[syndicated profile] thewildhunt_feed

Posted by Nathan Hall

The first annual Pagan Music Awards were held this month on June 8, just outside of West Plains, Missouri about two miles off of the Arkansas border. This first-of-its-kind event in recent memory was held at the White Raven Retreat Center.

“The International Pagan Music Association grew out of that station and Sacred Grove radio, International Pagan radio, which are all newer stations that are playing 24/7 this kind of music. We just wanted to help those kind of musicians get recognized so that we could give them some satisfaction and something to hang their hats on that says they are doing a good job,” said Alfred Willowhawk, who sits on the board for White Raven and also serves as the vice president of the International Pagan Music Association (IPMA), which was organized as a nonprofit to put on the Pagan Music Awards.

Willowhawk, himself a DJ on the Cauldron, noted that many of the current IPMA board members are radio personalities on various Pagan streaming radio networks, and with the aid of IPMA president Melissa Anderson, they brought the event to life.

Mama Gina [International Pagan Music Association].

Taking inspiration from other music awards, Willowhawk said they “thought about how to recognize esoteric and Pagan musicians in an environment that is very similar to the American Music Awards, for the purpose of enhancing their reach within the mainstream and Pagan community.”

The association and the awards were created after Anderson got a flash of inspiration from a dream. She says she quickly reached out to several people and within six hours, they had a website.

Part of her love of Pagan music is that it is often better than what you get from mainstream musicians, “they sound better than the ones I hear on TV, and not only that, they sing about things that matter to me,” she said.

Ginger Ackley [International Pagan Music Association].

Couple that passion with how hard she sees Pagan musicians — many of whom are her friends— working, she felt that as a community, more needs to be done more for them.

“These artists book themselves, they are their own roadies, they look for their own places to stay, they do it all. And then they have to show up and smile after driving all day. Some will throw up a tent and sleep on whatever mat they can get and I think that’s just ridiculous that the community can come out and listen to them and that’s it. They download their music from YouTube, we have to get people to understand that they need to get a loaf of bread on their table as well. That’s what IPMA will hopefully do,” she said.

The organization is member-sponsored, granting all members one vote for each of the respective categories. Artists who join are likewise eligible to vote and automatically entered into the competition. Non-artists who pay the yearly fee of $29 can vote and are given complimentary entrance to that year’s Pagan Music Awards. For those who don’t want to join the IPMA but are still interested in casting a vote, they can do so for a $5 fee.

This year there were three professional categories— best male artist, best female artist and best group— as well as a category honoring the hard work of a community member to aid musicians.

Left to right: Mama Gina, best male artist David Wood, best female artist Rowena Whaling, Ginger Ackley [International Pagan Music Association].

Best female artist was won by Rowena Whaling of Rowena of the Glen, best male artist was taken by David Wood, and best group was won by U.K. artists Serpentyne, a symphonic/folk/metal act who were unable to attend.

The “Nine Toes the Bard Community Service Award” is selected by Mama Gina Lamonte (aka Nine Toes the Bard) who recognized Amanda Bell of St. Louis, Missouri.

Lamonte said that Bell “had been wrangling Pagan musicians/bands for the St. Louis Pagan Picnic when I met her, and I have witnessed firsthand her opening her home, her heart, and quite often her pocketbook, to help musicians as they travel through her area.” She further said that Bell has been a tireless promoter of Pagan music at local venues, and in her own back yard.

“My hope as the Pagan Music Awards grow each year is to raise up someone who is not necessarily one of our big name Pagans, though they are certainly deserving. Rather, I hope to recognize those who serve our community who aren’t always seen regionally, nationally or internationally. Next year’s award will likely go to someone who serves community in a very different way,” Lamonte said.

“I didn’t expect to win, it was a great honor to be nominated by the committee and as much of a surprise as winning,” Whaling said. She added that it’s important to see an awards ceremony for the Pagan community come together because it helps lend a sense of legitimacy and can aid musicians in bringing more Pagan music into the mainstream.

