Unbroken Circle: A Pagan Song of Redemption

Unbroken Circle: A Pagan Song of Redemption November 24, 2016

I present to you the lyrics and a recording of a song I wrote many moons ago. On family feast days, it is hard not to feel a twinge of loss for those loved ones who are no longer at table with us. This pagan funeral song was written about my joy at seeing that Mom lived on through me and my sister, and through my children and all that we would accomplish, thanks to her loving endeavors.

cc0 public domain ~ Pixabay

We sang the Christian version at her funeral that I wrote about in the Death Toll series, and I’ll admit to you that those Christian rituals did very little to help me…as a mourner, and especially as a pagan mourner…to help me process my grief over time. Funerals and rites of release are ceremonies that we pagans need to develop and explore more fully together.

Except for the well-known chorus, the old “Will the Circle be Unbroken” verses are woefully depressing without any redemption or hope worth singing about, in my opinion. So, I rewrote it to reflect my own pagan views of death, burial, and after-life–my own hope and gratitude and the promise of an eternal life found through the cycles of reincarnation.

When I die, cremate me, release my ashes to the four elements, release my Spirit completely, and with each ritual, let the burdens of grief be lifted. Let my memorials be found in the good works I left behind, and through my progeny. Blessed be.

This is sung to the tune of  Will the Circle be Unbroken, Written by: A.P. CARTER, Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC,

Our Unbroken Circle, My mother, her daughters and grandchildren.
Our Unbroken Circle, My mother, her daughters and grandchildren.

Unbroken Circle

Lyrics by Heron Michelle

We were gathered in a meadow
on a cold and mournful day
There to watch those flames a burning,
flames to carry my mother away.

Chorus: Oh will the circle be unbroken?
By and by, oh, by and by
For this fire’s been a’ burning
burning since the dawn of time.

I took some ashes to the river
my soul burdened and in pain.
As those sweet waters cleansed my sorrow
the river carried her ashes away.

Chorus: Oh will the circle be unbroken?
by and by, oh, by and by
For this water’s been a’ flowing,
flowing since the dawn of time.

I gave some ashes to the east wind
as the sun sent down His rays
I felt the heartache, slip from my body
as that wind carried her ashes away.

Chorus: Oh will the circle be unbroken?
by and by, oh, by and by
For this wind has been a’ blowing
blowing since the dawn of time.

I buried the rest ‘neath an old oak tree
as the moon beamed down Her light.
and Mother Earth then did receive her
with her blessings joyous and bright.

Chorus: Oh will the circle be unbroken?
by and by, oh, by and by
for this old earth has been a’ turning,
turning since the dawn of time.

I watch my daughter as she’s playing
her hair shining in the sun
and in her smile I see my mother
and I know that she lives on.

Chorus: I know the circle is unbroken
by and by, oh, by and by
that wheel of life just keeps a turning,
turning since the dawn of time.


Here is a recording of me singing this song, made long ago by my ex-husband, who now has his own recording studio, SoundBenderStudio.com. I give it back out to the Universe as an offering of gratitude this Thanksgiving day.

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