Ring Out, Solstice Bells: JETHRO TULL

Songs from the Wood

Songs from the Wood entered the Kent Music Report album chart on 21 February 1977 and peaked at #26.

Ian Anderson

There are plenty of Christmas songs, including one by Jethro Tull, but few about the winter solstice, which takes place on the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere – either December 21st or 22nd. The song describes a solstice celebration in medieval times, with dancing druids and ringing bells.
This is also a rare example of a tune that references mistletoe outside of a romantic context. Rituals other than kissing under mistletoe exist, such as the ancient Celtic Ritual of Oak and Mistletoe. Anderson sings of the maids and lads congregating “beneath the mistletoe, by the holy oak whereon it grows.” A druid priest would climb the tree, cut down the plant, and – after sacrificing two bulls – would create an elixir to cure infertility and defend against poisons.
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