Dec 24, 2012

Monday Music Break: Dar Williams

Grumpy cat - Still here.  Worst apocalypse ever.

So the world didn't end on Friday like so many people were predicting.  Was anyone else just a little bit disappointed?  I mean, all that hype and hoopla leading up to the 21st, and then nothing happened except the sun rose and set.  What a let down! ;-)

Since today is Christmas Eve and we've just celebrated the Winter Solstice, I decided that today's MMB should be Dar Williams' "The Christians and the Pagans."  It's about family Christmas dinner where both the Christians and the witches learned to get along. 

I'm off to spend a few days with my family for the holiday.  There's going to be the annual Christmas Eve party with my Dad's lifelong friends, and Christmas dinner with my Mom's side of the family.  Then I'll be back home and have the rest of the week off to do as I please.  Bliss!

Dec 21, 2012

Sing of the Light

Blessed Yule!  If you're reading this then that means the world hasn't ended ;)

I wanted to share my Winter Solstice chant with you all.  I wrote this chant several years ago as part of a Sabbat series.  While I wrote this chant, I was strongly channeling the Goddess of Reflections, who I also sometimes call the Veiled Goddess.  I had worked with her for my then-coven's Yule ritual, and ended up drawing her down unintentionally during the ritual, so by the time I wrote this chant a week or so later we were on quite familiar terms.

My altar candle for the Veiled Goddess
My altar candle for the Veiled Goddess.  It smells like honeysuckle :)

I still don't know her name, and she hasn't been showing up much lately.  Perhaps it was just one of those things where a god or goddess shows up for a while to help fill a void or give you a prod in the right direction.

Sing of the Light

In the darkness hold out your hand
Receive the light, and fan the flame 
Pass it on to your brothers and sisters 
Open your heart and listen to it sing!

It sings of the light in all of it forms 

It sings of the sun, and the moon, and stars 
It sings of their light reflecting 
And it sings with joy of love - the most beautiful light of them all.

Please let me know what you think!

You are free to share my post and use my chants in ritual - and I would love to know that you do!  But please do not record or otherwise reproduce my chants in any other way without permission. 

Dec 18, 2012


Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.

I was really shocked and saddened to hear about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary.  I watched the news unfold over the course of the day, and just couldn't believe that someone would open fire on innocent little kids and their teachers.  Just wow.  I send my prayers to the gods that they find peace in the afterlife and that their families find healing.

On a more musical note, I'll be posting the chant I wrote for Yule later this week.  Keep an eye out :)

Dec 12, 2012

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

tulips and irises

Sorry for the dearth of Monday Music Break posts lately, folks.  November and December have turned out to be pretty rough on me, both at home and at work.  Hopefully January will be less stressful and I'll have the energy to work more on this blog.

I did just learn that I will be taking on some new and exciting responsibilities at my job, which should hopefully make work less stressful and more interesting.  It will give me the chance to flex my writing and editing skills some more and work on social media stuff.  I'm pretty stoked about it.

In the meantime, please check out what some of these other awesome pagan bloggers are posting about:

* Jason Pitzl-Waters just posted the Best of 2012 Show for his podcast, A Darker Shade of Pagan.  If you don't subscribe to that podcast, by the way, you should - the music he plays is kick-ass.

* My dear friend Awenydd has been writing some lovely poetry over on Stories from the Cauldron

* Teo wrote a really powerful post about cleaning up ritual space as a way to find stillness and renewal.

* Lonely Coyote wrote a neat post about working with rosemary.

* This post is few months old, but I wanted to draw attention to it: Finally the hurdles were overcome, and Literata (one of the local pagan leaders in the DC metro region) was recognized by the Arlington County Court as a clergy member, and thus able to perform marriages.  Awesome victory for the local pagan community!

Also, I have had this song stuck in my head for the last couple of days.  HALP.

Dec 5, 2012

Birthday Music Break!

birthday guinea pig

Today is my birthday!  Two of my good friends treated me to Thai food and chocolate decadence cake last night, which was so much fun and soooo yummy.  I didn't really do much today, as it's the middle of the week and no one is available.  So I'm enjoying a quiet night in, drinking a winter ale and catching up on my DVR.

I just wanted to pop in before I go to bed to share a little music that I've been digging lately.  I've been listening to a lot of Bonnie Raitt over the last week or so.  She's one of my favorite artists, and while she's not pagan, DAMN does her music have soul!

Here is one of her songs that has a real roadhouse blues feel, "Love Me Like a Man."  Enjoy!

Nov 30, 2012

Manah Manah!

You're welcome ;)

Sorry, I couldn't resist.  This is a music blog, after all, and "Manah Manah!" is one of my favorite songs.  

I hope everyone has a fabulous Friday, and that your workday goes quickly.  I'm looking forward to heading over to Piratz Tavern tonight for my friend's pre-birthday celebration (the real party is tomorrow night).  What are you doing to celebrate the start of the weekend?

Nov 28, 2012

30 before 31: A Year in Review

30 before 31: A year in review

Last year I made a 30 before 31 list - a list of 30 reasonably-sized goals or projects I wanted to complete before I turned 31.  My 31st birthday is almost upon me, so I thought it would be good to look at how I did with completing the goals I set for myself.

