paganfm 05/07/16

PaganFM 050716

Musical selections
Pandamonaeon, Chalice and Blades, Dangerous Beauty
Loreena McKennitt, The Mystic’s Dream, A Mediterranean Odyssey
The Waterboys, Gala, The Waterboys

Damh the Bard, The Wicker Man, Sabbat
Featherscale, Silent No Longer, Topaz Stars in a Violet Sky

Laura Powers, Trail of Her Tears, Echoes of the Goddess
Leigh Ann Hussey, The Witches Come Again, Homebrew
Lindie Lila, Gayatri Mantra, Sisters of the Moon

Damh the Bard, The Horned God – an Unofficial Biography, As Nature Intended

Re-launch of PBI

So a while back I had tried to get a Pagan radio network going. The service I was using made it difficult to schedule programming, and I couldn’t guarantee that programs would play at specific times. I’m now getting I’m calling Pagan Broadcasting International up and running with a new service. This platform will allow for both live and scheduled programming. We’ll have many of the podcasts you enjoy available, as well as news programming, such as Democracy Now!

I’m also looking at the possibility of affiliating with Pacifica Network. If this works out, it will provide a couple of different opportunities – first of all, it will provide some relevant content, but beyond that, it will provide an opportunity to feed content back to Pacifica network. This would, if we can take advantage of it, provide an opportunity to have Pagan voices speak to a much larger community.

I want to thank the first sponsor of the reboot – Central New York Pagan Pride. Sponsorship of PBI provides for continual streaming, and as that sponsorship increases, we may be able to air a larger variety of music, as we may be able to afford general music licensing. That licensing though, is about $1,000 per year, so that’s down the road a ways.

If you’re a musician, and you would like your music aired on PBI, or if you’re a podcaster, and would like your show to air, please let me know – you can reach me at

I’m still working on a website, but there is a link to the station at

I’ll have more on this in upcoming shows.

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PaganFM Almanac

Today is May 7, 2016, it is the 128th day of the year.
The moon is just past new, Waxing crescent, and will reach first quarter on Friday, the 13th.
Today is the anniversary of the death of James George Frazier, anthropologist and folklorist Sir James Frazier, 1854 in Glasgow Scotland. (5), (6)

Frazier theorized that all religions began as a belief in magic, with man hoping to control his environment through sympathetic magic. As man’s understanding grew, he progressed to religious dogma, which is ultimately abandoned for science. His work The Golden Bough is a much sought after work by neo-Pagans, who find in it many descriptions of religious practices by untouched civilizations and early peoples.


The Golden Bough went through its own history and scandals. Originally published in two volumes in 1890, it grew to a massive 12 volumes in the third edition (1906 – 1915). Frazer had proposed that even the story of Christ was a recapitulation of more ancient pagan religions.


The abridged edition (itself more than 800 pages) of the Golden Bough, published in 1922 did not contain the more troubling comments on Christianity, but these were replaced in the Oxford University Abridged edition by Robert Frazer in 1994.

PaganFM Prayer List
Jenna Greene, prayers and healing energy for her knees and feet.

Tonight I want to honor someone who passed this past week.
In last week’s show, Phil Kessler and I spoke about “armchair activism”. But there are really different levels of activism. Daniel J. Berrigan was someone who certainly wasn’t an armchair activist. Rev. Berrigan was a Catholic priest – a Jesuit, who took on the Catholic Church, and he was an American citizen who took on the American government.

A staunch pacifist, in 1968, he, his brother, and seven other activists, went into the Draft Board offices in Cantonsville Maryland, and took hundreds of draft records from the workers there. They had told news reporters in advance to insure there would be coverage. They then burned these records in public with home-made napalm.

They released a statement which read, in part, ““We destroy these draft records not only because they exploit our young men but because they represent misplaced power concentrated in the ruling class of America.” and, “We confront the Catholic Church, other Christian bodies and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice in the face of our country’s crimes.”

