PMP 09182016: Godless Pagans

These notes are published in advance of the show. BTR’s description window does not allow for enough detail to do these guests justice.

Taking a break from fiction, KaliSara and RevKess take an in depth look at Atheopaganism, or atheist Pagans, by having a conversation with John Halstead, Cat Chapin-Bishop, Áine Órga, and Tom Swiss. John is the editor of a book called Godless Pagans: voices of Non-Theistic Pagans. The others are all contributors to this anthology.

John Halstead is Editor-At-Large at HumanisticPaganism.com, a
john-halstead-1community blog for Humanistic and Naturalistic Pagans. He blogs about Paganism at AllergicPagan.com, which is hosted by Patheos, and about Jungian Neo-Paganism at “Dreaming the Myth Onward,” which is hosted by WitchesandPagans.com. He is also an occasional contributor to GodsandRadicals.org and The Huffington Post. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment,” which can be found at ecopagan.com. He is also a Shaper of the fledgling Earthseed community, which is described at GodisChange.org. John practices a highly eclectic and localized form of Paganism and observes the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year with his wonderful LDS wife and two amazing children.

aine-orgaÁine Órga identifies as a pantheistic Pagan. After grappling throughout her adolescence with a seeming conflict between her interest in Paganism and witchcraft and her naturalistic worldview, she realised in early adulthood that something was profoundly missing in her life—and that something turned out to be a religious practice and a deep and constantly evolving passion for all things spiritual. At her heart, she is a writer, an artist, a teacher, and a traveler of the inner world of the mind. She is currently reading towards a Master’s degree in Religious Studies, and blogs and makes videos on her spiritual path on her website, heartstory.org.

Cat Chapin-Bishop has been Pagan since the late `80s, and also Quaker since 2001. Cat is the
cat-chapin-bishopformer Chair of Cherry Hill Seminary’s Pastoral Counseling Department, and her essays have appeared in Laura Wildman’s Celebrating the Pagan Soul, The Pomegranate: The Journal of Pagan Studies, and at The Wild Hunt blog. Cat writes about the connections between Pagan and Quaker practice at her own blog, Quaker Pagan Reflections, hosted at Patheos. She lives with her husband in Western Massachusetts, where she attempts to find peace in the midst of chaos.
tom-swissTom Swiss describes his spiritual path as “Zen Pagan Taoist Atheist Discordian,” which usually baffles questioners enough to leave him alone. He blogs as “The Zen Pagan” at Patheos, and has previously served as President of the Free Spirit Alliance. Over the past decade he has built a reputation as a lecturer on subjects spanning the gamut from acupressure to Zen and from self-defense to sexuality. He is an NCCA-OM Diplomate in Asian Bodywork Therapy, a godan (fifth-degree black belt) in karate, a poet, a singer/songwriter, an amateur philosopher, and a professional computer geek. His first book, Why Buddha Touched the Earth, was published by Megalithica Books in 2013. Find out more about his wacky adventures at www.infamous.net.

PMP: Sacrifice & Community Service

KaliSara and RevKess spoke at length on the dual topics of sacrifice and community service in the Pagan world. They were joined by Lady Rhiannon Dragcruin of the Covenant of Kernunnos Tradition, founding High Priestess. Rhiannon is RevKess’s tradition HPS and surrogate mother. She was gracious enough to step in and guest on the show at the last minute.

The topic of sacrifice is one that RevKess and Rhiannon have been discussing at length for about three years. This was an opportunity for Rhiannon to share her thoughts on the topic with a broader audience. This is also the second time that sacrifice has been the theme of a show on PMPChannel. The first being with Faith Hamilton in July 2011 – high time the topic was addressed again.

During the conversation KaliSara and RevKess both spoke about their articles in the forth-coming anthology Pagan Leadership from Immanion Press. Rhiannon spoke about her frequent musings on her own blog. They also mentioned in brief an article by Sable Aradia (Sable has been a guest on PMPChannel).

MUSIC

  1. Gaia Consort – Everything Sacred Thing – Secret Voices
  2. Lia Scallon – Grace of Gratitude – The Luminous Pearl
  3. Leigh Anne Hussey – Meet Me By the Standing Stones – Homebrew

Samuel Wagar & Formalizing Wicca

Canadian Samuel Wagar joined RevKess and KaliSara for another conversation, this time with a focus on formalizing Wicca – or creating Wiccan Churches. Samuel is the founder of the Congregationalist Witchcraft Association of Canada (1991) and its British Columbia provincial daughter (2004). He’s currently HP of Ravenwood Temple of the Alberta branch of his church (2007 – there is also as Saskatchewan branch, founded in 2014) and the Wiccan Chaplain at the University of Alberta. He is enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at St. Stephen’s College in Edmonton, studying the evolution of a fraction of the Wiccan community toward more formal ‘church-like’ service to the larger community, a process he’s been involved with now for more than a quarter century. Author of four books on theology, ritual, church organization, and a memoir.