Completed //  In Progress  //  Not Completed

  1. Make my blog more awesome and increase readership - I moved to a better blogging platform, started a weekly feature to share pagan music, and I've now found a focus for my blog that most inspires me.  I participated in Bloggiesta in March & September, which was super helpful.  I also tried my hand at reviewing an album, which had mixed results.  I am still really proud of myself for doing that, because it was rather out of my comfort zone!
  2. Get my 1st degree initiation - As it turns out, I was denied initiation and I was released from my coven as of March 24.  I'm still regrouping from that and mostly avoiding public rituals for awhile.  I'm still proud of myself for completing the work, though.
  3. Clean out my old room at my parents’ house - I made a big dent when I visited them earlier this year, and found some interesting treasures in the process, like an envelope full of letters from my pen-pals.  I still need to tackle the rest of the boxes.
  4. Get a tattoo to commemorate finishing my 1st degree of the mark given to me by Gwynn Ap Nudd - I contacted a tattoo shop recommended by many friends, but failed to follow up on that after the degree kerfluffle.  I really need to contact them again to set up an appointment - I've been getting lots of pokes from Gwynn about that.
  5. Take a real vacation with Jack (even if it’s only a weekend getaway)
  6. Get a new primary care physician - I've had 2 appointments since July.  She's really nice, as are her staff, though they are not all as competent as I would like.
  7. Get a rheumatologist - I'm hemming and hawing about this one.  There wasn't much my last rheumatologist could do, other than prescribe drugs that didn't work and repeat the same old nonsense about exercise.  However, my fibromyalgia is getting progressively worse, so I need to do something.
  8. Get back on migraine meds
  9. Talk to a doctor about getting on anxiety meds
  10. Take at least one creative writing class - I looked into creative writing classes at the local community college, but I don't have the energy to take classes on top of a full-time job right now.
  11. Break into freelance writing and/or editing
  12. Create a kick-ass writing portfolio
  13. Get a better, more fulfilling job
  14. Meet Jack’s parents
  15. Sell/donate more of my unwanted books, clothes, etc. - Man there was a great deal of purging during the move, including donations.
  16. Finish my British Columbia scrapbook
  17. Look into acupuncture - I found out my health insurance covers it now.  Score!  Now to find an acupuncturist who is in my network.
  18. Get my college diploma framed
  19. Visit Gettysburg again
  20. Visit a museum that I’ve never visited before
  21. Organize a reunion for high school classmates in the DC area
  22. Sit down to cross-stitch once a week - Expecting myself to cross-stitch once a week was far too lofty a goal.  The last time I picked up a cross-stitch project was in the summer, when I sorted the thread from a new kit.  I miss the zen of putting needle and thread to fabric, though.
  23. Learn a new craft
  24. Cook Thai-style chicken curry from scratch - I've decided to just let the professionals make it for me, since Thai restaurants are generally not all that expensive.  That doesn't change the fact that I want all the curries.
  25. Get back into yoga
  26. Learn how to use my new camera to take better photos - My skills are still VERY amateur, but I've been playing around with my camera a lot and I think I'm starting to get a handle on better photo taking.
  27. Grow my hair long again - I did grow it out to about halfway down my back.  But it started looking scraggly and feeling too heavy with negative emotions, so I ended up cutting it a month ago to right below my shoulders.  (The Barbed Pentacle has an interesting article about hair and energy/magick - careful, it is NSFW!)
  28. Learn new hairstyles for said long hair (other than braided or in a ponytail)
  29. Start an indoor herb garden - I had a kit and planted it earlier this year, but all the plants died a slow, sad death after they sprouted.  Maybe I should stick to succulents.
  30. Go on a photoshoot in the park with Sha-na-na
Man, that's a lot of incomplete goals.  Some of them I've decided to abandon on for various reasons (like being released from my coven, or cutting my hair).  There's a few that I still want to maintain as goals in the coming year.

It was a fun exercise, but I don't think I will do a 31 before 32.  30 goals was a lot, and some were not really feasible or were too "big" for the purposes of the exercise.  Maybe next year I will set just 5-10 goals/projects for myself.  That seems more reasonable, and it will be more likely that I attain everything I set out to do with my year.

Nov 22, 2012

The Most Important Harvest

Happy Thanksgiving!  I have a chant to share with you all.  It is both a Samhain chant and a Thanksgiving chant that I wrote it several years ago as part of a Sabbat series.

Nom nom pumpkin bread!  It's a traditional part of Thanksgiving dinner in our family.

The words for this chant came straight out of a dream, in which I was saying the mealtime prayer at Thanksgiving dinner with my family - because, you know, my traditional Catholic family would ask a female neopagan to say the mealtime prayer :)  The idea of family and its love being the "most important harvest" was key to the dream.  Samhain is the last harvest - my dream (and, I am sure, Hecate, who gave me a serious chant-writing kick in the butt at that year's Hecate ritual) was telling me that all the crops and other things we harvest in the autumn are not nearly as important as the love and fellowship we "harvest" in our family (however we choose to define that family).  Since Samhain, for me and seemingly for many others, seems to be about ancestors/family, this kind of chant seemed very appropriate for the holiday as well as for Thanksgiving.

