> Steeleye Span > Songs > Harvest of the Moon

Harvest of the Moon

[Peter Knight]

Steeleye Span recorded Peter Knight's song Harvest of the Moon for their album Time. A live recording from The Forum, London on September 2, 1995 was released on the CD The Journey. Peter Knight commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

Brighid was a major pagan goddess throughout the Celtic lands. Brigantia, which once comprised most of the North of England was named after her. Elsewhere in Europe she was known as Brigan or Brig. Her other names include Brigid, Brigit, Brid and Bride. By any of these names she represents the triple goddess, i.e. the Maid, the Mother and the Crone. As the Moon goddess she personified its various phases, and her attributes were enchantment, ripeness and wisdom. To the Irish she was the goddess of fertility, inspiration and healing. Around 520 A.D. supposedly lived St. Bridget of Kildare, who became a Christianised version of all the pagan Bridgets that went before her. In this song she represents the re-emerging goddess of the feminine principle in mankind; bringing harmony and healing to all our troubled relationships.

Bernard Leak warned me in an e-mail:

I'd avoid references to “triple goddesses” if you want to keep your head. There is, as far as I know, no evidence of “triple goddesses” at any period in Celtic religion, despite a certain liking for organising things in threes as a rhetorical device.

Lyrics

Steeleye Span sing Harvest of the Moon

All the husbands and the wives
We were dancing for our lives
All to the tune of Elsie Marley
Instead of gathering up our differences
And throwing them in the air
And giving them to the wind that shakes the barley

And the children they were watching
Every girl and every boy
As we danced to the tune of Elsie Marley
But they'd heard another tune
From the harvest of the moon
That rides upon the wind that shakes the barley

The Bridget she declared
That she was not prepared
To watch us dance to the tune of Elsie Marley
She said I'll sing you all a song
And you'll want to sing along
If you listen to the wind that shakes the barley

And the song that she sang
Could be heard for miles around
The air was full of harmony
You should have heard the sound
As we gathered up our differences
And threw them in the air
And gave them to the wind that shakes the barley

All the husbands and the wives
We were dancing for our lives
All to the tune of Elsie Marley
Until we gathered up our differences
And threw them in the air
And gave them to the wind that shakes the barley

Then all of us declared
That we were not prepared
To dance our lives away with Elsie Marley
For we'd heard another tune
From the harvest of the moon
That rides upon the wind that shakes the barley

And the song that we sang
Could be heard for miles around
The air was full of harmony
You should have heard the sound
As we gathered up our differences
And threw them in the air
And gave them to the wind that shakes the barley