymn style, just like Christmas carols — to which I continually add more, hoping to share, in music, what I have learned and how I feel about this holiday.

 

I have come to realize that Halloween is a fascinating but tangled web of folklore and facts. Our modern celebrations have developed from centuries of traditions from ancient Celtic, Roman, and medieval Christian cultures. From its very beginnings as the pagan Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced SOW-in), people believed Halloween to be a night of visitations from the dead, both friendly and hostile. Traditions formed around appeasing these guests from the Otherworld, and people believed their magic would divine the future.

 

For example, the early Celts set out food on Samhain night for these ghostly visitors — possibly the earliest trick-or-treating reference. Samhain bonfires — "bone fires" made from the bones of animals — attracted insects that in turn attracted bats, which have been associated with the holiday ever since. Later, Roman-conquered Celtic lands saw aspects of the two cultures merge; Samhain took on elements of the festival of the goddess Pomona, whose symbol was the apple, which is most likely the basis of our bobbing-for-apples tradition.

 

Samhain was eventually "baptized" by the medieval Christian church as All Saints' Day or All Hallows (November 1) — a day to remember the departed saints. Later, All Souls' Day (November 2) was decreed by the church as the day to remember all ancestral dead. "Souling" grew as a begging tradition — offering to pray for someone's beloved departed in purgatory in exchange for a "soul cake." But this Christianizing did not erase the "old ways" and the eve of All Hallows (Hallowe'en) was still seen by folk as the night the dead visit the earth.

 

"Souling Song," which I arranged in two versions, is based on two traditional tunes. One of these tunes I grew up with, but knew it with the words, "Rose, Rose, Rose, Rose, will I ever see thee wed?" and also as "Hey ho, nobody home." I use both this tune and the other tune (Cheshire) in each arrangement, and have included melodies of my own. The idea to do two arrangements struck me when I realized that this song could clearly outline two of the cultural forces behind Halloween — paganism and Christianity. As I studied and played around with the Cheshire tune, I had an epiphany: the beginning notes are the same as the medieval plainchant Dies Irae — "Day of Wrath" or "Day of Judgment." It struck me as plausible that this tune could be a corruption of the chant, a folk simplification of the meaning behind the "souling" tradition — praying for the dead in purgatory, for Judgment Day is coming.

 

The traditional words that I use in the "All Hallows Version" present the early Christian viewpoint of the living who pray for the dead. And then I thought, "Well, what do the dead think?" Medieval Christians thought they were in purgatory. The Celtic pagans a few centuries before thought they could come and visit on the eve of Samhain. Because both traditions involve food, I thought soul cakes the perfect crux to musically explain two different viewpoints that swirl together to create modern Halloween. And so I wrote new words for the "Samhain Version" to explain this.

 

My Arachnitect EP, released in 2008, and this year's A Broom with a View CD are introductions to my long-term Halloween Carols™ project. My collection currently consists of about 60 carols, and they are each eagerly waiting their turn for me to orchestrate them into a full-length song and record them. They are perennial creatures and want to fill that historical gap, that need for autumnal musical literature.

 

I hope this music enchants and delights you. As you listen, I hope you feel the fall time beauty, the historical traditions, and the playful quirkiness of this unique holiday.

 

Happy Halloween!

 

Kristen

 

 

  • Mostly Ghostly – Entrance Music A maudlin but mercurial ghost bemoans the lack of physical brains, wailing with a massive pipe organ.
     
  • A Broom With A View – The intriguing Halloween night sky invites a sensory-appreciating witch out for a joy ride on her broom.  Organ, piano, and strings set this witch “ablaze” as she takes in the beauty and wonder of October.
     
  • Souling Song – All Hallows Version Traditional English melody and lyrics about the practice of “souling” – offering prayers for people’s beloved departed in exchange for soul cakes.  Cathedral bells and organ ring out on All Souls Day (November 2) as the soulers go about this Christian custom.
     
  • Souling Song – Samhain* Version– (pronounced * “SOW-in”) A different take on the traditional song, describing the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain, where the dead were believed to visit the earth, accept food offerings, and share their magic.  Drums, organ, electric guitar and bass, and voices dance together like wild pagans around a Samhain bonfire.
     
