Witchy Interview Requests

radio_interview

Often, as October comes around, there is an increase in requests for interviews from a variety or media resources. It’s “Witch Season” and therefore we’re a hot commodity for sensationalistic media. Of course, they’re gearing up to utilize Halloween and love promoting having a Real Witch on their show or in their article. I do understand they want to use Halloween, but they, as often happens, tend to fail to realize that Samhain (Halloween – All Hallows Eve) is a particularly sacred night for many Pagans and more often than not, we’re going to be busy celebrating our most sacred holiday of the year.

However, many are still entirely unaware to the religious aspect. They’re still looking at Witches like fictional and fantasy characters and not as real people practicing a real religion. It can be ever so frustrating for those of us who are actively “out of the broom closet” and willing to speak with those in the media to find they really haven’t done much, if any, research ahead of time.

You know, during the 7 years I was a staff writer for a music magazine, I would never dream of interviewing someone without having a basic understanding of who they were and what genre of music they played. If they were a larger name, (such as Brian May from Queen) I was able to do a lot of research, but if they were a local band I’d at least have a basic press kit to look over and not necessarily walk into it cold.

I get the impression it just doesn’t work that way with many in today’s media. I understand it can be difficult to get a lot of background info prior to a breaking news story, but when you have an interest in “interviewing a witch” for a Halloween themed story it’s likely planned ahead of time and therefore you should do the research. For gosh sakes at least TRY a little! And if you’re interested in interviewing me, just Google my name… I’m all over the internet. It wouldn’t be too difficult to gather some background on me prior to the interview.

Ok, so today… October 30th, I got a request for an interview on a radio show. The show will air in the evening tomorrow night. On Halloween. You know, Samhain… that super big holiday for me. The only other day it would have been equally impossible to conduct an interview with me was on my wedding day and based on the email it seemed like they wanted me to be interviewed Friday evening.

Clearly, it was a last minute idea.

I realize not everyone will be in ritual that evening, but many will, and I’m a bit surprised this fact never seemed to dawn on the person requesting the interview. Would you request to interview a Catholic priest on Christmas eve when he’d likely be conducting or attending mass, how about a rabbi during Yom Kippur? My whole point is that as a member of the media you are requesting to speak with a member of a particular religious community, a person who is an ordained clergy member of their religious community. Would it not cross your mind to consider they might be busy with a religious observance on that one holiday of the year that all non-Pagans associate with witches?

I find that often it wouldn’t cross their mind and the reason being is that many still lack the understanding to associate witches with religious practices, especially practices that have schedules. But again, if a person looking to conduct an interview with me  just took a few minutes from their day to do some basic background research they’d at least learn I’m clergy. Saying I’m an Elder High Priestess doesn’t seem to click for them. Learning I’m ordained often does seem to help them recognize a certain level of legitimacy from their non-Pagan perspective. Ordainment has legal standing that comes with legal responsibilities and is a term they’re more familiar with. Of course none of it matters if they aren’t bothering to do any research, right?

Another thing I do find is many in the media don’t realize there is no one brand of Wicca or even witchcraft. So frequently I will explain while answering their questions about specific practices and such that I can only speak from my experience and that it is not necessarily the same for all who practice Wicca. That while I do represent the Pagan community, or the Wiccan community, I am not the be all end all voice, we don’t have a single person or book that represents everyone. As many have said, “We’re goats, not sheep! We follow our own paths.”

Ok, that’s enough ranting for today… I hope. I’m going to spend some time cleaning/organizing my ancestor altar and pay some attention to my loved ones who’ve passed on to the next realm. If I get a chance, I’ll post photos later.

Blessed Samhain!

Song: Samhain Song
Artist: Lisa Thiel
Album: Circle Of The Seasons
# song: 09

Lyrics

Samhain, Samhain, let the ritual begin,
We call upon our sacred ancestors to come in
Samhain, Samhain, we call upon our kin,
We call upon our dear departed loved ones to come in

The Veil between the worlds is thin
Our hearts reach cross the sea of time
To bring our loved ones in
Samhain, Samhain we honor all our kin
We honor those whove gone before
As the Great Wheel turns again

Samhain, Samhain we call upon our kin
We call upon our Sacred Ancestors to come in
Samhain, Samhain we call them to come in
We call upon our dear departed loved ones to come in

The Veil between the worlds is thin
Our hearts reach cross the sea of time
To bring our loved ones in
Samhain, Samhain we honor all our kin
We honor those whove gone before
As the Great Wheel turns again

