PaganFM 110214

PaganFM Prayer List

Weather, underwriting, etc.

Today we welcome the Rev. Dr. Karen Tate back to PaganFM.

Dr. Tate is a scholar, speaker, radio show host, tour leader, activist, and the host of Voices of the Sacred Feminine Radio – an Internet radio program that has been airing for the past nine years. Karen’s previous titles include: Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations, Walking an Ancient Path: Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth and Goddess Calling: Inspirational Messages and Meditations of Sacred Feminine Liberation Thealogy. On her radio show, she has spoken not only just about everyone one might consider a leader in the Goddess spirituality movement, but she has brought together many people from many different spiritual paths, and could be considered an important bridge-builder between many spiritual traditions.

Her latest work, Voices of the Sacred Feminine is a collection of essays and interviews that highlights the fact that feminism and Goddess spirituality aren’t simply things that some people do, but are arguably the only way out of the quagmire that none but the most ardently and purposefully blind must admit that our world is finding itself further and further submerged.

And that said, here is that interview with Karen.

PaganFM Almanac

Hi I’m Carl, and this is the Pagan FM Almanac for November 2nd, 2014.

Please note that all moon void of course data is courtesy of

Today is Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 and it is the 306th day of the year.

The waxing gibbous Moon is in Pisces, and the Sun is in Scorpio.

The Moon will be void on Monday, November 3rd at 8:52 AM and will enter Aries at 6:56 PM.

The moon will be void on Wednesday November 5th at 11:27 AM and will enter Taurus at 9:41 PM.

November’s Full Moon, the Mourning Moon, will occur on Thursday, November 6th at 5:23 PM.

The moon will be void on Friday, November 7th at 3:26 PM and will enter Gemini on Saturday November 8th at 2:06 AM.

On this day, November 2nd, in 1947, Howard Robard Hughes Jr. answered skeptics within the US Senate who were questioning his use of government funds to develop a heavy transport aircraft known as the H-4, but more commonly known as the “Spruce Goose”. Originally conceived for use in World War II, the aircraft was the largest airplane ever built, with a wingspan longer than a football field. The H-4 was capable of carrying 750 fully-equipped troops or two 30-ton Sherman tanks with full crews. Oh, yes – and because of a wartime shortage of metals, the plane’s body was constructed of birch and spruce wood, hence the name. Unfortunately, the H-4 was not completed until after World War II was over, and some members of Congress were questioning whether Hughes’ craft was airworthy at all and not simply a waste of taxpayers’ funds. In typical Howard Hughes fashion, he left the congressional hearings and returned to California, where he gathered several media and corporate figures and, with himself personally at the controls, took the H-4 prototype for what were supposed to be three taxiing demonstration runs. More precisely, Hughes went on two taxiing demonstration runs, and, much to the surprise of his press and industry passengers, a flight – the first and last the Spruce Goose would ever make, demonstrating the craft’s airworthiness and silencing Hughes’ Congressional critics once and for all.

On November 3rd in 1503, an Italian artist, having not had much work recently, accepted a commission for a private portrait of one Lisa del Giocondo. The resulting work sold for about $9,000 in today’s money. Good deal, yes? Except that the artist was one Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, and the portrait, known today as the Mona Lisa, was valued at its most recent appraisal at just over three quarters of a billion dollars in today’s money. No wonder she’s smiling…

On November 4th in 1923, after seven years searching in the Valley of Kings against conventional wisdom that said all tombs in the area had already been found, archaeologist Howard Carter’s party discovered a series of stone steps leading down to a sealed doorway. It would be three weeks before the stairway was excavated sufficiently for Carter to breach a small hole in the upper left corner of the door, allowing him to peer in by candlelight while his fellow workers, as well as his benefactor, Lord Carnarvon, waited. In response to Carnarvon’s question “Can you see anything”, Carter responded with one of history’s most famous, and most under-stated, understatements – “Yes – wonderful things”. “Wonderful things”, indeed – nothing less than the most magnificent collection of Egyptian antiquities ever discovered, comprising the complete, undisturbed and intact tomb of King Tutankhamen, aka King Tut.

November 4th, as the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, is Election Day in the United States. If you are fortunate enough to live in Puerto Rico, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana or Delaware, Election Day is a civic holiday. Otherwise, get out there and vote anyway!

November 5th is Bonfire Night, aka Guy Fawkes Night or Guy Fawkes Day, in Great Britain. It commemorates the day in 1605 when Guy Fawkes was arrested as authorities discovered a stash of explosives hidden beneath the British House of Lords, placed there by Fawkes and other members of what has come to be known of as the Gunpowder Plot. With a charming sense of propriety that is so distinctively British, apparently the appropriate way to celebrate the failure of a group to blow up a stash of explosives is to set off your own stash of explosives, or more sedately, light a bonfire. Rule Britannia indeed.

November 6th is International Saxophone Day, celebrating the birth date in 1814 of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. Sax wanted to combine the flexibility of a woodwind with the power and presence of a brass instrument. Strangely, despite its popularity today, the saxophone is still not considered a standard member of a symphony orchestra. Come on Maestros, it’s been two hundred years – let’s put an end to sax-based discrimination.

On November 7th in 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State suffered a catastrophic structural failure when it collapsed into the Tacoma Narrows as the result of a steady wind blowing at a mere 42 miles per hour – well below the bridge’s designed tolerance of 120 miles per hour, but precisely in tune with the bridge’s “pitch”, causing the structure to vibrate itself apart just as a glass will shatter if bombarded by sound waves of the proper frequency.

Finally, on November 8th in 1994, Salvatore Phillip Bono, aka “Sonny” Bono, was elected to the US Congress. Sonny, ex-husband to Cherilyn Sarkisian, aka Cher, distinguished himself as a congressman and won re-election in 1996, just prior to his passing as the result of a skiing accident in 1998. In 1995, Bono reportedly used his unique expertise to advise Newt Gingrich on how to handle his newly-acquired celebrity. Sonny, you are missed – luck for Newt he had you, babe.

And this has been the Pagan FM Almanac for November 2nd, 2014.

Practical Pagan, the power of the vote

Tuesday is the day that we elect our state representatives and members of congress here in the United States. To some people, the mid-term elections seem relatively unimportant – but I want to ask you – if they are really unimportant, why would our special interest groups have just spent something like $4 Billion on them?

The truth is that they are important. These offices aren’t merely symbolic – they will chart the course for the future of our country – at least for the next two years, and likely beyond. And it’s up to us to make that choice.

The four powers of the sphinx are To know, to will, to dare and to keep silent. These powers are important in Thelema, and they should be important in any magickal religious system. And we should remember them when it’s time to cast our vote.

Let’s look at each of these as it comes to voting.

To know. All too many of us are spoon fed the information that we have via a single source. Our favorite news source might be Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, or we might enjoy the cast of characters on Fox. But the problem is that if we get our information from one source, we’ve got just one point of view to inform our opinions and choices. Honestly, if we are informed by only one viewpoint, we don’t really “know”. It’s not without a bit of irony that one study found that those who got their “news” exclusively from Fox, knew less about current events than those who don’t pay attention to news at all. If we’re going to make wise choices, we need to have a much broader view of issues and candidates. Admittedly, with elections on Tuesday, we don’t have a lot of time to dig deeply, but we can still look at our candidates and find a variety of viewpoints.

To Will. Nothing happens, anywhere, without some sort of will setting that thing into motion. If I do a thing, I have willed it. I’ve never found myself eating, drinking, driving a car, having children, loving someone, responding in joy or anger, or anything else, without on some level, willing it. Our will is the most powerful force that we possess, and nothing comes into our lives that does not involve that will. When we cast votes, it’s important to know, for ourselves, what our will is. What sort of energy is it that we are wishing to cultivate in this world? When we cast our votes, that is energy we are supporting; that is our will put into action.

To Dare. Sometimes we can dare things that are beyond the realm of possibility. I recall a scene in Top Gun in which the commander said to Maverick “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.” We need to be daring, but our daring needs to be informed with truth. I’ve heard many people say they will vote for a third party because they are disgusted with the other two. Here’s the thing – the time to support a third party is long before election day. If a third party doesn’t have a viable chance of winning, then your protest vote isn’t merely a vote for the lesser of evils – it’s a vote for the worst. I’d like to remind you that the lesser evil is still the lesser evil. And the time to change that evil to good isn’t merely on election day – it’s throughout the years, in the period between elections.

If you want to support a third party, by all means do! But if your motive for supporting a third party is one of disgust or because you don’t like something that’s going on, but you’re not willing to support that third party between elections, if you’re not going to get involved, then what, really, are you doing?

To stay silent. A number of Democratic Candidates have made news because they wouldn’t say whether or not they voted for Obama. Michelle Nunn, in Georgia was one such, whose silence made news in the last week or so. Some in magick say that to speak of a spell is to dilute it’s efficacy, or to weaken it. I’m not going to say much about that, but I know that those who are asking Democratic – or other candidates who they voted for, are doing so merely tie an albatross around the neck of the candidate in question. They are trying to impugn the character based on who that individual may have voted for.

The only advice I can offer is this – what sort of country to you wish to live in? What’s important to you? And who is credibly offering the best pathway to get there? And look at the way things are – and the way things were two, four, or six years ago? How do we get from where we were, and where we are, to where we wish to be? And ask those who promise a change in direction, exactly how they intend to get where they are promising to take things.

Lastly, don’t forget magic – cast spells if that is what you do – light candles, say prayers. And in the next two years – be active. If nothing changes, nothing changes – and that change is best found in each of us. It’s up to each of us to struggle for that change – not just on election day, but on the days between. Election day is important – but that is the culmination of the work.

PaganFM 091114

PaganFM Prayer List
Debra, Bill, Mike

Musical Selections
Artist, Track, Album
Arthur Hinds, Children of Cernunnos, Dance in the Fire
Bell Book and Canto, I Heard the Valkyries Cry Last Night, Invocation
Damh the Bard, Spirit of Albion, Spirit of Albion
Darlene Koldenhoven, Greensleeves, Tranquil Times
Kellianna, The Ancient Ones, The Ancient Ones
Spiral Dance, The Burning Times, From the Mist
The Gypsy Nomads, Yes I’m French, Happy Madness
MaterDea, Awareness, Satyricon
Lindie Lila, Lady Water, Sisters of the Moon
Sacred Ancestors’ Chant, Lisa Thiel, Invocation of the Graces
Jenna Greene, Believe, Crossroads
Gary Stadler, Fairy of the Woods, Fairy of the Woods
Gwydion Pendderwen, Harvest Dance, Songs for the Old Religion
Emerald Rose, Wheel of Fortune, Archives of Ages to Come
Celia, Red Alabaster and Blue, Red Alabaster and Blue

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions have announced the location for the 2015 parliament, which will be held here in the United States, in Salt Lake City.