  • Dark Glass Written about a mesmerizing dream Kristen had with surreal Halloween imagery.  Windy sounds and distant voices set against organ and strings give the impression of floating through the sky.
     
  • Cats In The Catacombs – A xylophone-bone-clinking romp with organ and piano where cats lurking around the catacombs get “spooked to poofs of nerves and fur.”  Featuring a feline-esque cello.
     
  • Sleeping Dust (“The Death Lullaby”) - Ashes to Ashes VersionA sweet, plaintive lullaby about death to sing to the dead or the living.  Organ, piano, celesta, and humming take us from simple beginnings to simple endings with a world of intensity in between.
     
  • Flappy Bat The old Samhain bonfires attracted insects, which in turn attracted bats.  In medieval times, burning witches at the stake attracted bats for the same reason, deepening the Halloween association.  This carol’s vocal duet and patterns in the strings sound like the flapping wings of bats.
     
  • Vampire Empire A saucy invitation from a vampire to a mortal to become one of the blood-hungry undead.  A majestic organ and wicked harpsichord waltz together while two kick drums thump like heartbeats.
     
  • A Broom With A View – Instrumental Version 
     
  • Cats In The Catacombs - Instrumental Version
     
  • Vampire Empire – Instrumental Version 
     
  • Mostly Ghostly – Exit Music 

 

 

Mostly Ghostly

I’m mostly a ghost, but I still have my head.
I don’t mean to boast, but I’m better than dead.
For, those folks in graves are still lying intact,
And each ghost behaves as though all-dead, in fact.

I keep my mind here, in my hands, at my side.
But, yes, through my ear all my brains seem to slide.
Oh, I love my head; I was clever in life,
But witlessness dread, so beware of my scythe.

 

A Broom With A View

Come, my broom, it’s time to view the world with the moon.
Listen! Evening winds approach to escort us up.
Halloween makes midnight seem candle-lit by stars and screams! 
Ah, oooh!  Ride and glide as in a dream.

As we rise past curving branches which sweep us high,
Ghosts wave, visiting a time past before the grave.
Halloween makes midnight seem candle-lit by stars and screams! 
Ah, oooh!  Ride and glide as in a dream. 

Down below, the porches glow for Trick-or-Treaters.
Broom, swoop us through cemeteries’ old pretty stones!
Halloween makes midnight seem candle-lit by stars and screams! 
Ah, oooh!  Ride and glide as in a dream. 

How the scent of dry leaves mingles with warm lanterns,
Wafting as a stream into the black sea of night!
Halloween makes midnight seem candle-lit by stars and screams! 
Ah, oooh!  Ride and glide as in a dream.

 

Souling Song – All Hallows Version

(Traditional lyrics)

Soul Day, Soul Day, we be come a‘ souling.
Pray, good people, remember the poor,
And give us a soul cake. 

Chorus:

Soul, soul, a soul cake!
Please, good lady, a soul cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry.
Soul, soul, a soul cake!
Pray we for a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
And three for Him who made us all.

God bless the master of this house, the mistress also,
And all the little children who ‘round your table grow.
Likewise, your men and maidens, your cattle and your store,
And all that dwell within your gates, we wish you ten times more.

Souling Day, so we pray for the souls departed.
Pray give us a cake,
For we are all poor people well-known to you before.

Little Jack, Jack sat on his gate,
Crying for butter, to butter his cake.
Up with your kettles, and down with your pans,
Give us our souling, and we’ll be gone.

Down into the cellar, and see what you can find.
If your barrels are not empty, we hope you will prove kind.
We hope you will prove kind with your apples and your grain,
And we’ll come no more a’ souling ‘til this month comes again.

Soul Day, Soul Day, we have been praying
For the souls departed, so pray good people, give us a cake.
So give us a cake for charity’s sake
And our blessing we’ll leave at your door.

 

Souling Song – Samhain Version

(Samhain pronounced “SOW-in”)

Chorus:

Soul, soul, soul cakes!
We come hunting for soul cakes!
We are dead, but like we said,
On this night we’ll take your bread
And while you’re out of your abode,
Lighting fires of Samhain old,
Think of us, out of body –
As we are, you, too, shall be.

Samhain Night, at long last,
We parade from ages past –
A journey from the Otherworld –
Oh, the hairs that we have curled!

