Folk song, dance and music are a product of Romanticism, including the Romantic Nationalism which swept Europe in the 19th century. That is, Folk is a modern concept for something that was not previously a distinct category.
(It being, presumably, whatever ordinary people, however defined; would do, in whatever time and place; in terms of singing, dancing and playing music.)
But it was of great potency because - by means of Folk - a modern person could (for a while, to some extent) feel and experience that deep and Original Participation by which we were vertically rooted-in a spirit of people, and horizontally connected directly with other people.
This was (originally) spontaneous and unconscious. What was once just a 'part of life' became for modern people something consciously chosen, learned, 'performed'. It still 'worked' (for a while) but must be sought and worked-on.
But for people like me it was potent; because from adolescence the modern Man feels himself being crushed by the The System - and all meaning, purpose and participation being squeezed out of life. Folk represents a way of re-introducing some of these.
As such, Folk had great importance to me in the mid teens of my life. It was a dream, but it could be a living-dream.
Some of my best memories of those days are myself playing and singing folk music (often for myself, also performing a little), attending folk clubs and concerts, and especially dancing in Barn Dances/ Ceilidhs. Actually doing these dances could create a feeling of being a part of something bigger and more deeply rooted than normal life.
These gave me a taste of participation - I felt (for a while, to some extent) a part of the world, a part of 'a people'.
Yet I get a distinct impression that such feelings are both weaker and less common since the millennium transition (which seems to have been a further stage in the evolution of consciousness away-from the possibility of spontaneous and unconscious participation).
Folk is now both less widespread, and more professional - hence more Ahrimanic and more a part of The System.
Folk music always had politically-motivated nationalists and communists who tried to politicize it by equating 'the folk' with (for example) the Irish 'struggle' for 'freedom' or the Marxist 'proletariat'. As with all institutions; this surface and social aspect spread with the New Left victimology of women, races, sexuality etc.
The consequent politics of resentment goes exactly counter to the Romantic participation which was originally sought from this music; it reduces the magic to the mundane.
But what were we, what was I, supposed to do with Romantic Folk experiences?
What actually happened was either that people tried and failed to return 'society' (as a whole) to the Folk-type, to an 'organic community', to Medieval-style villages or idealistic self-sufficient communes... To a neo-pagan inspired (intended to be) unconscious and spontaneous 'original' participation in living nature.
This was the failed aspect of the post-war counter-culture - the deepest aspirations of both 'beats' and 'hippies' which got left-behind as all their agenda items were stripped of Romance, filleted into bureaucratic bullet-points, and embodied into managed systems.
I think what we were supposed to do is to bring the Romantic Folk experience into conscious spiritual thinking; that is, retaining its Romantic power (based on the assumption that all of nature (including human society) is alive and a makes a continuum of direct knowing from-which we gradually separated-out, but to which we may return in our thinking.
Nowadays this may not involve current experience of Folk singing, music or dancing - because such phenomena have been dwindling in power and popularity - even before in 2020 they were all suppressed and forbidden (for lying, 'healthist' fake-reasons).
Any (legal) future for such Folk activity seems to be one in which these activities are all closely-monitored and tightly-regulated as fully-assimilated System manifestations.
So, what is required is that we each do for our-selves what we previously relied-upon live and communal singing, music and dance to do for us.
The Romantic moves from the public and social realm to the private and conscious realm - and Folk (as part of the Romantic) likewise.
We are called-upon to be actively-creative in our own thinking - getting what assistance where and how we may; but ultimately engaging in a direct participation with creation. Any memories of past Folk experiences (or the Romantic essence thereof) can seamlessly be integrated into this spiritual activity.
Instead of aiming to embody these Folk ideals into this mortal and transitory world, we should refocus on preparing our-selves for the immortal and permanent inclusion of the essence of Folk into the post-mortal and Heavenly world.
>What actually happened was either that people tried and failed to return 'society' (as a whole) to the Folk-type, to an 'organic community', to Medieval-style villages or idealistic self-sufficient communes
Yes, I've spoken with people including a junior school headteacher who want to 'return' to community or 'build' a community or who like to extol 'community' in the abstract. But a real community arises naturally out of mutual need and interdependence, for example a medieval village. Materially speaking nowadays we're dependent far more on the System than upon each other. This limits people's ability to participate and cooperate with each other even in a self-sufficient commune where the option to leave always remains.
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