Through my weekly radio show, I strive to create a medium for pagan, and spiritually progressive voices. Mainstream media has neglected these bards, great thinkers, and earth spiritualists. Yet their ideas, stories and songs can help us better understand the connections between earth as sacred entity and living sustainably amongst ourselves and our environment. I hope you enjoy listening to these ideas, philosophies, songs and stories as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.
For those of us who live in Cascadia, December's Dark, Damp, Days can cause a Seasonal Affect Disorder (a state a bit like depression). This isn't unique to Cascadia though, Countries and Cultures the world over have sought help through community to observe, honor and celebrate the return of the sun, the spring, and summer to survive and be happy through the cold days of Winter. Some say it is the Crone of the snows (the Caillieach) who brings the ice and cold, sad and grim as a Crone she is. For others the winter is a time when Gods of chaos, or evil have slain, or nearly slain Gods of the Sun and hope. The winter then becomes a time of healing and recovery, to return from apparent death as the plants and the light in the sky must do. Many feel a new hopeful energy in the brightening of the days. Its a time to stand together and seek friendship and comfort. I won't be on the air for the actual Solstice this year, I believe Loi Consuela, will be sitting in for me, for Yule. I'll return before the end of December. This week on Wheel of Wonder we'll have a guest; musician, philosopher, and healer: Denean. A beautiful soul who brings her vision of heart based living to everyone through the sound of her music. A conversation we can share with you, as Cathartic, I hope, as experiencing the return of the sun, and the optimism of spring. This week on Wheel of Wonder!
There is the idea of the Bardic Journey. Bards in the Celtic/Druidic sense are the keepers and at the same time, seekers of wisdom. this wisdom is believed to come from the spirit of inspiration, sometimes called the Awen, and in many cases is believed to involve Shamanic journeying. A conscious choice to meditate, or "fly on the wings of spirit" into what many indigenous beliefs would call The Dreaming. The Dreaming is a place of symbolic language, Universal and Mythic Archetypes, or perhaps, from the ascensionist or new age perspective, a different reality made up of different frequencies, or vibrations of thought and light. Music is also made up of vibrations in space created by voice or instruments, and carried across the wind, or through the air and into our range of hearing. Its quite a tradition for Medicine Men, Shamans, Bards and Musicians to be the people among us who can perceive the energies of the universe as a song or perhaps a harmonic tone (or tones ) flowing through everything. they are the ones who are believed to be able to hear the song of the plants invoking them to heal, or they are the ones who can ride the waves of music into other realities for wisdom and guidance (shamanic journeys), or perceive the song of the land and couple it with the stories, legends and recurring cultural themes of its people into the forms of poetry or song.
Inspired by some of the work of Shakti Gawain, and Yvonne Owens (especially the book: Journey of the Bard) I've been exploring that these past few weeks on Wheel of Wonder, through music and most recently the story of the Journey of Ayve (A bard character of my own devising) into the realms of kay-gant (Ceugant, in its welsh spelling) or the land of the stars and spiritual ascension, the upper branches of the great tree of life. This week we'll continue that journey. Doing my part to inspire expansive thinking, and introduce amazing ideas, this week on Wheel of Wonder.
The picture above is called Stonhenge at night and I found it on an interesting blog
The veil was thin, the ancestors looked in, and hopefully that helped you in your pursuit of Wisdom too. On the wheel of the year, we've now travelled to the other side of Samhain. This puts us in the dark part of the year when we look inward to appreciate our accumulated knowledge and the harvest of opportunities for ourselves and our communities, reaped from the seeds we've sown.
For any of you who appreciate Wheel of Wonder, or even visiting this blog to link to great music and information, this week, November 8th to 15th KAOS, the community radio station that made these forums possible, is hosting the fall membership drive. I'm sure no one follows this blog for advertisements, and most community radio stations don't broadcast them, so the only thing that keeps a little, independent , non-commercial station like KAOS going is people starting or renewing memberships. That's why they have membership drives. All our lives our interconnected and what seeds you sew for ourselves and for the too few non-commercial voices in the world media, means opportunities for all of us to grow in relationships and knowledge. Please start or renew a membership this time. It can be as little as $2 (USD), or as much as you like. It is needed.
