Dar Williams’ In The Time Of Gods

Dar Williams’ In The Time Of Gods August 22, 2012

I have been a big fan of Dar Williams since The Christians and the Pagans, and her lovely contributions to the first Lilith Fair album. Strangely, it was more acceptable for my sisters to listen to Madonna than for me to listen to Dar. Ironically, I think my mother thought Dar, and singer-songwriters like her, were more “gay.”

I have always liked Dar, but I have literally fallen in love with her new album: In The Time Of Gods. Inspired by Greek myth, it’s a collection of modern songs. Had I not known it was based on Greek myth, I would not have guessed it, and knowing it I can pick up on the subtle references. It’s a marvelous thing.

I have written about my crisis of faith. I am still climbing up that hill. Even on dark days, I feel the sun is closer to the horizon than before. Rosy-fingered dawn is making herself visible and all the pieces are falling, sometimes painfully, into place. Yes, I am still climbing up the hill, but it is a satisfying climb without the terror of descending into darkness.

There have been things, people, even scents, that have helped me stay my course and not dash against the rocks on my journey back to faith. One of the most important has been Dar’s new album. I have listened to it endlessly on repeat.

Dar has done several interviews about the album, but this is my favorite, because of this quote:

When I was writing about Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, I spoke to a hunter. He spoke with so much depth and intelligence about why he’s a hunter, what it takes to be a good hunter and the stewardship he sees as his role as a hunter. Then I remembered going to Vermont with an ex-boyfriend – this guy coming out with a big thing of ammo in one hand and a big thing of beer in the other. I just thought there was something wrong with the picture. That guy was not what we ever called a ‘hunter” before.

Artemis was spied upon by a hunter during one of her rites and she turned him into a stag who was killed by a hunting party. To me as an adult, I see her as a keeper of the balances of nature as opposed to this cold, aloof virgin goddess. That’s not very biblical either. That stewardship is portrayed very different in the Bible. There’s the sense you’re supposed to have this dominion over things, which means you’re supposed to be a steward. In Greek mythology we’re not stewards because we have dominion. We’re stewards because if we don’t pay attention to this stuff, we’re screwed.

So I invite you spend some time checking out this music.

1. I Am The One Who Will Remember Everything

You drink the smoke, you ride the noise
You drink the smoke, you ride the noise,
And you say it’s necessary,
And you forget the ordinary
But I say, on the wheel of time,
Scour the Earth and find the
Orphans of forgetting, all the orphans of forgetting,
Give them stars for math and praise for good play

2. This Earth

I love this land of mortal men
They wake to know the fire again,
The things we make, the things we feel,
Armor plates and molten steel,
All of these inventions of the Earth.
This Earth.

3. I Have Been Around The World

And I know there are times you think I’ve lost my way,
But there is no way this can be true,
Cause when I’m walking through
The door I look for you,
You’re all I’m looking for.
And it’s truer now than it’s ever been,
I’m the lucky one that love has taken in,
I have been around the world,
From sea to shining sea,
I wish that you were here,
You’re all the world to me.

4. The Light and the Sea

And as the days went by I turned my wheel towards the thunder
Taking on a challenge that I knew could take me under.
Oh, and it took me down
And oh it took me down
And It came to me
As I cursed the stem and sail
And called it fate that I should fail
There is a light
There is a light
And there will always be
The light and the sea,
The roiling sea, the light and me.

5. You Will Ride With Me Tonight

Speeding through the fields of flowers,
Silver skies with distant showers
My sister brought them
All the seeds in spring were sown,
How the tendriled vines have grown
So full in Autumn
May I say you seem too strong,
Loose your silver hair cause it’s a long way through the tunnel to the light.
Fates are poised above the strings,
They know the span of life and wings,
You are not of them.

6. Crystal Creek

The one who spied me out as goods to plunder,
I had to show the world that he was not a true hunter.
That was me,
When he saw me naked,
He was interrupting,
Something sacred.
I was guarding Crystal Crystal Creek.

7. Summer Child

Now she’s up yeah the summer child is running again.
Come my freezing daughter, brave the icy water
Enter slowly under cherry blossoms,
Racing as you see the gates of summer.
There is time and time to come,
Underneath the golden sun,
And forever will melt slowly in a glass of lemonade.


8. I Will Free Myself

This vodka comes from rain descending from a single cloud.
These cherries ripened in the groves of the Hesperides
Where heroes lie.
I rolled my pant legs up for darting fish in tadpole ponds,
I picked the berries in the field,
Light pools in my glass,
Shines into the past.
This is how I’ll, this is how I’ll, how I’ll free myself.

9. Write This Number Down

So write this number down and know you won’t slip through the cracks.
Look over your shoulder, there’s millions of us there to get your backs.
You can play a crucial part,
Carry justice in your heart,
And we’ll be there to get your backs.
Welcome to this land and yes we still have all those marble steps to climb,
But write this number down, because it’s growing all the time.


10. Storm King

The storm king has borne the seasons all,
Worn them upon his brow,
He guides the watchful boats below,
I am the storm king now.
He is bemused, sometimes delighted,
Sees the trains, the hikers on the hill
In our progress and our industry
May we grow better still.


This doesn’t sound like “traditional Pagan music” but it’s seriously fed my soul more than I can express. I hope you come to love it as much as I do.

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