Monday, January 18, 2010

A History of Pagan Music

Hi! We’re Tegwedd ShadowDancer and DruidMaster. We’re really happy to be on PRN.
We’ve been on for three months since we were reinstated. The music is just beautiful. I especially liked the Volva songs by Kari Tauring. I happen to be half Norwegian, so the Norse tradition really calls to my blood. I lean more towards the Vanir than the Aesir, however. I love that Freyja is the Goddess of fertility, love, and Witchcraft. We had lost our accounts back when everyone had to redo theirs. But that’s in the past. Both Stephen and I would be glad to hear from Lew. Please contact us when you can. Stephen’s phone # is 916-455-2267 cell is 916-612-2504 and email is My email is One neat thing (there are so many) about Freyja is that she is a cat Goddess. Her chariot is drawn by cats. The dwarves bequeathed the magickal necklace Brisingamen. The dwarves bestowed on Her some of their magick so She’d have access to them. Because of what was bestowed upon Her Freyja is now a patroness of the dwarven race. Stephen recommends that you read the book Brisingamen by Diana L. Paxson. If it’s not too much trouble, please play more Celtic music such as Horslips (whom Stephen worked with), the Chieftains, etc. If anyone’s interested, Horslips’ music can be found on YouTude with video, and on Rhapsody. That’s where I got mine. Also you can find it on their official website To make sure, Google it. There’s at least 8 Horslips videos on YouTube. Stephen was a personal friend of the band from the mid 70s to the early 80s, but lost contact with them. He would like to get in contact with them. For the most part Horslips’ music has a strong Pagan flavor to it. Some members of the band such as Jim Lockhart called him the band’s Druid. Stephen even had a birthday party for Jim Lockhart. Jim was in the Bay Area and said “It’s my birthday. Why don’t you invite a few friends over? “ Stephen did and over 100 people showed up. Jim thanked Stephen on no uncertain terms for the spontaneous birthday party. Many local Pagan musicians came to this party, as well as people who loved Horslips’ music. Some of these musicians actually garnered some fame, such as Gwydion Penderwyn, who unfortunately passed into the Summerland in 1982. Gwydion would later record Songs for the Old Religion and the Faerie Shaman. Gwydion and Jim hit it off big time, and loved to jam together into the wee hours. Stephen worked with them, and wanted to go to a concert they were holding in the Bay Area, but was felled by a serious asthma attack, and had to go to the hospital in Oakland. Horslips dedicated one of their most famous songs to Stephen. The work Stephen did for Horslips was he promoted them, networked for them (before the day of the Internet) and in some cases sold their recorded music. Stephen is so inspired talking about this that when this post is finished, he’s going to reconnect with the band, especially Jim Lockhart on their website.

Gwydion worked with Stephen for several years, and put on at least 2 major Pagan events: the Witches’ Ball with Starhawk and the Midsummer Pagan festival with Steve Godlstone and Bill Coleus. They were very close buds. They also shared several interested: Welsh or Cymric myth, legend and magick, and bardic music. The Witches Ball took place at the haunted Finnish Hall in the Berkeley wharf area. The Witches Ball was a rousing success which inspired them to put on the Midsummer Pagan Festival in Big Trees Meadow in the Oakland Hills. There was a huge after ball party at Stephen’s Orcland (Oakland) house, the site of the aforementioned birthday party. As it was with the birthday party, many other Pagan musicians jammed with Gwydion until the wee hours. Soon after this party, Stephen, Gwydion, Bill Coleus, and Steve Goldstone started working on putting on the Midsummer Pagan Festival. It was decided that Stephen should call Jim Lockhart in Ireland to invite Horslips to play. They worked on the festival for a goodly amount of time then got a call from Jim expressing his regret that the band had broken up and wouldn’t be able to play the festival. This sad news was tempered when Brigit, Goddess of bards smiled upon them and another group stepped in to replace Horslips. The band was Emerald Web. Emerald Web was Bob Stole and his wife Cat Apple, synthesizer and flute. Bob died in the early 80s. Emerald Web’s music enchanted the people at the festival, and Stephen started working for them as he had with Horslips. One attendee came up to Stephen and raved about how much he loved Emerald Web. The man had long hair with a red bandana. With the mist falling from the sky, he felt as he danced as though he were in a faery circle, and that the sidh approved of what they were doing. They had over 600 attendees to the festival, and there were many other musicians besides Emerald Web. Stephen worked with Emerald Web for over 9 years, until the death of Bob Stole, and with his death, Emerald Web. Bob drowned in Carl Sagan’s swimming pool in Florida, a very strange death. Bob Sole and Cat Apple were what we call Pagan sympathizers. Their background was more Eastern, and were both martial artists, but they had very strong ties with the Pagan and so-called “New Age” communities. (Isaac always said that the difference between Pagan and New Age is several decimal spaces to the left of the decimal point) Neither Bob nor Cat liked the term “New Age”, They saw themselves as innovators, and didn’t like to be thus pigeonholed. The one concert that was very popular was the one they did at the Planetarium in San Francisco with the laser lights. Stephen said it was awesome. They also did it at the Oakland planetarium. Stephen sold their music, sold their albums, and accompanied them to numerous gatherings and parties. Stephen worked with many other bands which Bob and Cat turned him on to, chief among which was Ancient Future, which is still going strong today. Another musical group Stephen worked with during this time was Geist, the husband and wife team of Diana Stork and Teed Rockwell. He continued doing this kind of work up until 1992 or 93 when he lost contact with these wonderful bands Now all he has left are his memories and their music on cassette and vinyl, nothing on CD. Since he has a long standing account with Rhapsody, he may be able to get some of this music on Rhapsody. He would love to see Emerald Web, Gwydion, Ancient Future, Horslips, and Geist on the Pagan Radio Network. So Lew, if you are reading this, please know that if he can be instrumental in bringing this music to PRN, please call or email him so you two can set something up. This music deserves to be heard again, Lew, so that a new generation pf Pagans and Pag-symps can appreciate the hard work these people did. May this be done if only for the memory of Gwydion and Bob Stole. His number again is 916-455-2267. Stephen encourages fellow music enthusiasts to call him and talk about the music. .


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