This week on Wheel of Wonder, I'm working on bringing all new music to the show. Music from Louisa John Krol (thanks for following Louisa!), SJ Tucker, Denean, Wendy Rule, and others. I'm hoping you will join me on the journey!
The picture above is called Samhain, and was found in the portfolio of creations by Midnight's Touch, on Deviant Art
Esbat! We're just finishing up with our window of the energy as some would say surrounding the Full Moon of October 2013 (was actually the 18th). According to a Druid Tree Calendar I've seen this Moon was known as "The Ivy Moon" according to a Farmer's Almanac article I read this would be the Hunter Moon. Its also called the Aries Moon. For those who see the Moon as not only a satellite, but also an energy source, this is an opportunity for Invocation of its energy, unique among all the thirteen moons of the Celtic Year. This week we'll be speaking about Esbats and Full moon Dances and celebrations. According to many viewpoints, every full moon of the year has a unique name and energy, and within three days before, or three days after, is a great time for craftwork with that energy. We'll speak a bit about that this week on Wheel of Wonder.
As we know, Humans come in gender forms of Male and Female, so do the other mammals, most animals , and some plants have been attributed with these genders as well (i.e Apple trees are considered to be sexual reproducers, that's why there has to be more than one alone, another needs to be nearby). For many modern spiritualists there are male energies and female energies, or polarities, some will say. Among modern Neo-Pagans, there are paths that focus wholly on one of these energies, and some which make a point of training priests and priestesses to work with both. In the Anderson Feri Tradition, as I understand they see genders and gendered energy as mutable. This is the thing though, we as Humans live in relationship to others, we're a cooperative species. Many spiritualists and animists find it easier to relate to one energy or another, but as they learn and grow on their spiritual paths they find balance between these two polarities, allowing them to feel whole and complete. I have to say the most worthy Druids and Priestesses I have met have achieved that, yet this male /female dichotomy does still exist.
Having travelled the Wheel of the Year last week through the images of the Green Man (male embodiment of nature), this week we'll explore the triple Goddess as the female embodiment of Nature, in order to keep a sense of balance in our explorations. I'll share information drawn from Wicca, and some from the cauldron of Cerridwynn, and I hope you will join me this week on Wheel of Wonder (kaosradio.org). The Picture below is by Constanza Ehrenhaus and found on Elfwood Art
Time has flown and the seasons have turned, sometimes I feel I'm "back in my element" as it were, when Autumn comes blowing out of the north, and the leaves just begin to start turning.
Lughnasadh and Alban Elfed are the Druid names for the holidays of August 1st (sometimes called Lammas, but usually by witches/wiccans in my experience) and the Autumn equinox (sometimes called Mabon by those who are also partial to the name Lammas).Lughnasadh celebrates the time of the metaphorical sacrifice of the Oak King, Corn King, or John Barleycorn as he is variously known, according to the Druids. It is seen in the harvest of corn, the cutting of the grain, and the leaves beginning to fall from the branches of the trees; deaths to continue the cycle of life, as shown through the plants and trees. Alban Elfed or "Light of the Water" marks the balance of the dark and light before the dark starts to take over the light, as shown by the shortening of daylight and the distance of the sun from the northern or southern hemisphere of the Earth. It is also "Pagan Thanksgiving" a time to be thankful and celebrate the bounty of the harvest and the food we gather, can, and store for the winter. Yes these days most developed countries have supermarkets through which to acquire food, but the prices of various items will change with their season of harvest (especially if you buy organic, or local; a generally good thing to do in order to move towards a sustainable future with our Mother Earth). More information on the Druidic observances of these holidays available on the OBOD site.