For those who wonder what the CPWR is, this is their mission statement:
The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

To accomplish this, we invite individuals and communities who are equally invested in attaining this goal.

2015 marks the first time in more than 2 decades in which the parliament was held within the United States. Salt Lake City was chosen because of the natural beauty of the area

Past speakers at the Parliaments have included Nelson Mandela, HH the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Queen Noor of Jordan, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Karen Armstrong, Swami Vivekananda*, Rabbi David Saperstein, Dr. Hans Kung, Deepak Chopra, and Amma the Hugging Saint.

It was last year that after a bombing in Madrid, the Council faced a huge financial shortfall, and Pagans here in the United States stepped up to the plate, lending their voices and support to the cause of the CPWR. A number of prominent Pagans have been part of previous parliaments, including T. Thorn Coyle, who said “Our time at the Parliament in 2009 was powerful. We spoke with religious people from all over the world – Aboriginal shamans, Coptic priests, Buddhist nuns, Zoroastrians, Shinto priests, Muslims, and Hindus. The Parliament makes space for this. The Parliament draws people together toward a meeting ground of mutual understanding. In a world divided by fear, this work is vital. “

Margot Adler also spoke highly of the CPWR, saying “Since 1893 the Parliament has been the primary place where the religions of the world have come together, exchanged ideas and fostered tolerance, cross cultural exchange and understanding. This is such important work!”

Personally, I’m hoping to attend in Salt Lake – we’ll see what the not so distant future brings.

Coming up on September 21, will be Eastern Mass Pagan Pride Day.
Magical traditions from all over New England will gather together on the field at Winnekenni Castle 347 Kenoza Ave, Haverhill, MA 01830 to connect with the powers of Mother Nature. Participants of this family-friendly event will enjoy educational workshops, entertainment, children’s activities and the bewitching wares of many vendors and craftspeople. Admission will be a donation of non-perishable food.

Some of the performers currently scheduled at this year’s event include: Kellianna, Brian , Derek and Ed, Alaina, Sharon Wells, Jennifer Lavigne, and Rich Roby

Yours truly is also planning on showing up – I’ll be offering a workshop on The Pagan in Recovery.
Hi I’m Carl, and this is the Pagan FM Almanac for September 11th, 2014.
Please note that all moon void of course data is courtesy of
Today is Thursday, September 11th, 2014 and it is the 254th day of the year.
The waning gibbous moon has been void of course since 4:11 PM today and will enter Taurus on Friday September 12th at 2:26 AM.
The Sun is in Virgo.
The Moon will be void on Saturday, September 13th at 8:57 PM and will enter Gemini on Sunday, September 14th at 7:58 AM.
The Moon will be void on Tuesday, September 16th at 5:34 AM and will enter Cancer at 5:17 PM.
The Moon will be void on Thursday, September 18th at 5:07 PM and will enter Leo on Friday, September 19th at 5:14 AM.
On this day, September 11th, thirteen years ago, our country was attacked by low men.
Men – because to call such bipedal vermin animals insults animals. Other species kill from instinct. Even a rabid dog’s behavior is caused by madness, not malice. Man is the only creature that kills for politics, for religion, for power, for greed, for vengeance, for spite…and for evil.
Low men (with apologies to Stephen King), because by any measure civilized society uses to gauge humanity, these nineteen fell woefully short. They hide their evil behind a mask of religion the way the Nazis hid theirs behind a mask of government. They “fought” by attacking the unwary, preying upon the innocent. But there is no honor in a blindsiding, no glory in a sucker-punch.
Enough about them – theirs are nineteen stories of evil incarnate, monotonously similar, equally vacuous and ultimately signifying nothing. More important are the three thousand tragic stories of lives cut short, as well as the thousands upon thousands of stories of bravery, compassion, heroism, selflessness and courage associated with that day.
For instance, the story of forty randomly-selected, typical Americans, untrained and unarmed, each of whom woke that morning, committed simply to getting on a plane and flying from Newark to San Francisco. Instead they found themselves faced with four low men, trained, armed, each of whom woke that morning committed to dying. Did I say they were unarmed? Actually, those forty Americans possessed one weapon that no one else that morning had – knowledge. Because their flight had been delayed, they heard what happened in New York, and armed with that tiny advantage, they took action. We will probably never know for certain the real target of United Flight 93 (my money’s on the White House, but the Capital Building would be easier to hit), but we can be assured that the target was not an empty field in western Pennsylvania. Those Americans, those heroes, at the cost of their own lives, defeated the low men and saved Goddess only knows how many other Americans’ lives.
Our northern neighbors in the Canadian province of Quebec have a motto: “Je me souviens”. Translated, it means simply “I remember”. It describes not merely the act of recollection, but an attitude, a mind-set that summarizes this pagan’s approach to dealing with the memories of September 11th, a strategy combining the duality that is the center of our existence with the yearning for balance that is the core of our spirit.
And so, on this September 11th, when the sun is in the sky, the God is with me. The fighter, the protector, the doer. With His guidance I will live this day. Carpe diem indeed – I will seize this day and reclaim it from those who would desecrate it with evil. I will feel the sunlight on my face, and I will celebrate, for there are things to be celebrated, not only epic feats like Flight 93’s hard-won victory, but everyday things – people were born (and will be born) on September 11th, people were married, deeds were done and milestones were reached, and I will commemorate them and enjoy the happiness that these things deserve, because to do otherwise is to allow low men to control me, and I refuse to yield to them that power, I refuse to give them that satisfaction.
Later, when the sun has gone, the God sleeps, and the moon rules the sky, the Goddess is with me. Mother, nurturer, feeler, carer. There, in the moonlight, in the privacy of my room, when this microphone is silent, the radio turned off, and I am at my altar, alone save for the Goddess and the spirits of this day’s dead. Then, je me souviens – I remember – je me souviens.
And this has been the Pagan FM Almanac for September 11th, 2014.
Practical Pagan
Free will vs determinism

Modern science has been answering more and more of our questions – with remarkable efficiency. When I was born, 54 years ago, we had not yet visited the moon. While there were computers, they were extraordinarily large and power hungry – the idea of a personal computer was a thing of science fiction. Most people didn’t have color televisions, and many programs were broadcast live. And what electronics there was, was far and wide based on vacuum tube technology. Genetics was an idea, but the DNA molecule wasn’t yet understood. Transplants were a thing of the future, and many diseases that are routinely fatal today were deadly and quite feared. Automobiles weren’t nearly as safe, and telephone calls to other countries were wildly expensive. There were no satellites, no GPS, there was no Internet, no Google, no Wikipedia, and certainly no podcasts.

By the time I got to school, things were already changing. I remember taking science classes, where we knew about DNA, RNA, cellular reproduction and other things that were mysteries merely years before. We were regularly visiting the moon, and by the time I got to high school, we were planning the shuttle program. Already, satellites were being used for network television and telephone systems. Personal computers were available for the technically inclined – though the were large, and by modern standards, quite slow. In the late 1970s, Seymour Cray had built the first computer to perform more than 1,000,000 floating decimal point operations per second.

Along with the advancements in hard sciences, came increased knowledge about human psychology, and scientists were becoming increasingly able to understand and predict what we might do next. EEG machines were probing the secrets of our minds.

Then came the 1980s and 1990s, with technology such as CAT, MRI and PET scans, and increaing understanding of chemicals that affect our brains and neural pathways. In electronics, the development of neural networks and artificial intelligence.

Years ago, it was posited by the French scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace, that if we knew the position and momentum of every particle in the universe, that we could predict everything that might happen afterward in that universe. Stephen Hawking recounts in his essay “Does God play dice?” that Napoleon asked Laplace where god fits into this equation, and Laplace replied that he hasn’t needed God in his hypothesis. This was pretty much the advent of scientific determinism – that there is no need for God, no need for mysticism, and, indeed, the idea that even what we think is predetermined.

I don’t expect most listeners of this program to know who Laplace is. When we’re in elementary or high school, he’s not one of the scientists we’re likely to hear of. We’ll hear of Newton, Einstein, Descartes, Edison and many others, but Laplace is often off the list, and we might be tempted to think that he wasn’t as important as many of the rest. But the truth is that he was one of the most brilliant scientists in our history. He had an unrivaled understanding of mathematics, and he was the one responsible for developing the modern understanding of the formation of our solar system from a nebula. Even in the early 19th century, he was talking about gravitational collapse and black holes. He pioneered the Laplace Transform, which is one of the most important mathematical tools used in physics and engineering, enabling many difficult problems to be significantly simplified.

So when someone like Laplace made the suggestion that by knowing the position and momentum of every particle in the universe would enable him to determine everything else that might happen, this wasn’t the simple case of just anyone making a bold claim – this was the case of one of the most brilliant minds in history stating something he truly had some understanding of. And when we think of it, it’s not much different, except on its unbelievable scale, than making a complicated shot on a billiard table. If we know the position of the balls, and how much momentum, and in what direction to apply it, we can predict the movement of the other balls. We might be tempted to think that the universe is really not much more than a very complex, three-dimensional game of billiards.

And if our universe is what Laplace expected it to be – a complex system of objects that can be mapped and understood, and if we could predict the outcome of such interactions, and if our thoughts could be represented as particles and bits of energy, then we might be able to say that everything we are, everything we think, everything we will ever be, was determined by the exact position and momentum of every particle of energy and matter at the dawn of our universe.

If Laplace and some other scientists are correct, every choice we make, every thought we have, every love we will ever have, all our children, all our ancestors, our religions, our spiritual experiences, our art, our music, our architecture, our literature, films, even this program – down to the last typographical error – all of it has been nothing but a mechanistic response to the conditions resulting from one exploding singularity that became everything we know to exist today.


