In the middle of lunch, my father looked into my eyes and asked who I was. This question stopped me in my tracks. For a moment, I forgot my father’s illness. Instead, I remembered that he was responsible for naming me.
For this next edition in my series of devotional playlists for the gods of the Feri tradition of Witchcraft, we take a look at Dian Y Glas (and boy does he liked to be looked at). Dian Y Glas, also called simply "Blue God", Is the youngest [mostly]male emanation of the Star Goddess in the pantheon of Feri deities. Dian Y Glas is often seen as young, lustful, and androgynous. He represents the love and passion held deep within the heart of the Star Goddess, where all things emerge.
Blue God to me represents the power of the ecstatic Craft that celebrates all things free and wild. His energy is chaotic but seems to make sense on a deep and cellular level. He is filled with pride, confidence, and attraction, which are all things that awaken within us when we follow the tune of his call. My playlist for Dian Y Glas consists of songs that make me jump up and down and scream "I am ME and I am completely and utterly awesome in every sense of the word."
Look at Me - Geri Halliwell
"I'm the drama queen if that's your thing, baby."
Today is Wednesday, July 10, and in two days I leave New Orleans to begin my summer tour. First stop: Brushwood!!
The Brushwood Folklore Center is a sprawling campground that houses several yearly Pagan festivals, the two largest being Sirius Rising (July 16-21) and Summerfest (July 23-28). Of all the Pagan festivals I do, and have done (which are many) these are my favorites. Part of that is Brushwood itself. Nestled in the hilly farm lands of the New York/Pennsylvania border (near Erie PA), the site is beautiful. It features two cafes, a hot tub, a pool, a kid's area, and a fire circle roundhouse that's bigger than your home (unless you live in a mansion).
I was a kid when making mix-tapes turned into making mix-CD's. I would make compilations for my friends that reminded me of them and give them out as gifts. In fact I still do this! CD's have turned into playlists that I have for all sorts of situations and ideas. I probably have more playlists on my mp3 player than I do songs. So in honor of my anniversary of starting to train in the Anderson Feri tradition of the Craft (mid-July) I'm making some play lists of my own.
Of all the concepts in Feri, the gods are probably what fascinate me the most. They are as abstract as they are embodied, as compassionate as they are fierce. For the next week I'm going to let you in on my playlists that I have for each of the Feri gods. Many of the Feri gods share similarities with other more popular Pagan deities so once you learn a bit about each one, you can see why I might have chose a certain song. They'll cover the whole spectrum of silly and sad and strange and sensible, just like the gods themselves. Oh, and they won't be "Pagan" either.
To start out, today's playlist features the Star Goddess. In the Feri tradition, Star Goddess is the original point of all creation. She is the nexus point from which all things emerge and return. All other gods extend outwards as manifestations of her limitless spectrum. The songs of Star Goddess focus on (obviously) the stars themselves, the expansion of space, and the lovely chaos of time outside of time.
Marry the Night - Lady Gaga
"...Gonna make love to this dark"
I dislike the term "world music"; it's basically an inaccurate catch-all term used for Mediterranean, Asian, African, and often enough Latin American folk music in a culture where "folk music" is based on the folk music traditions of the British Isles and regions of France and Germany and maybe a few other "Northern Europe" regions. But already, I digress....
I also dislike most "pagan music". I've gotten very selective about my cheesy gothic pop-rock with my old age (no offence to Inkubus Sukubus fans in the room), and when your paternal grandfather and both maternal grandparents got off the boat from said Isles, your step-mother, who was not Anglo-Celtic in any ancestral manner, becomes obsessed with Irishness after marrying your father, and half your teachers feel compelled to tell you about how they felt when they say Michael Flatley in Riverdance, or that Michael Collins film, the Celtic folk-based filks that often uncritically dominate the pagan community get really boring, really fast. To make things worse, when interacting with "pagans" on an interfaith level, rather than other Hellenists exclusively, my opinion is not a popular one: My religion encourages competition and bettering oneself --it is completely fair to offer a constructive critique of another's "musical offering" among Hellenists. Many ancient Hellenic festivals featured contests where, yes, there would be a winner and sometimes even a clear loser. I once hosted a Mouseia poetry contest where a participant later harshly criticised me in their own blog cos they didn't win for a very good reason --they submitted a very generalised poem of Olympian reverence, and the contest guidelines were for a poem dedicating a community website to the Moisai. In what basically amounts to an experience-based community with a large interfaith focus, where the status quo is that all good faith efforts to produce something "good" necessarily produce only "good" works, the idea that some works are necessarily better than others will not make one many friends.