Fr. Berrigan was arrested many times in his life – well into his 80s. Speaking of his activism, he said that he would stop on the day that he was embalmed.

Some of us are afraid to be arrested for one reason or another – for me, my reason has been that I’m transgender. But looking at the work that some Pagans, like Sparrow from the Wigglian Way, and their willingness to put their safety on the line, and then I see a Catholic priest, like Fr. Berrigan – and I start to realize that I’m not risking a whole heck of a lot. Certainly I’ve received my own share of threats, but for the most part, these are meaningless. Fr. Berrigan risked a whole lot more in his long life.

He was also a poet, and so, tonight, here is one of his poems:
A Dark World

As I walk patiently through life

poems follow close –

blind, dumb, agile, my own shadow;

the mind’s dark overflow, the spill of vein

we thought red once but know now, no.

The poem called death

is unwritten yet. Some day will show

the violent last line,

the shadow rise,

a bird of omen

snatch me for its ghost.

And a hand somewhere, purposeful as God’s

close like two eyes, this book.

Civility vs Political Correctness

It’s been disturbing to me, to see what has become an utter lack of civility among many people. While, originally, this was more confined to conservative rhetoric, it seems to be spreading. This abandoning of civility has been going under the guise of a dismissal of “political correctness” in order to “tell the truth”.

Political correctness refers to a manner of speech which is designed to not offend or disadvantage certain groups of people; it is speech that is crafted to be appealing to the widest possible group of people, in order to avoid political repercussions. If a speech disparages a wide swath of people, that, necessarily harms the speaker with a negative response from the public.

This is contrasted with civility, in which we simply show others respect. Certainly a lack of civility would be politically incorrect; if a politician is a rude boor, they will offend others, and, at least in the past, this was considered something negative. Today, it seems, among many, that rudeness is being equated with honesty, and civility as pandering.

The language we use when communicating with each other matters. Words, themselves, have power, and as Pagans, Witches and Druids, this is something we all should have learned in our training. But just as importantly, we should have learned that words matter – not only in our ritual and spell-work, but in our everyday life as well.

The way we speak affects not only the people who hear us, but it affects ourselves as well. If we use angry words, we can actually make ourselves angry too. Our words, our tones, our facial expressions actually work to modify our feelings. Civility, moderating our tone, can have the opposite effect – calming us, and those we are speaking to.

Here in the United States, there is a legal definition of “fighting words”. Sadly, I think, the definition of “fighting words” is being diminished, almost to the point of non-existence. But in my home state of New Hampshire, in a case in 1942, a man, Walter Chaplinsiy, was passing out pamphlets for the Jehovah’s witness church was confronted by a town marshal. Walter called the marshal a “damned fascist” and a “damned racketeer”, after the marshal called the religion a racket.

While what these men said to each other would be deemed quite tame – even in our political speech today, these were harsh accusations for the 1940s, and the court found that Chaplinsky’s speech amounted to “fighting words”, and the part of the resulting ruling read:
“There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or “fighting words” those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.

— Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 1942

I’m certainly not advocating that we temper our speech to the point of irrelevance, to the point that we say nothing for fear of hurting someone’s feelings, but might it be possible to consider our words before we use them? Could we make a conscious effort to use more words of blessing than curses? Might it be better to sow peace with our tongues than discontentment?

It’s hard – it’s very hard. It’s hard for me, and I certainly don’t always succeed. Sometimes I want others to feel as bad as I do. When someone says something that hurts me, I want them to feel that sting as well. So, right here, right now, I will be honest and say that I really don’t always practice what I preach. Rather, right now, I’m talking about how I want to be. I think there is language that I should be offended by. There is language I shouldn’t wish to resort to.

I wonder what the world would be like if each of us considered our words to be sacred. What would it be like if we considered each of our words to be part of a blessing, or part of a curse? Because really, that is what they are.