Oct 292010

As the veil gets thinner, the voices of our ancestors get stronger and stronger.  Now is a good time to remember and honor our spiritual ancestors, those who blazed the trail we currently walk.  They were teachers, guides, and innovators.  A few were charming eccentrics.  Some were all of these things and more.

In this second part of a series, I offer links to a collection of pagan podcasts that bring you the wisdom, and sometimes the voices, of those who have crossed over.  May their wisdom continue to blossom within us.

Isaac Bonewits passed away only recently, and his voice is available on two podcasts that I am aware of.  You can hear him discuss ritual structure on Druidcast’s Episode 20.

Bonewits was a lively speaker and a creative nonconformist.  He was, for example, probably the only person who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in magick from an accredited university.  His wily, humorous nature is on full display in Episode 18 of Standing Stone and Garden Gate, where he gives a detailed, entertaining talk on magickal ethics – and it may have been the last lecture he ever gave.

Velma Nightshade also paid tribute to Bonewits in Episode 24 of her excellent show, Witchesbrewhaha.  Also in that episode, Velma takes on the topic of dying responsibly – an appropriate topic for this time of year.

Episodes 6 and 7 of Druidcast feature OBOD’s chief, Philip Carr-Gomm, discussing the life of his friend and mentor, OBOD founder and neo-pagan pioneer Ross Nichols.  Also on Druidcast, host Damh the Bard reads his unofficial biography of the Horned God in Episode 28.  This may not count as a departed ancestor, but the biography does explore the legend of the God’s suppression and slandering by the Church, so I’ll call that a kind of death.

The best resource for a detailed education on our spiritual ancestors is The Infinite and the Beyond, hosted by Christopher Orapello.  One of the regular features on the show is a segment called “A Corner in the Occult.”  In this segment, Orapello presents detailed research into a leading figure in occult history.  The segments are scholarly in nature, presenting as many facts as possible without analysis.

Orapello does an excellent job linking together the various facets of each individual’s life from a large number of (probably spotty) sources.  Some are household names, others are mostly known for their Chocolate Frog cards in Harry PotterThe Infinite and the Beyond is, without a doubt, the best place for a quick education on the men and women who laid the groundwork for modern paganism.

The occult figures who have been featured so far are:

Episode 1: Aleister Crowley

Episode 2: Baphomet

Episode 3: Eliphas Levi

Episode 5: Samuel Liddell Macgregor Mathers

Episode 6: The Golden Dawn

Episode 7: Hermes Trismegistus

Episode 9: Gerald Gardner

Episode 10: Dr. John Dee and Sir Edward Kelley (the topic of Episode 10 is “Death and Necromancy”- another good reason to listen to it this time of year)

Episode 11: Carl Jung

Episode 12: Madame Helena Blavatsky

Episode 13: Dion Fortune

Episode 14: Nicolas Flamel

Episode 15: Cornelius Agrippa

Episode 16: Father Giordano Bruno

Also in Episode 16 is an interesting audio montage featuring the recorded voices of occult figures, including Crowley and Gardner.

May the voices of the ancestors bless you this Samhain.

Oct 242010

Samhain is such a reflective time of year.  As the days darken and the weather chills, we often look back with fondness on the summer that has passed.  Just as the secular new year brings a measure of wistfulness as we look back at all we have gained and lost, so the witch’s new year brings a sense of pensiveness even in the midst of celebration.

At this time we honor our elders, both those who have passed on and those who remain with us as teachers, guides, and friends.  Whether they are still with us or not, their wisdom lives on within all who are inspired by their works.

For such a new form of religion, modern paganism benefits from an impressive wealth of elders.  The world of pagan podcasting has amassed an extremely impressive collection of interviews with living elders as well as detailed lessons about those who have crossed the veil.  Listening to them is a wonderful way to reconnect with the experience of those  so valuable to our community.

In this spirit, I offer this first (longer) installment 0f links to pagan podcasts that feature the teachings of our living elders.  Part II will offer links to those who have passed on.

Elemental Castings, hosted by well known Pagan author and teacher T. Thorn Coyle, is a gold mine of the wisdom of living elders.   Most episodes, especially the early ones, are interviews with important people within the modern pagan movement.  She also records and broadcasts panel discussions in which star-studded lineups discuss challenging topics together.  Here are some of her best offerings:

Episode 4: A conversation with author Ellen Dugan on magickal gardening.

Episode 10: A panel discussion on duality and polytheism with Diana Paxson, Lon Milo Duquette, Christopher Penczak, and Ivo Dominguez, Jr.

Episode 12: R.J. Stewart discusses inspiration and the Bardic path.

Episode 15: J0hn Michael Greer on the Earth and geomancy.

Episode 16: M. Macha NightMare on community and spirit.

Episode 17: Selena Fox discusses civil liberties.

Episode 19: A panel discussion featuring Margot Adler, Chas Clifton, Gavin and Yvonne Frost, and Lydia Crabtree.

Episode 27: Patrick McCollum talks about community, learning, and teaching.

Episode 29: An excellent round table discussion entitled “Earth Based: Are we really?” with Diana Paxson, Z. Budapest, Orion Foxwood, and Lon Milo Duquette.

Episode 33: Another round table, this time on pagan leadership.  The participants are: Patrick McCollum, Cynthea Jones, Selena Fox, and River Higginbotham.

Episode 34: Ivo Dominguez, Jr. on discarnate entities and spirituality.

The Wigglian Way has recently begun interviewing notable elders.

Episode 64 includes valuable advice on practicing a mature spiritual path form elder Fritz Muntean while Episode 65 includes both “Uncle Fritz “and Louise Bunn discussing suggested advanced reading for “Wicca 202.”

Episode 70 includes a wonderful interview with the extremely  knowledgeable author, elder, and coven leader Judy Harrow.

In Episode 73, Mojo interviews Alexandrian elder Jimahl DiFiosa, author of a number of books, including one that describes his experiences channeling the spirit of Alex Sanders.

In Episode 15 of Standing Stone and Garden Gate, Brendan and Juni have a  long discussion with new Archdruid of ADF, Rev. Kirk Thomas while Episode 19 includes a wonderful and frank talk with Gavin and Yvonne Frost.

Druidcast, the podcast of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids includes multiple episodes in which the Philip Carr-Gomm, Chosen Chief of the Order, offers detailed discussions on a wealth of magickal and spiritual topics.  For a special treat, check out historian Ronald Hutton’s lecture on the history of the Horned God in Episode 4, if only for the distinguished professor’s impassioned, homoerotic reading of Crowley’s “Hymn to Pan.”

If your path includes a left-handed angle, or you have an open mind to explore the darker side of magick and religion, you will be fascinated by KHPR’s interview with Temple of Set founder Dr. Michael Aquino in Episode 3.

Finally, Episode 2 of CUUPs Bulletin, the podcast arm of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans,  offers a long talk given by Drawing Down the Moon author and NPR correspondent Margot Adler.

As Samhan approaches, may you seek and learn from the woderful living teachers we have available to us.  In the next part, we will focus on elders who have joined the mighty dead.