Winter’s Eve surrounds us,
Its open portal astounds us.
We creep into the living sphere,
And see where memories summon here.
Find us in this coldness,
Visiting with much boldness.
Share your food; we’ll share our power
To discern a future hour.

Summer’s End, Summer’s End –
Will the sun return, vital warmth to send?
Summer’s End, Summer’s End –
Darkness lengthens in its stride across the sleeping land.

Little Jack, Jack sat on his gate,
Offering goblins and demons his cake.
Up with the chill and down with the sun,
Waning and waning, the Dark Half’s begun.
All this night as boundaries untie,
Visitors friendly and frightful stop by.
Up with your mask and down with your feet,
Marching and marching to lead out the fleet.

How about this dwelling?
Its offerings are compelling,
With drinks and cakes and porridge,
And cherries and berries from storage.
Rattles at your door!
Don’t be scared, but give us some more!
A banshee or a fershee might delight by new firelight.

 

Dark Glass

I saw the earth as a moon-like globe
Outside my window, shower window.
No glass impaired my sight this night
As a vision pulled my ear, “Come out here.”
All the atmosphere had shattered
And fell in fragments like dark glass from the sky.
No one can say, none can detail
Where droplets splashed and shards rushed maddened.

Chorus:

Everything was a shade of blue,
Round and grand and blue,
So close, I had to check what planet I was on.
How radiant the sphere appeared! 
Glowing water waved a mirror.
Long points of white turned the earth with sparkling hums.

The continents seemed a little fuzzy
As they throbbed in their green pattern.
I stretched my arms to their expanse,
So round, so bold,
So feeling and yet small.
Through this night I could fly
Past all wintery fences high,
Alone for miles around.

Am I too far above ground?
The motion pulled, so where’s too far?

My elbows leaned on the tile –
I forgot there was tile for a while –
And soaked in absence of time.
The steam gathered dew in mind.
So, light and dark spin their fight –
Or agree to what they are –
All at night outside my window.

 

Cats In The Catacombs

Cats in the catacombs have scratchy, catchy claws.
They tousle a mouse or a ratty, tatty rat, then pause,
For something in the darkness creaks, and curious to see …
RAWR!  Spooked to poofs of nerves and fur!

Cats hiss like catalysts for mighty, frighty nights.
They cater with caterwauls down the labyrinthy halls,
Then patter, scatter as a knocking echoes down the way …
RAWR!  Spooked to poofs of nerves and fur!

Cats’ eyes can categorize images so dim. 
Like bunk beds of bones holding grins and gory eyes awake.
A cataplexy like a hex will seize the bristly beast …
RAWR!  Spooked to poofs of nerves and fur!

Cats brush by catafalques which, slipped in crypts beneath,
Can portend a mortal end to the lives-of-nine inclined. 
Well, pity kitties on their eighth who paw at loose, piled skulls …
RAWR!  Spooked to poofs of nerves and fur!

 

Flappy Bat

Flappy bat, flapping at Halloween bonfires great,
Have you caught any moth fluttering to its fate?

Witches’ stakes – grave mistakes – summon your swooping grace.
Might your shape be escape, masked by a devil’s face?

Pointy wings, echoings, guide your nocturnal flight
Past the hills, sweeping chills with your form by moonlight.

 

Vampire Empire

Succulent biting and sucking to our desire
Forever mark the Vampire Empire.
Come have a taste of our vicious kisses
Then drink, awake to the pulsing blood where bliss is.

Undead, un-reflected, seeking a neck to bite,
We shun the sun and hark the dark night.
Don’t cross us or pointed words from our lips
Will stab your gloat – and throat – ending in dripping sips.

Garlic or our lick?  Will sticky blood be your pick?
Drains by Romanian fangs are quick.
Sharpen your smile and, while midnight dancing with us,
Chase lushly the blush of Eternal Spring.

Vampire Empire

Kristen Lawrence, Vampire Empire

Vampire Empire - Radio Edits

Bite-sized music candies for the radio or short attention spans!

Compiled from the A Broom With A View and Arachnitect CDs.

All music and lyrics © 2009 Kristen Lawrence, except where otherwise noted

Arachnitect

Kristen Lawrence, Arachnitect

Arachnitect

Historical Background & Links

All music and lyrics © 2008 Kristen Lawrence, except where otherwise noted.

