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Loreena McKennitt : Is she a Pagan?


It was in the latter half of the year 2000 when I had the chance to contact Linda Slater, a kind lady who carried an unofficial FAQ recognized even though by Quinlan Road since she was a member by those days of "The Old Ways" e-mail list, ... by the way, if you are not willing to read this post, I am pleased to inform you that Loreena McKennitt doesn't have any pagan believes at all!

Hereby I share with you Linda's comments

"[At this point, let me hand it over to Dave Gosselin who knows much more about Paganism than I do for the next couple of paragraphs. LGS ] Let me address two issues before the question of whether or not Loreena is a Pagan gets answered: What is Paganism, and Why would one even ask if Loreena McKennitt is a Pagan?

When we speak of Paganism, with a capital "P," we are talking of the Neopagan community which is basically the magical religions which have seasonal celebrations. This is slightly different than the dictionary defmition of paganism, which is religions that are not Christian, Moslem or Jewish. There are many different traditions ("denominations" if you will) within the
Neopagan community. The most widely known are Wicca and Druidism. The adherents of Paganism have seasonal celebrations at the Solstices and Equinoxes as well as the cross quarter days (the days half way between the Solstices and the Equinoxes).

Pagan beliefs tend to include such beliefs as: divinity is both the immanent and transcendent (Goddess is within and without), reincarnation, that "Goddess" makes as much sense as "God", and that Nature is divine, and that we are part of Nature, not her "rulers."

Most Pagans use Magic as part of their rituals. One of the most important Pagan holidays is Samhain, also known as Halloween and All Soul's Night, at which time Pagans (and Christians, influenced by this tradition) honor the dead and attempt to communicate with them. Samhain (pronounced sow- ane or sow-een) is also the Celtic New Year.
So why would someone ask if Loreena McKennitt is a Pagan? She did the music to three very important Pagan-positive films by the NFB, (The Goddess Remembered, The Burning Times, and Full Circle).


There is also a great deal of Celtic imagery in her music, and Pagans rely heavily on Celtic traditions. The tilles of many of her songs use ñames that are Pagan Holidays or images. These include, Samhain Night and Hurón 'Beltane1 Fire Dance (Beltane is considered second in importance only to Samhain in the Pagan community), All Souls Night and The Oíd Ways.

The Old Ways is a synonym for Paganism. There are also a few songs that invoke Pagan sympathies due to their environmental tone, or magical vision, such as Bonny Portmore and Courtyard Lullaby.
Thanks, Dave!


Back to me for the rest, but before I proceed let me just say di
scussing somebody's spiritual beliefs is a tricky business and whenever one does it, one has to admit they are treading on thin ice.
So, I admit that's what I'm about to do and hope that if the ice below my feet cracks, and I plunge into frigid water, somebody will be there to pul
l me out and wrap a warm blanket around me and say "I hope you learned your lesson!"

Anyhow.... there's been a couple of recurring rumours regardin
g Loreena's spiritual life:
Rumour #1. Loreena is a practising Pagan but won't admit it publicly for fear of the effect such an admission would have on her career;

Rumour #2. Loreena is both a practising Pagan and a practising Román Catholic. The latter rumour started a movement among a certain Pagan group to boycott Loreena's music because to buy her CD's or concert tickets would in a roundabout way support "the enemy" (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church).

BOTH THESE RUMOURS ARE TOTALLY UNSUBSTANTIATED, and there is much more evidence to the contrary.
Loreena has never stated in an interview that she is a Pagan or that she participates in any Pagan religious rites.

She has indicated that she knows she has a Pagan following and acknowledges that some of the images she uses in her inusic (those derived from nature or mythology) would attract those with some kind of environmental orientation to her music (and Pagans tend to have such an orientation).

Loreena and her family attended the United Church of Canada (a mainline, liberal Protestant denomination) when she was young,but in reference to her current religious practices, Loreena has said that she doesn't attend church or belong to any particular religión, but that she finds renewal in settings that bring her in closer touch to nature.


It is obvious from the themes she explores on the Mask and Mirror album and things she's said recently in interviews that Loreena spends a certain amount of time pondering spiritual matters, but I have never heard her say anything in the media like "I believe..." or "God is..." or "I am a [insert name of institutionali
zed religion of your choice]...."

Most of the time when she's talked about religion or spirituality, she's tended to ask questions, like "What is god?" "What is the soul?" rather than st
ating what she herself believes to be true.

For those of you who distrust the media and think "So, she's never sai
d she's a Pagan in the media. That doesn't mean a thing!"

Let me add that I myself heard Loreena say she was NOT a Pagan, and somebody else posted a message about a year o
r so ago saying she'd asked Loreena at a promotional appearance whether she was a Pagan, and, again, Loreena said "No".
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