Except firstly, that Pierre-Simon Laplace and Werner Heisenberg never had a chance to chat. While Laplace believed that if he knew the position and momentum of every single bit of matter, that he might be able to predict everything that would follow. Unfortunately for Laplace, Heisenberg determined that there is no way to possess this knowledge – that having one – position – implies that the other, momentum, cannot be known. That knowledge is mutually exclusive. The more we know one with greater exactness, the less we know of the other.

So, what does this mean for determinism? On the one hand, it means that there is a certain amount of randomness built into the system. Even prior to Laplace, Robert Brown had identified the random motion of particles suspended in a liquid – which has since come to be known as Brownian motion – which is a truly random process. Brown had seen bits of pollen suspended in water, and was unable to come up with a mathematical explanation for the movement of those bits of pollen. The water wasn’t moving, yet the pollen still moved through the water. Interestingly, it was Albert Einstein, in 1905, who, looking at Brown’s work, devised the idea that the pollen was being moved by collision with water molecules. It was, in fact, this paper by Einstein, that demonstrated that atoms and molecules actually exist. Parenthetically, looking back, when my grandmother and grandfather were born, we actually had no proof of the existence of either atoms or molecules. By the time they were my age, the power of the atom had already been exploited in nuclear reactors and bombs.

So, at this point, Laplace is partially out of the deterministic picture. He can’t say exactly what the universe will look like some time after knowing the exact position and momentum of every particle. But neither is his indictment entirely complete, and the concept of free will hasn’t been granted complete liberty. Brownian motion is what’s called a stochastic process. It’s probabilistic in nature, which means that if we know the position and momentum of all the particles involved, we can make a better guess as to where the bit of pollen will go. In this arena, we can think of the path of a hurricane – the closer it is, the better our chance of knowing where it will go. This is the same predictive method used to tell us how safe we might be days prior to a large, powerful storm system arrives. But even with the knowledge of larger systems, increasing granularity – the closer we get to the more intimate details, the less certain we are about those details.

Now while those bits of randomness do tell us that the state of the universe years from now, they don’t let us off the hook when it comes to the idea that we are the sole determiners of the paths of our own lives. And that is more the point of this little talk tonight.

Some in science are becoming more of the opinion that our personalities, wants, needs and desires are all functions of neural energy, chemicals, and the things that have happened to us in our past. Indeed, it’s very interesting to see how many violent and anti-social behaviors have been documented as a result of physical problems such as tumors and brain damage.

In 2002, New Scientist reported the case of a 40-year old man who developed pedophilia after an egg-sized tumor developed in his brain. When the tumor was removed, the man no longer had such desires. This doesn’t suggest that all cases of pedophilia are caused by tumors; in this man’s case, he showed no such proclivities prior to the tumor, and most pedophiles demonstrate those leanings far earlier in life. But this does bring to mind the question of responsibility for a criminal’s actions. If our behavior is determined by nothing but the conditions of our brains, how can we be held responsible for any of our actions? Indeed, if we are nothing but the result of 13 Billion years of random processes, how could any of us be responsible for anything?

So that idea of determinism presents us with one significant philosophical problem – if everything that we do is predetermined, what is the point of punishment? If things are predestined to be, and we have no choice – no human free will to do, or to not do anything, doesn’t that lend just a bit of an unjust nature to the idea of crime and punishment? And not only crime and punishment – if everything we do is nothing other than the result of natural processes, all interacting with each other, how is anyone ever deserving of praise or honor or condemnation or punishment? If everything is the result of atoms and subatomic particles in collision, why is there any cause to encourage or comfort or love or anything that we, as human beings do for each other? Seriously – if we live in this deterministic world that some posit, then our choice to encourage the student, the surgeon, the artist, the musician, the lover, the dying – it has no meaning – right?

So here’s the thing. I don’t believe in this deterministic model of our universe. I think that freedom of choice is real and legitimate. And here’s why.

There are lots of people who poo-poo the ideas of psychic effects and reincarnation and near-death experiences and many other phenomena that fall into the realm of noetics and metaphysics, but each of them suffers from one single flaw – they haven’t fully studied these things.

Sometimes it makes sense to look at a claim and to suggest that it makes no sense. We can look at the work of Dr. Emoto who suggests that water given “good feelings” will form crystals that will be more beautiful than those in a jar on which is written “hate”, and rationally we can say nonsense. We can look at his methods and recognize that these experiments aren’t controlled, that the individuals choosing the crystals know what was written on the jars, and are at liberty to choose any crystals they wish. It is nonsense. His work doesn’t represent a valid scientific experiment, because it has no controls. And a basic understanding of the physics involved would suggest that such an experiment would have no merit in the first place – individual atoms don’t have memory – nor do molecules of water. The mechanism doesn’t exist to produce the claimed effect. It would be like selling someone a car and telling them it will go from 0 to 100 in 4 seconds, carrying 4 adults, with a 3 horsepower motor. It’s nonsense.

The problem that we, in the occult and metaphysical community have is that everything gets lumped together – the legitimate and the nonsense.

The truth is that there have been studies that demonstrate that things like reincarnation and near-death experiences have some real validity. Many people have had psychic experiences that do suggest that there is more in heaven and earth than can be described by our still rather youthful scientific understanding.

The metaphysical community is undeniably filled with more than our share of charlatans. There are lots of people posing as psychics who are really nothing more than keen observers practicing the art of cold reading, whose objective is merely to separate each of us from our hard-earned money.

But the opposite is also true – there are many who have uncanny wisdom and insight. There are those of us who know things we shouldn’t know – that we would have no means of knowing.

The truth is that there are aspects of ourselves, and of energy and of matter that science doesn’t yet understand. Science – real science – cannot categorically claim that something yet unstudied does not exist – simply because we cannot understand the mechanism whereby it might.

I don’t expect science to embrace something yet unproved. And science shouldn’t. But I do expect that those of us who are in the metaphysical and occult communities should do more to expose the charlatans among us, and to refrain from making unsubstantiated claims about what we do; we should avoid trying to explain the things that we experience by claiming, for example, that quantum physics proves that something is possible, that higher vibrations (whatever that might be) make spooky things possible.

We do our ourselves a great disservice when we mis-use science to make what we are doing look more legitimate. To those who practice science, when we make the claim that quantum physics is what powered a spell, brought about a healing, or whatever effect it was that we saw, our credibility is in the toilet the moment we make such a claim.

The truth is that among those of us who have effectively practiced magick, all we know is that we did something, and saw an effect. When we try to explain the mechanism, we fall short. So when the scientist asks, we can’t claim that it’s some quantum effect – we’ve lost them then. What we can say is “I do this repeatedly, and repeatedly, this presumed effect occurs”. We can’t claim to know what the causative link is, but when the scientist sees that B follows A, repeatedly, THAT is when they will suspect that something more is going on – that there is truly some connection between the two. And that’s what science needs more when it comes to metaphysics – fewer BS artists, and more people finding the correlations and asking the questions.

But this has been a bit of a tangent – we’re talking about determinism. And it’s in this tangent that we just took that I base my claim that we don’t live in a deterministic universe. The truth is that for scientists and philosophers to make the claim that everything is determined at the moment of the big bang, a second claim must be made – that we, as human beings, are not more than mere matter and known forms of energy existing in three dimensions. But this is an assertion that has not yet been fully investigated, and making it is no more legitimate than it is for Dr. Emoto to claim that words on a jar will affect the formation of crystals from water that is in that jar. The experiments necessary to prove those assertions simply haven’t been performed.

So, without actual evidence that there is something within us that permits us to make choices for ourselves, is there a way that we can know that we aren’t more than the result of random processes stemming from a cosmological accident 13.8 Billion years ago?

I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice when we try to suggest that we actually “know” anything in a scientific sense. We can believe. And we can act “as if” we know in the scientific sense of the word. That is the purpose of myth.

Too often we confuse myth and fiction. We think that fiction means that a thing is untrue, but that’s not the case at all. Myth is what informs us when we don’t have observable, testable, science and facts to explain what it is that is going on. Those of us who have practiced magick, or the spiritual arts know that we have used them to real and legitimate effect – they are real for us, but this is still the arena of myth, because we don’t have a scientific explanation for what has happened. When we pass this information on, it may still be true, but it’s still myth – lying somewhere between faith and observable, testable, repeatable science.

And it is in this arena, for now, where we find that we do have our own freedom of will, that we make our own choices. It is certainly a myth, but that doesn’t mean that it’s untrue. In the Bible, the story of Jesus falls under religious myth – for now. We have no evidence, to date, that he was a real person, or that he actually rose from the dead. Yet the story of his life is still religious myth. Even if we found evidence that he did actually exist, the story of his life remains religious myth.

Our lives are also myth. Our choices, our dreams, our goals They are myth too, but they are not untrue. What we are, who we are, the things we believe – all of it is myth, and all of it is real. I am free to choose because I make my choices. I can balance my desires and my goals. I know that I can make choices, because I have made them.

I’ve also had experiences that can only be regarded as psychic. And the absolute truth is this: I know that science doesn’t have all the answers. So when a scientist says that the freedom to choose is an illusion, I realize that while science looks at the mystic and sees someone without answers, the mystic knows that she is but a mirror of the scientist. And how we view each other – well, that’s our choice. And we are free to choose.

PaganFM 090414

PaganFM Prayer List
Debra, Mike, Joseph, Judith’s family, and all of those who struggle to find peace in our tumultuous world.
Musical Selections
Artist, Track, Album
Celia, Break These Chains, Carry Me Home
Emerald Rose, Gwydion’s Song to Lleu, Archives of Ages to Come
John McNair, Pagan Queen, Tears for Lucifer
Lindie Lila, Gayatri Mantra, Sisters of the Moon
Carl, PaganFM Almanac
Lisa Thiel, Lammas, Circle of the Seasons
Loreena McKennitt, Beneath a Phrygian Sky, An Ancient Muse
Kellianna, Autumn Wind, I Walk With the Goddess
Peter Calandra, Night Watch, Inner Circle
Russell Means, What Tribe Are You?, Electric Warrior
Spiral Dance, Song for a Selkie, From the MIst
Todd Alan, Burning Times, Carry Me Home
Wendy Rule, Elemental Chant, The Wolf Sky
Arthur Hinds, turn the Wheel,Dance In The Fire
Leigh Ann Hussey, She Is Grandmother, Homebrew
MaterDea, The Green Man, Satyricon


In a story on The Wild Hunt, by Cara Schulz today, it seems that the band Norsewind was uninvited to play at the Philadelphia Pagan Pride celebration. Antifa Philadelphia wrote to the Pagan Pride Day organizers to express concern that Norsewind had ties to the Keystone State Skinheads.
So, what was the extent of those ties, Apparently the Heathen band had played at a number of Lief Ericson day events which were, apparently organized by Keystone State Skinheads, and some of those people liked Norsewind’s facebook page. Some have also friended certain band members.