I may be an extrovert, but as a Leo with a necessarily high opinion of himself (save when the seasonal depression sets in during winters, but that's another story for another time), I'm OK with fewer friends I'll have regular squabbles with, especially when such "friendships" may necessitate me to compromise my ethics by either holding my tongue when I feel there is room for improvement, or apologise later because I thought highly enough of them to want them to do better....
In the wake of my article on Canadian Pagan music, I had an opportunity to interview Thom of emerging Canadian Celtic folk rock band Raven’s Call, who was happy to share with me the details of what was going on with his band! For the full interview, check out my podcast as of June 10, 2013, at http://paganpathfinders.webs.com.
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada...
Considering the articles I've read lately about whether or not pop culture icons and fluffy bunnies are appropriate idols for worship, and whether or not to bow to them, I'd like to address the reverence I feel for Classical music and the composers of that art. At the beginning of May, I sang in a concert of music by Beethoven. This concert may have changed my life. Towards peace.
I am at a complete loss for what to write about. I didn't write anything in March and I'm a guilty guilter who guilts. True story. I've got 4 drafts, plenty of stock material on the old secret webpage, and here I am posting at night where no one will see my genius.
I realize that blogs are places where people bring their fears and opinions out into the open, not just studies, so I hope this one's a bit of both.
I am deathly afraid of contemplating the significance of Agrippa's De Occulta Philosophia in terms of music and music theory. I know that there are solid free resources on the net that I can relatively trust and cross-reference. I have a book here at home, a sourcebook on Music and Magic, of some amazing excerpts from some of the earliest literature available, translated into modern English by an Occult-positive music professor. There is a man teaching at Yale who has studied the effects of Occult philosophy on one of the Italian Renaissance's greatest composers. Yet a third man has delved into the Occult-ed-ness of Arnold Schoenberg, the early 20th century MASTER. (He's really more of a god, but maybe we'll get into that later.)...
Because I released a new CD in these past two weeks since my last blog entry here, I have had music on the brain, and it occurs to me that Canada has a few talented Pagan musicians who deserve recognition. Because we have a smaller population than the US, it’s harder for our musicians to make a living. Let’s face it; it’s a niche market, and our market is smaller, so most Canadian Pagan musicians make US appearances too. If you’re a Pagan music fan you might want to check these folks out. Disclaimer – I have learned that music is very subjective and these are strictly my opinions. But because I like these artists and I want you to check them out, I will provide as many links as I can to their music so you can listen for yourself, and maybe support also if you share my love.
The Ancient Gods http://www.reverbnation.com/ancientgods – I met these three when I went out to a little town called Fruitvale to officiate my first legal Wiccan wedding. They’re from Castlegar, BC, and they’ve just quietly been performing their own unique rhythmically-driven filk and folk music with growling male vocals, acoustic guitars and violin for many years. I once likened it to heavy metal with acoustic instruments and a djembe. They don’t have a website but they’re starting to get their word out on the web. If you don’t hear them on their ReverbNation site you can find them at CBC Music....
Hi folks! My name is Candice Larrivee, my internet handle is Amarfa, and I am a music nerd. I am working my way through college to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Music, with a concentration in Voice. Music school is hard work, and I was having trouble trying to integrate a daily prayer routine into my hectic schedule of full time work and full time college. I came up with a way to include my spirituality in a way that wouldn't sacrifice my school work. I decided to approach music history from the point of view of a Pagan, and I have found so much that I want to share with the world!
First, though, I've got to say that I'll be speaking from a technical point of view; this blog is, after all, in the Pagan Studies category here on PaganSquare. Second, I think academia should be written in an accessible style with humorous metaphor that gets the point across by being simultaneously entertaining and factual. Third, I'm in the process of developing a website that when it goes live, it will be groundbreaking in its approach and what it encompasses: that Classical Music is more Pagan than anyone truly realizes at this point in time, and this blog will be a shameless plug and shameless resource when that happens.
So, what is "Risky Material: Pagan Music Project," and why was it named that way? Risky Material was originally the title for an Honors Project that I wanted to work on. While the project fell by the wayside, my interest in it never waned. Truth be told, my ideas are too big for a 50 page paper. I want to trace the evolution of Pagan Music from the earliest archaeological finds up into the modern day, in a scholarly hunt for interesting facts, but through Classical Music. It was named "Risky Material" because I know and expect the findings of the project to be against the grain of academic trend, and I know and expect that the word "Pagan" will undoubtedly relegate my research to a 'fringe' category....
