PaganFM 041616

Musical Selections
Emerald Rose, Summerland, Fire in the Head (Live)
Loreena McKennitt, The Mummers’ Dance, The Book of Secrets

Kellianna W/ Jenna Greene, Scarborough Fair, Traditions
Michelle Mays, Gently Johnny, The Golden Section
Featherscale, Song for Brighid, Gypsy Heart
Laura Powers, Shine Love, Code of the Goddess
The Moors, The Snake That Coils Within Without, The Moors
Cernunnos Rising, Blessings of Beltane, Wild Soul
Chalice & Blade, Cunning and Art, Wild Hunt
MterDea, Trip to Skye, MaterDea
Lindie Lila, Lady Water, Sisters of the Moon
Damh the Bard, Sons and Daughters of Robin Hood
Lisa Thiel, Beltane, Circle of the Seasons
Charlie Murphy, Burning Times, The Best of Pagan Song
The Shining Wheel Pagan Chorus, Loki, Chants of Balance

Welcome once again to PaganFM.

Opening Comments:
Well, a lot has been happening – I’ve heard from listeners that many of you really want this show. It’s a lot of work to do a 2-hour show every week, and so I had to re-arrange my schedule, but as often as I can, I’m dedicating my Saturday evenings to make this happen.

I also heard from WSCA, and there is interest there, in airing the show at the station again, so we’ll see what happens there.

And I’ve heard interest in two other aspects of the show – there are some of you who would like it live streamed, and some of you who would like streaming video – those two items would involve some expense, so I’ll set up a Patreon page – and if there is enough support, those two things would happen. For the streaming, I’ll need a server, and some increased bandwidth at my studio. If that support comes about, you’ll have a stream. To be fair to listeners who support that effort, for the first few months of the streaming, they’ll have exclusive access to that stream.

The same thing will happen when we start looking at video. That’s going to be a bit more of a challenge, but it will also open up some more interesting possibilities regarding lessons and that sort of thing, but it’s also a greater expense. The bandwidth needed to stream video is fairly huge, so that would have to be done via some external service, and might eventually involve a separate program. But doing a video program right will involve some extra bits of hardware – including a computer for the video production, a bit of lighting, and one or two fairly decent cameras, as well as the hardware to connect those cameras to the computer. While we might be able to get started for around $500 or so, doing that right will cost at least $2000, or if someone has the video production equipment that they’d be willing to offer for these efforts, that would work too.

So, what do we have at the moment?

Well, I’ve got a professional broadcast audio console that I’ll be setting up exclusively for the show, and I’m going to be setting up some audio production software in the next couple of weeks – all of this to make the production easier, and to get ready for the audio streaming. I’ve got an area behind my studio set up for the server, and I have an optical fiber connection to the Internet, so the rest of this will really be up to you. Let me know what you want this show to become, and with your support, we’ll make it happen. But just know that it’s because of you, because you appreciate this show, that I’m back in the saddle, as it were. We don’t have a timeline for these changes – they will happen when the time is right – if they happen at all. No expectations means no resentments.

So, thanks so much for letting me know what PaganFM means to you. I appreciate it.
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PaganFM almanac

Today is April 16, it’s the 107th day of the year.
The moon is waxing gibbous, and will be Full on Friday, April 22.

Today is the birthday of Margot Adler who was born on this day in 1946. She was born in Little Rock Arkansas, and grew up in New York City. Her grandfather, Alfrad Adler was a noted psychotherapist who was a contemporary and collaborator with Sigmund Freud. Margot was a Wiccan Priestess and an Elder in the Covenant of the Goddess. She was the author of Drawing Down the Moon, one of the first major histories of the Neo-Pagan movement in America, and Heretic’s Heart: A Journey Through Spirit and Revolution, Our Way to the Stars – with John Gliedman, Out for Blood, and Vampires are Us.
She was also a well-loved reporter for National Public Radio. Margot died on June 28, 2014 of endometrial cancer at the age of 68.

