Itís Saturday night or Sunday morning, depending on how you look at things, and Itís Lammas, or Lughnassadh, or just the beginning of August, depending on how you view spirituality or time.
Weíve had a rather busy week, and it seems the moon was checking in to see how much I can handle Ö I was hoping to get that interview with Adrienne Piggott, and earlier in the week, I was getting things ready, and my computer crashed Ö or had a melt-down, depending on how you view technological quandaries. So, I spent a day getting it back† up and running, installing my software, and about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled interview time, I managed to have things running.
I went to call Adrienne on Skype, but she wasnít there.
So, on Friday morning, we connected via email, and sheís been quite sick. In her words, she felt as if sheíd been gargling razor blades Ö and thatís obviously not a great thing for a singer. Weíre hoping for that interview this coming week though, and if youíve got spare good energy, maybe you can send some her way.;
With Lughnassadh here though, I realized Iíve never really spoken about why Iím a Pagan, and why I do PaganFM!
Lots of people think that those in ďalternative religionsĒ or Pagans or Witches or Druids have become so out of some sort of rebellion against their former religions. I suppose that if Iím honest, there are quite a few of us who have come here that way. There are lots of ďrecovering CatholicsĒ in the pagan path.
Some people think that weíre Pagans because weíre looking for a more ďpermissiveĒ path. I suppose that thereís some of that too; at least at the beginning.
The truth is though, that I really NEEDED a spirituality that got me outside of myself, and that functioned, that worked in my life. I didnít need something permissive, but I really needed some sort of spiritual structure or framework.
It wasnít something strange or spooky Ö it was simply a need, and a search and an identification, and there I was.
It involved research and reading and searching, and most importantly, a desire to not limit myself by accepting that paganism was evil just because some people say so.
As for PaganFM!, those of you whoíve been listening for a while probably remember Eros Radio. I took over that show from Rick Dirck some time ago, and I was really trying to make it work. Still though, it really wasnít me. I was probably on the verge of burnout and getting quite a bit tired.
I started thinking though, around Samhain last year that perhaps rather than doing a program on alternative sexuality, maybe it could simply be a show about alternatives, or about alternative spirituality. That was the beginning of PaganFM!
There are quite a few reasons why I do this show though. At Lughnassadh, or Lammas, I think itís a good time to perhaps remember them.
As I said, when I started with Eros, I was pretty much doing someone elseís show. I was perpetuating someone elseís dream. It was a 4-hour show, and I was getting somewhat burned out. I didnít have the energy to do it, and I had to decide whether Iíd continue or not.
In deciding to do PaganFM!, I was essentially planting a seed. I had been looking for something more spiritual in my own life, and this really seemed like a good way to go about it.
What Iíve learned is that being a DJ is one thing; itís a great thing in fact. Itís a bit different than hosting a show in which there is a great deal of talk or interviews or much else of what goes on here at Pagan FM. I truly enjoy all-music shows, but thatís not where I wanted to take PaganFM!
In the segments that I do here, Iíve had so much more of an opportunity than I could have had in simply doing a Pagan music show.
As listeners, youíve likely had the opportunity to learn a bit about what goes on in my head (whether you find that interesting or not is another question). During the almanac, thereís a bit about history, poetry, astrological information and the weather.
We also learn a bit about various topics in the Pagan Primer, and the book reviews might just introduce you to someone new. We also have our occasional guests, and I hope you enjoy that.
For me though, the experience is a bit different than it is for you as a listener. For me, itís quite a spiritual exercise. The opening thoughts Ö whatís going on now Ö is somewhat of a meditation. It gives me a chance to go over my week and figure out where Iíve been, and what things are on my own mind.
The almanac is a chance for me to do a bit of historical research. Itís really somewhat academic on this end. You can find lots of events listed in various ďwitchyĒ almanacs, but these often donít have a great deal of detail. In some cases, the events or dates are just plain wrong. Researching and validating things has really helped me to understand a bit more about history and some of the people who are involved. It also gives me a chance to look at various pieces of poetry on the weeks that I can do that. Iíve come to find respect and understanding from quite a few poets whom I really enjoy now.
With the Pagan Primer, I have the opportunity to expand my horizons a bit. Partly itís a chance to explain a bit about my own path or practices; but this is PaganFM! and itís not just about what I do, so I get to look at other paths as well. In the past year weíve looked at syncretic paths from Voodoo to Santeria and even Christian Wicca. Weíve looked at many types of Wicca, Druidism and other pagan paths; not in detail, but weíll get back to each eventually and open the door a bit more. For me, itís been a chance to question my notions of what each of these paths really is. In studying them a bit more, Iíve come to realize that they arenít all what I had first thought them to be.
The reviews of late are one of the more beneficial challenges for me. Really, itís somewhat of a commitment to critically read and review a single book each week. In doing this for the show, Iíve read things that I likely wouldnít have read otherwise, and itís opened my mind up to new ways of thinking. Itís also led to new experiences, and itís led me to meet new people.
The reviews have also helped me in another way; they have helped me, in reading things that I sometimes disagree with, to recognize that my opinions are valuable as well as the opinions of writers whoíve managed to get published. It also gives me the chance to recognize that disagreement doesnít mean disrespect. I can disagree with an author, both our viewpoints can be valid, and I donít have to lose respect for them or for their beliefs.
So, what does all of this have to do with Lughnassadh or the harvest?
This show, starting last year was a seed, an idea. Throughout the winter, spring and summer, itís been cultivated and fertilized, and now weíre starting to look at what fruit it might be producing.
For me, the fruits have been my own growth. Iíve gained a bit of confidence, both in speaking to people and in my writing. Iím more able to put into words the things that I believe. Iím more accepting of the idea that as a Pagan, I might just have something to offer. Thatís not bad for the first harvest, but thatís my personal harvest.
For the show, I think itís really grown. Itís no longer just the music, though thatís a big part of it. I was looking at the web site, and weíve had visitors from quite a few places. I havenít figured out yet how to determine how many people listen on the web, but I think that there are a few of you out there.
Weíre making connections with local Pagan groups, talking to musicians and local pagan business owners. We are getting quite a list of events that is growing, and really moving toward being a program that is connecting Pagan community in the seacoast area, and thatís what one of my major hopes for PaganFM! is.
So, thatís the harvest for PaganFM! and me as things relate to the show.
On the side of nature though, I spend a fair amount of time
outside, and this time of year, if youíre willing to look, youíll see signs of
the harvest all around. I was up on a hill in
This is what Lughnassadh is all about.
In the show tonight, Iíll try to have some songs about Lughnassadh, Lammas and the harvest. I also found an album by Mychael and Jeff Danna called ďA Celtic Tale, The Legend of DeirdreĒ which I really like, so Iíll play some selections from that as well.
So, relax and enjoy. If youíre online, and if youíd like to let me know what you think, or if there is anything you might like to hear, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the web site at www.paganfm.com, and you can listen to the show streaming live at www.portsmouthcommunityradio.org.