Most Important Harvest
Look around,
Holding hands - feel the connection between you.
We are all bound by blood and by choice.
This family is the most important "season,"
And its love is the most important "harvest."

Please let me know what you think!

You are free to share my post and use my chants in ritual - and I would love to know that you do!  But please do not reproduce my chants in any way without permission. 

Nov 19, 2012

Monday Music Break: Arkona

It's Monday, which means it's time for another Monday Music Break!

I've been listening to a lot of hard rock and metal lately, so when I tried to think of what song to post this week, I immediately thought of all the European pagan metal bands I recently discovered via the wonders of the internet.  (Okay, actually I thought first of Cassandra Syndrome, but I've already posted their music twice :)  One of those European bands is Arkona, a Russian group fronted by lead singer Masha Scream that combines elements of metal and folk in their music.

Masha Scream of Arkona at Black Troll 2010
Photo by Acid Pix via Wikimedia Commons
This song by Arkona is called "Liki Bessmertnykh Bogov."  I don't have a translation of the lyrics (if you have one please post them in the comments!), but from the video description, the basic idea is that she is singing about Russian legends and traditions.

Kick-ass, right?  I might just post some more pagan metal next week :)

For all my American readers, I hope you have a happy, thanks-filled Thanksgiving!

Nov 16, 2012

I bust into gigglefits every time I look at this

Just dropping in to post a quick Doctor Who-themed giggle for Friday for ya'll:

You may have seen this posted up on my Pinterest board a little while ago.  Seriously, I can't stop laughing at it!  Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey, indeed!  Hope you enjoyed the giggle too.

Nov 12, 2012

Monday Music Break: Dead Can Dance

Hey folks, happy Monday!  Apologies for the radio silence last week - real life got in the way!  I was at my work's annual conference, so I was massively busy with that.  And then I spent the weekend in recovery mode, as I was physically and mentally wiped.  Fortunately I'm (mostly) all rejuvenated now and ready to bring you some more fabulous pagan music :)

Dead Can Dance in concert 2005
Photo by GothEric via Wikipedia

I was in need of some chill, darkish music tonight.  I recalled the group Dead Can Dance from a number of episodes of A Darker Shade of Pagan, and their music - and "Opium" especially - suits my temperament perfectly this eve.

Oct 31, 2012

Blessed Samhain

Linda Hogan quote

I hope everyone has a blessed Samhain.  As I do every year, I will share a shot of whiskey (or possibly a glass of wine) with my ancestors and light a candle to help them find a way.  I think I will also journey to speak to my patron, Gwynn ap Nudd, as he is Lord of the Dead.  He's been poking me to do that.

What are you doing for Samhain this year?

Oct 29, 2012

Monday Music Break: Frankenstorm Edition

Oh my goodness, it is quite wet and windy out there!  I hope everyone on the east coast is safe, warm, and dry, and stocked with all the supplies they desire to ride this storm out.  I am thankful I still have power and internet right now, and I'm hoping it stays that way!

And I don't know about the rest of you, but I know I am enjoying all of the goofy memes and videos that have cropped up.

For today's music break, I was going to post S.J. Tucker's "Storm" - it seems fitting, don't you think? -  before I remembered that I shared that song with you all rather recently, for my 1st bloggiversary.

Then I found this hilarious Hurricane Sandy playlist, so instead I'm going to share my favorite song from that list: "Hurricane Drunk" by Florence + the Machine.  (And with all of the hurricane parties I keep hearing about, it also seems quite apt!)  I have this album and listen to it all the time - her voice is just so powerful and interesting.  And from a neopagan perspective, I love all of the metaphysical imagery she uses in her lyrics and videos, including The Raven in this video.

And because Samhain is almost here (and I love ya'll), I'm going to post another Halloweeny song as a  bonus.  This is a gorgeous song by Damh the Bard called "Samhain Eve."  I'm not always a fan of his music, but I give him major props for being a long-standing, prolific presence in the neopagan musical community,  with a fairly significant fan base from what I can gather. 

Edit: sorry for the missing song!  I guess between Monday and Tuesday, much of Damh's music was changed to no longer playable or shareable on his bandcamp website.  Here is a video with lyrics instead:

Stay dry!  And remember, if the power goes out, being neopagan has its benefits - you always have plenty of candles around! ;)

Oct 24, 2012

Blog Awards

I've been nominated for several blog awards over the last few months.  I've been terribly lax in posting about it to thank those who nominated me for the awards.  So a very belated thank you to the three fabulous women who nominated me for these awards!

The Domestic Pagan nominated me for two blog awards, the One Lovely Blog Award and the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  Thanks chica!

One Lovely Blog Award

    Very Inspiring Blogger Award

    Kourtney over at The Multifaceted Experience nominated me for the Sunshine Award back in August.  Muchas gracias!

    Sunshine Award

    And Brenda over at Pibbles & Me nominated me for the Fabulous Blog Ribbon.  Mwah, thanks!