This picture of the Harvest Lord was found on this site
For the length of this past Summer, I've been living 3/4 time on the Pacific Coast, traversing the forests, beaches and lighthouses of an area they call the Long Beach Peninsula. I spent my days in the places of the Land and The Sky and The Sea. No easily available Internet, but I did have the opportunity to write, hike and visit Historical sites of the Chinook people and the earliest overland settlers of European ancestry in North America. I was surrounded by many stories and great beauty. Pleased to be back to focus on Wheel of Wonder and independent, community radio!
Shedding light on Spiritual paths and sustainable living!
Vendana Shiva says, in her article for YES! magazine "Everything I need to know, I learned in the Forest."
This week, we'll explore that idea on Wheel of Wonder. What does the Forest teach us? Well, first off its a closed system, a cycle if you will, the Forest wastes nothing all that dies adds nutrients to the soil that all the still living lifeforms (in this I am referring to plants too) utilize for food and often shelter (for example, insects and animals inside the hollow log). We can also see new trees growing on the remains of rotting stumps or logs: nurse logs. Even the old and strong trees can on occasion, be completely burnt through the middle and still live and grow, and even offer homes to Bats and Owls. I know of at least one cedar tree just like that, it stands near a stream, and on occasion I've been known to go set within it, gathering my thoughts. So what does a Forest teach us about life? Its very existence is a living expression of the interconnected web of all life, and isn't Human society a lot like that too? Something to think about next time you're in the Forest. Or
when you listen to Wheel of Wonder, I hope you'll engage the Journey.
I know what your thinking; "Radio Ray why have you gone a month without posting on the blog?" Well, its been a time of transition in normal life for me, I'll be working this summer on the Pacific Coast, and I've been deeply involved in setting everything up for the experience. Those of you who've listened know I've never missed being present for Wheel of Wonder every week, and I'll be there this week too. Next week KAOS breakfast Special DJ "Lady Ace" will be sitting in for me, and I hear she's planning to create an episode about "The Festival of the Sun" in Peru. She's been there to experience it first hand as a part of a study abroad program through The Evergreen State College! I'm excited to hear it as that's the Wheel of Wonder episode closest to Litha, Alban Hefin, or The Summer Solstice. The next week; June 23rd I'll be present with Caer Cormorant for their Alban Hefin event, so there may be a substitute for that Sunday too. I'm not dropping Wheel of Wonder though, I'll continue coming North by Northwest every Sunday to join you on the journey we call Wheel of Wonder.
On to very important things. As you may have heard; tragically, the Final Death Toll for the garment worker's in Bangladesh, as of May 13th, when they stopped searching and began the morbid work of trying to identify the dead and clean up the wreckage on May 13, 2013 was 1,127 lives lost. As I helped with the remembrance tree project for the dead we did indeed tie 1,130 tatters to the tree at the Eastside Food Co-op. 1,130 because three Bangladeshi people who were in Olympia, two from the very same area of Bamgladesh that the tragedy took place in came to add tatters too.
The tatters still weep color in the rain and wind and sun for now, and some of the Larger (mostly European) companies that received their clothes from that factory in Rana Plaza have signed on to a charter that they will no longer accept garments from factories in Bangladesh that don't meet proper fire and safety regulations, and the owner of the factory and some the engineers are in Jail in Bangladesh facing harsh Prison sentences (The owner of the factory is facing a life sentence in prison ), look forward cynics, things can change for the better!
According to some Druid Traditions, Gwynedd is a name for the garden or the sacred grove, the starting place for the spiritual journey of learning from nature, engaging the spirits of nature, and learning to hear the song of the plants, trees, and animal spirits. Some druids will say it is preliminary to the Shamanic journey into the world of spirit, or the world of "The Dreaming." That along with remembrance of the ancestors played its part in the last few Wheel of Wonder broadcasts. This week, this month really, I've been hearing the sirensong of the Sea, calling me to the shore as I get ready to spend my Summer at the beach, so this week you can expect to hear the songs of the Selkies, and the voice of inspiration from the Sirens and the Celts on Wheel of Wonder. Thank you for joining me on the Journey!
I found this Image, called "Selkie" on a neat blog, which you can connect to here. I did not create this picture, but I think its beautiful.