From an article on Vue Weekly:

Wagar has been practicing Wicca since 1982. He founded a federally recognized Wiccan church, the Congregationalist Witchcraft Association of Canada, back in 1991. He also currently serves as the first Wiccan chaplain at the University of Alberta, where he provides spiritual support for the faculty, staff and students in the pagan faith, education for the general public about Wicca and engages in interfaith work. He has also been involved in activism for both religious and feminist causes for some time. He ran as an NDP candidate in BC in 1994 but was stripped of his candidacy after it became public that he was Wiccan; he took the BC NDP (then the governing party) before the Human Rights Council and won a full apology in 1995.

Hammington has been practicing Wicca since her early 20s. After moving from the strong pagan community in Winnipeg to Edmonton—where the vast majority of Wiccans and pagans were still deep in the “broom closet”—she began hosting open circles and working with various organizations to build up a community here. She founded a Wiccan church in 2007 at the provincial level, the Congregationalist Wiccan Assembly of Alberta (CWAA—essentially the provincial equivalent of the one that Wagar founded federally). There are also sister chapters in BC (2004) and Saskatchewan (2014).

Samuel talks frankly and openly about the joys and struggles of operating a Wiccan church, from the beginning of things to the present day. Like most mature Pagans, he’s not afraid to speak his mind. For that we are thankful.

Just passed the start of the second hour, Samuel mentioned a book by Nancy Tatom Ammerman: Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life. He suggests the book to those who are interested in learning how formalized community structures can greatly benefit the average person. Not just churches, but community structures in general.

MUSIC

  1. Damh the Bard – The Cauldron Born – The Cauldron Born
  2. Omnia – Earth Warrior – Earth Warrior
  3. Rowena of the Glen – How Did We Get This Far – Book of Shadows
  4. Emerald Rose – Fire in the Head – Songs for the Night Sky

As a bonus, the oft mentioned Tengger Cavalry:

PMP: Lupa Greenwolf and The Tarot of Bones

Lupa Greenwolf, author and artist, joined RevKess and KaliSara for a fantastic conversation about her newest projects. The main focus was on her art and Tarot project The Tarot of Bones which she is doing an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds to produce 78 one of a kind images for the deck. As of the end of this broadcast she had reached 112% of her goal in less than seven days. That doesn’t mean the campaign is over, far from it. Her modest goal of $5000 only really covers the cost of materials and the shipping for the perks associated with the campaign. Producing 78 pieces of art is not an inexpensive project and on her behalf the hosts and producers of PMPChannel ask that you take a look at the campaign and add to her totals. She is plotting some really interesting stretch goals and new perks to be added to the site.

This was not Lupa’s first visit to the channel, nor will it be her last. With several wonderful art and book projects already produced and more on the way, Lupa will be visiting with the channel again in the near future. At the very least in January 2016 when her next book from Llewellyn Worldwide is released. You’ll have to tune in and find out what that is about – she gives us a teaser in this episode.

 

  1. Cernunnos Rising – Greenman (Last Tree Falling) – Wild Soul
  2. Mama Gina – Hummingbirds – Goddess Kiss’d
  3. Omnia – I Don’t Speak Human – Musick & Poetree
  4. Wendy Rule – Home – Black Snake

Taken from Lupa’s website:

About Lupa

skinnysmall

Lupa Greenwolf, photo from her website

You know that kid who spent all her free time outdoors, turning over rocks, catching garter snakes, and learning the names of the trees? I’m that kid, all grown up. I currently reside in Portland, Oregon, though I am frequently found in the wilderness areas infusing and surrounding the metro area. I also garden, create kitchen alchemy (also known as “cooking”), and read as much as I’m able to make time for.

Most other relevant information about me and what I do can be found scattered throughout this site. Suffice it to say that I aim to be a creative polymath with a wellspring of ideas and inspirations, and I am restricted primarily by time. I am fortunate enough to be fully self-employed through my creative endeavors, and I greatly appreciate those whose purchases and other support have made that possible.

