A Pagan Primer | Audio clips

PaganFM! Musings

Each week I'll bee adding the musings that I open each show with. It's both a way to make the content more available, as well as a way to archive my programs in text form. Check back each week as I'll be adding both the new content, and updating the previous episodes.

May 31, 2008 (Word .doc file)

May 4, 2008

Once again, it's been an interesting week. Work has been going on in the building where my studio is, and I didn't have a lot of access to my computer, and I wasn't able to pre-record anything this week. This just means that things aren't as polished as I would like. Then again, I guess that people here aren't looking for polish.

Apart from that, I guess that I'm still trying to take to heart my own advice of trying new things. I've been doing a bit of photography lately, and the place where I rent studio space is hosting an arts festival. They invited the artists in the building to place pieces in a group show and I placed a few of my photographs. We're also having, next Saturday, open studios during the festival. If you would like to come on by, the festival will be at One Washington Center, in Dover, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. I'll probably be spending some time getting my program ready, but if you're interested, please stop by. If you want more information about the festival, go to

So, how was your Beltaine? Did you celebrate with anyone? Once again, I celebrated with some friends. We did our requisite May pole. Somehow I haven't yet seen a perfect May Pole when we finish ... I'm told they do happen, and it's an amazing site when it does. The confusion of who goes over and who goes under, and when, is probably part of the fun. I also made my first Quiche for afterwards. It was another new thing in my life that actually turned our right.

I'm constantly amazed at how much things change when you let it. It's also amazing just how much of it can go right. That's not to mean that it doesn't get scary at times. I think it's normal to be frightened when experiencing change. It can also seem that it's just too difficult to keep up, that things are happening all around you and it's too difficult to keep it under control.

I got some email this week from someone asking for a love spell. I think that as witches, that's probably the most common request we get. Somehow it seems that everyone has a special someone in mind that they can't live without. Doing a quick search on Google for "Love Spell", I found 1,590,000 results. It's amazing how many people want to find an easy way to attract someone to them.

I usually spend some time emailing with people when they write. I like to find out why they think they need a love spell ... what is it that is missing that they think magick will help them find. In this particular case, it seemed more like someone said some things that they regretted and are hoping to have an opportunity to correct that. That's the kind of magick I like ... it's not magick that attempts to coerce an individual to do something against their nature, but a magick to correct a wrong.

One thing that I try to tell people when they ask for a spell is that it always works best to do your own spells. Looking at those 1 1/2 million sites that offer love spells out there, you'll find more than your share that are willing to magickally separate you from your money. Some claim to be high-level witches, priestsesses, spell-crafters and more, and because of their status and "success rate", they will charge you more. These are "powerful spells".

You can also go to bookstores and find books with 100 love spells or more that are "guaranteed to work". I always wonder, and find it amusing, that anyone would need more than one love spell that is guaranteed to work. Serenity, from "A Witch in the City podcast" seems to have it right. She asked , if a guy needs a love spell to make him love her, is he really the guy?

I've been doing a little work on our web site ... that's at I'm managing to keep up with the play lists. The floor in my office building is supposed to be done this weekend, so that will make it easier to do that work. I'll be adding these musings, and I'll add a section for the Pagan Primer as well. If you have questions about anything Pagan or Wiccan, let me know and I'll see if I can't find something out. Maybe it will be part of, or a topic for our weekly Pagan Primer. Remember that you can always email me at

I have been in contact with Pino Longchild at He's agreed to do an interview for the show, so I'll be talking to him soon, and we'll air that interview at some point in the future.

I'm also trying to get in touch with some of the artists that I play here, so hopefully we'll be able to get those interviews and let you experience some time with them. Spiral Dance is spending time in the Southern United States, mostly in Texas and Florida. Adrienne said that she hopes to visit the Northern United States in a future tour, and maybe we'll have the opportunity to host them here at Portsmouth Community Radio.

Damh the Bard has a new album out. It's called "The Cauldron Born", was released in March, and we'll be hearing some new music tonight.