Because May 1 is such a great holiday, I'll say Happy Beltane again this week! But that's only one small part of it. This week I was also witness to the birth of Caer Cormorant; a Gorsedd, or gathering of Bards (doing it Druid style) in Olympia. May day is also often recognized as a holiday intended to rally for worker's rights, in America, and across the world. So I'm going to take a moment here to address the worker's tragedy that just recently occurred in Bangladesh. During the last week of April a large crack appeared in one of the buildings in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This crack was several stories long and the building it was found on was used as a garment factory (ever noticed how many of your clothing items say "made in Bangladesh?"), it employed several hundred (if not thousand) very low wage workers, mostly young women between the ages of 15 and 20. Dhaka authorities ordered the building evacuated as it was deemed unsafe. One factory owner sent his employees to work in the building anyway, threatening them with loss of one months wages if they didn't work in this building which he and the engineers he paid said was not going to collapse on anyone. Within two hours of these workers starting their shifts the building did collapse. The death toll now stands at 580 workers! Rescuers have given up on finding any survivors any more as they continue to dig through the rubble. Until recently, hardly any news outlet at all even mentioned this tragedy. Amy Goodman reported it on Democracy Now! a news show broadcast on KAOS and some other Pacifica stations. Aside from Amy Goodman listeners almost no one had heard of this tragedy. To raise awareness of this tragedy myself and a few others, working with are local food co-op, tied tatters of cloth on the branches of a tree in their parking lot, when last I checked, only about 220 tatters had made it onto the branches of that tree, but it did make people stop and ask"what are these tatters about?" When they heard they were understandably appalled by the conditions these Bangladeshi people are forced to work in and they became aware of these injustices that still occur in the world time after tragic time. Those tatters waving silently on the tree? Each one represents another life lost for the comforts of western consumerism. Hopefully, we will reach 580 tatters before the co-op members, or their representatives, ask for them to be removed.
Music wise, this week on Wheel of Wonder, we'll have a few new Beltane songs and in the 9 o' clock hour we'll have a special Interview with Peter Mayer, an inspired and universally spiritual singer songwriter from Minnesota. To hear some of Pete's great songs, go to his website, or listen on YouTube. I look forward to bringing you this week's Wheel of Wonder!
Picture Credits: Picture one is a double-crested Cormorant from Wikimedia Commons, the second picture is the tatters on the tree, by me.
Last week on Wheel of Wonder we spoke about Celtic Faerietales. Yet this through the lens of how these Pre-Christian era tales show the beliefs and values of the ancient Kells. It seemed to me that there were some recurring themes: The Giant as an apparent symbol of Nature's wrath and from the "Cailleach of the Snows" The Crone, or bitter wise woman as the danger, of the harsh winter but eventually overcome by the Maiden of Spring. The Giants seemed to always be masculine, and as antagonists; overbearing and Patriarchal. Hunters of souls and individual. In many Celtic Faerietales they could only be overcome by bold and clever men, working in concert with wise and brilliant women (who the men usually had the good sense to listen to). Another recurring theme was in the advantages of always being nice to strangers and animals, as they would do you a good turn in response, most especially when you needed it. Recurring Archetypes in the Celtic Tales of the Pre-Christian world included: The Mystic (or Shamanic) Hero and Adventurer, The Magical Woman, The kind and wise elder male (or Sage/Druid), the Wise Woman (Or Crone), Animal Spirits (sometimes shown as Humans transformed by Magic), and Faerie helpers or foes (who weren't always understood, but respected). If one ever studies folktales and faerietales, one should go back as far into history as possible, to understand the values of a culture, modern retellings are often just modern (did you know Cinderella was a woman versed in magic and soothsay, and not just some hapless girl a Fairy Godmother took pity on?) Go to The Source.
For this week though, the Wheel turns and we'll talk about Beltane and about this incredible event in Olympia Washington called PROCESSION OF THE SPECIES, which took place Saturday. I was there did you see me? I was The Green Man (picture above). Hope you join me this week on Wheel of Wonder!