Artist’s StatementWe live in a time and place of convenience; everything is neatly packaged and sanitized, and we acquire our food, shelter, medicine and other needs with relative ease. In the process, we have lost touch with where these things come from, where in the earth, water and air they have originated. We forget that we are Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Hominidae Hominini Homo sapiens sapiens–in short, the last remaining human ape. And in our forgetting, we have enacted some great atrocities on our planet, our fellow beings, and ourselves.

Through my art, I am a voice crying out in this silicon and concrete wilderness we’ve built for ourselves. I use three-dimensional sculptures as statements on the problems we face, pairing aesthetic attraction with harsh realities. But I also invite others to seek solutions, offering relationships with sacred artifacts and the transformational rites they may incite in one’s life. I draw on the tradition of the wunderkammer, the cabinet of natural curiosities that serves as a personal museum, to encourage people to bring reminders of the nonhuman world even into their very homes. And I write about it all, through pixels and pages, sharing my path with whoever will walk it with me, even for a little while.

For it is not enough to merely rail about the tragedies. One must have hope, and must know that it is not too late to rebuild connections long lost. Through reclaiming discarded materials and showing them respect, through encouraging a more mindful and eco-conscious view of the world, and through offering an invitation to return to the greater communities of ecosystems and the planet itself, my creations serve as a bridge between us and everything else, and I am the intermediary setting the sacred space for that process of healing.

PMP: Bone Poets Orchestra

Christopher Bingham and Sue Tinney of Bone Poets Orchestra joined RevKess and KaliSara for a fun conversation about their music and more. Right off the bat, at the request of several listeners, RevKess asked Sue if she is related to our musical friend Betsy. The answer is yes. They are sisters-in-law.

Even with some connection and technical issues, everyone had a great chat about the music, the history, and the future of BPO. KaliSara was quiet for the show as she was battling a head cold.

Chris and Sue spoke at length about the history of Bone Poets and the music that Chris writes for the eight piece band. Once called Gaia Consort, BPO evolved into what it is today. With a collective of talented artists and 40 years of musical experience behind him, Chris has developed a sound that is uniquely Bone Poets. You can find some of Chris’s early solo work at his own website. He’s also been working on an orchestral piece for the last 35 years. The Octava Chamber Orchestra performed the working piece last summer and he is looking forward to the opportunity to have it performed in its entirety by a full orchestra sometime in the near future.

When asked about touring outside of the Pacific Northwest, Chris and Sue said that the would love to. But, the expense of transporting all the instruments, the band members, and tech crew is rather expensive. Got $13,000 to spare? BPO will perform anywhere in the lower 48 for that fee. Not exactly affordable, but not entirely out of the question for a music festival.

All eight members of the band have a long background in music, many of them with degrees related to music.

  1. Bone Poets Orchestra – Seven Sisters – Ecstasy in the Ruins
  2. Gaia Consort – Cry Freedom – Secret Voices
  3. Bone Poets Orchestra – Yes Yes Yes! – Belladonna Smiles
  4. Bone Poets Orchestra – Why Can’t We Just – single
  5. Gaia Consort/Bone Poets Orchestra – Face in the Clouds – Vitus Dance
  6. Gaia Consort – Ravens (live 2007)

BPO is working on their next album. Six songs have been written, one has been recorded already. Check back with the BPO website frequently for updates and find out how you can adopt a track and help the Poets record their next album!

PMP: DiversiTree with Hollis Taylor

In this week’s edition of Pagan-Musings Podcast KaliSara and RevKess were joined by the publisher of a new blog’zine called DiversiTree. The sight is devoted to inclusive spirituality. What does that mean? Inclusive spirituality, in this case, is about being open and embracing to all sexualities, gender identities, and gender expressions. DiversiTree is also very sex-positive.

The “about” page on the site reads, in part, “Hollis [Taylor] and Arial [Taylor] were inspired to bring together a group of writers that have the potential to consciously support the evolution of the human race. […] Bringing together some of the most spiritually diverse queer sex positive people to write on the evolutionary movement towards inclusive spirituality. Hollis and Arial reached for the soul searching queers, sluts, freaks, weirdos, dirty hippies and other consciously evolving humanitarians and environmentalists willing to share their experiences with the world. They reached out for those bringing a conscious message of love, peace and inclusive spirituality. Spirituality that not only tolerated or accepted who but also celebrated our differences. Spiritual paths invented by mixing the best parts of many paths into a path specifically built for each individual.”

art by Rowye

The page continues with “All our writers have explored a wide variety of spiritual paths including Wicca, Buddhism, Judaism, Paganism, Ravers, Queer Spirituality, Christianity, Burners, Home Free, Yoga, Drumming, Community Evolution, Alchemy, Witchcraft, Unitarian and many other paths traditional and undefined. The one thing everyone has in common is a willingness and a determination to practice inclusive spirituality. We want to include everyone so that EVERYONE feels welcomed and celebrated!”