My mind shifts at this time of year from the thick-blooded heat and lethargy of summer into a fervor of magical practice. In my part of the United States, we tend to have lingering heat even into October and November, but it is tempered by the crispness of evening air. When the darker days come, I feel energized, renewed, and eager to work magic and tap into the current of enchantment which emerges when summer has been left behind. And while the greenery of the floral world retreats, a different kind of stirring seems to happen below the soil. The Dead are waking up.
It seems everyone has a festival of the dead in autumn. Of course, Halloween is probably the dominant cultural paradigm for those of us living in the United States and Canada, but Hispanic folks have Dia de (los) Muertos, people of Asian ancestry have holidays like the Ghost Festival or the Chung Yeung Festival, and Catholics have All Souls’ Day. While some cultures do not seat their ancestral reverences in autumn, so many do that working with the dead during the cooling months comes naturally to a lot of folks, myself included.
Developing an ancestral practice is, in my opinion, important to those practicing spiritual systems centered on land, folklore, history, etc. It creates a sense of family and timelessness, while acknowledging the mortality that binds every living thing together. It keeps tradition alive, while allowing for new growth and understanding as descendants adapt their practices to the era in which they live. In many cases, I’ve heard people explain that they do not work with ancestors because their predecessors would not have approved of their lifestyle, or there might be a history of abuse or harm, or perhaps they simply are not close to their family in general. However, I would argue that honoring the Dead does not necessarily mean honoring blood relatives. That may be the simplest method—and often it proves rewarding even when some family relationships have a history of bitterness in them—but it is not the only method. Why not work with deceased teachers from within your tradition? Or even culture heroes, like Black Hawk in the hoodoo traditions (a teacher-ancestor) or Johnny Appleseed if you happen to be in the Ohio Valley area (a regional/land-based ancestor)? I am not here to tell anyone how to live their spiritual life or which ancestor(s) to work with, but I do want people to understand that the Dead go beyond blood-bonds and share other ties with the living, and they are eager to work with us, especially at this time of year....
In my last article I proposed to discuss an expression of Loki which tries to avoid the pitfall of declaring to be either for or against this complex and provocative figure. Unfortunately this will entail a bit of self-promotion on my part, because I intend to present and discuss the lyrics to a musical release called Loki Bound, which was released by Milam Records earlier in 2012. Loki Bound was performed by Greed & Rapacity, a band of which I am one half.
Loki Bound is a one-song 30-minute funeral doom metal descent into Loki’s stream of consciousness during his imprisonment by the Aesir, the primary Norse pantheon, for misdeeds real and (possibly) imagined. He lies chained by his son’s intestines to a deeply buried boulder, while a serpent drips venom upon him. His loyal wife, Sigyn, catches the poison in a cup, but when she goes to empty the cup, the poison falls on Loki’s skin. His agonized convulsions are the root of earthquakes, and it is fair to say that Loki is a deity of psychological tectonics.
Loki Bound is not easy listening. Yet the project was born out of a spirit of empathy – not, it must be said, sympathy. Empathy....
In meandering over what to cover in this, my very first post to my newest Blog, I've decided that before I go on a rant about issues in the Pagan community (which, don't worry, I will certainly do soon), or pose the difficult questions about where we as Pagans stand, I'd lull you into a false sense of security by speaking about music.
Being a touring Pagan musician, I am sometimes surprised at the number of Pagans who do not listen to Pagan music, or have no idea what is available to them. By Pagan music, I specifically mean music created and recorded by people who identify as Pagan, and who perform for a Pagan audience. So while Stevie Nicks might be Pagan (or might not), and while Loreena McKennitt is definitely Pagan, both perform for a broader mainstream audience. So while their music is very good, and has merit, they do not fit the definition of Pagan musicians (Loreena does and doesn't at the same time, really. Stevie, not so much).
The truth is, there are many acts out there playing Pagan music for Pagan people, some of whom have done great, groundbreaking recordings (and admittedly, some of whom suck). There were dismal days in the '70s and '80s when a lot of music available to Pagans by Pagans was poorly conceived, poorly performed and poorly recorded. But in that mess of less than lovely offerings, there were a few gems, and many people who heard the sucky stuff did not explore further to find these. By the 90s things had changed, and there were more skilled musicians recording for Pagans. In the current era, home recording has become so good, and the numbers of people attracted to Paganism has grown so, that there are simply more good Pagan recordings, and more festivals for Pagan musicians to perform in.