    Fabulous Blog Ribbon

    Some of the awards require you to provide interesting facts about yourself.  They all asked for different numbers, so I picked my favorite number, 7.  So here's 7 interesting fact about me:
    1. I am a big sci-fi geek.
    2. On that note, my favorite show of all time is Doctor Who.
    3. Generally, when choosing where to go out to eat, I will choose Thai food.  I want all the curries.  ALL THE CURRIES.
    4. My favorite flower is lilac.  So gorgeous, smells amazing, so fleeting.
    5. I love football.  My team is the Philadelphia Eagles, although I live in Maryland and can't always watch them on Sundays.  My local "alterna-team" is the Baltimore Ravens (it's okay, they're in different conferences).
    6. One of the things I do "for fun" is pulling invasive plants.  It's a great stress reliever!  And it benefits local ecology by removing an invader that would otherwise take over and provide no value to the native animals.  To that end, I volunteer with Montgomery County Parks as a Weed Warrior.
    7. The older I've gotten, the more honesty has become a deeply-held value.
    And now I'm going to break the rules for all those awards and not nominate anybody, because goodness that would exhaust my blogroll, and probably annoy everyone in the process. 

    Oct 22, 2012

    Monday Music Break: I Put a Spell On You

    Happy Monday!  I hope you all enjoyed my review of Kellianna's latest album last week.

    This past weekend was really rough on me.  I'm not going to bog you all down with my problems - I'll stick to being emo in a more private journal.  Let's just say that I feel the need for some silly Halloweeny goodness in what I share today.  My favorite Halloween movie of all time is Hocus Pocus.  Even though the witches are the bad guys (I mean, they suck out children's life force, that's pretty dark), there's a lot to love about that movie - great costumes and art direction, great songs, several great actors, and delightful campy-ness.  Also, a smart-alek talking cat who totally steals the show.

    Now listen to the three sister witches singing "I Put a Spell on You" - then dance, dance until you die, mwa ha ha ha!!

    Oct 18, 2012

    Review: The Ancient Ones by Kellianna

    I wanted to try something new with my blog by starting a new feature - album reviews! So earlier this year I contacted Kellianna and offered to review her new album The Ancient Ones, which was released in April 2012.  She graciously sent me a copy of the album, and I listened to it right away and had a few thoughts about it, but then - the review never got written.  Real life got in the way (I know, excuses, excuses), particularly all of the craziness with moving.

    I think I've also been feeling extremely intimidated by the idea of writing my first album review, particularly a review for one of my favorite artists. Understandable, right? But I felt it important to honor my commitment, even if I am terribly late in doing so.

    Kellianna - The Ancient Ones - cover art

    One thing I was mulling over as I've listened to this album is the similarities and differences between her previous albums. As neopagans, we generally tend to believe in the power of personal evolution. I am also a believer that artists should evolve – and their work should evolve with them – otherwise the creative process stagnates. I’ve noticed that Kellianna’s music has tended to change over time, though not drastically.

    This album shows she is not afraid to experiment with different styles, however, and I really respect that. “Daughters of the Earth” is the most divergent from her usual style. It is very mellow, and sounds much more like a laid-back jam band than folksy neo-Celtic/pagan singer-songwriter. It is very reminiscent of The Grateful Dead, actually. Then there are a couple of songs that are very cheery. “The Mists of Avalon” reminds me of the religious kids’ songs I learned as a child, and so is a bit too sing-songy for my liking. “Bless Our Planet” is also almost a bit too merry for me, but the beautiful harmonies and guitar work truly redeemed it. And it was lovely to see her take on the traditional "Witch's Reel" towards the end of the album.

    One of the songs that struck me the deepest was the title track, “The Ancient Ones.” This song is echoey, as if the ancestors are calling to you from the Underworld, or perhaps from the depths of the past. This song calls you to be still and listen, rather than sing along (as is usually my wont). I found that to be very powerful.

    It is always a delight to hear Kellianna singing in her lower vocal ranges as she does in this song and others, such as “To the Summerlands” and “Artemis.” I think her most beautiful, rich tones are in those ranges of her voice.

    After listening to this album a few times, I realized that I had already learned the words to a few of the songs and was singing along. To me, that is a good sign that I am enjoying the music, and not just listening but allowing the music to really flow through me as music truly should.

    Disclaimer: I received a review copy of "The Ancient Ones" in exchange for a fair, honest review of the album. I received no monetary compensation.

    Oct 8, 2012

    Monday Music Break: Inkubus Sukkubus

    Welcome to another Monday Music Break, folks!

    I realized a few days ago that Samhain is later this month - and holy cow, when did that sneak up on me?  I thought it would be fun to feature songs to suit the extra witchy season.

    Inkubus Sukkubus
    Source: Wikimedia Commons/author Candia13

    So today let's start off with "City of the Dead" by Inkubus Sukkubus. They've been around for quite awhile; I remember listening to their music back when I was in college [mumble] years ago, and even today they are still rocking out.

    **Warning: the following songs are possibly NSFW**

    And because I love you all, you get a bonus song about a vampire!  This song is called, aptly, "Vampyra."

    What's your favorite part of the Samhain season?