So, there are lots of things happening and irons in the fire here at PaganFM! It's a lot of work though, and I'm really looking for some help from the local Pagan community to make this program even better. Honestly, right now it takes anywhere from 8 - 16 hours to put this program together, not counting the 2 hours I spend on the air. If you want to be a part of PaganFM! shoot me an email. You can find me at If you decide to become a part of PaganFM! you'll be rewarded with your own PaganFM! email address and a huge thank-you from me. Some of the things I would like some help with include writing and research for the news elements and for the almanac, finding new music, including local artists, and possibly a co-host ... Personally, I work better when I've got someone to talk to on the air. This would really help when we cover some of the events in the area or the region, like Pagan Pride, possibly Samhain in Salem or other events. It would also help insure that PaganFM! is actually on the air if I ever am sick or for whatever otehr reason unable to make it. So, again, if you would like to be a part of this program, in whatever way you might be able to help, send an email to, or give me a shout here at the station.

I'd also like to remind you that while this is the only real Pagan outlet that I know of on the air in this area, you can always find pagan material on the Internet. Of Course Portsmouth Community Radio is available on the web at
There are a couple of podcasts that I really don't like to miss. These include
A Pagan Heart in Maine by Greywolf,
Pagan Living, which you can find at
The Unnamed Path is a Pagan podcast for men who love men. You can find it at:
The ATC Pagan information network is an informative podcast connected to that church. Find them at:
Deo's Shadow isn't produced as frequently as some, but it's filled with great information. You can find it at:
If you can't get enough of PaganFM! you might also want to check out the Pagan Radio Network, online at This is an Internet Radio station that broadcasts music as well as some podcasts.

And, for general information and networking, you can always find great information at, and


As well as being a DJ, I have a few other hobbies – things that I do just because I love doing them. There are lots of people like me, perhaps you are one, maybe most people are. I suppose that we all have something that we do just for the love of doing it. It might be music, photography, painting, poetry, woodwork, or anything that we do or create, just for the love of creating.

We might get paid for our work on occasion, or win a prize, or not. But we do what we do, not for the money or recognition, but simply for the love of doing it, which interestingly enough, is the definition of the word “amateur”, a word which originally meant “lover”. So, an amateur photographer or writer or poet or musician, isn’t someone necessarily less skilled, or less well trained, or even less well-paid than a professional; they are simply doing what they do because they love doing it.

Sometimes a person can be both – a professional and an amateur. It’s sort of a split-personality affair. As a musician, I might occasionally play at weddings, performing other people’s music. I might be playing what other people want me to play, the way they want it played. Some people think this is “selling out”, but I disagree. It’s simply part of doing what musicians do – It’s performing, entertaining. What it might not be is an amateur performance in the true meaning of the word “amateur”. In those cases, we might be “working” more than simply doing what we love to do.

The same thing is true for anything we do out of love – someone might appreciate our work and ask us to reproduce it for them, or they might commission a very specific piece. At that point, and for that job, when we’re doing something specifically for money or some form of payment, we’re a professional.

That’s not a bad thing. While the starving artist is a romantic figure, it’s still a sad one. It just means that her, or his work is simply not appreciated – at least not appreciated enough to support the artist. And as is the case so often, a talented person is hungry, and possibly homeless. Is it selling out to do what it takes to make a living and to provide a home and food for oneself and one’s family? Performing or creating for others is a necessary part of an artist’s life.

As an artist, or a creator, what I think is a more important issue than working for others is how, when a certain amount of “work” has to be done, is to maintain a level of creativity in the midst of what becomes a grind. Whether it’s photography, writing, painting, sculpture or what have you, most artists will eventually (and for most of us, repeatedly) come to a point where we are in a quandary as to what we will do next. Maybe it comes in the midst of that level of work, when we find that we’re doing the same thing over and over again … we feel as if we’ve forgotten how to do what we do just for the love of it. Things start looking all the same, we have trouble seeing something new. Maybe at this point, we might conclude that we’ve “sold out”, and that’s the cause of our lack of creativity.