Norsewind has denied that they are in any way sympathetic to any sort of racism, and no racist comments have been found in the band’s lyrics or in any comments they have made, so this very much seems to be a case of guilt by association.

I need to wonder if now, musicians are guilty of something because of who organizes the events they play at. Should I be required to do a background check of everyone whose friend request I accept on Facebook?

I have to wonder if Antifa Philly was so concerned about Norsewind, did they ever approach Norsewind to express their concerns? Why is it that suspicion alone is worth ruining the reputation of a band? Antifa Philly has gone so far as to call Norsewind a “White Nationalist Band”, and the only evidence they offer to support this is that Norsewind is listed on a list of favorite bands by a particular white nationalist group.

It’s one thing to have a suspicion, to contact the band, and then address the facts. It’s quite another to have a suspicion, and to press that on as if it were fact, with nothing but a paid appearance at some events and some people who happen to have liked or friended the band on Facebook as evidence.

Personally, I haven’t heard a lot of Norsewind’s music – but what I have heard hasn’t been in any way racist – it’s a combination of Norse and Celtic music that certainly seems to be appropriate to any Pagan / Heathen / Norse / Celtic type of festival. If making music that a skinhead enjoys makes someone a skinhead, does that mean that we should equate the Beatles with the Manson family?

Here’s an idea – before we brand someone as a racist, let’s find out if they are. Let’s talk to them. Let’s not shun people because people we don’t like happen to like them. That’s sounding far too much like high school hallway politics.

If Norsewind doesn’t say anything that is racist, how can we presume they harbor those feelings? They claim to be non-political. Until I see other evidence, I’m going to take them at their word. I suspect that they now recognize that Keystone State Skinheads are a racist organization. I suspect that they now know that the particular Lief Erikson Day celebration they were playing at is sponsored by a racist organization. Why not leave it up to Norsewind to simply end that relationship – to ask them to not support racism. If they are honorable people, which I’ve no reason to suspect they aren’t, they’ll likely stop playing there.

I suppose that I’m one who likes to think the best of people first, who will talk to people and confirm my suspicions prior to going out and trying to ruin their business before I can confirm my suspicions with actual evidence.

I’ve left other organizations that use similar tactics – organizations that would seek to ruin a person’s reputation based on nothing but suspicion. Honestly, when someone uses tactics like this, I see them as no better than the groups they are trying to fight.

They might say “we’re fighting racism”, but if you brand someone a racist – or a sexist, or a bigot, or a pedophile, or anything else, and your best evidence is that someone friended them on Facebook, or that they were hired to perform at an event by someone like that – you are slandering them. Playing at a Lief Erikson event doesn’t necessarily mean that Norsewind approves of racism. They’ve already said that they aren’t, and nobody has demonstrated in any statements or lyrics that they are.

I don’t believe that a band is guilty of racism because a racist likes their music – any more than the Beatles are guilty of murder because a murderer liked their music. I would hope though, that Norsewind will recognize that when it’s demonstrated that an event they play at may be promoting racism, that they might want to distance themselves. But, then again, I don’t know that Lief Erikson Day was actually promoting white nationalism.

Anyway, that’s just me – probably being too careful. I was called a Pollyanna lately – maybe I’m just not suspicious enough.

Hi I’m Carl, and this is the Pagan FM Almanac for September 4th, 2014.
Please note that all moon void of course data is courtesy of
Today is Thursday, September 4th, 2014 and it is the 247th day of the year.
The waxing gibbous moon is in Capricorn and the Sun is in Virgo.
The Moon will be void on Friday, September 5th at 3:08 PM and will enter Aquarius on Saturday, September 6th at 12:50 AM.
The Moon will be void on Sunday, September 7th at 3:02 PM and will enter Pisces on Monday, September 8th at 12:32 AM.
September’s Full Moon, the Harvest Moon, will occur Monday, September 8th at 9:38 PM.
The Moon will be void on Tuesday, September 9th at 2:44 PM and will enter Aries on Wednesday, September 10th at 12:25 AM.
The Moon will be void on Thursday, September 11th at 4:11 PM and will enter Taurus on Friday, September 12th at 2:26 AM.
After assembling the stories for this week in history, I realized that they all had something in common. So, albeit unplanned and unintended, welcome to the Pagan FM Almanac’s first Ladies’ Night…
On September 4th in 1879, Orpheis Caroline High-Correll founded the Correllian Nativist Tradition, aka Correllian Wicca. The tradition’s teachings, though influenced by Aradian Witchcraft, primarily involve knowledge passed down from the High-Correll family, descendants of Cherokee medicine men who had intermarried with Scottish Traditional Witches.
On September 5th in 2006, Katherine Anne “Katie” Couric made television history when she became the first female solo anchor of a weekday network evening news program, CBS Evening News, replacing Dan Rather. Pretty big shoes to fill, especially since CNN president Reese Schoenfeld had banned Couric from appearing on-air because of what Schoenfeld called her “high-pitched, squeaky voice”. At $15 million a year, I’ll bet Katie squeaked – all the way to the bank.
On September 6th in 1997, over two and one-half billion people watched live TV coverage of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana had died in a car accident at the age of thirty-six. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of London to watch as Diana’s coffin was transported to Westminster Abbey, where during the funeral service Sir Elton John performed what was to become the second most popular single in music history, his tribute version of “Candle in the Wind”. Hundreds of thousands more people lined the streets as Diana was again transported to her family’s estate in Northamptonshire, where “the People’s Princess” was finally laid to rest.
On September 7th in 1950, Julie Deborah Kavner, actress, was born in Los Angeles, California. Kavner is best known as the voice of Marge Simpson in the longest-running animated show in TV history, The Simpsons. She has also appeared onscreen, both small (as Brenda Morgenstern in the Mary Tyler Moore Show spin-off sitcom Rhoda) and big (especially Woody Allen films – Hannah and Her Sisters, Radio Days, and Shadows and Fog). Kavner is no stranger to hardware – she won an Emmy as Best Supporting Actress for her role on Rhoda, and another for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for one of her episodes as Marge Simpson.
On September 8th in 1986, the Oprah Winfrey Show was broadcast nationwide for the very first time. Oprah Gail Winfrey was born dirt-poor to a single mom in rural Mississippi. Over the next 25 years, Oprah would parlay her vast talent and appealing on-air presence into the most successful talk show in TV history.
On September 9th in 1939, patrons of the Fox Theatre in Riverside, California got an unexpected bonus double feature – a preview screening of the yet-to-be-released Civil War epic Gone with the Wind. Producer David Selznick wanted to observe how an audience reacted to his film, which was officially released three months later. Of course, the film was wildly successful, nominated for twelve Oscars and winning nine, including Best Picture. The ladies in this case were first, Vivien Leigh, who scored the part of Scarlett after a nationwide search had come up empty by virtue of her happening to visit the set one day to see her agent, Myron Selznick, David’s brother. Leigh went on to win the Oscar for Best Actress. Second, Hattie McDaniel, who became the first African-American actress to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy.
Finally, on September 10th in 2000, Halle Maria Berry, actress, won the Emmy award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her portrayal of another actress, Dorothy Jean Dandridge, herself the star of the 1954 movie Carmen Jones. In 1954, Dandridge had been the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Actress. Ironically, in 2002, Halle Berry became the first African American actress to win the Oscar for Best Actress, for her performance in Monster’s Ball.
And this has been the Pagan FM Almanac for September 4th, 2014.

Practical Pagan
I’ve been very interested of late in Russell Means. For those of you who don’t know, Russell Means was a well-known Native American Activist. Russell was born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1939. While the reservation is larger than the combined area of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, it has a population of fewer than 30,000 people, and is one of the poorest areas in the United States.

Russell had a troubled youth, growing up with a father who had alcohol problems, and his youth was characterized by truancy, drugs and crime. Early on, his family moved to the San Francisco area to escape the poverty of the reservation. Means attended a number of colleges, but did not graduate. It wasn’t until he became active in the 1960’s in the American Indian movement that Russell found his way.

His father died when Russell was only 28 – in 1967. And it was about a year later when he began serious work as an activist. When we look at activism today, many of us consider it “activism” to re-post items on Facebook, to “like” items that others have posted, or to sign electronic petitions. Don’t get me wrong – that’s better than doing nothing, but Russell Means wasn’t an armchair activist. He was part of the Alcatraz occupation in 1969, he and others took over the Mayflower II in Boston on Thanksgiving Day in 1970. In 1971, he was one of the leaders who took over Mt. Rushmore – which, while being a United States landmark, was carved out of sacred Native American land. He was one of the leaders at the protest at Wounded Knee.

Russell Means died in October of 2012 at 73 years of age.

A few weeks ago, I read the words of George Catlin, and I first heard them read by Russell Means. I’m going to read them again tonight, because I want to talk about one of the ideals espoused by Russell. He was a Libertarian, and George Catlin’s Creed sheds a bit of light on what it might take to adopt Libertarianism in our world.

Here is that Creed again:
George Catlin’s Creed
I love a people that have always made me welcome to the very best that they had.
I love a people who are honest without laws, who have no jails and no poorhouses.
I love a people who keep the commandments without ever having read or heard them preached from the pulpit.
I love a people who never swear or take the name of God in vain.
I love a people “who love their neighbors as they love themselves”
I love a people who worship God without a Bible, for I believe that God loves them also.
I love a people whose religion is all the same, and who are free from religious animosities.
I love a people who have never raised a hand against me, or stolen my property, when there was no law to punish either.
I love and don’t fear mankind where God has made and left them, for they are his children.
I love a people who have never fought a battle with the white man, except on their own ground.
I love a people who live and keep what is their own without lock and keys.
I love a people who do the best they can. And oh how I love a people who don’t live for the love of money.
When Russell Means spoke of Libertarianism – a minimum of government control over the people, it’s important to recognize that he was one of those people that George Catlin spoke of. He grew up in that society.

