The Blessings of the Wheel

I love the way our Pagan Wheel of the Year works its magic. It lies at the very heart of my spiritual life and I’m sure, like many other Pagans, the more I have worked with it, the more my own life has changed to reflect the turning of the seasons. So now, as the nights have drawn in, and the leaves have fallen once more to the ground to nourish next year’s growth, I too can feel the busy-ness of my own life changing. But just as the birds and animals are still busy searching for food, so I am searching for the Awen to inspire new songs, and to bless me with the insight for the arrangements of the songs I’ve already written.

I’m heading back into the studio to record a new album – the first album of my own songs since The Cauldron Born released in late 2008. I have a couple more concerts this year, and a couple early in 2012, but I have consciously created a space for that Awen to enter. And as I look outside at the late Autumn day I can see and feel that the energy is right.

The origin of some people’s inspiration is action, from friction and intense activity. Some people find their spiritual connections also come from that space, from drumming and dancing, screaming and chanting. I love that too, but I also know that the foundation of my inspiration comes from stillness, from peace. And that is another reason why I love the Wheel of the Year. The Spring and Summer are times of activity, when I am out playing at festivals, dancing around a burning Wickerman, running through a labyrinth, losing myself to the fire and power of the Pagan drummers. So when Autumn and Winter arrive I am ready to welcome their energy too – energies of reflection, and peace. I know that my spiritual life is enhanced by these changes. If all I knew was hot, how could I fully understand and appreciate it if I never felt cold? If all I knew was light, how could I fully understand and appreciate it if I never knew darkness? So if all I knew was wildness, how would I fully understand and appreciate it if I didn’t know stillness and peace? 

The Ancestor is standing at the Threshold. The woodland is still, and filled with the aroma of decaying leaves. And I am now ready to approach the Ancestor, to seek entry into the Grove of Reflection, to sit in stillness with eyes open, and to allow the woodland to accept my presence. Only then will the Faerie come out once more to dance, to show themselves to me, and allow me to hear their music.

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Spirit of Albion movie film diary day 7

Here’s the latest film diary!

In an alternate Universe, yes…

Last Sunday, after the Anderida Gorsedd open ritual at the Long Man of Wilmington, many of the people stayed behind to be extras in the Spirit of Albion movie. It was an amazing day, and here is a short interview conducted by my friend Greg while I had a little time out of filming, and had the opportunity to watch a scene from the film develop.

Spirit of Albion – The Movie: Production Diary Day 5

Here’s the latest production diary for the Spirit of Albion movie. Things are progressing beautifully!

Spirit of Albion Film Diaries – Day Three

I was away on tour when the third day of filming for the Spirit of Albion movie took place, but it looks like it went really well, and everyone had a great time! Very excited about this project!

 

Tales from the Road: Sydney and the Three Sisters


I’m writing this on the plane to Los Angeles just after taking off from Sydney. So much to think about, so many memories, so many new friends. The day after the gig in Sydney we all gathered at the Five Dragons for our last Yum Cha – a new vice that I’ve been introduced to here in Australia. Although there was much laughter, the atmosphere was tinged with sadness as we all knew that the tour was over and soon Spiral Dance would be leaving and heading back to Adelaide. But that didn’t stop us from thoroughly enjoying the moment while we could. But in the end it came time to say farewell. There were tears and hugs, I felt torn as I saw them all drive away and missed everyone the moment we parted, but we then had the opportunity to spend some time with our hosts here in Sydney, David and Kelly Garland, facilitators of PAN (the Pagan Awareness Network).

We had two days in Sydney and I just had to see the Opera House and


Sydney Harbour bridge – two places I never thought I’d see. So the next day we headed into the city and there they were. The Opera House is an amazing building, completely crazy, and I didn’t know until I saw it up close that the iconic white roof was made out of what look like bathroom tiles. But


it’s a breathtaking sight and that, along with the harbour and bridge, make it well worth the visit.

That night we polished off a bottle of The Devil, the Tawny Port we bought in Mclaren Vale, and the next day drove into the Blue Mountains to visit the home of the artist Norman Lindsay (if you’ve seen the film


Sirens, that was set at the house and was about his life). Apart from being the author and artist of the children’s story The Magic Pudding, he was also a really controversial artist who portrayed naked women happily


engaging with Satyrs, and his most controversial work was the Crucifixion of Venus. An amazingly magical place, and an amazing life.

After that we went to see The Three Sisters. The legend is that three children were being chased by a Banyip, the equivalent of an Australian Yeti, and to save them their father turned them to stone. This reminded me of our British legends that some stone circles were dancers turned to stone


for dancing on the Sabbath Day, so I was expecting a row of three standing stones. What I actually saw took my breath away it was so beautiful. A photo can never capture the majesty of the place but here I really felt the scale of the Australian Bush as it lay endless before me.