When I decided to start writing some segments for this program, I was worried that I might run out of things to write about. How long could I keep coming up with new things to talk about? How would I keep things both fresh and relevant? It was probably a bit of an irrational fear, but there are many times when a creative writer worries about running out of things to say.

Still, a visit to a library, especially a large one will show dozens, if not hundreds of books on any given topic. Even in a large library, what’s there is likely only a small subset of everything that’s been published on a given subject. And when one begins to think about all of the things that haven’t been published, the thoughts about what’s been written on any single subject can be boggling.

Expanding this, it’s amazing to think of how many poems have been written, photographs taken, dances to be choreographed, canvases or boards painted, clay or stone or metal sculpted … most of which has never been seen. Our world will likely not run out of things to create before the sun ceases to shine, and afterward, we still have an entire universe from which to gain inspiration.

When I think about the reasons that people begin to lose inspiration, I wonder if it’s inspiration, or rather energy that might be the missing factor. When I look at creative people, I think of phrases such as “creative energy”. For the most part, when I find I’m lacking in creativity, I find that I’m also tired. Children are a great example of this, especially very young ones. They’re either eating, sleeping or creating. In other words, they are either gaining energy to create, or they are creating. Somehow, as we get older, busier, or more involved in the “necessities” of life, we get tired. We expend so much energy on surviving, that our creativity gets put on a back burner. That energy that we spent on creating when we were young gets spent on providing “things” that we need rather than on “efforts” that allow us to express ourselves.

There are many kinds of “tired”. Some of these can be remedied with a few nights of regular sleep, or better, a pattern that permits regular sleep on an ongoing basis (which is something that is missing in too many lives … I’m reminded of a recent news report that even linked a lack of regular sleep to being overweight, and the rising concern of an overweight society). Other forms of “tiredness” need a different medicine. Lots of people search for a medicine for weary creativity … a way to increase creative productivity. Some search for spiritual means, seeking out gurus. Some look to drugs and alcohol, sometimes with devastating results. Some look to sex. Some of these methods are more productive than others. Some are quite costly. Drugs may help creativity for a time, but usually result in a burn-out later … it’s a way to sacrifice a future for short-term immediate gain. I tend to prefer the more spiritual means, but that doesn’t mean that I have to spend countless thousands of dollars to visit obscure but wise people all over the Earth. While that probably would help, I simply don’t have the money to do it.

Might there be easier ways to regain the creative energy that we seem to lose when we find ourselves running low? Is there a way to freshen our outlook that doesn’t require something that is offered in a pill or a bottle, or that doesn’t cost us great quantities of money?

Maybe it’s not a bad idea to follow what’s been shown to be a good piece of advice over the ages, and which seems to have worked for a great many people. “If you want what someone’s got, do what they do.” If it’s creativity that we’re looking for, why not look to creative people and see how it is that they achieve that creativity? I think that one quality of creative people that I admire is that they are almost always open to experience new things.

It seems that as we lose creativity, if we’re willing to engage in some degree of self-examination, we find that along with this, our lives seem to be getting smaller. We aren’t experiencing as many things as we used to. Some of this comes from judging things before we ever give them a go. We compare what we thing a thing will be like to something we’ve already experienced, and then dismiss it as irrelevant. Or we’ll look at something and consider it beneath our dignity. We might be unfamiliar with a particular activity, and rather than take the chance of appearing unskilled or even silly, we avoid the activity altogether. We might be afraid. Whatever the reason we avoid activities, we are denying ourselves experiences, and starving our creativity.

We’ve lost the attitudes that we had as children, where everything was new and everything was a surprise. We expect and anticipate rather than getting caught up in an experience. As babies, a connection with someone through a game of peek-a-boo was more entertaining than a Broadway show could ever be. Then again, that baby is involved and participating and reacting. The theatre-goer in most productions is a witness, one of many audience members.