RevKess’s first contribution to the site is the first article listed, “Clearing Away, Beginning Anew.” He uses this article to introduce himself, hopefully encouraging other contributors to do the same thing in the comments section. Hollis writes “Sprouting an Online Publication” in which Hollis talks about how DiversiTree came into existence. Talking about the journey of a lifetime, a major move halfway across the country, and the transformative power of Yoga to bring about a “divinely inspired” publication. In “Connection, Community, Commitment” contributor Elissa Rich writes about how connection to others leads to community which leads to commitment. Rich also quotes Angela Davis as saying “There can be no great triumph over racism without address capitalism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, the environment that we live in and the food we consume. We have to recognize all of these connections.” All three of these articles were published to the site for the grand-launch on Thursday 20 March 2015.

http://about.me/hollistaylor

DiversiTree publisher, Hollis Taylor

With categories or sections including Divinely Inspired, Inclusive Spirituality, Sacred Sexuality, Home Free, Personal Ponderings, Inclusive Parenting and reviews of events, books, music, and other art media, DiversiTree should prove to be a one-stop resource for personal and academic looks at what it means to be LGBTQIAA+ and spiritually minded. More categories will be cropping up as the need arises. A YouTube channel is also under consideration for those who are more comfortable with the spoken word.

Contributors to the site range from genderqueer feminists to drag queens to straight allies; from parents to young people to old fogies. Regular contributors include Hollis, Dirty Mother, Inara de Luna, Jaice Dumars, Mahria Potter, Missy Wilrecker and RevKess. “Casual” contributors include musicians, artists, ritualists, and more. One contributor will be doing a series on their transition from one gender to another – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spirituality. Some will contribute about living homeless – by choice – and transforming one’s spirituality into visual art of various kinds.

MUSIC

  1. Celia – Shine Your Light – RED Alabaster & Blue
  2. Omnia – Love in the Forest – Wolf Love
  3. Murphey’s Midnight Rounders – Make a Chain Around the World – I Am the Goddess
  4. Elvendrums – Dreamtimes – Gateway to Faerie

Links of Interest

PMP: Wiccanate Privilege

KaliSara and RevKess are joined by Shauna Aura Knight and Arthur for a discussion of privilege, especially Wiccanate privilege. Shauna has written many articles on privilege, Wiccanate and color/race based privilege. Arthur has been an advocate for non-gender binary practices in both spirituality and the general culture.

It is unfortunate that this topic still needed to be addressed. The conversation was huge on the Pagan blogosphere four years ago and hasn’t gone away yet. It comes and goes, sometimes heated and sometimes ust briefly mentioned along the way to discussing other topics.

What is Wiccanate or Wiccan privilege? The assumption that all Pagans are Wiccans or at least adhere  to some form of Wiccan structure and “doctrine”.  The only “doctrine” or firm ethical guideline that Wiccans follow is the Rede, and they can’t even completely agree on what it means. This and other similar “golden rules” can be constraining to some who are not Wiccan, or for that matter even to some Wiccans.

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.” – The Book of the Law

Privilege can be addressed through many avenues. The most important thing to remember is that many people who have privilege don’t even know it. There is white privilege, money privilege, male privilege. These thee forms of privilege are quite obvious to those who don’t have it. But those who do, don’t always see it. One of the most insulting things to do is say that the other side of the privilege has comparable privilege. It is like telling a person of color that they have “black privilege” or telling a poor person that they have “wellfare privilege”.

Links on Privilege – in no particular order

Your hosts invite you to listen to a recent episode of the Pagan Weekly News to get more perspectives on privilege. On Thursday 29 January 2015 KaliSara and RevKess tackled controversial issues within the Pagan community. The topic of privilege, especially in regards to Wiccanate and White privilege, were touched upon in that edition of PWN.

MUSIC

  1. Celia – Please Bless This Place – Carry Me Home
  2. Jenna Greene – Believe – Crossroads
  3. Wendy Rule – Circle Song – The Wolf Sky