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
    Source: kellianna.com

    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.
    Source: www.solasmusic.com
    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!

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