Here it is. Black Friday: The invented retail holiday after the dysfunctional dinner of glut when you’re supposed to buy something for everyone who participated; and celebrate the capitalistic commercialism of conspicuous excess. We get it. Black Friday drips with existential hypocrisy and all the obscenities of greed. So, here’s our gift guide.
TWH — During a 2002 concert in Daytona Beach, Fla., by Tool, that esoteric prog-metal band, I found myself shapeshifted. “I would totally trance-journey to the underworld if this was played at a Samhain ritual!” I thought. Similarly, while listening to a CD by Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, I realized: “Wow, this music would blow up my crown chakra at a Beltane celebration!”
Such has been my reaction to hearing live and recorded music many times during the two and a half decades that my Pagan path has coincided with my career as an arts, entertainment and music writer at daily newspapers. Non-Pagan music (however one may define that nebulous term) can unexpectedly transport one into Pagan space-time. With that in mind, here’s a look at five music albums for Pagans by non-Pagans.
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?
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.