Nathan makes his home in South Florida where he works for a local media company and lives with his wife and son. He grew up without any real religious background but always felt connected with the spirits of the land. Because of this connection he has always felt a strong kinship with environmental causes and the primacy of nature over humanity’s exploitation of it. Nathan has followed many paths, including ceremonial magick, Norse, Druidic and witchcraft traditions. You can find more of his writing at <a href="https://thearrivalandthereunion.com">The Arrival and the Reunion</a>.
TWH – Summer means many things, solstice, Midsummer, Litha and Lammas observances for some, but it also means festivals for the larger Pagan community and touring for some of our favorite bands. One of the hottest summers on record in the United States and around the world is making for some wilting weather. “If I were to be honest, this has been a pretty rough year,” Sharon Knight said. She and Winter have been having a more challenging time than in previous years, feeling the pinch at home in Oakland where they’re getting priced out of the rental market. They’ve unofficially dubbed this the “fly by the seat of our pants tour” because of the difficulty they’ve had, among other things, filling all their tour dates.
The first annual Pagan Music Awards were held this month on June 8, just outside of West Plains, Missouri about two miles off of the Arkansas border. This first-of-its-kind event in recent memory was held at the Wyte Ryvan Retreat Center. “The International Pagan Music Association grew out of that station and Sacred Grove radio, International Pagan radio, which are all newer stations that are playing 24/7 this kind of music. We just wanted to help those kind of musicians get recognized so that we could give them some satisfaction and something to hang their hats on that says they are doing a good job,” said Alfred Willowhawk, who sits on the board for Wyte Ryvan and also serves as the vice president of the International Pagan Music Association (IPMA), which was organized as a nonprofit to put on the Pagan Music Awards. Willowhawk, himself a DJ on the Cauldron, noted that many of the current IPMA board members are radio personalities on various Pagan streaming radio networks, and with the aid of IPMA president Melissa Anderson, they brought the event to life.
It goes without saying that there is music beyond the Pagan label that feels quite comfortable in a Pagan setting. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Dead Can Dance, Nine Inch Nails, and on and on, have always appealed to Pagans in that kind of way, though most of the members of those bands have never come out as being Pagan themselves. There is a deeper discussion to be had about that subject. But, it is one for another time. Today, I’m going to focus just on one of those type bands – one that affected me in that very way: Soundgarden.
This month I chatted with a couple of musicians about the lyrical side, rather than the instrumental side of their music. It felt appropriate, as April in the United States is National Poetry Month. It’s a curious thing setting words and music together, it’s just so inherently human, something that feels like it came about at the dawn of our species. Doing it well is a different challenge altogether, though. Some songwriters start out with a poem, some start with a tune and let the words flow in, some pull from musical traditions, and others from stories and myths of old.
TWH – Welcome to the new Pagan music column for the Wild Hunt, I hope you’ll join me in the months to come through the musical underground of the great below, the stunning and oft-listened to heights of the great above and the balance that makes up our daily musical landscape in the great between. Our lives are immeasurably enriched by music, and with the growth of the internet and the bottoming out of technology costs for recording, we’ve never had access to more of it. Pagan music especially would seem to have benefited from the boon of technology. While it’s impossible to know everything that’s happening, one can still spot trends and pick out the talented and truly creative. You’ll never catch me claiming to be an expert on anything related to music, I’m coming at this as a passionate fan.