Sunday, April 17, the MoonPool Coven in Haverhill MA has their regular meeting at the Unitarian Universalist church at 6:00 PM. The topic will be Psychic Self Defense, with a circle to follow. On May 1, at the same church will be the Beltane Unity throug Community Celebration at 7:00 PM instead of the regular bi-weekly class. The May 15 class will be Introduction to the Tarot. Find out more about the MoonPool Coven at

On Thursday, April 21, there will be a Pagan Pizza Party at La Festa Pizzerial in Dover, NH at 6:00 PM.

Friday, April 22 is Earth Day. From the Earth Day website, here is a bit of history:
The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date.

On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean AirClean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”


Kellianna will be at the Fertile Ground Gathering in Triangle, VA

Thursday, April 28, 2016 thru May 1


PaganFM Prayer List
Cal asked for prayers for his wife, who recently had surgery to remove a skin growth, and wants prayers to insure that everything is okay.
And we’ll offer up some prayers for Mallory who has a number of polyps in her nasal cavities, which are really aggravating her asthma and allergies. She’ll be looking at having those taken care of, which really doesn’t look like a fun proposition.

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Listener Question:

Elizabeth asked about becoming a High Priestess, and what the process is – what it takes.

Well, Elizabeth, this is a question that really depends a lot on your particular tradition, and it’s not something that is at all universal throughout Paganism. Some traditions don’t have such a thing, while others have different names for them. In Wicca though, this is a common term, and really speaks to whoever is acting in the position of High Priestess. In a particular ceremony or ritual, this doesn’t have to be someone of a particular rank or grade, but really speaks to what is going on at the time. If you’re a solitary, and you are performing your own ritual, you are at that time, a High Priestess. If it’s you and a male, he is High Priest, and you are High Priestess.

But, of course, I expect you’re looking for a bit more. There are those who, beside their name, when they sign correspondence, might use the terms, or initials, for High Priest or High Priestess – this is what is called an honorific. This is a title that is bestowed upon a person by virtue of their position or status. In Wicca, this is the title of a female leader of a coven. In established traditions, this will typically refer to an individual who has both attained a certain level of study, AND who is the leader of a coven. Some traditions don’t permit an individual to start a coven until they have attained a certain amount of study or knowledge – for example, a first degree might mean that an individual has dedicated themselves to a path, and understands the basic ritual format. Second degree might indicate that an individual can lead a ritual, while a Third degree could indicate that an individual would be capable of leading a coven. At this point, should a coven have enough members, a third degree witch and some of the members could “hive off”, and start another coven, with the third degree witches beign High Priest and / or High Priestess.

Some traditions have more than three degrees. So, while you might be a third degree witch, you would have a High Priestess who is still your teacher, whom you would go to with, for example, management issues with your coven. This arrangement insures that each coven maintains some consistency with the larger tradition. So there is a High priestess of a coven, and a High Priestess of that particular leg of that tradition.

In this way, it’s kind of like Martial Arts – an individual might get their black belt, and at that point, they might be able to teach the classes for white through brown belt, but they are by no means a master. When they get their third degree, they might be able to start a school, but they would still be taking black belt classes with their master, who is probably a 5th degree.

Now, as to the process of “becoming” a High Priestess, that really depends upon your tradition. In traditional Wicca, each initiation is its own thing, and it’s often secret. But, to give you an example, when a Witch takes her first degree, this might involve being bound and blind-folded, brought into the circle, taking some oaths, taking your craft name, and introduced to the guardians of the quarters. You might then be unbound, your blindfold removed, and then given your robe and tools. Each of these steps has meaning, which you would need to understand. Different degrees each add different elements to the ritual.

The ritual described above doesn’t mean that the coven provides you with your tools – but you should have your own tools, and on your initiation, you are presented with your own tools and robe.

Where in the first degree you are presented with your Athame, when you reach Third Degree, and you might be expected to Hive Off, an appropriate tool might be a sword. Each of the initiations you take will insure that you know how to use the tools of that initiation. If you’ve been present when someone has cast a circle effectively – even using an athame, it’s a powerful experience. Someone who is able to cast the circle effectively with a sword adds another visual element that can be even more powerful. But, again, each of these initiations is a recognition that you, as a witch, are able and ready to act effectively in the role that you’re taking on.