Hello, well its catching up time again! Week before last on Wheel of Wonder we completed the Elemental Episodes with the fifth Element: Spirit. Or as we saw defined on the website gnosticteachings.org: spirit: mid-13c., "animating or vital principle in man and animals." In the belief systems of the five spiritual Elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Spirit; sometimes called Ether). Spirit flows through everything, often when I think about the Pentagram, I think about it as the Fifth Point, it could also be represented by being of the place that is the center in the sacred circles some earth spiritualists call forth in ritual. It was interesting to look at the online gnostic teachings available on this subject. Gnosticism is of course Christian Mysticism, and some say relate to very powerful energies, so be aware and proceed with respect and caution if you should choose to investigate them.
The week that followed as I was running through my thoughts on what should be our next topic of discussion, eventually I decided to grab a deck of Celtic Tarot Cards, do an Alchemists spread and see what came up. The overall message I found in that Tarot drawing involved many "swords" cards but almost all in relation to the signifier card of "The Sun." because of that significator, it was overall about as positive a message as you can get from 5 cards, three of which are swords. The message I found was one of Humans becoming more aware of, or perhaps, remembering the spiritual dimension of we Human Beings, and using that knowledge to create a better world. That is the time this reading said we live in. What a wonderful message!
This week is very important though, because this week is the week of the KAOS membership drive. KAOS gives me a medium through which to share these neat Pagan, Indigenous, Sustainable, and New age ideas live on FM radio! The only reason I can do that is because KAOS remains a non-commercial radio station, it doesn't matter if corporate media does not see Wheel of Wonder's message as important or profitable for there bottom line, because the people who listen to KAOS ("One of the top 10 non-commercial stations in the USA" according to Performer magazine, and The Princeton Review) donate actual money to support it. There are not very many fully independent media outlets left in this country and I hope whether you enjoy listening to Wheel of Wonder, or just reading the blog, or if you are indeed one of the select and wonderful artists I play the music of, or one of the great thinkers I direct traffic to the websites of, that you will consider donating money to KAOS, this week.
Happy Ostara, hope you had an amazing Alban Eiler (as the Druids would call it), or that you are just enjoying the coming of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, or the Harvest of Mabon if you live on the southern part of the globe! I spoke a bit about the Spring Equinox last week on Wheel of Wonder, and shared some of the legends of St. Patrick as the broadcast was on St Patrick's Day.
One of the major foci of every Spring Equinox gathering I had the honor to get to, was the idea of achieving balance, just as the day and night (both equal on this day) stood witness to on that day, and the celebrants I met sought to achieve, through ritual, for the spiritual and mundane aspects of their lives.
This Ostara, also reaffirmed for me what I had learned back in 2007, while sitting in our local Interfaith Works community round table discussions; all spiritual groups, and many of the secular people, not bogged down in dogma or politics, are truly all seeking the same thing: To bring forward positive, healthy, life-affirming communities where it is safe to grow, live, learn, and express the truth of who we all are truly meant to be individually, and as a collective of Humanity.
Alban Eiler or "Light of the Earth" has seemed to be the perfect name for the experiences of this season. If every person on this Earth is free to shine the light of their personalities, their personal "spirits" (not just the ones they call on for help, and for guidance, the ones they ARE) the entire Human race could see each other clearly, walk in each others beauty, and begin to understand that together we are AMAZING, right here, right now, on this world.
Wheel of Wonder goes back to the two hour format this week to make room for "Sunday Sun-up" from 6am-8am (PST). This week we'll be taking a journey through the elemants of earth and fire, and into some of the beliefs systems concerning the fay. Check out the new links, and hopefully you'll get a chance to write (firstname.lastname@example.org), call in, or just listen this week to all the great info and independent music on Wheel of Wonder! (If outside the local area: check out kaosradio.org)
The picture of the Earth at equinox above and to the right is from NASA GOES Satellite, and was available through Flickr public photo site, and is attributed to NOAA.
