Archives For Daemonia Nymphe

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

"Psychostasia" by Daemonia Nymphe

“Psychostasia” by Daemonia Nymphe

  • The great Greek Pagan band Daemonia Nymphe have announced that their new album, “Psychostasia,” will be officially released on May 10th.  Quote: “Six years after ‘Krataia Asterope’ (2007) and many Live dates in Europe, the Greeks led by the duet Spyros Giasafakis & Evi Stergiou are back with their new album ‘Psychostasia’ (the “weighing” of souls by Gods). Since its origins the band uses instruments recreated from the Greek Antiquity [...] ‘Psychostasia’ takes us into the journey of a Life, the journey of a Soul. It starts with Zephiros (the god of Wind), then comes ‘Pnoe’ the breath that animates each thing … During the trip, we will meet Gaia, the forces of Nature, the moon dances for Selene and Eros, to finish into Hypnos’s dreams.” You can order and hear samples of the new album at Prikosnovenie.
  • The reality television program “Wife Swap” aired another episode featuring a Pagan family last night, but according to participant Arana Fireheart, the process from his standpoint was not exploitive. Quote: “[The casting director] reassured me that we would be given the chance to present ourselves as a normal happy family that just happen to be Witches and I trusted that he would keep his word.” So did anyone watch it? How was it? Let us know in the comments. I think it’s fair to say that the show hasn’t the best track record regarding Pagan families, so I’m interested to see if things have evolved
  • Stonehenge is looking for a part-time Solstice manager, which has gotten a bit of press attention. One of the qualifications is an ability to maintain good relations with Druid groups and other “stakeholders” who access the stones for special events. Quote: “As English Heritage’s Tim Reeve told the BBC, one of the General Manager’s subsidiary jobs will be to liaise with neo-druid leaders, helping to oversee arrangements for the ceremonies that those leaders conduct to celebrate the summer and winter solstices. The General Manager will work to guarantee, essentially, that the rocks of the 21st century remain as faithful as possible to the rocks of prehistory. It’s ‘important,’ Reeve notes, ‘to ensure we keep the dignity of the stones.'” You guys are lucky I’m not a UK citizen, or I’d have this thing locked up. 
  • A retired Russian Orthodox bishop has been deposed after it was revealed that he was giving psychic counseling at a New Age center in Russia. It seems a fair cop. The Orthodox news site that reported on the incident is in English, but the lingo, acronyms, and haughty triumphalism make it nearly indecipherable to the casual reader (I suppose some could argue the same about my site, though I try to remain accessible). 
  • This story is supposed to be satire, but I can actually imagine certain Heathens saying something like what’s quoted in the “article.” Quote: “It’s an insult to our religion, it is bad enough they turned our God of Thunder into a blond pretty boy in a unitard, but the lack of bloodshed makes a mockery of our beliefs.” You laugh now, just wait until they turn The Morrigan into a superhero character… oh, wait.
Photo: Time Magazine / EFE / ZUMAPRESS

Photo: Time Magazine / EFE / ZUMAPRESS

  • In a move that should surprise no one, the Vatican has made it clear that they really, really, don’t like Santa Muerte. Quote: “The Mexican offensive against Santa Muerte (Saint Death) launched by former president, Felipe Calderon, has now gone global. In an interview last week with a Peruvian Catholic news site (Aciprensa), the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, condemned the cult of the skeleton saint as “sinister and infernal.” The Italian prelate, whom Vatican watcher John Allen recently called “the most interesting man in the Church” and even profiled as a candidate for the papacy, called for both Church and society to mobilize against devotion to Saint Death.” Chances that this will hinder the religious movement? I’d wager they are slim to none. 
  • The interfaith ceremony that took place after the Boston bombing attack excluded humanists and atheists. Quote: “We made it exceedingly easy for the Governor’s staff to find us and include us, but they chose not to do so. The exclusion of non-theists today no doubt deepened the hurt the people in the non-theist community are feeling. What principle was served by our exclusion, I don’t begin to understand.”
  • Come visit scenic Cornwall, we’ve got a really, really, big Celtic Cross. Quote: “We hope it will become an iconic landmark, our version of the Angel of the North, so people don’t just pass by Saltash, but go in.” Also, King Arthur was conceived there, but that’s not exactly a roadside attraction. 
  • Speaking of Stonehenge, here’s a new theory about it. Quote: “…the site, which was occupied continuously for 3,000 years, had evidence of burning, thousands of flint tool fragments and bones of wild aurochs, a type of extinct giant cow. That suggests the area near Stonehenge may have been an auroch migration route that became an ancient feasting site, drawing people together from across different cultures in the region, wrote lead researcher David Jacques of the Open University in the United Kingdom.”
  • My pal Cara Schulz (who also happens to be a Hellenic Pagan), is holding a Kickstarter for a cool-sounding luxury camping book, and in honor of reaching $1,500 of the $4,500 goal she shares a drink recipe on Youtube called the “Blue Gem.” With Summer festival season almost here, maybe we could all use this book? 