I think the last line is one of the most important – Catlin wrote: “I love a people who do the best they can. And Oh how I love a people who don’t live for the love of money.”

Think about that for a moment. Russell Means was a Libertarian. But he came from a culture which believed that greed is wrong. But who are the Libertarians today? Or rather, who are the white Libertarians today. They aren’t people who believe that greed is wrong. Rather, they wish to have government out of the way so that they can advance their own wealth, by whatever means are available.

Look at the environmental disasters we’ve suffered in recent years – from the Exxon Valdez at Prince William Sound in Alaska, to the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, to the countless rivers that have been poisoned, wells damaged by fracking, the water temperature in the Gulf of Maine raising by about ½ degree per year – and what are so-called Libertarians doing about it? They are calling for less enforcement action by our Environmental Protection Agency, suggesting that business will somehow self-regulate.

Here is the truth about our Western way of thinking: As a culture, we do nothing to solve problems until we have no other choice. How many of us actually take care of something so basic as our own bodies? We experience some discomfort, and we take pain killers until they no longer work. Think about how many people you might know who had a cough or high blood pressure or some other problem – and by the time they get to a doctor to have it checked out, there is nothing that can be done. The person had lung cancer, or a stroke, or some sort of tumor that had become inoperable.

Yet these are the same people who are running our corporations today. The truth is that if something isn’t going to kill or harm us immediately, we will ignore it.

One or two hundred years ago, if I told you that we would pollute our rivers to the point where they would catch fire, most people would have laughed at the idea that a river could burn. But with so much industrial waste being poured into the Cuyahoga river, it did burn – on multiple occasions through the 1950s and 1960s. It was this river, so polluted, that helped spur the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency by Richard Nixon in 1970.

So, what we’re being told is that regulations are bad – and that the EPA actually causes more harm than business would if it were left unrestricted by regulations – which completely ignores the fact that when businesses were unrestricted, they caused the harm that prompted the formation of the EPA in the first place.

Maybe we might look at the logic of this in an area where there aren’t regulations right now. Let’s take coal ash. If we are to believe that businesses and corporations will adequately police themselves, and that they will do the right thing, wouldn’t they do so with coal ash? But in Kingston, TN, that ash was held in ponds – and what happened? 1 Billion gallons poured out of a poorly contained containment, and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and 300 acres of waterfront property.

Look at what lack of regulation wrought upon our economy in recent years. Look at the way our pensions have been brought to ruin, at the numbers of scam artist who take advantage of any profitable situation they can find.

The truth is that our Western, Roman “civilization” is incapable of adopting Libertarianism. For as long as, as George Catlin put it, the “love of money”, is what drives us, true liberty will elude us. While we need locks and keys, while we value money more than the life of another, while we have the capacity to think that we can own the Earth, rather than simply being part of the Earth, we can’t have the liberty that we are looking for.

Russell Means was a Libertarian, but that is because he was raised in a culture that saw each of us as equal, and the Earth and civilization as more important than the individual.

So what would I say to the libertarian? I’d tell them that I want to live in the world they honestly want to live in. But right now we can’t, because we are unruly children. We don’t let our children do whatever they want, because we know that they need guidance, they need to learn how the world works, before they are able to take their part in it.

Listening to one of Russel Means’ songs “What Tribe Are You?” he is talking about Freedom. He asks “Do you know what freedom means? It means The Freedom to be responsible.” Not “The freedom to ‘not’ be responsible”, but “The Freedom to be responsible”.

Let’s listen to our politicians – the ones who discount climate change. What do you hear them telling us? People aren’t responsible for climate change; there is no climate change; or “there is climate change, but we aren’t responsible”. Now some are coming out with such claims as “well, there is climate change, and we have an impact, but it’s not dangerous”. Neither, I presume, did that man with the cough think it was dangerous.

If we want the freedom of Libertarianism, we have to be willing to take responsibility for our own actions. Not after a poorly designed dam storing billions of gallons of industrial waste roars down a river and destroys dozens of homes, but long before that – when we actually have a chance to not destroy our environment.

Freedom means the freedom to be responsible – it means the courage to accept responsibility – it means the willingness to do what is right.

If we’re looking to the idea of liberty, with greed in our hearts, it’s not liberty we’re looking for – but, rather, we’re looking for nothing but a way to satisfy that which is insatiable – our own greed. I’m reminded of a contest where people were asked to write a complete story in six words, and someone’s entry – I don’t recall who it was, said “All I ever wanted was more.” And that is the life story of our stock market and share-holders. Unless the environment changes in their back yard – when the coastline erodes acres of their property, when their land becomes uncomfortable and unlivable, that is when the EPA or rules will become important to them. But for as long as they can make profit, for as long as living is comfortable for them, the EPA and environmental concerns are nothing but a hindrance.

And it’s the same way with so many species of animals. Only 200 years ago, the passenger pigeon was likely the most populous species of bird on Earth. Flocks of them would darken the skies. One single flock in the 1860s was described as being 1 mile across and 300 miles long. 100 years ago, on September 1, 1914, the species went extinct, when the last passenger pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Our environment is as delicately balanced as any fine watch. One small change will alter the way either functions. Some changes may be minor and correctable. Others can be devastating.

Our people – all of Earth’s people, should have a right to be honored as people. We look to our famous documents such as our Declaration of Independence showing that we all have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, or to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights that says “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. “

Here is the truth – until we recognize that as a human family, that we are responsible for each other, that we are responsible for the Earth, that we are responsible for other species on this Earth, that we are responsible for our environment, we can’t be free. Until we are free to be responsible, we aren’t free enough to enjoy true liberty. Until we are able to be responsible, the ideal of Libertarianism is an elusive dream, because we are not mature enough to attain it. We’re the adolescent children telling our parents what we want, but have no conception of what our desires really mean.

So how do we get from here to there? We grow the hell up. We look to civilizations where Libertarianism has worked, and we learn from them. We recognize that if any of us is left behind, we are all left behind, because we are all connected. We recognize that we can’t own the land or the air or the rivers – we are part of them, and they are part of us. We recognize that war is useless, and that telling each other what to believe or how to live is wrong – we all have liberty, up to the point where what we do harms the Earth, each other, or other creatures.

We put aside wealth as the primary purpose of living. And recognize that arguments such as “Your gardens or windmill, or farm, or antenna, or whatever the heck else it is . harm my property value”.

We need to recognize that in order to achieve real liberty, we can’t abandon our own responsibility. What government there is, we are all responsible for. That means that for now, until we grow up, we must be involved. We all need to vote. We can’t simply complain about the way the government is doing things, because we are the government. And until we are all ready to do the right thing without being told to do so, we need to insure that there are laws that will insure that regulations are in place to mandate the right thing be done. Remember that your parents only told you to clean your room when you weren’t capable of doing so without being told.

Someday, when we’re grown up enough, government will necessarily shrink. When greed gets out of the way, we won’t need that financial oversight. When corporations and businesses and people are able to stop polluting, the EPA won’t be necessary. When we stop committing crimes, we’ll need fewer police and prosecutors. When we as a people demand that substances like marijuana be legal, they will be, and we can then start emptying our jails of many who have been pointlessly held. And we can also demand that we stop holding people illegally, that fair trials are held for all, that no evidence be withheld from our juries, and that people who are in jail and prisons today, under questionable circumstances, be given the fair trials and hearings they deserve. Leonard Peltier is one such that comes to mind.

As people, as citizens, who demand our freedom and our liberty, it’s up to us to recognize that none of this is free – that it demands our responsibility. To become free, we need to accept responsibility – it’s that simple.

PaganFM 082114

PaganFM Prayer List
The family and friends of Jim Foley and all those in our seacoast New Hampshire who are now affected by the brutality brought about by religious fundamentalism. Joseph’s wife, and also his friend’s daughter, Dave, Raymond, Sandy and Therese.

Musical Selections
Artist, Track, Album
Alexander James Adams, Fae Hollow Magic, Balance of Nature
Sede, Spider Web, Madgician
Damh the Bard, The Land of the Ever Young, The Hills they are Hollow
Wendy Rule, Oh How I Dreamed, Deity
The Moors, The Snake that Coils Within Without, The Moors
Spiral Dance, BLackthorn’s Rune, Magick
David Kydd, Joy Comes Again, The Gathering II
Kellianna, Ancestor’s Song, I Walk With the Goddess
Jenna Greene, Legends, Crossroads
Emerald Rose, Gwydion’s Song to Lleu, Archives of Ages to Come
Bell Book and Canto, I Heard the Valkyries Cry Last Night, Invocation
Arthur Hinds, Children of Cernunnos, Dance in the Fire
Kiva, Water Fire and smoke, Out of the Corner of the Eye

Jim Foley, a Rochester New Hampshire native, and a reporter, was brutally murdered by ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. ISIS had demanded a payment from the US of Millions of dollars to release Foley, and a number of other nations have actually made payments in return for their citizens from terrorist organizations – but I feel that the United States is right in not paying ransom. Despite the brutality of the killing of Foley, who was decapitated with a knife, the truth is that paying ransom to terrorists only serves to arm them and to perpetuate their violence. Saving one individual results in the killing of many more. It’s sad to lose one – but Foley, being a well-trained and seasoned journalist, knew the cost, and, I believe, knew that ransoming him would have cost more lives, and he would have objected to paying that cost.

That ISIS stated at the time of the execution, that Jim was being killed in retaliation for the US attacks in Syria is a blatant lie. It’s nothing but an excuse – a way to pretend they are being strong or resolute, when the simple fact is that Jim was killed because the United States would not capitulate to their demands. ISIS is a fundamentalist organization that will use death and terrorism to get what they want. Anytime we capitulate or lend them even the least bit of credibility, more people will die.

Here in New Hampshire, a Mass of Healing, Hope and Peace will be held at Holy Rosary Church in Rochester at 2:00 PM on Sunday.

For those who are TLC fans, and who enjoy watching the exploits of the Duggar family on the show 19 Kids and Counting, the family Matriarch, Michelle recently loaned her voice to a robocall that is fighting an anti-discrimination law in Fayettevill Arkansas.

Working with the cult-like “Family” “Research” Council, Duggar is contributing to the hate-speech against transgender people, once again, linking them to pedophiles. Despite the fact that in NONE of the places where transgender people now have access to public facilities that are in alignment with their gender presentation, has there been an instance where women or children have been in any way harmed, liars like Duggar and the FRC continue to present such legislation as a means whereby sexual predators will prey on women and children. The fact that it’s never happened doesn’t matter to these people – it’s their goal to make people afraid of those they don’t like.