Wood agreed, saying, “it is important to honor the hard work of Pagan musicians and their dedication to the community.” While people rarely think twice about paying for books, he said he feels that people “rarely spend a dollar for their favorite Pagan music download that comes from the heart and soul just as well. There are plenty of our communities’ artists on many Pagan radio stations worthy of recognition. The IPMAs really are about bringing Pagan music to a level of equality in the community.”

Wood went on to say that he was humbled to be among such artists as Bran Cerddorion and Jack Montgomery. “I didn’t expect to win, but love that my fans voted for me. I want to thank them, especially,” he added.

Left to right: Sue Balaschak, David Wood, Gina Lamonte [International Pagan Music Association].

There were some impromptu pre-show performances that Whaling said turned out to be a wonderful addition to the show. Ember from Rowena of the Glen performed with Sue Balaschak of Burning Sage, and there were also performances by Wood, Whaling and Ginger Ackley.

As to the future, Anderson says that it’s going to be a yearly thing. They are committed to moving the awards ceremony around to a new location each year so that it’s more accessible to different people. There was some talk about combining it with existing festivals, but the logistics of doing so are complicated and ultimately they decided against it because “it just puts a lot more on the (existing) festival.”

While they’re kicking around ideas for where it will be held in 2018, Willowhawk said the final decision wouldn’t be made until their November board meeting.

Both Willowhawk and Anderson expressed their satisfaction with the awards. “For the first year, I feel like it did better than I would have imagined,” Anderson said.

* * *

The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Conversation between me and Krissy yesterday:

Me: With all this bullshit around health care, and the possibility of pre-existing conditions and insurance caps coming back, we should probably look into supplemental insurance.

Krissy: I got us supplemental insurance years ago.

Me: You did?

Krissy: Yes. I even have policies for very specific things.

Me: Like what?

Krissy: I have an insurance policy on your hands.

Me: My hands?

Krissy: You’re a writer. You use your hands. If something happens to your hands, it’s a problem. We’ll need to pay for someone for you to dictate to.

Me: You’ve insured my hands.

Krissy: Yes.

Me: I’m not going to lie. That’s literally the sexiest thing you’ve said to me this whole damn month.


[syndicated profile] grrm_feed

Posted by George R.R. Martin

Here's some cool news for the fans of my Thousand Worlds stories... y'know, the science fiction that I wrote way back when, long before I thought of GAME OF THRONES.

The SyFy Channel has just greenlit the pilot for a proposed NIGHTFLYERS series, based on my 1980 Hugo-losing novella, one of my SF/ horror hybrids.

Details can be found here (and in lots of other places on the web):

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/george-rr-martins-nightflyers-picked-up-pilot-at-syfy-1016296

Since I'm exclusive to HBO, I can't be part of the NIGHTFLYERS development, but I wish them well. The novella was a favorite of mine (especially the longer version that I did for BINARY STARS), and I think the show could have a lot of potential... especially if you like a little horror in your SF.

If it looks as good as THE EXPANSE, by my pal Jimmy Corey...

(That pic up above is me and Parris at Denvention II, by the way, the night that "Nightflyers" lost the Hugo to Gordy Dickson).
[syndicated profile] thewildhunt_feed

Posted by Karl E. H. Seigfried

The Troth held its 30th annual Trothmoot at Crowder State Park in Missouri from Thursday, June 1 through Sunday, June 4. To provide members in different regions equal opportunity to attend, the international Ásatrú and Heathen organization rotates the location of the gathering between western, midwestern, and eastern regions. This year, attendees arrived from 13 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, with Illinois and Washington making the strongest showings.

On Thursday afternoon, attendees performed a blót to the god Tyr. The central ritual of Heathenry, blót is focused on the making of offerings to gods, goddesses, land spirits, and other figures. To open Trothmoot, participants honored the god described as presiding over community gatherings in the organization’s monumental text Our Troth, Volume One: History and Lore:

Tyr simply established a framework for managing the struggles and conflicts inherent in any community such that the community, rather than being torn apart, emerged stronger. To call Tyr, therefore, a god of right, after the German Recht, would come nearer to the truth, although perhaps the most accurate term would be Þing-god, after the institution with which Tyr was most closely identified in later Heathen times.