    Oct 6, 2012

    Bird nerd

    There is northern mockingbird singing his little heart out right outside my window right now.  It makes my little musical heart happy.

    northern mockingbird
    Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service
     "Why Colleen," you may ask, "how can you tell it's a mockingbird if it's mocking other birds?"  Good question!  There's a fun trick I learned from my ornithology professor about this :)  Mockingbirds sing a progression of different bird songs in groups of 3 or 4.  So you may hear the same mocked song 3 or 4 times, then another mocked song 3 or 4 times, and so on.  Other birds that mock have different patterns.  This video demonstrates it pretty well, and if you're from Maryland you may recognize some of these pre-dawn calls:

    The real question is, why on earth is a bird singing so vociferously in October?  The breeding season is over, and all the juveniles have fledged, even second nesting attempts.

    I know - I am a big bird nerd :)

    Oct 1, 2012

    Monday Music Break: Solas

    Did everyone enjoy my plethora of entries for Bloggiesta this past weekend?  I sure had fun participating in my second Bloggiesta, and I learned a lot too!

    Solas.  Used in accordance to the principles of fair use.
    Bloggiesta put me in such a good mood I felt the need for a fun, upbeat song for this week's Monday Music Break.  "Nil Na La" by Solas has been in my MMB queue for awhile, and today it called to me.  I'm not sure they are strictly pagan, but it certainly appeals to a certain sect of the neopagan community.  And it sure is fun and really encourages you to dance along.  Have a little Gaelic dancing song!


    Sep 30, 2012

    Fall Bloggiesta Wrap-Up

    Bloggiesta finish line

    What a great Bloggiesta weekend!  I got all but one of my to-do list items accomplished, and I had a good reason for missing that one:
    • Re-record my Brighid chant so that both parts are in one recording - this didn't happen because of allergy issues that left my voice in pretty rough shape all weekend.  I'll record at a future date when I don't sound so much like Eartha Kitt.*
    • Clean up my Google Reader subscriptions list (again...)
    • Look into installing Disqus for comments
    • Contact Jen about getting her ad for my sidebar
    • Comment on lots other participating blogs and make new blogging friends

    I also completed 3 mini challenges:

    Due to bad timing, I missed all of the Twitter parties.  Too bad!  Those are really fun.  Next time, next time.

    If you are here via Bloggiesta, I hope you stick around!  My blog focuses on neo-pagan music (music by and for the neo-pagan community).  I post a weekly feature called "Monday Music Break" that highlights music by pagan artists on both the local and national scale (I usually feature one artist per week).  I also post the chants I write.  On a more mundane level, I post about general lifestyle stuff, like things from pinterest or pretty nature photos.  Although my blog is pagan music blog, I don't ever want to be pigeon-holed to a purely pagan audience, as I believe the artists I feature can have a much wider appeal - that's part of the reason I started the blog in the first place.

    bumblee and firewheel blanketflower

    I know most of the bloggers participating in Bloggiesta are book bloggers.  While I am not a book blogger, I am a bibliophile, although perhaps not as avid a reader as I was in high school and college.  I joined Goodreads awhile back so I've been posting reviews of all the books I read on there.  Here's the last few books I've read, if you're interested:

    Colleen's bookshelf: read

    Dreaming in Cuban
    5 of 5 stars true
    This book was lovely - poetry in novel form!
    Thirteen Reasons Why
    5 of 5 stars true
    Oh my god. Phenomenal. This book tore me to pieces, slowly with each flip of Hannah's tapes. I still can't believe I didn't cry until the very end. I felt like I could empathize with every false rumor, with every fake friendship, wit...
    The Secrets of a Fire King: Stories
    3 of 5 stars true
    I wasn't a fan of all of the stories in this compilation (especially not "The Rat" - EWW), but I appreciated the compilation as a whole, and I feel like I have a better understanding of Kim Edwards as a writer.
    Forever Free
    4 of 5 stars true
    This is a sequel to The Forever War, and was definitely as good as the original. It was nice to see what happened with Mandella and Marygay, and how they and their fellow vets handled life in a world ruled by Man. Even though this book...

    * "Why do we even have that lever?!"

    Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Grade Yourself

    Bloggiesta logo 
    Smash Attack Reads (which, by the way, is an awesome blog name!) has a really helpful Bloggiesta mini-challenge, Grade Yourself!  It guides you through using a website/blog grader that also gives useful hints on improving traffic and, if your website is for a business (mine is not, obviously), increasing revenue.

    I ran my blog through the website grader and got a score of 79.  Based on the action items it came up with, I have a small to-do list for improving traffic.  I decided to share it in case it may be helpful to some of my other readers:
    1. SEO: Add alt tags to my images.  This helps bring traffic from things like image searches on Google.  Update - all done!  With almost 100 posts, most of which have at least one image, it took over an hour to do this, but it was worth it I hope! 
    2. SEO: Figure out if/how I can add page descriptions to each of my blog pages (Pagan Musicians, Chants, etc.)
    3. Social Media: Add twitter/Facebook/G+/etc. share buttons to individual posts.  (Anyone know how to do that?)
    I think I may have to do a little more research on this SEO (search engine optimization) stuff!

