Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Clincher – a surprise in metal

I do love to go to festivals. Pagan festivals. Gay Pride Festivals. Just about any kind of festival is full of fun and excitement. A couple of weeks ago I went to Star City Pride in Lincoln, NE. I was there representing KZUM radio and Lavender Hill. Like many festivals that one might attend, there was live music and performers on the  main stage. Drag queen and kings, live vocalists and all  manner of performances and speakers were up on that stage. One of those performers was an Omaha, NE based metal band called The Clincher.

The Clincher

I’m not a huge fan of heavy metal, but I do like some bands. The Clincher is turning out to be one of those bands. Female fronted (lesbian lead vocalist) and comprised mostly of women from the Omaha area, this band has a sound that is distinctly metal, but definitely their own. I’m just trying to figure out how I managed to not hear of them before Star City Pride 2013.

The women (I almost said gals, but thought better of it) of The Clincher were over at the Pride booth after their stage performance to meet with fans, giveaway CDs and other swag. I wondered over there and had a brief little chat with them. Not the easiest thing in the world to do with another live performance on stage and being right across from that stage and its speakers. But we did have a little time to visit. They gave me a copy of their 2009 The Clincher - The Sickness is Evolvingrelease “The Sickness is Evolving“. They have three other CDs available: “Blood on the Moon”, ” Devil Scense and Beauty Queens” and their self-titled “The Clincher”. I just might have to add these other CDs to my collection.

If you aren’t a fan of metal it is hard to describe and grasp The Clincher. Like most metal they have some lines in the songs that are “screamed” into the mic or sent through a voice processor that almost blurs the lyrics. Unlike some of the metal I have tried to listen, The Clincher does have lyrics that are easy to understand.  Believe it or not, many of their songs are songs of love, life, and joy. Hard to understand when you are hearing screeching sounds and heavy bass. I do encourage you to give it a try if you are looking to expand your listening horizons.

The song “Imperfect Form” is my favorite from “Sickness” and will be featured on an upcoming edition of Lavender Hill.  The lyrics talk about the beauty of each individual, the beauty that is underneath the surface. “You are beautiful in your own way….let the rain fall down on that beautiful imperfect form….wash away the pain reveal what lies within….”

Just goes to show, you should listen to the lyrics of a song. Even if the music is not your usual style, take a deeper listen to the words.

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Spiritual Scents by Shauna Aura Knight

spiritual scentsIt’s been a little while since I reviewed a book on here, let alone a metaphysically related book. Spiritual Scents: Creative Use of Scent and Fire in Ritual by Shauna Aura Knight is a good place to start anew. A somewhat short and easy to read ebook put out by Jupiter Gardens Press, Spiritual Scents is a must read for ritualists and ritual facilitators. I don’t say that lightly.

I’ve known Shauna for a few years and have been reading her blog posts on her own page, Pagan Activist (her most recent posting) and sometimes over on Global Goddess as often as I can. She’s a rather outspoken individual who is not afraid to voice her opinion. She’s also a sometimes-podcaster. She used to be a host on Pagans Tonight and has been a frequent guest on the Pagan-Musings Podcast Channel, most recently on Pagan Weekly News to talk about this very book.

Shauna Aura Knight

Shauna Aura Knight

Shauna Aura Knight is a priestess, teacher, ritualist (and ritual facilitator), artist, blogger and author from the Chicago area. Along with this first release from her, she is working on a longer ritual text and a series of paranormal romance. I’m looking forward to reading all of her forth coming publications.

Spiritual Scents, like I said, is a short read. But it is full of useful information. A lot of things I had thought about. The first focus of the book is on the use of scent in ritual. Shauna, like many people, is sensitive to heavy scents. She uses the example of a ritual she intended where they used a smoldering sage stick to smudge everyone (60 or more people) and had a heavy perfumed incense burning on the central altar for the entire ritual. One can well imagine, allergy/sensitivity or not, that would be a powerfully strong odor in an enclosed space. What alternatives could the ritual facilitator used in that ritual? That’s one of the questions that Shauna answers in her book.