Here is Michelle’s Robocall.

For those who are actual fans of this cult on TLC, it might be worth relating that a number of people who the Duggars actually follow are, in fact, child predators. Yesterday, Suzanne Calulu posted on Patheos an article going into some of the problems with the whole Quiver Full movement. It was interesting to note that while Michelle is talking about transgender people posing a threat to women and children, the family has photos taken with people who have actually harmed women. One photo shows the Duggar girls posing with Bill Gothard, who recently resigned his post as President of Institute in Basic Life Principles, after 30 women filed Sexual Harrassment charges.

Despite the fact that three children have died when parents followed the teaching of Michael Pearl, and the subsequent conviction of parents who have used these methods, as far as the Duggars have gone is to remove endorsements for Pearl from their website, and have never repudiated the methods. They also still endorse S. M. Davis. Both of these men teach that the wills of children are to be broken, and that physical punishment such as hitting with objects is a good idea. Pearl recommended 3/4” plumbing tube for that purpose.

It’s kind of interesting that people like Duggar will ignore real harassment and dangers posed to women and children by the likes of Davis, Pearl and Gothard, while fostering fear of imaginary dangers that have never been demonstrated as a real problem.

This is how cults work – instilling fear where there is no real danger, and ignoring the real threats in one’s presence.

Quiz result
Our latest quiz was won by Gary Neal – Congratulations Gary!

Our latest quiz will be a bit different. We’ve got a number of CDs and download cards from Featherscale, Lindie Lila, Arthur Hinds and Will Ackerman. So what I’m going to ask is that you write me at – or, if you want, to record a short .mp3 file, and just talk about your favorite memory of PaganFM – what is it that we’ve done that’s touched you in your own life. I’ll take the first 6 responses, and it will be something of a first-come, first choice on the CDs or download cards. When you write in, I’ll write back and let you know what’s available, and you get to choose. But we’ll need to have this done by say September 7 to insure that I have time to put the show together.
So again, just write me at and send your words or audio, and let us know what your favorite moments of PaganFM have been.

PaganFM almanac
Hi I’m Carl, and this is the Pagan FM Almanac for August 21st, 2014.
Please note that all moon void of course data is courtesy of
Today is Thursday, August 21st, 2014 and it is the 233rd day of the year.
The waning crescent moon is in Cancer and the Sun is in Leo.
The Moon will be void on Friday, August 22nd at 10:46 AM and will enter Leo at 10:53 PM.
The Sun will enter Virgo on Saturday, August 23rd at 12:46 AM.
The Moon will be void on Sunday, August 24th at 11:29 PM and will enter Virgo on Monday August 25th at 11:37 AM.
Meanwhile, August’s Dark Moon will occur on Monday, August 25th at 10:13 AM.
The Moon will be void on Wednesday, August 27th at 11:55 AM and will enter Libra at 11:53 PM.
Today, August 21st, is National Senior Citizen’s Day. Pagans already honor and respect this third aspect of the Triple Goddess and God, the Crone and the Sage. On this day, make a special effort to acknowledge the contribution of elders to your pagan community – pay a visit, make a call, spend some time. The life you enrich could be your own.
On August 22nd in 1966, the Beatles arrived in New York for the start of their final US tour. Hanging over the Fab Four throughout was the backlash associated with John Lennon’s observation earlier in the year that the Beatles were now “more popular than Jesus”. Taken out of context or no, the reaction in some Christian quarters to this statement, including demonstrations and record-burning bonfires, put a cloud over what would be the group’s final set of concerts. George Harrison, ever the pragmatist, commented regarding the record-burnings, “they’ve got to buy them before they can burn them.”
August 23rd is International Ride the Wind Day, in honor of the 1977 flight by Dr. Paul McCready in the Gossamer Condor, the first human-powered aircraft capable of controlled and sustained flight. By doing so it was the first winner of the Kremer Prize, a £50,000 award to the first human-powered craft capable of negotiating a one-mile figure-eight course while flying over a ten-foot pole at beginning and end. Hmmm…it’s no Nimbus 2000, but not bad for a muggle!
On August 24th in 1814, British General Robert Ross led his forces into Washington, D.C. after their victory at the Battle of Bladensburg. While most Congressmen and other officials were long gone by the time the British began approaching, then-President James Madison and his wife, Dolley (yes, Dolley Madison…) escaped virtually under the noses of the oncoming Brit troops, Mrs. Madison having paused long enough to oversee the safe removal of a classic portrait of George Washington that hung in the White House. Good thing, since the British forces, after a leisurely dinner in the captured executive mansion, proceeded to burn the White House to the ground in retaliation for the Americans’ earlier torching of Canada’s government buildings.
On August 25th in 1939, a children’s movie starring Judy Garland premiered in theaters throughout the United States. While a modest box-office success, the flick had legs, so to speak and has grown into one of the most enduringly popular and best-loved movies of all time. The Wizard of Oz, based on the novel by L. Frank Baum, was nominated for Best Picture but lost that Oscar to some chick flick called Gone With the Wind. The film did take the Best Song Oscar for “Over the Rainbow”, and Judy Garland received a special award for Best Juvenile Performer.
August 26th is National Dog Day, a day to honor service dogs, guide dogs, rescue dogs, and just plain dog dogs. Be sure to scratch someone special behind the ears that day…
Finally, on August 27th in 1883, the volcanic island of Krakatoa erupted, killing thousands in the worst natural disaster of modern times. Four unbelievably powerful eruptions took place within a five-hour period on this day, the last of which made a sound that could be heard 3,000 miles away in central Australia. Tsunamis hit shorelines in Java and Sumatra, pushing water miles inland and carrying coral blocks weighing hundred of tons onto the shore. Dust in the atmosphere dropped global temperatures noticeably for several years. Interestingly, the title of the 1969 disaster film Krakatoa, East of Java is incorrect. Krakatoa, or what is left of it, is actually west of Java. Never let mere facts get in the way of a catchy title…
And this has been the Pagan FM Almanac for August 21st, 2014.
For those who remember Julia, one of PaganFMs former co-hosts, and have been wondering what happened to her, she’ll be joining us on our 300th episode, so you’ll get to hear her then. She’s now making pottery out in Albuquerque, NM. If you’d like to see what she’s doing, you can check out her web site at

Practical Pagan

I want to talk a bit tonight about Magic – or Magick with a K if you prefer. Certainly it’s a part of Wicca, and it’s a part of many Pagan paths. In fact, I’ll say, and I’ll explain it in detail later – magic is part of every religion practiced on Earth – and it’s part of the daily life of most of us.

While this piece is necessarily short – I don’t have the time or room to present a complete course in magic in 20 minutes or so, I will recommend one book to listeners – and that is Isaac Bonewits’ book Real Magic – it is one of the best that I’ve seen.

When I speak of “magic”, I’m speaking of something different than illusion, something different than stage magic. Indeed, that’s the reason that Pagans speaking of Magic often add a “k” to the end of the word. They use the archaic spelling to differentiate what Isaac Bonewits called “Real Magic” from stagecraft or illusion.

Before we go on, I want to bring up two terms that some of you may not be familiar with – these are theurgy and thaumaturgy. Theurgy is magic in a religious / ritual sense. It is achieved via prayer or supplication to some God. In Catholicism, it is thurgy which accomplishes the task of transubstantiation – the changing of the substance of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Theurgy comes from the words Theos meaning “God”, and Ergos meaning “Work”. So literally, Theurgy implies that “God does the work”. Miracles, healing, the works of Christ as described in the Bible, even the creation of the universe – if one were to accept the Bible as historical fact, are all demonstrations of Theurgy.

Some Christians might argue that works of God are not “magic”, that God doesn’t need magic – he’s God! But that is really a distinction without a difference. Recall that the most oft-used definition of magic – the one that we, as Pagans, are most likely to use is Crowley’s, which states that Magick is the art and science of effecting change in accord with will. To suggest that some God doesn’t use magic to do what he, she or it does, is to demand that we change the definition of the word “magick” to permit some other word to be used for what God might do, just because the people seeing the word get upset at the idea that God might use “magic”. The truth is that they’re simply upset at the word being used.

Thaumaturgy, on the other hand, doesn’t need to involve God. Thaumaturgy is what we, ourselves, do. This is the arena of spells rather than prayer; of ceremony rather than religious ritual.

Sometimes the line between Theurgy and Thaumturgy can be very fine. We can see the difference in sporting events when athletes are going through their rituals for success. The diver who crosses herself prior to her jump is practicing Theurgy, imploring of God to help her achieve perfection. The Baseball batter, constantly adjusting his gloves, or tapping the bat on the ground is practicing Thaumaturgy – a ritual that doesn’t involve any deity, but which he performs “for luck”. If you were to ask either of these individuals whether what they were practicinh were “magic”, they would almost certainly say “no”. But the truth is that they have a perception of what “magic” is, and they think they are doing something different.

Some people conflate magic and sorcery. And while sorcery can imply “magic” in general, sorcery tends to imply darker arts, including necromancy and the like. Also, the word “sorcerer” often implies maleficent types of magic. So as Pagans we tend to avoid terms like “sorcerer” and simply work with what we call magic.

Also, there is a difference between what I’d call “natural” magic and “ceremonial” magic. When you think of the two, consider again the baseball player who constantly adjusts his gloves or hat or whatever, and the priest presiding over a Catholic Mass. The folky way of the baseball player would be more akin to “natural magic”, where the priest, wearing the particular robes, with all the accouterments on the altar and the acolytes assisting him – this is more the realm of ceremonial magic.

But what’s really interesting is that no matter the “form” of magic, it is really the same forces involved. The most important force in all of our universe is will. Will is a bit different than simple desire – you might consider it to be “effective desire”, or a sort of desire that is possessing of a motive force behind it. It is a desire that is coupled with an irresistable, unquestioning force behind it. If we were to look once more to the Christian Bible, we see God, alone – with nothing but God in the midst of nothingness. And in Genesis Chapter 1, God creates the Heavens and the Earth, and says “Let there be light”.