         4.  Update #2: After some quick research on SEO for Blogger, I'm adding another one that will be ongoing - adding search descriptions.  An explanation of search descriptions is here:

         - You can add a search description for your whole blog.  Go to Settings -> Search Preferences, and click in the text box for "Description" near the top.
         - You can also add search descriptions for each entry - in the post settings, click on "search description" to bring up the search description box

    Sep 29, 2012

    Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Blogging Notebook

    Bloggiesta logo

    One of the things I love about Bloggiesta is that it seems to spark in me a great deal of creativity about blogging and blog design.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  Reading everyone's to-do lists and mini-challenges and twitter posts gives me so many of my own ideas about what I could do with my blog.

    Trish over at Lough, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity posted a Blogging Notebook and Calendar Mini-Challenge for Bloggiesta.  You have the option to participate in either the notebook or calendar part of the mini-challenge, or both.  I decided that writing down all of these ideas I was having (and will probably keep having) would be a great idea for, so I went with the notebook part of the mini-challenge.  I wrote down big ideas for my blog (sort of my "wish list" of things I'd like to eventually accomplish), as well as ideas for blog posts I could/should write in the near future.

    Last night I took myself out to dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant in Silver Spring, Thai at Silver Spring.  While I was enjoying a delicious bowl of yellow chicken curry, here's what I came up:

    blogging idea list

    This was definitely a great exercise, and I really should keep doing it given how helpful it was in the creative process.  I'll probably take this rough list and separate it out into three lists - big ideas, blog posts I should write soon (AKA a post to-do list), and ideas for posts.

    Sep 28, 2012

    Fall Bloggiesta Kick-off

    Here we go!  Bloggiesta time!

    Bloggiesta logo  
    September 28-30, 2012

    I have a very full weekend ahead of me - I have to work today, and then after work I will be driving the 3 hours north to my parents house in the Philly 'burbs.  Tomorrow night is a big family party to celebrate my Dad's 60th birthday, and the 60th birthdays of three of his lifelong friends, so between the party and helping my Mom get ready, most of tomorrow is out.

    Phew!  I don't know about you, but I'm tired just writing that.

    So, I cheated and got a head start on my Bloggiesta to-do list by taking care of a few things earlier this week.  I figured that way I could focus what little free time I had this weekend on things like mini-challenges, Twitter parties, and checking out/commenting on other Bloggiesta participants' blogs.

    Are you doing Bloggiesta this weekend?  If you're not, you totally should - it's so much fun, you learn a lot, and you make lots of blogging friends in the process! :)

    Sep 27, 2012

    Hey Hecate

    Although the Autumnal Equinox has already passed, I still wanted to share my Mabon chant with you all.

    autumn leaves

    This chant calls to and praises Hecate, who is Persephone's guide down to the underworld as she descends in the fall, and back up as she rises in the spring.  This song was inspired by the goddess herself.  A few years ago, a priestess aspecting Hecate the Crone during in ritual made me promise to write a chant before Samhain (it was the end of September).  And by Samhain, I had written two. 

    Yes, you read that right.  A goddess made me promise something - in ritual - in her presence!  My heart definitely skipped a beat, and I had to take a breath and contemplate quickly what that really meant.  And then I couldn't keep her waiting, and I knew it was what I needed, so I made that promise.  Boy has it paid off.

    And I realize now that aside from making that promise, I got the whammy from Hecate during that ritual because my crown chakra finally cleared up and my third eye was wide open for months afterward.  It was painful to go through at the time (oh the headaches and crazy visions), but it has really paid off in my psychic development and connection to the divine - and as a result, my chant writing.


    Hail Hecate, hey hey hey!
    Light your lantern and guide our way.
    Hail Hecate, hey hey hey!
    Into the darkness, down from the day.

    Hail Hecate, hey hey hey!
    Light your lantern and guide our way.
    Hail Hecate, hey hey hey!
    Out of the darkness and back to the day.

    Please let me know what you think!

    You are free to share my post and use my chants in ritual - and I would love to know that you do!  But please do not reproduce my chants in any way without permission.

    Sep 24, 2012

    Monday Music Break: The Moors

    The Moors
    I randomly ran across this group called The Moors, and found their music video for their song called "The Hunter."  The song is so delicious the way it wraps around you, and you just have to love the super low-budget goth music video.

    Also, the theme is very appropriate for the Autumnal Equinox, given that the hunter and the wild hunt is often associated with the holiday.

    Speaking of the equinox, I guess I should post my Mabon chant for ya'll later this week :)  I've been having trouble with posting mp3 files from Google Drive, so I've thinking of moving my chant files to a site like Soundcloud - does anyone have experience with using that site or a similar site?  I'd love some input on the idea, and maybe some tips and tricks for using the site.

    Sep 16, 2012

    Bloggiesta Fall Edition To-Do List

    Bloggiesta logo  
    September 28-30, 2012

    I had such a great time participating in Bloggiesta last spring and got some great new readers in the process, so I decided to take part in the Bloggiesta Fall edition, which is in a couple of weeks.  My participation will be a bit limited, since we are having a big birthday party for my Dad and 3 of his friends that Saturday, so I decided to keep my to-do list short and sweet:

    • Re-record my Brighid chant so that both parts are in one recording
    • Clean up my Google Reader subscriptions list (again...)
    • Look into installing Disqus for comments
    • Contact Jen about getting her ad for my sidebar
    • Comment on lots other participating blogs and make new blogging friends!
    Who else is doing Bloggiesta in September?  You can find out all about it and sign up over at There's a Book.  Go for it!!