Samhain, Samhain we call upon our kin
We call upon our Sacred Ancestors to come in
Samhain, Samhain we call them to come in
We call upon our dear departed loved ones to come in

The Veil between the worlds is thin
Our hearts reach cross the sea of time
To bring our loved ones in
Samhain, Samhain we honor all our kin
We honor those whove gone before
As the Great Wheel turns again

Self-Proclaimed Witch

witch_on_broom

Dear News Media,

Please cease calling individuals of the Wiccan faith, “a self-proclaimed witch”. It’s insulting and downright disrespectful to the members of a religion. It promotes your sensationalistic agenda while perpetuating the Hollywood stereo-type that witches are merely beings based in fantasy. We, as practitioners of a religion, refer to ourselves as witches. It’s just a fact.

Would you do the same with members of other religions? Would you call a Baptist minister a “self-proclaimed Christian”, or a practitioner of Reformed Judiasm a “self-proclaimed Jew”, or even someone who follows Mahayana a “self-proclaimed Buddhist”? No. Why? because that’s simply who they are, even if they converted to that religion from another they are Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist.

However, I get it, you’re hung up on the term “Witch”. All the witches you knew about were either in fairy tales or from history books and none of them were real… well, not in-front-of-your-face real. You’re having an issue distinguishing the difference between fairy tale witches and real life witches. Well, get a grip already! Clearly, one has influenced the other, but they are not the same. So, when you’re doing your typical Halloween time sensationalistic story that includes something to do with Wiccans do your due diligence and the favor of pulling your head out of your collective ignorant backsides and recognize you are discussing/reporting about people of a religious group, not a movie or novel.

If you need any assistance in getting educated about Wicca you are more than welcome to contact me.

Thank you,

Yvonne C. Conway-Williams

Musical Information

band names

My husband recently expressed how much he enjoys my blog posts. I had greatly scaled back for a variety of reasons, most of them stemming from life being incredibly busy. But I thought about it and I know he’s right, I need to get back on this. I’ve been supplementing in a variety of ways, but none are quite to the degree of a full blog post.

Today I’m going to post something that was started by a Facebook post. I shared the photo above and following some of my friends used both my first and last name. Now that I’m married my last name is rather long, but that was part of the fun. I insisted on only using names of groups rather than solo acts and tried to pull from a variety of genres.

Yes
Vai
Ozomatli
Nekromantix
Neuroticfish
Earth Wind & Fire

Covenant
Oingo Boingo
New York Dolls
W.A.S.P.
And One
Yaz(oo)

Within Temptation
Iron Maiden
Louis Armstrong and the Hot Fives
Lacrimosa
Irish Rovers
Arctic Monkeys
Madness
S.P.O.C.K.

One of my friends, a young man, expressed he only recognized the following groups in my list: Yes, Earth Wind and Fire, Yaz, and Madness. After a bit of prodding he admitted he’d heard of Louis Armstrong, but not with the Hot Fives, and had also heard of both Oingo Boingo and Iron Maiden, but could not name a single song by either of them.

I was a little surprised. I felt a bit obligated to help educate my friend on what he’s been missing out on. Omitting the bands he knew, I posted a bit of facts about each band, added a few personal anecdotes, and included a video. I’m going to repost that thread here in the hopes it helps broaden another person’s musical interests.

Starting from the top:
VAI- (1992-19994) Vocals: Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Frontline Assembly), Guitar: Steve Vai (Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth, Alcatrazz, Whitesnake), Bass: TM Stevens (James Brown, Pretenders, Billy Joel, Cindy Lauper, Tina Turner), and Drums: Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons, Jeff Beck, The Knack).

Steve’s one of my absolute favorite guitar gods and I can recognize anything he plays within the first couple of notes. I never had the chance to interview him, but we’ve run into one another a few times back then, and Devin even climbed over me at the Foundations Forum (a heavy metal music industry convention) while I was in the media section. Steve made sure I was ok because Devin stepped on my shoulder. He’s a bit of a spaz.

Here they are performing on the Tonight Show.

Ozomatli is a seven piece band playing primarily Latin, hip hop, and rock music, formed in 1995 in Los Angeles. They are known both for their vocal activist viewpoints and their wide array of musical styles – including salsa, jazz, funk, reggae, rap, and others.

I first saw them perform at the Galaxy Theater in 1998 when I had just started as the Editor in Chief with a new music magazine called “Authentic”. Our publisher was buddies with the band. They were amazing! They snaked down from the back of the theater to the stage like a marching band where to collected on the dance floor surrounded by their fans. Everyone was dancing and having a fantastic time!

This is the song they came down the audience playing when I first saw them.