Download Teacher Ideas:  

Teacher Halloween Project Ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Arachnitect  A spider song with a wicked, little harpsichord spindling through it. Electric guitar and bass create quirky spider sounds and also give the song its rock edge. Singing spiders dangle during the interludes, singing flies buzz in harmony, and full strings spin silky harmonies throughout. Complete with a “silent-film-esque” chase scene across a web.
     
  • Blood Waltz  – A lush, rich vampire waltz. Pipe organ and strings dance together in elegant, macabre harmonies. Vocals cover a range of blood topics, from celebrating the “range of rust flavors: O positive! O negative! Oh the potpourri of A and B!” to “plasma TVs” and “hemo-goblins.” Reminiscent of grand, aristocratic balls during the 19th century.
  • Ghost of John  – A haunting American folk tune and verse from the 1800s, Kristen puts some serious skin on this skeletal melody with four additional verses and two different arrangements. “Bare Bones Version” showcases the glorious, bare cathedral organ with ghostly vocals singing in tight harmony. “Dead Composers Version” expands and develops the organ, vocals, and themes with full strings and an organ fugue in the middle.

    At the request of teachers and haunters, Kristen now released both versions as instrumental tracks on her Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" album. Haunters can use these songs as background music for the haunted houses. Teachers can also use these tracks as accompaniment as students make up their own verses to describe poor John's ghostly skeleton. 

 

Arachnitect

Sticky feeties, eight wee creepies ~ spider!
Swinging thing on see-through string.
Widows, daddies, wolfie laddies ~ spider!
Laying thread a mite might dread.
Silky architect for insect possession ~
A confection collection!
And when a prize flies to your web,
You’re grinning while spinning its dizzy death!

Sneaky, scary, wily, wary ~ spider!
Looming from your woven looms.
Eyes a’ beady, mouth a’ greedy ~ spider!
Poisoning within your ring.
Silky architect for insect possession ~
A confection collection!
And when a prize flies to your web,
You’re grinning while spinning its dizzy death!

Leggies tickle, fangies trickle ~ spider!
Stirring in alluring lace.
Spin your shroudie, bundle proudly ~ spider!
Trapping and a’ wrapping prey.
Silky architect for insect possession ~
A confection collection!
And when a prize flies to your web,
You’re grinning while spinning its dizzy death!

Little palace of your malice ~ spider!
Filigree of treachery.
Callous rapture in your capture ~ spider!
Viciousness!  Deliciousness!
Silky architect for insect possession ~
A confection collection!
And when a prize flies to your web,
You’re grinning while spinning its dizzy death!

 

Blood Waltz 

Sticky and sweet, this red, running heat
Transfuses muses and makes pretty bruises.
Oft inciting leech behaviors,
Comes in a range of rust flavors:
O positive!  O negative!
Oh the potpourri of A and B!
Blood’s great, real or fake!
Lick your wounds and order a big, rare steak.

Inside your vein ‘tis monsters who reign,
Wee creatures plotting for your next blood clotting ~
Hemo-goblins apple bobbin’
At parteries for hob-nobbin’ ~
Dance beats thumping, iron pumping.
Heebies and jeebies! Plasma TVs!
They sail vessels sure,
Landing at banks on the waves of pressure.

And those who suck are in mighty luck ~
This wine, this head rush makes the cheeks and ears blush.
Rose bouquets and ruby slippers
Drip like secrete lovers’ whispers.
Kisses tickle as they trickle,
Tasty spots and specks on long, white necks.
So drains pulsing blood ~
Transylvanian cocktail from the heart’s thud.

 

Ghost of John

1stverse and melody traditional, additional verses by Kristen Lawrence

Have you heard of the Ghost of John?
Long, white bones and the rest all gone!
Oooooooh!
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?

John belongs in a quaint nightmare.
Wobbly jaw and a hollow glare!
Oooooooh!
Wouldn’t things look murky through sockets bare?

John is gone from feet to skull.
Pointy elbows and clavicle!
Oooooooh!
Wouldn’t it be harsh to hug John’s fossil?

John’s not sad; he has had his day.
Smile that’s fixed in a rigid way!
Oooooooh!
Wouldn’t frowning be hard when lips decay?

John once said, “I’ve lost my head!”
Empty thoughts top his spine instead.
Oooooooh!
Isn’t it the truth now that he is dead?