Hello again, patient people! Although last week I explored indigenous cultures of the Arctic Circle and their music, as well as the changes they face in their culture with the melting of the Arctic Ice. I didn't get to post on that. This week I found myself on a journey through the world of the Four basic elements of Neo-pagan Cosmology (Air, Earth, Fire, Water; you know them. I also like to include Spirit). The Playlist was posted at spinitron.com I only managed to cover songs that made me think of Air, Water, and some Fire, I'll have to cover the rest on a different show!
PS: All the rest of my recent Wheel of Wonder Broadcast playlists are at Spinitron.com as well! (sidebar KAOS, then search by date.)
Wheel of Wonder will be heading back to the three hour format again for a time, sometimes, if I'm very inspired I might even extend it to four! I will always be done broadcasting by 10am PST though, to make room for Cottleston Pie, the Sunday morning children's show (Learn more about Cottleston Pie at kaosradio.org). Imbolc has passed here in the Northern Hemisphere of our Mother Earth and the trees are beginning to bud and blossom, waking from their winter sleep. I've been invited to many healing ceremonies for the people and the Earth. There is even a "Red Cedar Circle" in the area: an open drumming circle founded on the principles of local native, spirit medicine I have had occasion to join.
This in part is what's inspired me this week for Wheel of Wonder. I'll speak of the Four Fold Way (check out the new link in the sidebar), with help from the writings of Dr. Angeles Arrien and other ideas of healing song, and envisioning a healthier, more sustainable earth centered economy. I believe this is indeed the work of the twenty-first century: to return as a people to a life consecrating, sustainable way of living on this planet, our mother, Earth. Many people are beginning to realize this, its at the heart of the Neo-Pagan movement, the returning to the old religions movement, developing a new respect for the knowledge of the native peoples, and even supported as a necessary change according to credible scientific inquiry. It is part of the honor I have in sharing these ideas with you on Wheel of Wonder. Thank you to everyone who has listened in, followed the blog, and shared your feedback with me. Its a privilege for all of us to be in this together!
I found the picture above on the website Nature's Blessings, original artist at present, unknown. Nature's Blessings is not a bad site for info either.
There I go again not posting for a while. My apologies to those who have been following. Have you heard? We may have entered a new age of the Human experience. It is believed to be an age of greater compassion and a greater sense of interconnectedness and perhaps seeing things from a different perspective in regards to the wisdom of our collective human past and all of the cultures and ancestry that have made us who we are today. Many believe that finally, the quick march of Industrial progress has led us to a place of potential jeopardy (Global Warming, Cancer, Pollution, Too much stress on the Earth's Ecosystems, too many people) were we HAVE to stop a moment and look back on how we've reached this point, and how we should perhaps take a new path, more Human and Nature centered, less focused on Money and GDP (which is, in its essence, just a measurement have how quickly/how often a society can acquire and resell its own natural resources, and at what profit for the few people who put that money into interest bearing accounts).
Over the past three years of Wheel of Wonder, I've been sharing the viewpoints of the Earth spiritualist movements, indigenous beliefs, modern paganism, and new age spirituality. In the hopes that others may not as easily see the natural world in terms of money and GDP. Another part of the effort has been to clarify the modern Pagan viewpoint, de-mystify beliefs and rituals of the sacred which are not within the mainstream Abrahamic religions, and give everyone a reason to consider "wait a minute, it sounds like these Pagans, Gurus, and Indigenous peoples are not evil or homicidal, or devil worshiping after all." Hopefully, along the way, I shared an idea with you that could help lead you to your own spiritual truth, after you heard something on Wheel of Wonder that seemed to make sense to you.
You may also just enjoy good, mostly independent, multi-genre music. As we continue into our fourth year, I intend to continue doing all of these things, as well as sharing the insights of science and spirituality that coincide together (at least in a qualitative, if not quantitative fashion), and new writing and interviews , not always based on the work of musicians, though Wheel of Wonder will still be a mostly music show. Come along and join me as we continue the journey on Wheel of Wonder.
PS: I've been double checking the links, some need updating, this year, I'll be doing that too as well as updating/resurrecting the on site playlist.