The Nekromantix are a Danish-American psychobilly band formed in 1989 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Their music is generally structured around monster and horror themes. A central icon of the band’s image is founder and frontman Kim Nekroman’s “coffinbass”, a custom-built double bass with a body in the shape of a coffin and a headstock the shape of a cross. Nekroman has been the sole constant member of the band, the rest of the current lineup consisting of guitarist Franc and drummer Lux.

For about 2 years I was a goth radio dj and we would occasionally play their music on our show.

Neuroticfish is a German musical group who’s style can be categorized under electronic body music (EBM), futurepop, and synthpop.

They were another group we’d play on our radio show. This was one of my fave songs to play by them.

Covenant is an electronic band formed in 1986 in Helsingborg, Sweden. Their music comprises a mixture between synthpop and electronic body music (EBM).

They are another band I’d play on our radio show and this is one of my fave songs by them.

Oingo Boingo was an American rock band. They are best known for their influence on other musicians, their soundtrack contributions, and their high energy Halloween concerts. The band was founded in 1972 as The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, a performance art group. From 1976 it was led by songwriter/vocalist Danny Elfman, who has since achieved success as a composer for film and television.

The group’s format changed twice. In 1979, it reshaped from a semi-theatrical music and comedy troupe into a ska-influenced new wave octet and shortened their name to Oingo Boingo. Towards the end of the 1980s, the band began shifting to a more guitar-oriented rock sound, and away from the use of horns and synthesizers. The band retired after a sold-out farewell concert on Halloween 1995.

To me it seems impossible to have grown up in SoCal and never heard of Oingo Boingo, one of LA’s biggest influential bands. It’s nearly impossible to have never heard “Deadman’s Party” somewhere… so much so, I’m sick to death of hearing it.

Here’s one of my fave Oingo Boingo songs. Oh, the 80s!

The New York Dolls are an American hard rock band formed in New York City in 1971. Along with the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, they were one of the first bands in the early punk rock scene. The line-up at this time comprised vocalist David Johansen, guitarist Johnny Thunders, bassist Arthur Kane, guitarist and pianist Sylvain Sylvain, and drummer Jerry Nolan; the latter two had replaced Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia, respectively, in 1972. According to the Encyclopedia of Popular Music (1995), the New York Dolls predated the punk and glam metal movements, and were “one of the most influential rock bands of the last 20 years”.

W.A.S.P. is an American heavy metal band formed in 1982. They emerged from the same Los Angeles scene that spawned Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Dokken, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Guns N’ Roses and others. The band’s popularity peaked in the 1980s, yet they continue to record and tour, making them one of the most enduring of the West Coast heavy metal bands. W.A.S.P. gained notoriety for their shock rock themed image, lyrics and live performances.

In high school they were one of my fave bands. I had HUGE posters of Blackie Lawless all over my room. I went to several of their concerts and know all the lyrics to their albums from the 80s. I was a definite fan.

This song was almost like a battle cry for kids in the metal scene in 80s.

And One is a German new wave, synthpop and electronic body music (EBM) band founded by Steve Naghavi and Chris Ruiz in 1989.

Yet another band we’d play on our radio show.

Within Temptation is a Dutch symphonic metal/rock band founded in 1996 by vocalist Sharon den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt.

Though they consider themselves more symphonic metal and not goth, we still played them on our radio show.

Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, east London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band’s discography has grown to thirty-seven albums, including fifteen studio albums, eleven live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.

Seriously, they’re one of the most prolific metal bands ever. Get out a little, stretch your musical legs a bit.

They have a lot of awesome songs, but this is one of my faves and the first to come to mind.

I know you said you knew who Louis Armstrong was, but then I thought it’s likely you’d never heard his work with the Hot Fives or Hot Sevens. So here’s one of my fave songs with the Hot Fives. It always makes me smile and want to dance.

Lacrimosa is a gothic duo led by German Tilo Wolff, the main composer, and Finn Anne Nurmi. They are currently based in Switzerland, but originally from Germany. Originally counted among the bands of the Neue Deutsche Todeskunst genre, Lacrimosa have developed their style more towards powerful metal, but Gothic elements still remain.

I must credit Däch with my even knowing about these guys. They’re one of his favorite bands.

He and I were co-hosts of the radio show. I was only on for about 2 years, but he ran the show for 11 years, maybe more. He can clarify that. We would play them regularly on the show.
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The Irish Rovers are from Ireland, but half now live in Canada. Founding member George Millar and his cousin Ian are both from Ballymena, long-time group member Wilcil McDowell is from Larne, Sean O’Driscoll from Cork, Gerry O’Connor from Dundalk, with Morris Crum from Carnlough and percussionist Fred Graham both from Belfast rounding out the lineup

The group formed in 1963, are named after the traditional song “The Irish Rover”, and best known for their international television series, contributing to the popularization of Irish Music in North America.

