a song of praise or triumph.
a thing that expresses enthusiastic praise.
Let me start out by saying that I’ve always been a fan of conversational radio styles. I grew up listening to sports commentators, NPR programs and WGN radio on the long trips we would have to take to go get groceries, or do anything else for that matter, because we lived so deeply in the country. It was both a way to kill the boredom of long trips and a lifeline to a larger world. When I was a kid my hometown had just around 1000 people in it and was a good thirty minutes away from the nearest anything-to-do. So when you hear about things that are happening out in the world, it’s exotic, even if it’s only happening three hours away in Chicago. Radio programs, more than the flash and bang of television programs that only skirted the surface of topics. And before you ask, yes, this was before the days of the internet. Radio, video games and books were all the escape that was available to me.
It’s fitting then that give or take 30 years later I’m hooked on podcasting… and have been for quite a long time. In recent years, as my personal practice of paganism became more all-consuming and evolved from observing the sabbats to a full blown daily practice, it seemed only natural that I would reach out to pagan podcasters. As I think I’ve written before, I live in an area of deeply closeted pagans. I’ve heard they’re around, and lately I’ve even met a few but for the most part, they stay hidden in the shadows. That might be a product of Florida… it can be an odd place, and if you’re in a fringe movement, the fringe here is a lot fringier than other places. So that tends to scare off folks from doing too much when it comes to community, and when a new voice pops up, you’re greeted with a fair amount of radio silence when you try to reach out. So I turned to podcasting. I had been reading blogs for some time, but with podcasting, it was a way to hear a human voice, to get to know another’s personality. It was the closest I could come to having an actual conversation. Podcasting has been a lifeline, a connection to a world that I don’t always have access to in my daily life. For this reason, I offer up a paean to my favorite pagan podcasters.
One of the first podcasts that I came upon was the now-defunct Another Pagan Podcast. It was a great discovery during a time a few years back when many other podcasts had lapsed or gone defunct. Dawn, Scott and Tereesa were some of the first voices that I ever heard speaking about the issues of modern day paganism. I didn’t always agree with their opinions but it was thrilling to find a place where they were being shared.
Some time later, I began listening to Druidcast, hosted by Damh the Bard. Damh has probably heard this time and again, but I was amazed at the quality of his production. You just knew that he was not only sitting on some nice equipment, but that he was taking the time to mix everything just right. It was thanks to his podcast, in fact, that I ended up joining the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. Every month to this date I still tune in around the 20th to listen to the latest episode. Even if you don’t identify as a druid, the podcast has something for pagans of all stripes.
Down at the Crossroads with Chris Orapello is another that I enthusiastically tune into each month. Like Damh, he has consistently high production values and interviews with some of the most exciting names in paganism today. I’ve chatted via Twitter with Chris numerous times and he seems like a really nice guy too, so bonus points there. This podcast evolved out of his previous podcast The Infinite and the Beyond, a great one in its own right. Chris is definitely a favorite.
Cory and Laine at New World Witchery have 74 podcasts under their belt and each one ends up feeling like a master’s course in the subject they’re discussing. In spite of the deep knowledge they have about their material, it’s all very relatable. Laine has been a little less involved lately due to some health issues, wishing her the best and sending healing energy.
It was actually because of a post on Facebook from Cory that I decided to write this blog post. He was concerned with the state of pagan podcasting and wondered if it was overall on a downward trend. My answer to that is most definitely not, though podcast listeners don’t often give a lot of feedback, we’re loyal!
A little less frequently updated but always covering the most current events is Fire Lyte’s Inciting a Riot (he’s recently purchased a house, gotten married and had a handful of other life changing events though, so cut him some slack!).
Interviews play a sometimes central role in this one but another really great portion to listen for is his conversation about the courts and law, especially effects or potential effects on pagans, LGBT communities, women’s rights and people of color. Always informative, smart and in spite of the serious material, still entertaining.
Another long running podcast that I’ve been listening to forever is The Wigglian Way with Sparrow and Mojo. This one is also fairly interview-oriented with some breakout conversations between the hosts, who also happen to be a couple.
One of my favorite recent episodes featured an interview with fellow OBODie, John Beckett.
T. Thorne Coyle has been called the Terry Gross of pagan podcasting, and for good reason. Her questions for her interview subjects and format of her show are intelligent and thoughtful. She’s one of the only podcasters of any genre that I listen to who is able to ask probing, challenging questions of her subjects but still manage to hold the line of being respectful of their
identity and experience. I only wish that I could hear more of her show more frequently.
These are only the ones I frequently listen to, there are lots of other podcasts, some that have gone dark over the years for various reasons, the late Peter Paddon was a wealth of information in every episode of Crooked Path, mine that one’s archives. Sarah Anne Lawless had a short-lived podcast called Hedgefolk Tales that is still archived on her site. Lakefront Pagan Voice with Scarlet is one that I occasionally check out, she’s from Milwaukee (shout out from a former Cream City resident!). I really miss Jason Thomas Pitzl’s Numinosis, formerly A Darker Shade of Pagan, which featured new music and occasional interviews. He still posts occasional mixes on Mixcloud, but I like hearing his voice with the music and Mixcloud doesn’t allow you to download mixes to your podcatcher. Conjure Crossroads with Orion Foxwood and a few other conjure workers is an infrequent but entertaining show for those who want to know more about conjure and rootwork. Betwixt and Between, Lamplighter Blues and Modern Witch are among the many other defunct shows that I think are really worth checking out their archives.
There’s no way I even began to scratch the surface on pagan podcasting, and honestly, omission is likely due to my own ignorance. What are some of your favorites, either current or retired? Any that you’re surprised I didn’t mention?