All Our Relations: Pagans and the more-than-human world.

For aware Pagans the Sacred encompasses us all, rivers and mountains, oceans and deserts, grasses and trees, fish and fungi, birds and animals. Understanding the implications of what this means, and how to experience it first hand, involves our growing individually and as a community well beyond the limits of this world-pathic civilization. All Our Relations exists to help fertilize this transition.

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The Green Album: a Pagan treat for all who love the Earth

A wonderful new CD of Pagan songs honoring the sacredness of Nature has just blessed us. I have enjoyed it immensely and hope many of you will as well. That’s the elevator speech. Here’s why.

The Green Album is a collection by many of our best contemporary Pagan musicians contributing their original music to honor the earth. At a time when the fate of the place we love is being threatened by greed, ignorance, and fear, music can strengthen those of us who feel powerless given magnitude of the forces we oppose and even penetrate minds and hearts closed to argument and evidence.  This collection does so for me.

The Green Album offers a wide mixture of musical styles and includes some of my favorite musicians as well as others of whom I knew little until now. The CD’s insert lets us all know the songs’ lyrics as well. 

These Pagan musicians have taken a variety of musical ways to honor the earth, from lively to contemplative, from traditional to very contemporary, all in keeping with their own musical styles. As such the album is also a nice way to not only listen to many of our favorites, it also introduces us, or me at least, to talents of which I was unaware. My personal favorites were songs by S. J. Tucker, Kellianna, Celia Farran, Spiral Dance, and Murphey’s Midnight Rounders. Yours will likely differ.  There are no bad songs or mediocre performances here, just some that touch one set of hearts and souls and others that touch a different and probably overlapping set. Our musical riches are great and the individuality of our best musicians reflects the variety of paths we take as Pagans.

Putting their money where their mouths and instruments are, the CD's musicians are donating 25%of their profits to the Rainforest Trust. The Trust has protected more than 11.5 million acres (almost 18,000 square miles) in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. 

Pagan music is one of our most powerful ways to connect with the More-Than-Human. Our best musicians are magickal workers of rare and wondrous ways, helping shift our awareness from day-to-day concerns to larger contexts of beauty and meaning that cannot be encompassed in words alone. Music’s rhythms can take us out of our modern minds, reconnecting with more basic sacred currents. They can open our hearts freeing us at least temporarily from day-to day needs and fears, and the prison of the too abstract, too detached Western mind. No wonder we seek to alter consciousness, and music is a wonderful way to do so.

Ideas and abstractions have their place of course, and the Gods know I engage in them in my writing, but important as they are, they are the surface of something deeper. Good music such as in this collection helps us experience that depth.

When I was first exploring the Pagan path, our musicians helped me better grasp its beauty and poignancy. People such as Ruth Barret, Cyntia Smith, Holly Tannen, Gwydion, Charlie Murphy, Jethro Tull, and many others helped root me in deep and lasting ways. Along with ritual and sacred encounter, they made my path alive to me.

Now that I am truly an elder at 68, it is wonderful to hear such talented and sensitive musicians take this foundation forward into the future.

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Gus diZerega DiZerega combines a formal academic training in Political Science with decades of work in Wicca and shamanic healing. He is a Third Degree Elder in Gardnerian Wicca, studied closely with Timothy White who later founded Shaman’s Drum magazine, and also studied Brazilian Umbanda  for six years under Antonio Costa e Silva.

DiZerega holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Berkeley, has taught and lectured in the US and internationally, and has organized international academic meetings.

His newest book is "Faultlines: the Sixties, the Culture Wars, and the Return of the Divine Feminine (Quest, 2013) received a 'silver' award by the Association of Independent Publishers for 2014. It puts both modern Pagan religion and the current cultural and political crisis in the US into historical context, and shows how they are connected.

His first book on Pagan subjects, "Pagans and Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience," won the Best Nonfiction of 2001 award from  The Coalition of Visionary Resources. 

His second,"Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and a Christian in Dialogue" is what it sounds like. He coauthored it with Philip Johnson. DiZerega particularly like his discussion of polytheism in Burning Times, which in his view is an advance over the discussion in Pagans and Christians.

His third volume, "Faultlines: The Sixties, the Culture War, and the Return of the Divine Feminine," was published in 2013 and won a Silver award from the Association of Independent Publishers in 2014. The subject is obvious, and places it, and the rise of goddess oriented spiritual movements and our "cold civil war" in historical context.

His pen and ink artwork supported his academic research in graduate school and frequently appeared in Shaman’s Drum, and the ecological journals Wild Earth, and The Trumpeter. It now occasionally appears in this blog.


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