Without giving too much of the book away, I’ll give you a partial answer to that question. 1. The facilitator could have used sound or water to purify the participants. 2. The facilitator could have used a simmer pot with a light scent on the altar. 3. The facilitator could have encouraged the participants to smudge out doors as they entered the site of the ritual. 4. (And most importantly.) The facilitator should have been aware of the impact of such a strong scent in an enclosed space and been prepared for any sensitivities or allergies.

The second focus of Shauna’s book is on the use of fire in ritual. Along with common sense fire safety, she discusses alternatives to the use of bonfires, contained indoor fires (“cauldron fire”), and candles. Many of us are fans of fire. It attracts the attention, helps to put us into a trance state, warms the body and the soul, and reminds of good things. But what about those that it does not hold fond memories for? What about those that are sensitive to the source material for the fire (certain woods, charcoal, etc)? As you wold imagine with the scent topic of the book, she also discusses scented candles in this portion of the book.

I don’t want to reveal it all. I’d rather you go and get a copy of the book for yourself. You can purchase directly through Jupiter Gardens Press as well as find the Kindle edition at Amazon.com.

Just remember, one should always be aware of the proximity of their flowing robes to the source of the flame.

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The Tribe – Tuatha Dea

the tribe - tuatha deaEarlier this year, the drumming and singing family from Gatlinburg, TN known as Tuatha Dea released their latest album called The Tribe. This CD is a tribal effort (pun intended) by Tuatha Dea, Celia, Spiral Rhythm, Murphey’s Midnight Rounders, Damh the Bard and Wendy Rule. When all these talented musicians get together to do an album you know it is going to be something amazing.

I had the pleasure of seeing Tuatha Dea on stage at Heartland Pagan Festival at Camp Gaea over Memorial Weekend. They played music from all their CDs plus a piece or two that aren’t or won’t be on a CD – including their cover of “Sympathy for the Devil”. They began their concert with “The Hunt” (their quarter calling song), substituting Dragons for the quarters,  and ended with “Mishiamagu”, everything in between was just awesome and got people up and dancing, stomping their feet, clapping their hands and just having a great time. My only regrets about the concert, I had left my camera in my tent and I didn’t yet have their CDs in my collection for autographs.

I was working the gate at Heartland the afternoon that Tuatha Dea arrived on site. Which means that I got to meet them first thing upon their arrival. I got the chance to visit with the band at the musicians tent and after the concert. The best thing they did, other than the concert, was host children’s workshops – drums, chants, songs and fun!

Wendy Rule lends her talented voice to the first track on the CD, “Aradia”. Matching her ethereal voice to the rhythms and sounds of Tuatha Dea, you are introduced to the legendary and mythic figure of Aradia, queen of witches. Spiral Rhythm treats you to a combination of their musical and vocal sounds with that of Tuatha Dea in “Akasha”, “Khawuleza”, and “The Landing/Tuatha de Danaan”. Damh the Bard lends his Druidic power to “The Handfasting”. Celia changes course from her live looping and uses her voice to take you on a Native American journey with “Mishiamagu”. Minnesota’s Murphey’s Midnight Rounders (the headline act along with Wendy Rule from Heartland 2012) mix things up with a radio channel hopping in “Hypocritical Mass”.

Tuatha Dea has a special treat for listeners with their stupendous cover of Jefferon Airplane’s “White Rabbit”. Using their intense drumming, didge, and vocals, they create their own take on the classic rock song. One that you will have stuck in your head and like it!

The final track to the CD probably should have been the first track, “The Blessing”. In this piece they bless the drums, the hands that touch them, they bless the voices and the bodies that house them. “The Blessing” is wonderful addition to the album and would fit well, with minor adjustments, into any musically inclined ritual group.

Tuatha Dea took the idea behind The Tribe and ran with it. They have created a website for networking with Pagans from all walks of life. The Tribe Online features musicians, podcasters, bloggers, authors, and more. On the site you can get links to these talented Pagans and their current projects, concert and workshop schedules, podcast feeds and authors’ pages. Well worth the visit!

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