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

Spencer Butte in Eugene, Oregon

Spencer Butte in Eugene, Oregon

  • This just in: walking in the woods is good for you! Quote: “In an effort to benefit the Japanese and find nonextractive ways to use forests, which cover 67 percent of the country’s landmass, the government has funded about $4 million in forest-bathing research since 2004. It intends to designate a total of 100 Forest Therapy sites within 10 years. Visitors here are routinely hauled off to a cabin where rangers measure their blood pressure, part of an effort to provide ever more data to support the project.” Those of us who love to sojourn into nature regularly can most likely attest to the salubrious effects of wooded terrain.
  • Religion Clause reports that the USDA has “released a lengthy report titled USDA Policy and Procedures Review and Recommendations: Indian Sacred Sites.” Quote from the summary: “[The report calls] for USDA and the U.S. Forest Service to work more closely with Tribal governments in the protection, respectful interpretation and appropriate access to American Indian and Alaska Native sacred sites on national forests and grasslands. The report recommends steps the Forest Service should take to strengthen the partnerships between the agency, Tribal governments, and American Indian and Alaska Native communities to help preserve America’s rich native traditions.” This seems a welcome step forward after some recent incidents involving sacred lands.
  • Moral panics often help promote the very thing they (sometimes literally) demonize. Quote: “The most common way for music to blow up from a small scene into global pop is for a controversy to erupt. Music history is littered with examples of “moral panics”: be-bop jazz was blamed for white-on-black race riots in the mid-1940s, just as rap music was blamed when riots erupted in Los Angeles following the Rodney King trial. In both cases, sensationalized news reports and especially a focus on the “dangerous” elements in the music attracted young people in droves. Moral panics, like magnets, repel and attract.” That quote is from Jennifer Lena, whose book “Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music,” looks very interesting. To give this a Pagan spin, one wonders if the “Satanic” panics of the 1980s and 1990s actually drew people into the occult and modern Paganism? Yet another factor to explore in the “teen witch” boom?
  • Remember folks, reality television, all reality television, distorts its subjects.
  • In a final note, Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish is going independent, and will subsist on reader donations. Which makes me wonder, will the future of media not be with massive ever-expanding content hubs, but with smaller, curated, islands that are more responsive to the communities they serve? Or, at the very least, will the new media ecosystem allow for both to thrive?

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

In addition to this Pagan blog, I’m also a passionate advocate of music created by and for modern Pagans, Heathens, and other fellow travelers. Beyond the pagan-influenced dabbling of artists like Tori Amos and Bjork, there lies a rich underground of musical options for the polytheisticly-inclined. 2007 has been shaping up to be a great year for Pagan music and I thought I would share some recent notable releases.

Faun“Totem”

Released: March 2007 USA/Europe

Building on the strength of their 2005 release “Renaissance”, this proudly Pagan band from Germany melds traditional folk elements with atmospheric electronics to create something truly magical. “Totem” is perhaps their most consistent effort yet, with the interweaving male and female vocals, and solid tribal drumming finding a near-perfect balance. Standout tracks include the energetic opening song “Rad” and the near symphonic qualities of “Zeit nach dem Sturm”. You can hear and download samples from the new CD at their MySpace page.

The Moon & The Nightspirit“Rego Rejtem”

Released: April 2007 Europe/World

The Moon and the Nightspirit is a talented new duo from Hungary. They released an admirable but uneven CD entitled “Of Dreams Forgotten and Fables Untold” in 2005. Back then I wished they would sing more songs in their native tongue and inject some more energy into their music. It seems that all my wishes were granted because on “Rego Rejtem” (which means “I with conjure magic” in Hungarian) Agnes Toth and Mihaly Szabo de-emphasize ethereal electronics and concentrate on the music and folklore of their native land to create a breathtakingly amazing release. You can listen to samples of the new album at their MySpace page, or you can download the title track, here.

Daemonia Nymphe“Krataia Asterope”

Released: April 2007 Europe/World

This band is a revelation. To quote their own description they are “musicians who compose music based on the aesthetic and theoretical border of Ancient Hellenic Music”, and true to form they create new music using ancient concepts, structures, and instruments. These Greek musicians and singers are creating exciting music for celebration and liturgy. But they aren’t mere archivists or anachronists, they bring a modern passion to what they do that is palpable. Check out samples from the new CD, here (also be sure to check out their Myspace page).

Ataraxia“Kremasta Nera”

Released: April 2007 Europe/World

It is difficult to summarize Ataraxia. This Italian darkwave band is fronted by the enigmatic Francesca Nicoli, who has a voice that will either transfix you or drive you mad (or perhaps both). Much of their work concerns the mythical and the legendary, and this new release is no exception. “Kremasta Nera” is a song cycle that explores a Gravesian vision of the White Goddess and nine initiation rituals that take place on the island of Samothrace. It truly has to be sampled to be judged, so I point you to the lyrics for the project, a web presentation, and sound samples.

Monica Richards“InfraWarrior”

Released: Nov. ’06 Europe / May ’07 USA

While technically not a Pagan (though there is some debate on the issue), Monica Richards (half of the goth band Faith and The Muse) has had Pagan admirers for some time now. Perhaps that interaction has had some effect because “InfraWarrior” is a deeply pagan album. A forceful declaration and exploration of eco-spirituality, female empowerment, and mythic themes. A mix of dance-floor ready anthems and mediative nearly spoken-word pieces that literally floors
you with the clearness and quality of its vision. Highly recommended. Check out Monica Richard’s MySpace page for sound samples.

These are only some of the amazing bands in Europe and America that are redefining modern Pagan music for a new era. If all goes well I’ll try to make this a semi-regular feature as more new releases come my way. As always, for more music like this, please check out my weekly podcast (which is also aired on the Pagan Radio Network).