    Sep 10, 2012

    Monday Music Break: Revel Moon

    Things have been so volatile for me lately that I think this week's music break calls for a good mix of fire and water...

    The song is "Fire & Water" by Revel Moon.  The group disbanded several years ago, but you may recognize Irene Jericho's voice - she is now the lead singer of Cassandra Syndrome, one of my favorite local bands.  I believe another band member from Revel Moon, Jay, also became part of Cassandra Syndrome. 

    Revel Moon

    Sep 3, 2012

    Monday Music Break: Ogre Dance

    Happy Labor Day!  I sure have been laboring all weekend long, trying to finish packing, clean up the old house, and finish moving.  We're...not quite done yet, but almost there.  Our landlord has been very generous in giving us until tomorrow to clear out, since the new tenants aren't moving in until next weekend.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I think I'm getting too old for this moving nonsense!  Next time I'm going to spend the extra money and spare myself the exhaustion by hiring a moving company.  Maybe something that would make me giggle (and maybe provide a little eye candy?) like this moving company I spotted behind my office a few weeks ago:

    College Hunks Moving

    Anyway, on to the music break!  I need something lighthearted and fun.  How about the "Ogre Dance" by Frenchy and the Punk?  You may also know this group by their former name, the Gypsy Nomads.  I've seen them perform a number of times at pagan gatherings around the Mid-Atlantic region, including assorted Pagan Pride Days the now-defunct Pagan Band Jam.

    Aug 20, 2012

    Monday Music Break: Sound of the River

    Happy Monday!  I've decided that I need bunny therapy today.  Well, I don't have access to actual bunnies, so I'll have to settle for virtual bunnies, and I'd like to share the love with you.  Here, have a pile of baby bunnies.  Was that a squee I heard?  Of course it was, it's a sea of baby bunnies!!  I feel better already.

    a sea of baby bunnies!
    Today's music break is Tina Malia's "Sound of the River."  I put on the Keep Music Pagan channel on YouTube and this song really vibed with me tonight.  I must still be really in tune with water from my time down the shore.  Even if it mostly a disaster, I did do some kick-ass magick before I left, and I think I'm still grooving off of that.

    Aug 14, 2012

    Happy 1st Blogiversary to Me!!

    Today is marks 1 year since my 1st post on Blogger!  Thank you to all you wonderful people who have been reading my blog and helped me get here :)  Since this blog focuses primarily on pagan music, I am celebrating by posting some of my favorite songs by pagan artists.  Enjoy the pagan music extravaganza!!

    "Storm" by S.J. Tucker:  This became one of my favorite songs the instant I heard it <3

    "Drawing Down the Moon" by Gaia Consort": I love how poetic the lyrics are, and the contrast between the softer verses and the more driving chorus.

    "Wild" by Cassandra Syndrome: This is atypical of their usual operatic metal sound, but it's so deliciously deep and dark and wild and free, I just love it :)

    "The Great Selkie" by Avalon Rising: Traditional song with such a lovely arrangement.  I was introduced to this song many years ago and it's still one of my favorites!  (Sorry, all I have is a link to a sample, but I really wanted to share either this song or "God Walks Among Us," which is completely unavailable online apparently.)

    "I Walk With the Goddess" by Kellianna: I just love this chant - complex enough to be interesting, but not too hard to forget.  And it's fun!

    And that's it for now.  Hope you guys enjoyed all the great music!  Please feel free to continue the blogiversary pagan music extravaganza by linking up to your favorite pagan songs in the comment section :)

    Aug 9, 2012

    Inspiration in Dance

    Dance inspires me so much.  I love to dance, though I have very little training - mostly I just love to move to the beat.  I really, really love to watch others dancing, too, especially trained dancers who do it well.  It's so inspiring, and sometimes churns a spark of creativity within me.  I think that's why I love watching shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Breaking Pointe so much (Allison's ridiculous drama on the latter show notwithstanding).  My favorite styles to watch are ballet, contemporary, and bollywood. 

    I saw this performance on SYTYCD a few weeks ago, danced by Amelia and Will and choreographed by the utterly brilliant Sonya Tayeh.  It brought me to tears, and then it took my breath away.  When it was over I may have also screamed something like "OH MY GOD!!" a few times, and pounded the couch for emphasis.


    Do you have a favorite style to dance, or to watch others dance?  Please share in the comments!

    Aug 2, 2012

    My upcoming 1-year bloggiversary

    My 1st blogiversary* is coming up on August 14th, can you believe that?  I am astounded and blessed that I've gotten through a whole year writing in this blog, finding my voice and what it was I truly wanted to post about, and increasing my followers from 0 to 13 in just 12 months.

    painted turtleRemember when I hit 1000 views in April?  I was ecstatic.  I thought it would take forever to hit another 1000 views but already I am 7 views away from 2000 views! I'm really hoping to hit 2500 views by August 14th - think we can do it?