The Troth flag flies over Trothmoot [Lisa Cowley Morgenstern].

Robert L. Schreiwer, beginning his second year as Troth steer (roughly equivalent to chairperson of board of directors), led both the blót and a ceremonial “land-taking.” He explains the significance of the rituals:

We followed the Troth’s traditions of honoring Tyr in blót and asking for his aid in maintaining the fellowship and frith [“peace”] of our community. Traditionally, we use a spear and a glove both as his hallowing tools and to represent the establishment of the frithstead and of a vé [“shrine”] to Tyr. We located the shrine by a flagpole and raised the Troth banner as an announcement of the taking of the land by the Troth.

We then walk the entire premises that we will utilize for our business meetings, rituals, workshops, and fellowship and honor the land wights in each of the cardinal directions, moving in a clockwise circle. This year we also stopped and hailed other deities along the route, particularly when we came across plants that bear an association with one in particular. For example, we hailed Thor at an oak tree and Holle at an elderberry bush.

On Sunday, we walked the same route counterclockwise, honored Tyr and other deities in a closing rite, disassembled the shrine, and took down the banner.

In one of the buildings of the campsite, members also set up individual shrines to Odin, Frigg, Holle, the Matronae, and several others.

Thursday night featured a presentation on “Speakers to the Dead” by Alvilldr in fägra, author of Sheathenry, Volume I: Ritual Practices of Modern Heathen Women. When I asked her to explain her work, she said,

Whether they study their genealogy, construct ancestor shrines where they give offerings, follow a predecessor’s career path, or visit the graves of their forebears to commune with the dead, Heathen women endeavor to create or continue relationships with their relatives who have gone to the afterlife.

This presentation utilized the voice recordings of many of the women I interviewed for my book in order for the audience to hear how various Heathen women honor their ancestors in their own voices.

Ben Waggoner, the organization’s shope (publications director), discussed the “Germanic Night Sky” late Thursday night. He explained names of specific stars and constellations in various Northern European societies and stated that “the shope will someday publish [his research] as a book, once he gets everything else out of the way, which is not likely to happen soon, so don’t hold your breath.” A lot of people — Heathen and not — are interested in learning more about Germanic star lore, so hopefully he will be able to publish some form of his work sooner rather than later.

Waggoner also presented an introduction to Old Norse language on Friday morning, preceded by Schreiwer’s introduction to Urglaawe, which the Troth steer defines — in his Dictionary of Urglaawe Terminology, written with Ammerili Eckhart — as “a Heathen path that is derived from the living, pre-Christian traditions of the Deitsch [Pennsylvania German] nation.”

During the rede (board) meeting on Thursday night and during the general business meeting on Saturday morning, several officers swore new or renewed oaths regarding their official roles. Last fall, the Troth amended the oath taken by all titled representatives so that it would to be more closely “aligned with the Troth’s mission and stated positions.” Reaffirming the organization’s commitment to inclusive Heathenry, the new passage in the relatively length oath reads:

With the Troth I stand against any use of Germanic religion and culture to advance causes of racism, sexism, homophobia, white supremacy, ableism, or any other form of prejudice.

Rede members renew oaths: Amanda T. Leigh-Hawkins, Lagaria Farmer, John T. Mainer, Robert L. Schreiwer [Lisa Cowley Morgenstern].

Lonnie Scott — the Troth’s Illinois steward, a member of Thor’s Oak Kindred in Chicago, and now a member of the Rede — was one of those who publicly made the oath. He explains the personal significance of the act:

I didn’t know if I won a seat on the High Rede until the first evening of Trothmoot. I felt the weight of history associated with those who’ve held this office and the organization itself. It was a welcome feeling. I knew I would take my oath of office, and since I had only made a written oath as Steward, I knew I would speak my oath for that as well.