Some people might argue that these initiations do something magickal – somehow changing you, and granting you authority on another plane – others might say that they only recognize what you’ve already attained. I tend to believe, as Dion Fortune did, that it’s more of the latter – the initiations come about simply by being recognized by the Gods, Goddesses, by the entities who exist on another plane, by the effects of the work that you are doing. To me, these initiations are as much for those in the coven, as they are for the individual who is being initiated. The various degrees give an individual authority on our mundane plane, but they don’t add to a practitioner’s abilities. Like the various belts in Martial arts, they are simply a recognition of an individual’s abilities or learning. You can also liken it to a military rank – the rank itself doesn’t define a person’s abilities – it is merely a recognition of a certain amount of authority – a symbol that others have recognized your leadership abilities.

So, in the end, how one becomes a High Priestess depends somewhat on your circumstances. If you’re a solitary, you are your own High Priestess. If you start your own coven – you’re the High Priestess. I’d caution though, that you don’t take this on unless and until, you’re truly ready to teach – that you have a good deal of experience – that you’ve done a significant amount of study – preferably with experienced people, and that you have your own support network already in place. Starting a coven isn’t something to be taken lightly.

But if you’re in an established tradition, you’ll find yourself, on occasion, acting as High Priestess during some rituals. And, when you’re ready, it will eventually be time to Hive off, and start your own coven.

Not everyone does this – some are content to just be part of a circle. What many who do take on leadership roles begin to realize is that being High Priestess isn’t what they thought it was. When you take on the role of High Priestess of a coven, you’ll learn very quickly that it’s a lot more work than you anticipated – whatever you might have anticipated. The High Priest or High Priestess of a coven is really a spiritual leader. Many people in this position actually have degrees in psychology or social work – because part of that job is being a counselor.

Coven leadership can also be a bit costly. If you’ve ever done ritual in a room that was well decorated – who do you think did that? Who arranges for the candles, for the incense, for the cauldrons, the altar, crystals, wine, cakes, ale, chairs – for everything that is there. Certainly in many covens, there are a number of people who chip in, but in the end, it’s the High Priest and High Priestess who are responsible for insuring that everything is in order.

So, I’m sorry that I can’t give you a really quick answer as to “what is the process” – it really does depend on what is meant by “High Priestess” – and within the various traditions, the process can be quite different. But I hope this short piece helps you understand just a bit more about what’s involved.
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Climate change and Irrational thinking:

Marc Morano and Bill Nye were having it out about climate change, and the ensuing discussion on Bill Nye’s Facebook page were highlighting some of the problems that come about when people place ideology in front of facts. For those who don’t know, Marc Morano is a climate change denier, and Bill Nye is a quite famous science educator. Interestingly, Sarah Palin criticized Bill Nye this week, saying “He’s no more of a scientist than I am”. Well, Sarah got part of that right, in that she’s no scientist. But Bill Nye has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Cornell, and actually worked on the Mars Explorer Rover helping to design one of the instruments in that experiment. Somehow, I don’t expect that Sarah Palin has been quite that close to any major scientific experiment.

Anyway, back to the rather humorous discussion between Nye and Morano — well, it might have been humorous if ignorance weren’t so dangerous. One more quick aside – it was Dion Fortune who said “Ignorance is often an excellent substitute for courage” and this is particularly apt when it comes to climate change – the fact that people don’t know what they are doing to the environment, and refuse to look at the possible consequences is a substitute for courage. For if these people knew what they were doing, they wouldn’t have the courage to do so. We wouldn’t have the courage to poison ourselves – but if we refuse to recognize a substance as poison, we’ll quite happily take it. This is what we’re doing to our environment when we refuse to see the ability of the substances we pour, by the ton, by the tens or hundreds or thousands of tons, into our atmosphere. Anyway, one of the most amusing parts of this conversation occurred when some individuals pointed out something that Marc Morano said – and on his website, he’s claiming that “NASA says that fossil fuels are cooling the planet”.