This illustrates the steps of magick – there is first will. The second part is speaking. And it is in the speaking that will gains its power. Saying the words, bringing our own will into existence by the words we use is an essential part of any magickal act. Few human endeavors have ever come to fruition without words. If we think of any important human act, it is words that have made them come alive for us, and if we think back of any event that has touched us, they are almost all accompanied with words. Some of these are pleasant, some of them are lovely memories, some of them bring us back to dark times. Here are some words that might have touched you in various ways:

“Who shot J.R.?”
“Obviously a major malfunction”
“I am not a crook”
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”
“Here’s Johnny.”
“Thrilla in Manilla”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, The Beatles”
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,”
“From Dallas, Texas, a flash, apparently official, President Kennedy died at one p.m., central standard time, two o’clock eastern standard time, some 38 minutes ago.”
“That’s one small step for man, One giant leap for mankind”.

Most of these quotes should be somewhat evocative to most of us, for they represent powerful moments in our lives. Of course there are images that are evocative as well – the collapse of the World Trade Center towers is one event where there was such a flurry of emotion and disbelief and words – that we may remember more visually than with any particular words, but the main point is that words – speech, conveys more than simple, random sound-waves.

Words are important because they form our magic, they give our will shape.

What are words? Basically, they are nothing but vibrating air. When we speak, we vibrate the air just as if our throats were a musical instrument – we take the air which is nothing but randomly moving atoms and molecules of air, and we give them shape and form, and we impose meaning on them.

So here are the important parts of magic – will and words. These are the two most important parts of any spell.

Our will is important, because it is our expression of desire – it is our mental image of what we wish to see changed in our world. Our words represent our first effort toward effecting that change. We might be in love, but often, until we say the words, the one we love will long to hear it. The words make it much more real.

Our will is our vision of our future, our words bring that future into existence.

The “ritual” part of spells are about raising and directing energy. What they do is to impart a certain force to our words. The energy takes the shape of our will, it becomes focused and directed with our words, and helps to shape the reality according to our own desires.

But nothing in magic is very likely to happen without our own effort. When we want something to happen, we have, after we have cast our spell, we need to act on it; it’s up to us to help bring it into fruition. We can’t for example, cast a spell to help us find a job, and then just sit on a couch and wait for the job to come to us.

When we have acted on our will for that job, and have said the words and cast a spell, it’s time to act. We need to get out and look. It’s like giving a car a tune-up, filling it with gas, and starting the engine. That’s the spell part, it’s established the means, but we still need to put the car in gear, step on the gas, and steer to our destination.

Will is one thing – words are another, but the third part is action.

Some will say that if we “act”, then it really wasn’t the magick that accomplished something, but our own actions. The point is that our own actions are part of that magic. Remember the definition – “the art and science of effecting change in accordance with will”. Nowhere does it suggest that action isn’t relevant!

PaganFM 081414


PaganFM Prayer List Raymond, Therese, Joseph’s wife who may have suffered a stroke, Arthur’s dad, and Amy who’s a new Mom. Musical Selections Artist, Track, Album Arthur Hinds, Let the Circle be Unbroken, Dance in the Fire Damh the Bard, … Continue reading

PaganFM 080714

PaganFM Prayer List
Therese, Raymond and Dave

Musical Selections
Artist, Track, Album
Arthur Hinds, Dance in the Fire, Dance in the Fire
Damh the Bard, The Horned God – an Unofficial Biography, As Nature Intended
Ray Spiegel Ensemble, Moksha, Moksha
Akashik, Long Forgotten
Annwn, The Bard’s Exhortation to the Salaryman, Come Away to the Hills

Cara Shulz over at The Wild Hunt is taking on a new endeavor – Jason reports that she will be running for city council of Burnsville, MN. This is a non-partisan office, but it’s likely that Cara is one of the few – if any – Helenic Polytheists seeking office in the United States. We wish her luck. Those interested can find some of her videos on her Youtube channel here:

The Open Halls project is a group that seeks to
Support heathens in the armed forces
Connect military heathens supporters and each other
Advocates for the rights of heathens in the armed forces
On July 29, they posted the following to their Facebook page:
I was going to wait till tomorrow, but I want to make a brief official Open Halls Project statement on some awesome news.

For the last five years, the Open Halls Project has been working to get our religious preference added to any and all Department of Defense official lists. We started with the Army, and are very very close to having everything in order to have that request finally approved. (I don’t want to say it is approved or will be, until it is, but at this point, we’ve done nearly everything we can to get it squared away)

That isn’t the great news, though! Following our campaign to raise awareness for our drive to get the Army to add Asatru and Heathen, the solid and professional Air Force Msgt Matt Walters began the process of adding those same preferences to the AF system. Today he received approval for Asatru and Heathen to be added to the official AF list!!!

This is an awesome victory for us, and one that has required a lot of awareness raising and a lot of paperwork. We want to officially thank Msgt Walters for making this happen for the Air Force. Now all our Airmen need to go change their Religious Preference!!!

We aren’t stopping there either. We will continue to push the Army request, and our loyal and dedicated members are already talking about using the Air Force victory to get the Navy and the Marines to add these two preferences to their official lists.

Keep up the good work everyone!

PaganFM Almanac

Hi I’m Carl, and this is the Pagan FM Almanac for August 7th, 2014.
Please note that all moon void of course data is courtesy of
Today is Thursday, August 7th, 2014 and it is the 219th day of the year.
The waxing gibbous moon is in Capricorn, and the Sun is in Leo.
The Moon will be void on Saturday, August 9th at 5:08 AM and will enter Aquarius at 2:36 PM.
August’s Full Moon, the Grain Moon or Corn Moon, will occur Sunday August 10th at 2:09 PM.
The Moon will be void on Monday, August 11th at 4:13 AM and will enter Pisces at 1:39 PM.
The Moon will be void on Wednesday August 13th at 4:06 AM and will enter Aries at 1:57 PM.
Today, August 7th, is National Lighthouse Day. If you are in the Portsmouth area, give a nod and perhaps a wave to the Portsmouth Harbor Light, reputedly haunted by the spirit of Keeper Joshua Card. Card manned the light for thirty-five years until he retired in 1909 at the age of eighty-seven. When asked what the letter “K” on his uniform stood for, Keeper Card would always laughingly say “Captain”. A native of New Castle, Card seemed to enjoy living at the light, taking only one extended vacation in his thirty-five year tenure. Apparently his fondness of the location continued after his passing – during a paranormal investigation at the light in 2005, a digital recorder picked up a male voice responding to the spoken question “who are you?” with the words “The Captain”.
August 8th is a hat trick day in US Presidential history. On August 8th in 1968, running mates Richard Milhouse Nixon and Spiro Theodore Agnew received the Republican Party’s nomination to run for the presidency. On August 8th in 1974, Richard Nixon became the first President in history to resign the position, rather than face almost certain impeachment over his role in the political scandal known as Watergate. Finally, also on August 8th 1974, Vice President Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. was sworn in as President to replace Nixon, becoming the first President in history to attain that office as a result of appointment instead of election.
Under the category of serendipitous juxtapositions, August 9th is International Book Lovers Day, perhaps a good time to go out and pick up that new book you’ve had your eye on, and Sunday, August 10th is International Lazy Day, the perfect time to kick back and enjoy the book you splurged on the day before.
On August 11th in 1984, then-President Ronald Reagan made an off-the-cuff remark while sound-checking a microphone before a radio broadcast: “I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” While the quip was not broadcast, it was recorded, and later played back to the predictable chagrin of the Soviet government, which managed to turn its attention away from its collapsing “evil empire” long enough to register official disapproval. In commemoration of that event, August 11th has henceforth been known as National Presidential Joke Day – a day on which we celebrate the sense of humor found inside the Oval Office.
And so, tonight we present the first Pagan FM Almanac Top Thirteen List, category – Presidential Jokes. The criteria are simple: the joke must involve a deliberate attempt at humor by a sitting President. For example, Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook.” – not a deliberate attempt at humor. Also, John Kennedy, addressing complaints that his father’s fortune was “buying” the presidential primary, “I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy: Dear Jack, Don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.” – unfortunately, not a sitting President (yet).
13) Harry Truman; “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
12) Lyndon Baines Johnson; “Making a speech on economics is a lot like peeing down your leg – it seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.”
11) Barack Obama; “I got my first name, Barack, from my father. And I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn’t think I’d ever run for President.”
10) Abraham Lincoln, when accused of being duplicitous; “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”
9) Ronald Reagan; “Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
8) George W. Bush; “You can fool some of the people all the time and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”
7) Bill Clinton; “Being President is like running a cemetery. You’ve got a lot of people under you and nobody’s listening.”
6) Ronald Reagan; “I’m not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.”
5) Barack Obama; “There are few things in life harder to find and more important to keep than love. Well, love and a birth certificate.”
4) Ronald Reagan; “I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency – even if I’m in a Cabinet meeting.”
3) Bill Clinton; “My esteem in this country has gone up substantially. It is very nice now when people wave at me, they use all their fingers.”
2) George W. Bush; “These stories about my intellectual capacity really get under my skin. You know, for a while I even thought my staff believed it. There on my schedule first thing every morning it said, ‘Intelligence Briefing’.”
And, the number one Presidential joke, combining a tip of the funny-bone to the day’s founding inspirer with bonus points for ad-libbing under stress:
1) Ronald Reagan, to a phalanx of masked and gowned surgeons standing over him as he was rolled into an operating room after being shot by a would-be assassin in 1981; “I hope you’re all Republicans.”
On August 12th in 2010, Phillip Emmons Isaac Bonewits, Druid, author, singer/songwriter, founder of the Aquarian Anti-Defamation League, and the first person to graduate from an accredited university with a degree in magic, passed to the Summerland at the age of sixty.
August 13th is one of the days of the Goddess Hecate. Leave an offering of food at the place where three roads meet – especially sweets like honey cakes, to appease the Mother of All Witches and prevent storms from disrupting the coming harvest.
Finally, August 13th is International Left Handers Day, a day to celebrate sinistrality. Interestingly, while only about 10% of the population at large are left-handed, seven of the last fourteen US Presidents have been southpaws, including Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Sinister, indeed…
And this has been the Pagan FM Almanac for August 7th, 2014.

Trivia contest

Who was Dafo?

The winner will receive a copy of Arthur Hinds’ new album Dance in the Fire
Practical Pagan
Neo-Pagan history.