That night we watched Sirens and then went to bed as we had to be up at 5.50am for our flight to the USA. Once more we found ourselves saying goodbye to two new friends with whom we had made a deep and lasting bond. So as I look out of the window of this aircraft, I say a very fond farewell to Australia, and to everyone we met who helped to make this trip so wonderful. You all touched our hearts, and I know that we will be back again soon to see you all once more. To play music, laugh, and eat more Yum Cha!! Blessed be!

To Greece!

Tomorrow me and Cerri are off to Greece. I’m playing a gig there on Sunday evening, and Cerri also has an art exhibition in the same hall in Ioannina.

When I started writing music I had no idea that it would lead to overseas concerts, I didn’t see that coming. But Paganism has a worldwide community, and songs that speak to Pagans in Britain will in all probability speak to Pagans in the USA, in the rest of Europe, in Australia and all over the world. Not only that, but I’m finding more and more that spiritually-based music, not matter what it’s path, brings people together, and I think quite a number of the people there on Sunday won’t actually be Pagans. Another thing I didn’t see coming.

This part of my work as a musician is such a gift, and I now am lucky enough to not only look forward to playing music for people in the UK, but also more and more places around the world.

Going to Greece is very special as Cerri can ultimately trace her ancestry there, and I cannot wait to touch the earth of one of the birthplaces of ancient Pagan philosophy. I wonder how the Spirits of the Land will respond to my songs? We shall see!

I’ll try and blog during the trip to Greece, but in the meantime, if you want to keep in touch, I’m sure to be tweeting on Twitter and on my Facebook page.

Land, Sky and Sea on video

I just found this on YouTube. I love stumbling upon videos where people have placed my songs and this one just nails it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Art is Magic – Alan Moore

Cerri showed me this piece and I posted a link to it on my Facebook page but I think it’s so good that I’m going to blog it too.

This piece is dark, and honest, as Alan Moore speaks his truth directly with no frills or fluffy language, and to me it sums up how I feel about Art and it’s relationship with Magic. To me the Bardic Path is a magical and Shamanistic tradition and an artist, be that a musician, writer, painter, sculptor, like the skilled storyteller, can change consciousness and guide us through Other Worlds. See what you think.

Major Influences Part 2 – John Denver

My Dad was, and still is, a big country music fan. My very early introduction to music consisted of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Don Williams, Emilou Harris, Dolly Parton but above all of these was John Denver. His songs were the soundtrack of my childhood, and of all of the country music I heard in those early days it’s really only John’s that has stayed with me. You only have to listen to the opening bars and the groove of Song of Awen to realise what an influence on my music he has been.

John Denver was a true country boy. Living in the mountains his inspiration came from the sights and sounds that surrounded him. Nature really is the best artist, and his lyrics and melodies manage to capture that essence of wildness that so many modern Pagans seek as part of their spiritual path. Add to that his voice, one of the purest voices in music with a natural vibrato and quality that I don’t think any other singer has matched since, and you have a near perfect singer/songwriter for a budding Bard. John Denver’s songs convey a connection with the Natural World that speaks directly to the heart. I regularly, even now, find tears of joy streaming down my face when I’m listening to his songs. I find myself nodding my head saying, “Yes! Yes! That’s it! You’ve got it, you understand!” Here are some examples of what I mean –

The Eagle and the Hawk

I am the eagle, I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky
I am the hawk and there’s blood on my feathers
But time is still turning they soon will be dry
And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly

Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops
Sail o’er the canyons and up to the stars
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
And all that we can be and not what we are

Rocky Mountain High

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high


Sunshine on my Shoulders

sunshine, on my shoulders – makes me happy
sunshine, in my eyes – can make me cry
sunshine, on the water – looks so lovely
sunshine, almost always – makes me high

if i had a day that i could give you
i’d give to you a day just like today
if i had a song that i could sing for you
i’d sing a song to make you feel this way

if i had a tale that i could tell you
i’d tell a tale sure to make you smile
if i had a wish that i could wish for you
i’d make a wish for sunshine all the while

He started the Winstar Foundation, a charity that promoted sustainable living, back in 1976, and was a keen environmental activist. His song Annie’s Song is still one of the most romantic, beautiful love songs ever written. Who knows what other great songs lay in wait from the Awen of John Denver, but sadly we will never know as on 12th October 1997 he got into his experimental light aircraft which crashed, taking his life and with it, his genius. Forever missed, his music will always live on in the hearts of those who believe that ‘they would have been a poorer man if they never saw an eagle fly.’

Blessed be John Denver.