Now it’s obvious that NASA said no such thing, but let’s look for a moment at what NASA scientists actually said, and then try to understand why some would be able to twist their words.

The catch-line in an article written by Jon Austin, referenced on Morano’s website reads “Burning fossil fuels and cutting down trees causes global COOLING, a shock new NASA study has found.” But that is a highly inaccurate summation of what NASA was saying.

What really happened? In December of 2015, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies( GISS) published some research they were doing, which used recent history to predict global temperatures. As anyone might imagine, this is what is done in weather and climate science. Our atmosphere is incredibly complex, and numerous variables have heating and cooling effects.

Summarizing the purpose of their research, NASA states “To quantify climate change, researchers need to know the Transient Climate Response (TCR) and Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) of Earth. Both values are projected global mean surface temperature changes in response to doubled atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations but on different timescales. TCR is characteristic of short-term predictions, up to a century out, while ECS looks centuries further into the future, when the entire climate system has reached equilibrium and temperatures have stabilized. ”

What they are saying here is that there are short term fluxuations in the environment, and longer term conditions that are met when the system has come into equilibrium. This equilibrium is a theoretical equilibrium, based on something of a static condition – with a constant amount of energy entering the atmosphere, and stable greenhouse gas conditions. We don’t live in this theoretical world, but the concept of Equilibirium Climate Sensitivity is still important. It speaks to “what happens to this system if we don’t touch it”.

In their study, GISS pointed out some known facts – that some components produced by the burning of fossil fuels have a temporary cooling effect, as does the elimination of trees. Both of these result in some of the heat from the Sun being reflected. These can affect local temperatures in the short term. This is the TCR – Transcient Climate response. These are the temporary, local responses to a condition. Consider this the initial pain of a scorpion sting. The sting hurts, but it’s not what does the long-term damage.

Part of NASA’s article describing their research stated “Take sulfate aerosols, which are created from burning fossil fuels and contribute to atmospheric cooling”. This is one line which Austin and Morano latched on to. But in so doing, they ignored the next few sentences …

“They are more or less confined to the northern hemisphere, where most of us live and emit pollution. There’s more land in the northern hemisphere, and land reacts quicker than the ocean does to these atmospheric changes.”

“Because earlier studies do not account for what amounts to a net cooling effect for parts of the northern hemisphere, predictions for TCR and ECS have been lower than they should be. This means that Earth’s climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide — or atmospheric carbon dioxide’s capacity to affect temperature change — has been underestimated, according to the study. The result dovetails with a GISS study published last year that puts the TCR value at 3.0°F (1.7°C); the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which draws its TCR estimate from earlier research, places the estimate at 1.8°F (1.0°C). ”

What Austin and Morano did was to take a single isolated sentence, out of context, and use it to suggest that NASA was saying the exact opposite of what they actually said.

I do have to give Austin a bit of credit, and possible room regarding his report. He does actually state that the NASA research shows that the TCR is 3 degrees rather than 1.8, and its entirely possible that he had nothing to do with the headlines in his article – in which case, the problem lies with The Guardian’s editors, which published the article, and not with Austin himself. But Morano has no such cover to hide beneath.

And, of course, neither the Express’ ( article, nor Morano’s actually link to the NASA page which they were quoting. This means that credulous readers have even less of an opportunity to check the facts. And this also demonstrates that climate change deniers aren’t merely disagreeing on the implications of research – rather, they are lying about the facts of the research itself. Where climatologists say that fossil fuels result in global warming, the deniers say that the climatologists have said the exact opposite.

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Well, thanks once again for listening, and thank you all for the encouragement you’ve given me to get this show going again. If you have ideas for the show, questions you’d like asked, interview or musical suggestions, let me know. You can reach me at the PaganFM group on Facebook, or at
You can still find the show on Itunes and Stitcher and at
Thanks so much for listening, and Blessed Be!