It’s important in most human endeavors – excluding perhaps politics and sales – to strive for honesty. Now, it might be admirable to be an honest salesperson, and it would certainly be refreshing to see an honest politician, but I’m not really holding my breath for either of these two to show up. Nor would I expect any such to be especially successful in their endeavors. But as individuals, honesty is a laudable goal.

When we get into the realm of religion, that honesty is even more important. One of the biggest problems we face as people of faith is the incredulity of others, that is often fueled by charlatans who pose as people of faith. It’s interesting that sometimes the people who consider themselves faithful, almost consider it a mark of pride to express a state of being that is so credulous they will believe almost anything.

The problem is that many of us are unsure of our own faith. It really doesn’t matter what the religion is – the simple truth is that most of us who are adherents of any faith, really, when it comes down to it, know very little about what it is that we say we believe. And really, this lack of a solid foundation isn’t limited to matters of religion. As an experiment once, while at a Pagan Pride Day celebration, I asked quite a few people what they were celebrating and why – and fewer than half of those that I asked knew anything about the Stonewall riots.

Those of us who don’t really know what it is that we believe, and who at the same time hold on so fiercely and would fight and argue and rage against anyone who disagrees with us aren’t doing ourselves any favors. But what’s probably more dangerous is that those of us who don’t really understand what it is that we believe, are more likely to be sucked into error or to be taken advantage of.

One example of this is Peter Popoff and those who, despite the fact he’s a demonstrated fraud, still believe in him. Mandy and Deo, some years ago, had a bit of fun at Peter’s expense, and this guy is a good target. Peter came to prominence in his faith healing ministry, and part of his act was telling people important details about themselves. He’d be on stage, and he’d tell people their addresses, what was ailing them, and make the claim that God wanted them healed.

His ministry was investigated by James Randi, and it was discovered that Popoff’s wife was simply reading the information that people had written on cards- names, addresses, ailments and the like. Still, people bought the act as if Popoff was getting messages from God.

Shortly after being exposed by James Randi, Popoff’s ministry went through a bankruptcy, but he’s back in business. And he’s got a slick website, and he’s still offering his “miracle spring water”. And what’s funny is that there are still demonstrable lies – even in his own history. For one, he claims that his grandfather and father were raised behind the iron curtain. The problem is that the Iron Curtain didn’t exist until about 1945, and Popoff was born in 1946. So, while his family may have been in Eastern Germany, his father couldn’t have been raised behind the Iron Curtain – because it didn’t exist – it was part of the Cold War.

Certainly he may be using the fact that during World Wars 1 and 2, his family lived in a tumultuous area, but the truth doesn’t always sound as dramatic or compelling as the fabrications.

Another popular lie that many believed was the story of James Frey in what he initially called a memoir. The book A Million Little Pieces was featured on Oprah’s Book Club in 2005, and it was a hit. Frey had a number of interviews, but it was soon pointed out that much of the book was fabricated. Even then, Frey stated that the book represented “the essential truth of my life”. But after the lies were exposed, it’s now sold as a “semi-fictional novel”.

The thing is that as human beings, there are some things we want to believe in, and other things aren’t as important to us. We want to believe in a God. We want to believe that people can change. But sometimes the facts of particular situations don’t seem to matter to us.

George Carlin once sagely noted: “Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.”

It seems to me that this is true because if things are difficult to prove, we take the easy way and simply choose to believe, while, when things are easy to test, we refuse to believe them until we check for ourselves. The truth is that we can’t prove either the existence, or the non-existence of any God by such an easy means as touching.

Our faith is something that must be reached internally. We test things of faith by the way we live our lives, and by our own personal experiences in our acts of worship – and it’s the same for any religion – be it Wicca, Druidism, Christianity, Islam or any other.

I suspect that most everyone listening today recognizes that we can’t transplant our faith to another individual – it must be something they arrive at organically. But people can be attracted to a faith by the way that faithful live their lives. The problem though, is that when someone asks, we need coherent answers.

One of the places where those answers seem woefully lacking, to me, is in our own Pagan history; especially that of Wicca. I’ve seen lots of bumper stickers – and you can see them all the time at Pagan Pride celebrations – about “The Old Religion”. It seems to be a popular mythology that Wicca is simply the continuation of an ancient religion that has existed since the days of Matriarchal cultures in Europe.
Gerald Gardner really didn’t do us any favors when he presented Wicca as such.

But the problem is that this tale is demonstrably false. If we want to believe ourselves, and if we want others to believe us as well, it’s important that our own faith be based in things that are true. So, what is the true history of Wicca?

In the early 20th century, there was a resurgence of spiritualism, and there was a growing dissatisfaction, among some, of traditional organized religion. This was the day of the Rosicrucians and the Masons. The Masons do date back to the early 18th century – with the first lodge being founded in 1717. There are documents dating back to the 15th century that some say demonstrate a Masonic tradition to those times, but that’s something for historians to figure out.

In any case, in the early 20th century, the Witch Cult hypothesis was popularized by such writers as Margaret Murray, which suggested an earlier, magical, matriarchal cult throughout Europe. Armed with mystical Rosicrucian and Masonic teachings, some people in Europe were trying to recreate some of these earlier religions. In some ways, this had been going on as far back as the 18th century with organizations like the Ancient Order of Druids, but 20th century writings helped spur things along.

Anyway, in 1954, Gerald Gardner published the book Witchcraft Today, in which he claimed that he met some people who were part of an ancient witch cult. He said that he met these people through Rosicrucian meetings.

It’s from Gardner that we get what is called Wicca today, as it is from his pen that the rituals of Wicca were communicated. The thing is that when those rituals are examined, they contain a good deal of spiritualism and Rosicrucian ritual. Gardner’s answer to this was that the rituals he had received from the New Forest Coven were incomplete and he needed to add materials to form them into a coherent whole.

So, the thing is that even if there were an ancient witchcraft cult still existing in England in the 1950s, there aren’t complete rituals extant from that cult. Gerald Gardner himself admitted that he wrote much of that material. We know, also, that Doreen Valiente, Gerald Gardner and others wrote much of the rest of the material that makes up what is the closest to sacred texts that Wiccans hold on to.

Does this mean that because Wicca isn’t really ancient, that it’s somehow tainted? Not at all! What taints Wicca or Druidism or Reconstructed faiths of any sort isn’t their lack of antiquity – every religion ever practiced by anyone, was, at some time or other, new. What taints a religion is false claims.

When we make the claim that the Christian Church killed 9 Million women, when we make the claim that Wicca is the old religion practiced by our ancient Celtic forebears, when we claim to have powers that we don’t, when we claim an ancient family tradition that doesn’t really exist – these are the things that taint a religion.

I’ve found many Pagans tend to fall for New Age spirituality, feeling that it represents some authentic aboriginal tradition, and there have been many such things that have infiltrated over time. Again though, it’s not necessarily the practice that is harmful, but the misrepresentation of such things as authentic traditional practices.

Native Americans have a term for people who try to pass off New Age philosophy as authentic – such people are called Plastic Shamans. One example of a practice that seems to have no authentic basis in tradition is Huna, as described by Max Freedom Long and others. Ho’oponopono is being popularized by those who claim to practice Huna – and while I can’t say much about the practice of Ho’oponopono, it’s obvious that the whole practice of Huna is nothing but cultural appropriation by new age scam artists.

There are countless people pandering Peyote experiences and sweat lodge experiences, claiming to be Native American Shamans – and such as these really have nothing to do with Native American spirituality at all. People who do this create two major problems for both indigenous peoples and those who wish to practice something of an authentic spirituality that is connected to the land: Firstly, they divide us from relationships with indigenous peoples. Some of us who have studied with these “plastic shamans” leaving us thinking we really know something of that culture – that we may have been “initiated” into a secret, ancient tradition. That’s simply not true. What they have done is to take our money, leave us poorer, and gifted us with a greater ignorance than when we first met them. As a wise person once noted, “it’s not what you don’t know that makes you look stupid – it’s what you do know that just ain’t so.”

The other problem is that when we accept the foolishness of such “teachers” as truth, we become even more credulous, and we stop thinking for ourselves. The moment we stop thinking for ourselves, we become excellent targets for those who might take advantage of us.

How do we avoid being taken advantage of? We do this by knowing our own history and not being afraid of, or ashamed of it. So what if we’re Wiccan and Wicca is really only about 60 years old? Remember that the Baha’i Faith only came into existence in the late 19th to early 20th century. The Mormon faith only dates to about 1820, and Christian Science to about 1879. There are new religions forming all the time, and it isn’t in their antiquity that we find truth.

History is only important insofar as it is true history. We can make up various tales and mythologies, and these can be important teaching tools, but they can’t be realistic substitutes for authentic history. When someone challenges us on some element of our own history, that’s not a time to become defensive, it’s a time to learn. If we know our history, we’re on safe ground. But if we are uncertain, if that ground might be shifting beneath us, it’s not a time to become defensive – it’s a time to say – you know, I don’t know, let me look that up. Ignorance isn’t the enemy – certainty in falsehood is.

PaganFM 073114


PaganFM Prayer List Therese, Raymond, Scarlet and friends and familly of Margot Adler – especially her son Alex. Musical Selections Artist, Track, Album Steven Chesne, Coaxed to Grow, Moments from the Life Stories of Strangers – Part One Velvet Hammer, … Continue reading

PaganFM 072414


PaganFM Prayer List Scarlet, Joseph, Jamie, Raymond and Therese. Musical Selections: Artist, Track, Album Steven Vitali, Be The Miracle, Language of the Soul Leigh Ann Hussey, Yemaya, Pantheon Lisa Thiel, Lammas, Circle of the Seasons Loreena McKennitt, Breaking the Slience, … Continue reading

PaganFM 071714


PaganFM Prayer List, Burt, Raymond, Musical Selections Artist, Track, Album Loreena McKennitt, Beneath a Phrygian Sky, An Ancient Muse Lindi Lila, Gayatri Mantra, Sisters of the Moon Kellianna, The Ancient Ones, The Ancient Ones Gary Stadler, Fairy of the Woods, … Continue reading

PaganFM 071014


PaganFM Prayer List Raymond, Pete Costello, Susan’s friend, and Tim. Musical Selections Artist, Track, Album Ann Sweeten, Of Clouds and Dreams, Tapestries of Time Tuatha Dea, The Landing, The Tribe Akashik, Long Forgotten Celia, Ho’ Oponopono, For the Asking Gwydion … Continue reading