Arctic Monkeys are an English indie rock band formed in 2002 in High Green, a suburb of Sheffield. The band consists of Alex Turner (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jamie Cook (lead guitar, backing vocals in the early days), Nick O’Malley (bass, backing vocals), and Matt Helders (drums, backing vocals). Former band member Andy Nicholson (bass guitar, backing vocals) left the band in 2006 shortly after its debut album was released.

They have released five studio albums: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006), Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007), Humbug (2009), Suck It and See (2011) and AM (2013), as well as one live album, At the Apollo (2008).

Their debut album is the fastest-selling debut album in British music history by a band, surpassing Elastica’s self-titled album.The band have won seven Brit Awards—winning both Best British Group and Best British Album three times, and were twice nominated for Grammy Awards. They also won the Mercury Prize in 2006 for their debut album, in addition to receiving nominations in 2007 and 2013. The band have headlined at the Glastonbury Festival twice, in 2007 and again in 2013.

Arctic Monkeys were heralded as one of the first bands to come to public attention via the Internet (through fan-based sites rather than from the band), with commentators suggesting they represented the possibility of a change in the way in which new bands are promoted and marketed.

I’m unable to get this song out of my skull… and I have no desire to make it go away. It’s haunting and I love it.

S.P.O.C.K (aka Star Pilot On Channel K) is a Swedish synthpop-band which formed around 1988.

In 1988, Eddie Bengtsson wrote a handful of songs to be performed at Finn Albertsson’s birthday party, with Alexander Hofman performing vocals; the three young men dubbed the band Mr. Spock (after the name for the character Spock of Star Trek). After the performance at the party, the band continued for several months to play at other house parties, but soon managed to secure some event bookings. In 1989, the band members contacted Paramount Pictures for permission to use the name “Mr. Spock”. When Paramount demanded a heavy compensation for the privilege, the band renamed themselves using the initials S.P.O.C.K, which are an acronym for Star Pilot On Channel K.

This is perhaps my most fave song by them because it always makes me giggle. All of the “He’s a doctor, not a…” are real lines from Star Trek. Add to it the silliness that a band named after Mr. Spock wrote a whole song about Dr. McCoy given how much McCoy found Spock annoying. It just makes me giggle.

2nd Annual Building Our Community Through Interfaith Harmony

MistressPrime:

I’ve been asked to speak at the 2nd Annual Building Our Community through Interfaith Harmony, an #Interfaith event, this Sunday in Irvine. I will be appearing as a representative of Covenant of the Goddess Orange County Local Council and as a member of the #Pagan community.

The topic will be “Justice, Peace & Faith”.

This event is a pre-Parliament event for the next Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) gathering on Oct 15-19, 2015 in Salt Lake City, UT.

It is an open event, so if you’re local, please consider attending the event.

Originally posted on Covenant of the Goddess, Orange County Local Council:

Sunday, September 21, 2014 is the 2nd Annual Building Our Community Through Interfaith Harmony, an evening of compassionate prayers and songs. The focus of the evening’s discussion is “Justice, Peace & Faith” though interfaith reflections on humanity in an effort to bring these communities together. This event is a pre-Parliament event for the next Parliament of the World’s Religions gathering on October 15-19, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

One of the speakers, Yvonne Conway, is the newly elected First Officer of the Orange County Local Council for Covenant of the Goddess.

This event is co-sponsored by Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council & Orange County Interfaith Network.

Building Our Community Interfaith 21Sept2014

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Mabon and the Autumnial Equinox

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Originally posted on Covenant of the Goddess, Orange County Local Council:

According to the old Celtic Calendar, Mabon was the second harvest following Lughnasa. It is a harvest festival and a time to honor the trees. All around us we can see signs of autumn as the trees begin to change color, which is another way of reminding use of their importance and magickal significance. Some examples include the Rowan, Birch and Hazel trees.

Rowan is a tree of protection;  its branches and twigs can be made into amulets of protection and when planted outside cottage doors and farm buildings, protects both family and flock from lightening and harmful magick. It is also associated with Faery-magick. Depending on your part of the country, you may see Birch trees that are sacred to the Goddess and used as Yule Logs. The nuts of the Hazel tree are associated with wisdom and particularly with occult and ancient wisdom. Amulets of hazel nuts strung…

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