I stood in the Hall surrounded by members of the Troth as I grabbed the Troth oath ring. The High Steward and the Steer held the Ring as well. Each took a turn repeating the Troth’s officer oath that I spoke in return. That moment is one of the proudest achievements of my life that I shall never forget.

On Friday night, Winifred Hodge-Rose led a walk through a large maze that was constructed to represent the journey to Mimir’s Well of Wisdom at its center. Jamie Juliansdatter describes the experience of walking the maze:

Intentionally moving into the maze was an unexpected gift. It was both a shared experience in community and an individual journey that was perfectly orchestrated by Winfred Hodge-Rose and kindred members.

Participating in the maze (and Trothmoot) gave me permission I rarely give myself in the midst of so many mundane commitments – the permission to slow way down, enter into sacred space according to my own rhythm, and listen deeply for much needed wisdom.

The maze was an opportunity to connect and reflect, as well as a reminder that I need these experiences much more often than I get.

Late the same night, Diana L. Paxson led a ritual of “Spae (Oracular Seiðr),” which she calls “Germanic oracular practice” on her website, Seeing for the People: High Seat Seið and the Core Oracular Method. Trothmoot programmer Lorrie Wood describes Friday’s rite:

Every year on Friday night of Trothmoot, Diana reaches out to the local and regional Heathen community, and asks them to help her put on her oracular ritual. Here, attendees of the moot are encouraged to bring their most important questions, and the seers answer them.

Without tools, but as the result of talent, skill, and training, answers are direct and immediate, although there’s often Heathen imagery involved in an answer. Sometimes a question is asked directly of an ancestor or a god, and the seer will get their point of view of the answer, if possible.

Throughout the day on Saturday, Rosten (Dean Michael Rose) led a forge demonstration and helped interested people make Thor’s hammers and other objects of pewter. He reflects on his work:

So far as I can remember, I have nearly always showed up to Trothmoot with a forge. It is an activity that many find interesting, and some are even eager to give it a try! Usually there are a few that leave the gathering with a new skill.

In this line of work, one learns quite a bit as creations “whoosh up” in a communal setting. I brought a variety of tools and a few ideas but left it to the folk to actualize their ideas. I had not done much with the white metal before, but we all had fun, and a number of interesting works resulted. I left with more ideas than I came with.

This moot was different in that I did very little forging. However, a couple of members were busy at the fire, so the opportunity was theirs for the taking! It was a friendly crowd, so I was able to be a bit more relaxed leaving tools lying around.

Paxson led a blót to the goddess Idunn on Saturday afternoon. Attendees had been asked to bring water from their home regions to add to a bowl of “the waters of the world.” When each person or group’s turn came, they walked forward, explained where they had collected the water – stream, lake, well – and added it to the bowl. Schreiwer added water preserved from the Idunna blót of last year’s Trothmoot, and Paxson poured the water on the roots of the oak tree that stood over the main meeting area.

Diana L. Paxson prepares to pour the waters of the world on the roots of the oak tree [Karl E. H. Seigfried].

When the blót had been completed, Rede member and Communications Officer John T. Mainer officiated at the wedding of Kentucky steward Amy Kincheloe and Ethan Dunbar in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by trees in the campground’s amphitheater. The married couple has decided to combine their last names into a new family surname of Dunloe.

After the final feast prepared by Tanya Peterson and her staff of volunteers, the entire group met for the grand sumbel. In A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru, former Troth steer Patricia M. Lafayllve defines sumbel as “a ritualized drinking ceremony which is meant to strengthen bonds within a community.” Two large drinking horns — providing a choice of mead or apple juice — were passed around the assembled participants. In the first round, each member hailed a god or goddess by giving a short or long speech and drinking from the horn. In the second round, ancestors or other departed individuals were hailed. The third round was open to whatever the participants chose to address.

Robert L. Schreiwer (center) opens the grand sumbel, with Lisa Cowley Morgenstern (left) and Lagaria Farmer (right) [Karl E. H. Seigfried].

