Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hello! Goodbye! (And where we go from here)

Two years ago today, I uploaded a little thing called Inciting An Inaugural Riot. It was 17 minutes long. It was horribly edited. Its word of the day was 'inhere.' It was the first episode in what would become one of the most inciting new pagan podcasts on the interwebs. The show - and, by extension, me - has never been the most liked or the most listened to, but I dare say that it has been one of the most interesting.

I began listening to podcasts around 2007, in the time the Wigglian Way was just finding its wiggle and deo was becoming a Shadow of our podling past. While every show is unique, and while - since then - there have been dozens of shows start up, get going, and burn out, there have been a few that have stuck around. Why? Well, a lot of reasons. Some people don't know when to shut up. (Hey, this isn't a paid gig, and anybody with an internet connection, some free software, and a mic can podcast to their heart's content.) Some people enjoy it as a periodic hobby. And others...well...they see it as the new media.  A new voice for the community.

Those are the ones that hang around.


You see, the best statistics tell us that pagans in America and abroad number in the single digit millions. Possibly something like 1.5-2 million folks are "pagan", or "neopagan" to be precise, on the entire planet. In the United States, that number is somewhere in the 600k-800k range. That's a lot of people, and that's not a lot of people. Comparatively speaking, we're a drop in the ocean of world religion.

Because we're so small, some people go weeks...months...sometimes years, possibly their entire lifetime without finding a fulfilling pagan community to join. You may live in a state that doesn't have a single witchy shop. You may live in a town where you are the one and only person that doesn't think a pentacle is the currency of Satan. Or, who knows, maybe you're lucky, and you've got a lively bunch of 20-30 witches, warlocks, and Flying Noodle Kebobs surrounding you in love, light, and sprinkles every weekend.

Blogs are nice. (I love doing this one.) But, there's something about hearing a voice. There is a connecting power that takes over when you listen to someone else's journey. When you find out that you're not the only person that stutters when saying the phrase "benefit of the doubt" (yes, I have to edit that every single freaking time I say it...ask Velma). Pagan podcasts are the product of a need that few other communities have. We in this pagan/neopagan community need to connect, because we can feel so very, very alone at times. And that's why pagan podcasting is important.

It is important that we, as podcasters, continue to put out good quality programs, because somewhere there is a guy named Jim or a woman named Susan that has no community and is scared to death to come out of the broom closet. It is important that these shows go on, because somewhere there is a teenage Selena Moondragon or a Notamuggle Thorsson trying to wade through the swamp of 101 material. It is important, because pagan podcasts are the voice - literally and figuratively - of this brave new pagan community. We are small, but we have heart, we have brains, we have will, and we even have a little dog named Kika. (But no red shoes. Those damn things get glitter everywhere.)

And we have you, the listener. The blog reader. The person absorbing the content and allowing it to affect their lives. The student that learns makes the teaching worthwhile.

In the last two years, I hope I have accomplished a few things:

  • I hope I have opened your eyes to the wider community. 
  • I hope I have opened your hearts to, and broadened your understanding of, the wider religious community.
  • I hope I have made you question what it is you believe and practice, and forced you to come up with good reasons for each. 
  • I hope I have pissed you off in the same show as I have made you laugh in the same show I have made you cry in the same show I have done all of those things, too. 
  • I hope I have taught you never to agree with anyone in any form of leadership without questioning whether you should be agreeing.
  • I hope I've been a part of your community, whether we're in the same town or on the other side of the world.
This podcast and blog has launched Project Pagan Enough and the Do The Stuff Challenge. We've heard what Christian Day has to say about Warlocks, what Signe Pike has to say about Faeries, what Liz has to say about the Tarot, what Ross & Carrie have to say about religious investigation, what scientists have to say about magic, and what you have to say about all of the above. We've enjoyed reading the same books in our book club, holding one another accountable to the Real Food challenge, and debating the hair factor of guys at the pool. 

And I can honestly say, from the heart of my bottom, that I would not, and could not, do this show without you. Yes you. Not the collective you. But you, reading this post or listening to my show. Without you, whether you've written in, tweeted in, Facebooked in, (Dragonvaled in) or not, YOU have kept me going when I didn't want to record or write. When I had no idea if I should even continue to pick up the torch or sharpen the pitchfork. You let me know to #RiotOn. 

Now that I'm all weepy... I just want to say this.

THANK YOU!

Year one was a journey. Year two was a blast. I think year 3 will be a Riot. If you'd like - and I'd love it if you would - I encourage you to leave your views on the Riot in the comments below. What's been your favorite part? Who's been your favorite guest? 

61 shows and counting...

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

1 comment:

  1. I have been following the pagan path for over ten years now, and I recently left my local group to better practice the way I feel helps me move forward (instead of continuing to practice Wicca 101). My local 'witchy' shop is more New Age, which means I shop online these days. Being in the South makes it difficult sometimes to feel comfortable in my spiritual skin. As a result, I've felt isolated.
    I first started reading Fire Lyte's articles on The Witches' Voice, and what he had to say struck a harmonious cord with me. I found out later that no only does he have a blog, but a podcast. I decided to give it a try, and have been a devoted listener ever since.
    It's a breath of fresh air, to have someone of the pagan community that speaks with intelligence, grace and wit. I appreciate his firm hold of reality, while at the same time sharing his own personal, spiritual journey.
    While I never agree with anyone completely, and Fire Lyte is no exception, I respect his views, and his willingness to be a voice to those of us in the pagan community that feel we don't quite fit in with the rest. I support his stance on challenging comfortable thinking. It not only opens my eyes and mind, but it gets me to question.
    Thank you, Fire Lyte. Thank you for your insight, your voice, and your willingness to reach out to us. And thank you for helping this pagan to feel less isolated. Blessings!

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