Category Archives: News

Our National Anthem

Again? How come folks keep confusing other patriotic songs with our national anthem?

After waking up in the middle of the night I checked Facebook and found an odd trending topic that annoyed me enough to get downstairs and onto my computer to compose this post.

Once again people are up in arms over our “national anthem” being disgraced and disrespected. However, what they’re mad about and what’s actually happening are not the same thing. The sad part is, we went through a very similar situation 2 1/2 years ago and people still can’t seem to remember what song our national anthem is.

During Super Bowl 2014 a whole bunch of people showed the world how idiotic they were by getting bent out of shape about Coke using the song, “America the Beautiful” sung with an assortment of languages. Personally, I found it to be a lovely testament to our “melting pot” nation by highlighting the cultural diversity of our population. However, people were angry about it. Much of the absurd outrage centered around two thoughts: if you’re in America you should speak English and that the “national anthem” was being disrespected and desecrated. Um… wait a minute. Isn’t the national anthem a totally different song?


2 years later, Gersh Kuntzman of the NY Daily News, has made a suggestion that Major League Baseball stop asking fans to rise and remove their hats, for “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch.

Again, people are outraged. How dare Kuntzman suggest MLB drop the national anthem from baseball games!

Eh, what?

I feel people have every right to be outraged and complain about the massive amount of disrespect toward our national anthem, because it’s obvious many folks don’t even know what song our national anthem is and THAT is the real disgrace.

Not so subtle hint: it’s “The Star Spangled Banner”.

Perhaps understanding HOW “The Star Spangled Banner” came to be will help understand why it is our national anthem? Maybe?


And now for your listening pleasure, our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, sung by the Kentucky All State Choir.

“Every night of the All State Choir conference at about 11pm, everyone comes out to the balconies of the 18 story Hyatt hotel to sing the National Anthem.”

 

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Interview with Rev. Don Lewis tonight!

Tonight I will be interviewed by Rev. Don Lewis, for the Correllian Family Hour at 7pm Pacific/ 9 PM Central / 10 PM Eastern. It should be a great time and an interesting conversation!

You can listen online here:

Correllian Family Hour Radio Show

UPDATE:
The interview was recorded and available at the link above. My interview is the 2nd hour of the 3 hour recording.

Is there any hope?

I was just on Facebook and inadvertently watched a very disturbing video (damn you FB auto play!) of a woman in a town center, surrounded by extremist Muslim men. She has her hands tied behind her back. I have no idea what they’re saying, but it’s something preachy and there appears to be a cleric type person standing next to her.

She says something defiant, but the men talk over her. She’s instructed to kneel. She does.

The cleric continues preaching, men in camo gear and street clothes come forward carrying riffles and cell phones to video the situation. While the cleric is still talking the man next to him shoots her in the head and she falls into the street dead.

After years of watching Hollywood movies I almost feel a bit desensitized to it. It wasn’t gory, but it was quick and she was definitely no longer in this world.

I was going to share it because I was just so shocked by it. You kind of get into a trance and just click that share button sometimes, but then I snapped to and changed my mind. I didn’t want to help perpetuate or support anything that was glorifying the senseless murder portrayed in that video.

You hear about these execution videos on the net and in the news, but they get cleaned up, and I’ve never really seen one. But there it was. So I wondered, who posted this? Why did they post this? Was it to show the world what atrocities are happening in this town? Was it to document? Or was it to glorify the scene?

I looked at the profile from whom the video was posted. It was someone from Syria. Based on the comments of the profile owner they’re definitely a fan of Saddam Hussein, and they seem supportive of Isil. The video posted was to glorify the tragedy on behalf of the movement. The video has been on that profile for 13 hours and already received almost 80,000 views.

I never thought I would so easily meander onto the profile for an Isil supporter.

That poor woman. I’m sitting here, 7 minutes into my birthday, and I’m crying for a woman I don’t even know. None of this shit makes any sense to me, there’s no logic for me to derive from any of it. I’m pissed, a bit scared, and sickened by this scene. There was a complete lack of compassion or empathy.

At this moment in time I’m unable to find the hope that things will ever get better.

Witchy Interview Requests

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

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