Trothmoots have notoriously had defining conflicts. This year was no exception. During the sumbel, one longtime member gave a passionate and heartfelt speech in strong opposition to current organization rules on oaths made during the rite, insisting that oaths should be allowed in front of the assembly without being first discussed with the Rede. He was opposed by the fiercely determined guest of another Troth member, who asserted that witnessing oaths made by those outside of one’s own worship group would necessarily have a negative effect on the individual, and who insisted on walking out of the building to avoid hearing any oaths made. Schreiwer, possessed of an impressive ability to lower tempers while hearing all sides, was roundly applauded for his quick-witted resolution of the conflict. In relation to past blowups at Trothmoot, this was relatively painless.

Several attendees told me that attendance was noticeably down from previous years. In 2016, there were nearly two dozen more participants, and some earlier Trothmoots have had nearly three times as many attendees. Given that there has been a steady increase of new memberships in the organization, Wood suggests that the lower numbers this year may be due to a lack of current members in the midwestern region. She says that this year’s location was deliberately chosen to build a stronger presence in the area: “Trothmoot hasn’t been held in the Midwest since 2010, but as a committee we felt it imperative to hold the moot there to help grow our membership in that part of the country.”

Members of the Trothmoot planning committee are already looking at locations near Baltimore, Nashville, and Philadelphia as possible sites for next year’s event. There was a feeling among some members that, after many years of Trothmoots held at campgrounds, it might be nice to finally meet somewhere with a swimming pool and air conditioning.

* * *

The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.

PW reviews Penric's Mission

24 June 2017 08:37
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
Of the Subterranean Press hardcover; I don't think they cover many e-books. May be seen here:

https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-...

A Publishers Weekly review is, or was (probably still is), considered rather a coup for an aspiring writer. I remember how excited my agent was for my first one; she mailed me a clipping, which should give you an idea how many years ago.

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on June, 24
[syndicated profile] daily_otter_feed

Posted by Daily Otter

Sea Otter Does Some Grooming on the Beach

Via Tom Coates, who writes:

I went to Moss Landing, as I often do when I'm down that part of the coast, because you can see Sea Otters from the beach park. Unusually this time though, one of the otters was on the beach and I managed to take this photo from a little cliff above them. I needed a decent size zoom and I cropped the picture quite a lot to get it. I made sure not to disturb the otter.

Yesterday

24 June 2017 09:26
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
Had one of those "feel like I didn't do anything" days yesterday but I did loads of stuff.

I think I felt like that because I did spend the morning in my pajamas wasting time on Twitter. But also, I was fielding comments on a Lib Dem Voice article introducing our new group, Lib Dem Immigrants (which I am super excited about). Unfortunately, anything about immigration attracts some trolls, even if it's as innocuous as "here's a new internal party body" (I did like that we also got a comment saying "we waste too much time on internal party shit!"). I found this set of comments dismaying for an interesting new kind of separating the wheat-from-the-chaff approach to immigration: even the people telling me they want to end freedom of movement and other such things tell me that they support me having rights, and right away, because I married a British citizen. Hm.

Anyway, I eventually made myself do a bit of tidying, sort out the room booking for Plus's AGM at Autumn Conference (which I don't know if I'll be able to go to because I can't afford accommodation, which is making me very sad), call up our soon-to-be-ex-home-insurance-company which gosh that phone call made me glad of because it was agonizing, get a Plus parcel ready to post and send it off, go to the shops to buy boring things like a light bulb, stand precariously on a too-short ladder to replace the light bulb, go see my friend Katie for a couple of hours, come back via a different shop to buy dog poo bags which we were suddenly out of, and watch Lego Batman with Andrew which we'd been trying to find time and energy for all week.

That is an okay day. I didn't do all the things I wanted to do, but I did a lot of good things.

Today I'm going to see fictive-nephew (who's almost eight already, how is that even possible) in some local am-dram production, and then Games Night has restarted so I get to see my Brighouse people twice in three days! This should be a good day too.

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