Column: Using music for journey work and meditation

When I’m trying to get in the mood to spend time at my altar, there are so many considerations and preparations that I have to make. In my practice I work with oils, waters, stones, herbs, incense, colored candles, fabrics, statuary, dolls (you don’t?), and ritual tools. Thankfully over the years I’ve filtered out what I like and what works, so I don’t need to recreate the wheel when I want to do a sabbat ritual or a major working that requires an overhaul of my altar elements. While scent and color and all of the other aesthetics can be helpful, how often are you bringing music into your practice? It’s something we see all of the time in other practices, so why not ours?

Summer music tour roundup

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.

Column: First Pagan music awards recognizes Pagan artists

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.

Column: Living the Superunknown, A Letter to Chris Cornell

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.

Column: The Poetry of Music

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.