Archives for April 2009

Wind Chimes + Wind Power = Cool!

“Windchimes are musical instruments that are played by the wind,” says Woodstock Chimes founder Garry Kvistad, who taught collegiate music classes for many years, and is also a musician with the group NEXUS and a percussionist with the Steve Reich and Musicians ensemble.

Wind Chimes

Wind Chimes

Kvistad incorporates tunings of scales from many different cultures throughout the world to create unique, inspiring sounds and styles.

When we heard about his dedication to reproducing the tones of both ancient and modern devotional music from many cultures, we knew the chimes, bells and tones would be a good fit for a store dedicated to myth and centered living. We now offer over a dozen (18 to be exact) Woodstock Chimes in our Minneapolis Store. We have also added the chimes, along with zoom images and mp3 sound samples of each one, to our Home & Garden section of our online store, and we will be expanding the line.

Woodstock Chimes

Woodstock Chimes are Wind-powered just like Eye of Horus!

Wind powered

We also noticed that Woodstock is celebrating 30 years of offering a wind-powered product. This gave us an opportunity to let everyone know that Eye of Horus Metaphysical in Minneapolis has been powered by the wind since August of 2008, when we opted for 100% Windsourced energy from our provider.

All of our energy is provided by Minnesota Windfarms. It’s just one of the ways we consciously try to walk lightly on the Earth.  (Click to read about all of our environmental programs.) So it was a natural fit to add Woodstock Chimes to our list of environmental products.

Wind chimes

When Woodstock Chimes first began producing windchimes in 1979, most windchimes were made by artists who created visually beautiful chimes with little consideration for the sound. Woodstock Chimes elevated the windchime into an item that combines beauty with musical relevance, using a technique that precision tunes the company’s windchimes to musical scales.

For reasons of musical purity, Woodstock uses an ancient tuning system known as just intonation.  Therefore, many of the notes used on Woodstock Chimes fall between the notes of the piano which is tuned to a modern system called equal temperament.  This makes the chimes not only authentic when tuned to ancient scales, but also gives the sound a beautiful and unique quality.

Each and every tube or rod used in Woodstock Chimes is individually tuned to exacting frequencies to assure the best possible result.  This means that tubes tuned to the same note found on other Woodstock Chimes will be in tune with each other but might be slightly different in length.  Other wind-chime makers often cut to exacting lengths but the sound will vary due to the slight inconsistencies of the tubes (wall thickness, diameter, temperament of metal).

Turquoise Chime Tuned to the Golden Ratio

Turquoise Chime Tuned to the Golden Ratio

While Woodstock products are mostly enjoyed in homes and gardens, many musicians use them as well.  Since the intervals don’t always match the modern system of tuning of the piano exactly, trained ears can appreciate the difference and adapt to the ancient system. Woodstock Percussion Wind Chimes are tuned using a computerized tuning process in order to achieve incomparably beautiful sound. The frequencies at which the different tubes vibrate are integrally related, thus producing the purest musical intervals.

One example of this is the Golden Ratio Turquoise Chime.  This chime is tuned using the Golden Ratio, a ratio discovered by the ancient Greeks and found throughout nature.  This is one of the building-blocks of the universe, and now the sound can add harmony to your deck, patio, or garden. Click Here to Listen to an mp3 of the Golden Ratio Turquoise Chime

In addition to the beautiful sound, this chime combines modern square tubes with faux turquoise accents for an elegant southwestern style.

Eye of Horus now carries the Woodstock Emperor Gong, Temple Bells and, of course, its Classical  Chimes, such as the Pachelbel Canon Chime and the Chimes of Mozart, and many more. View and listen to all of the woodstock chimes we carry!

Pagan Community Questions

by Veronica Cummer, author of Sorgitzak: Old Forest Craft and Masks of the Muse

I’ve thought a lot about what makes a community, let alone a pagan one.  After attending many Pagan Prides where this topic always seemed to come up, whether there was a panel scheduled on it or not, it seems something that we pagans long for…but aren’t quite sure how to acquire and don’t understand why it is we don’t have one already.