    I'm still trying to decide how I would like celebrate my blogiversary.  Posting a new (non-Sabbat) chant?  A giveaway?  A pagan music break extravaganza??  I promise to figure it out soon.  I need to get some pretty critical real-life things dealt with first, like finding a place to live come September (Hopefully that happens on Saturday, keep your fingers crossed for me!).

    I hope everyone had a good Lammas, full of fuzzy llamas and funny llamas, but not drama llamas.

    *I actually had to look up how to spell this, because it's not as intuitive as you'd think.  Unfortunately there is no agreement in the blogosphere about 1 g vs. 2.  The exciting life of a writer!

    Aug 1, 2012

    For You (Lammas Song)

    Hey Folks!  As promised, here is my Lammas chant, called "For You (Lammas Song)."  Please enjoy!  As usual, let me know what you think or if you have any problems with the player.

    a very red sunset for Lammas


    This is your Lammas song
    For those of you who danced for the sun
    For those of you who sang in its warmth
    For you who reveled in its light and its heat
    For you I sing this Lammas song

    Gather your community,
    your family, friends, and loved ones
    Pass the basket and the chalice
    and savor the last days of the summer

    Watch the Lughnasadh sun pass over,
    its blessings of the harvest
    a reminder of the winter to come

    So for you who love the summer,
    I sing this Lammas song.

    I know, it's kind of a sad, mournful song.  You should go cheer yourself up by going back to this week's Monday Music Break about Lammas and llamas.

    You are free to share my post and use my chants in ritual - and I would love to know that you do!  But please do not reproduce them in any way without permission.

    Jul 30, 2012

    Happy Llamas!

    Not mine, but the original source on Facebook has been lost to me.

    Lammas is on Wednesday.  I am feeling particularly goofy right now.   And feeling inspired by llamas for Lammas.  Lammas llamas.  Fuzzy Lammas llamas.  And funny Lammas llamas.  Lammas lammas duck?

    Don't hate.  You know you're laughing, and you'll be thanking me later when you realize it's been stuck in your head all day lo... oh.

    Lammas chant coming your way later this week!

    Jul 23, 2012

    Monday Music Break: Vacation edition

    As you know from my quick post last week, I am taking a vacation down the shore this week.  So here's a beachy little ditty that I've always loved - "Kokomo" by the Beach Boys.  Not a pagan artist, but right now I don't care - it's my vacation darnit :)

    Or maybe you prefer the Muppets' version?

    See you all next week!

    Jul 17, 2012

    A quick check in...

    Hey folks!  Things this week are a bit hectic, as I am leaving next week for a week down the Jersey shore (Not that Jersey Shore.  I'll be in Ocean City, which is in south Jersey.)  Vacation, ahoy!  I haven't had a real vacation this long in several years, and I need the break very badly.  I am spending this week getting ready for vacation and making sure all is wrapped up at work, so I'm sorry I missed this week's Monday Music Break.

    I've scheduled a quick post for next Monday morning (hopefully it works - I've heard the scheduler is failing for some people), and will return with lots of photos and videos - and who knows, maybe even a tutorial or two about ocean magick!

    sand pipers!

    Jul 11, 2012

    Another 30 before 31 update

    It's been a few months, and I've knocked a few more things off my 30 before 31 list.  So, I guess that means it's time for another update!

    #6 Get a new primary care physician 
    #7 Get a rheumatologist

    #8 Get back on migraine meds

    After months of hemming and hawing, I finally booked an appointment with a new doc for today.  She's really nice (as are her staff), and everything was very efficient.  Bonus - she's right down the street from my house.  The best part was the lack of waiting - I didn't have to wait months for an appointment, and I barely had to wait to see the doctor (at my last doc, I would typically wait 2-3 hours, even with an appointment.  It was ridiculous and disrespectful of my time.)  New doc and I had a chat about my migraines, and she agreed to put me back on Topomax and fiorocet, with a promise that we would revisit if the fiorocet didn't do its job on my emergent headaches. She also tsk-tsk'd that I didn't have a neurologist.

    She also asked if I had a rheumatologist, which I don't.  I put #7 on my list since I thought it would be helpful, but after chatting with the new doctor and thinking about it, I think I'm not going to pursue it for now.  There wasn't much my last rheumatologist could do, other than prescribe drugs that didn't work and repeat the same old nonsense about exercise.

    stretchy guinea pig
    And one, and two, and streeeetch!

    #17 Look into acupuncture
    I found out my health insurance covers it now.  Score!  Now to find an acupuncturist who is in my network.

    #27 Grow my hair long again
    Well, it's growing.  Slowly.  Right now it's down to about the bottom of my shoulder blades.

    #29 Start an indoor herb garden
    I got a kit for Christmas, and planted it a couple of months ago.  So technically, I started the garden and completed this goal.  Unfortunately I think my talent for killing plants has struck again.  It's looking very, very sad.  The thyme and rosemary are already dead, and the basil is not too far off.  The parsley is doing okay, but I'm not holding out much hope for the long run.
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