ABSTRACT

A key aspect of the counter-culture’s oppositional stance was its drawing on ideas and practices associated with pre-modern ideology, including elements of Paganism. Among these was a back-to-the-land ethos exempli-ed in the rural hippie communes that sprang up across North America and Europe; this was also evident at some counter-cultural rock festivals – notably the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair, which took place at a greeneld site in upper New York state (see A. Bennett 2004). As the example of Woodstock suggests, signicant elements of the counter-cultural ideology were communicated through the popular music of the era, and this extended to the traces of Pagan belief evident in the counter-culture. A range of artists, from e Beatles, Canned Heat and Tra c through to emerging hard rock and heavy metal groups such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, drew on imagery with varying degrees of Pagan inuence. is chapter discusses the role of music in articulating aspects of Pagan belief and ideology among members of the counter-culture. As the chapter will illustrate, rather than articulating the full-blown form of Paganism evident in much contemporary Pagan music, counter-cultural music drew

loosely on a range of themes and imagery whose Pagan associations were not directly articulated but rather worked at a variety of levels as a means of challenging the dominant technocratic discourse of the time. Pagan overtones were also evident in a variety of objects, images and texts associated with the music of the counter-cultural era. e chapter will argue that this music served as an important impetus for counter-cultural sensibilities, with the latter drawing inspiration and nourishment from pre-and antimodern customs and practices within which Paganism played a signicant, if not specically explored, role.