About CJ Blackwood

CJ Blackwood is a fiction writer and poet. She graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor's in journalism and a minor in English and has been a practicing witch and Pagan for eight years. Though her path began with eclectic Wicca, it has now taken her to dusky realms of warrior goddesses, creative goddesses, and crones. It is mainly focused on self-development, social consciousness, and gaining as much skill within various forms of witchcraft as possible. Follow her and her various writing projects via her Facebook page.

Author's Note:
I am on a fixed income and running into some financial difficulties. If you would be kind enough to donate a few dollars, I would be grateful. You can send it through paypal, cjblackwood90@gmail.com.
In exchange, if you contact me through my Facebook page, I am offering tarot readings. Thanks.

  • paganheart

    As a fellow female metalhead and Pagan (I considered myself Wiccan for some time but am now more of an eclectic with some Wiccan, Celtic and even Christian leanings) this piece really speaks to me. I have been a metal fan since the day in eight grade study hall when the long-haired guy who sat next to me slipped me a mixtape of songs by Metallica, Black Sabbath, Rainbow (Ronnie James Dio era), Ozzy Osborne, April Wine, Rush, Judas Priest, and others I have forgotten. Up to that point, I had grown up on country music and gospel hymns, having been raised in a fundamentalist family (Baptist on my father’s side, Petecostal on my mother’s.) More recently I had become a fan of new-wave MTV darlings like Duran Duran and Adam And The Ants–it was the early Eighties–and my metalhead friend was determined to teach me the error of my ways. (In retrospect I realize that he was also seriously crushing on me…thank you, Art, wherever you are.) It worked; on that day a metal fan was born…and I am still a fan, 30-some years later!

    In the Eighties I discovered to the Big Four (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer) though I will admit to also having an affinity for some of the “hair” bands (Motley Crue, Poison, Dokken, Slaughter.) In the nineties I discovered thrash (Testament, Exodus, Overkill) and progressive metal (Dream Theater, Cynic, Tool) and dabbled in grunge (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees – Nirvana never really did it for me.) But when nu-metal hit near the end of the decade and into the new millennium, I have to admit heavy metal nearly lost me; I just couldn’t get into it (though Disturbed and Godsmack were OK.) Fortunately Metalcore and the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal came along in 2004, and bands like Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Soilwork and Unearth made me fall back in love with metal again.

    Since then metal seems to have split into so many subgenres and types it is hard to keep track, but I have found a lot more bands to love in the black/folk (Agalloch, Alcest, Ash Borer), stoner/doom/sludge (Baroness, The Sword, Valkyrie, Red Fang) and prog/post-metal (Mastodon, Intronaut, Pelican) genres. I’m 45 years old, and no one would guess from the outside that I am an unrepentant metallhead; I live a boring, normal life and work a boring job in a normal town. But there’s black polish on my toenails inside my sensible shoes, tattoos hidden from view under my conservative clothes, and the latest Darkest Hour album ripping through the headphones as I sit at my desk!

    Like you, I am into other genres of music as well: classical, choral (I have sung in choirs since high school), Celtic, Pagan, punk rock, folk, and a bit of electronic/ambient music. But I always gravitate back to metal because, as one of my fellow metalhead friends puts it, “Metal screams so I don’t have to.” Metal is a both a cathartic release and a source of power when I need it. I’ve been through some serious health challenges myself and a lot of other really sh!tty things in my life. I’ve battled depression and anxiety; I’m a reformed cutter with scars to remind me. I’ve heard all the BS about metal being satanic, making people depressed, suicidal, homicidal, etc. My answer to that, is that there have been times in my life when hearing a well-timed Slipknot or Killswitch Engage song is the only reason that I didn’t try to kill myself (or someone else!) Metal has helped me cope during some of the worst times in my life.

    I have not really thought about how much metal has had impact or influence on my path as a Pagan, but I can definitely see places where they do intersect. That is something I may have to explore a bit more in the future; to be honest I am still seeking spiritually, and while I most closely identify as Pagan, I don’t know if that is where I will ultimately end up. It’s the same with music; unlike so many people I know, whose playlists have not changed since they were in high school, I am still seeking new sounds and new artists to love. Hopefully I will always be seeking.

    Horns Up! m/ :-)