Yes, pagans believe in many things and practice in many ways and there are countless traditions here in the Twin Cities (and, probably, more showing up all the time).  Yet…a community must be built around SOMETHING.  If we can’t agree on hardly anything, that makes it hard to have a community. At a Pagan Pride two years ago, I recall that a single room of assembled pagans, heathens, and witches could barely come to an agreement that we all considered Mother Earth to be sacred. It’s a long way from that to sharing something that can tie a community together with bonds that can withstand very tough times.

Still, when someone respected dies then it often happens that people pull together across traditions, especially when that person had a powerful effect on the local pagan scene over the years. A community forms around that passing, in a way, at least so long as its support is needed by those left behind. Also, perhaps,to express a common grief and recognition.

So…what builds a community?  The shorthand is the need for one…

But what is that that pagans need?  Well, we all need what others need, such as food, shelter, etc, but we also need religious freedom to believe what we believe and practice what we believe, either in our homes or in public. That’s pretty obvious. But that could be said about many communities, so what brings together pagans, heathens, and witches in particular?

Well, looking to the past, people used to gather together to work (physically and spiritually) for the prosperity of their home, their village, their land.  Magical people were at the forefront of those workings. If the magic failed…well, people would die.  What sort of prosperity do modern day pagans need to gather together to promote?  A lot of pagans don’t really know much about farming, and most farmers would look funny at you (or worse) if you went to their land and did rites for the crops to grow.  But there are other kinds of prosperity.

I don’t have a pat answer, but I feel that these are some of the questions.  WHAT kind of prosperity does the Twin Cities need and is lacking?  Or what does it currently have that needs further promoting or protecting?  First and foremost, pagans and witches are tied to the land…so what does the land need?  What do the people who live there need?  What can we do to help?  THAT’s what is needed to build a community—common goals and common purpose, even if we tend to try to get there slightly differently and believe half a dozen different things from each other before breakfast.

Copyright © 2009, Veronica Cummer, All Rights Reserved.

Dancing in the Streets – Review

by Veronica Cummer . . .

I was wandering through a bookstore, when the title caught my eye—“Dancing in the Streets:  A History of Collective Joy” by Barbara Ehrenreich.  I had never heard of this author before, but a quick look through the book told me that I just had to have it.  The basic premise of the book is that by participating in festivities which inspire collective joy—i.e., experiences that take you out of ordinary, everyday consciousness and into the realm of divine contact and ecstasy—that you not only feel more secure as an individual and within your community at large, but that it may have a lot to do with relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Dancing in the Streets

Dancing in the Streets

One of her theories involves drawing a close correlation between the rise of what was called melancholy in the 16th and 17th centuries and what psychiatry today diagnoses as anxiety disorders and clinical depression.  She states that when societies cut down on having numerous and varied group celebrations, holidays, and dances during the year, religious or otherwise, that not only did it shut down the ability for people to just let loose on occasion, but that it actually contributed to an increasing lapse in mental health.  She isn’t sure if this loss of ecstatic group celebration directly caused the incidents of melancholy or if it only helped relieved an already existing condition, but it certainly is cause for thought.

We all know that the Puritans and various other morally restrictive Christian religious groups who helped found America frowned mightily upon people having fun or dancing, among other things (like actually enjoying sex, for example).  We are also told that pleasure and dancing and playing games and so on are an intrinsic and natural and even possibly a necessary part of being a witch.  As is attending rituals in the buff, another thing that the Puritans would have absolutely had fits about.

We also know that achieving an ecstatic state is something we’re supposed to feel while in ritual.  It certainly seems then that not only did witches keep as a matter of course the celebrations that allowed them to break free from the grind of day-to-day life, but also the secrets of achieving and maintaining a healthier and more joyful frame of mind and direct contact with the divine.  While this Mardi Gras of the soul also helps stir and quicken the blood of each witch and waken them to their own innate inner powers.

Essentially then, can regular contact with the divine and achieving a state of divine ecstasy actually contribute towards keeping you sane?  Can it work towards gaining magickal power and abilities?  Does it also contribute towards building a strong community?  Simply put, does attending joyful celebrations of our Art make us happier as individuals, more capable of powerful acts of magick, as well as serving to forge us into a close-knit group both as a coven and as a community?  Should we be pursuing this ecstasy more in our rites for all of those reasons?  Learning how to just let go a little more…I think so.