I suppose that what I’m getting at is that in being creative, in finding that creative energy, we need to be open to new experiences. We can’t afford to “not participate” in life, because our lives are the source of material and energy for our creative works. We need, as do our children, to be open to new experiences. As adults, we have some advantages – we may have more resources. We also have things that get in the way; our fears and prejudices, our desire not to “waste” our “valuable time”.

The most creative people that I know are those who are willing to enjoy the widest range of experiences. These are people who aren’t afraid to occasionally look silly – who don’t mind not being the best, who have a desire and a thirst for learning something new and who don’t approach life with the stuffy attitude that too much is simply beneath them.

If you’re afraid of falling on your face, you’ll never learn how to ski or skate. If you’re afraid to try new foods, you’ll miss out on a great deal of what makes up other cultures. Do you avoid community theatre simply because it’s not “broadway quality”? For the same reason, will you avoid community recitals? A great source of creative energy can be found in supporting the creative endeavors of others.

But feeding creativity is like fertilizing a plant. It is only part of the process. A farmer cultivates, plants, fertilizes, waters and harvests. If the cycle stops there, all the work through the growing season is still in vain. The crops will serve no useful purpose until they are consumed. Grain in a silo serves no purpose other than to wait. If it’s never removed from that silo and consumed, it will just remain there and eventually decompose. In the same way, our creativity needs to be used. Creativity is one crop that thrives on being harvested.

As people though, I think we often have this capacity to judge ourselves harshly. We start by hesitating to use our creativity because we are afraid that it won’t fulfill our expectations. Or if we finally gather up the courage to create, we have doubts of what it is that we made. We might be an amateur photographer, just starting out, but compare our photographs to Ann Geddes, Ansel Adams or photographs in National Geographic.

We might accomplish something that we are proud of, and then compare all future work to that one exemplary piece. There will always be differences in the things we create though. Bach, Mozart, Escher – every artist who has created more than one piece of work will find that no two pieces can be judged in the same way.

If you listen to any two pieces of music by a single composer, you will probably find that you enjoy one piece more than another. You might also find other people who have the same, or different opinions. On the other hand, if you had the opportunity to speak to the writer, artist or composer, you might discover that the two pieces were constructed for different reasons, and that while one might be more aesthetically pleasing to an individual listener or viewer, that they both fulfilled their intended purpose. It’s possible that one did so better than another, but without knowing the purpose, I think it would be difficult, as a viewer, to completely understand the artist’s point of view without hearing it from the artist.

So what’s the lesson I’m trying to get at here? It’s about trying to be creative, but without judging ourselves with arbitrary and external criteria in the process. It’s about creating and judging our creations only on their own merit.

If your goal is to write something, write it … then read it. Did it say what you intended? Then, at least on that level, it was successful. If you wish to go further, have someone else read it, or read it for someone else. Did they receive the message you intended to convey? Great.

The same thing goes for music or photography or dance or painting or sculpture. We’re in the spring, the time of fertility, the time of growth, a time of change and rebirth. This is a wonderful season to cultivate creativity. Everywhere we look colors are emerging. Nature is getting dressed in her fancy clothes and waiting and posing for those who have talent to brag about her. Here in New England, we’re mostly blessed year-round, with something new always outside our window. Still, the spring is an amazing season, and what better way to increase our creativity than to get outside and see the essence of life recreating itself beneath our very feet?

The key to creativity is experience, and spring, thrusting itself upon us in magnificence, after what was itself a magnificent winter seems to be beckoning all creative souls to engage in experience.

If one of your goals is to be creative, engage nature. Don’t be embarrassed to smell the flowers, to make a bouquet of wild flowers and take them home. Walk down those trails that you usually ignore. Take the long way home from work. Leave early and take the long way to work. Don’t ignore your life, but participate in it. Live at least part of it on your terms. Wonder, explore, question, ask “why?” Look at the world with younger eyes, and your creativity will, just as spring is now, blossom.