PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in pagan-cowan relations

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Peppermint Oil | NCCIH

I swear, it's the same every time I get back from a pagan festival.

Next morning, I get out of bed. I go downstairs to put the kettle on.

I get out the teapot and load the tea ball. Then I head for the back door to get a sprig of mint from the garden.

(Nothing says “Summer morning” better than fresh mint in your tea.)

Suddenly, contextual awareness kicks in.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Not so sure about "culty," though. Many--if not most--peoples with a collective sense of identity have a term for the "not-us peo
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Heard and registered. Thanks!
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    OK, this is funny. But could we [i]please[i] stop using that word (or, worse, "Muggles")? Having a down-putting term for people
  • Katie
    Katie says #
    Been there. Done that. Almost took off the T-shirt.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


 In Which Boss Warlock, As Usual, Doesn't Have a Clue

They walk among us.”


Hey guys, check this out.

This is my new cowan drag.


Pretty good, hunh? Makes me look just like a cowan, doesn't it?

Oh, hey, and listen to this.


“Blessed be, my fellow cowans.”

Sounds just like one, doesn't it?

(Smiles modestly, looks at feet.)

I've been practicing.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs



Jeez, block's really parked up tonight.

Yeah, it's the Witches.


Yeah, first day of Spring today. One of their big shindigs, first day of Spring.

It is?

Yeah, it's like this every year, first day of Spring. That's what they do, I guess: make the seasons change, and such.

Sure wish they'd got around to it a little sooner, then. Been a bitch of a Winter.

Tell me about it. Swear I just about wore out the snow shovel this year.

You and me both. Witches, hunh? Who'd a thunk.

Yeah. Well, see ya round. Hey, happy Spring.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Hey, everyone has a stuffed Himalayan mountain goat's head hanging over the fireplace.

Don't they?


“So,” says the plumber, “all these symbols...are you into the occult or something?”

Goat's heads, Green Men, clay Goddesses. You don't have to be in my house for very long, or have much in the way of a flame between the horns, to realize that there's some pretty High Strangeness going on here. Still, when the kitchen drain became intractably plugged, this wasn't exactly the conversation that I had expected to be having.

“Not really,” I say, which is no more than truth. There's nothing arcane, or particularly esoteric, about the Craft. It's all completely natural.

“Oh, I thought you might be Wiccan or something,” he says.

“Now that I could tell you something about,” I say.

“Isn't that occult?” he asks.

“For me, it's largely a matter of tribal identity,” I say.

He looks thoughtful, and starts to tell me about about the novel, clearly a favorite, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, which for some reason—Terry Pratchett “gets” witches better than just about any other contemporary writer, including many who call themselves Wiccan—I've never read.

“ she publishes this book of prophecies, which doesn't sell very well, but really she just wants the free author's copy,” he tells me.

“Sounds right,” I say.


Clearly, he's been thinking. Several hours later, he asks in passing:

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Cow's Lick | Cow, Fluffy cows, Cow pictures

“You reeking cowan,” I say, fondly.

My friend grins back. He's no more a cowan than I am; he's been pagan for most of his life. Long enough to get the joke, anyway.

COW-an: first syllable like the animal, and no, that's not a dig. Pagans like cattle. (Hey, we domesticated them, didn't we?) Nor does it imply that they exist only to be milked. In the old days, when the family cow could spell the difference between thriving and starvation, she was virtually kin.

Of course, the proper venereal—collective—term for a group of non-pagans, is—as for bovines—a herd. “Gods, there's a whole herd of cowans coming down the street!” Draw your own conclusions accordingly.

Every people has a name for those other people: you know, the ones that aren't us. To my ear, it beats mundane (not to mention muggle) all hollow. They may not be pagan, but can't we leave them at least some dignity?

Hey, cowans can't help being cowans. Virtually all of us number at least a few among our friends and relatives. Yes, the name is an exercise in alterity; but it can also be, as it is here, a playful term of affection.

Well, affection of a sort.

My friend's grin grows broader.

Last modified on

Dear Boss Warlock,

Just out of curiosity: Is there such a thing as a half-witch?

All-Witch in Albuquerque


Dear Al:


Oh, the word halwich—pronounced HAL-itch—exists, and has existed for a long time (it comes from the Old Hwiccan healf-Hwicce), but it exists as a term of schoolyard invective only. Witch kids, alas, can be just as nasty as any other kind.

If you have one witch parent, you're a member of the tribe. That's Witch Law. “The Old Blood will out,” the old ones used to say, sometimes adding: “One drop is all it takes.”

Usually, of course, they would cackle as they said this.

Oh, you can opt out, of course; or you can try to pass.

(Cartoon: Boss Warlock Tries to Pass. Scene: Boss Warlock standing in convenience store, surrounded by puzzled-looking crowd. Boss Warlock: “Blessed be, my fellow cowans.”)

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


 Tales from the Pagan Resistance


In the days of the Byzantine emperors, long after most of the empire had been converted—forcibly or otherwise—one little Anatolian town held resolute to the Old Ways. Despite repeated warnings to accept baptism or suffer the consequences, the entire community stood firm.

One day imperial forces marched into the city. After the massacre, they sawed the arms and legs off every man, woman, and child, and hung the severed limbs along the streets as a warning.


 I regret to inform you that the above story is true. In Catherine Nixey's 2018 The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, you can read similarly grim stories on virtually every page. Be warned: this is no easy read.

I have to be careful reading books about the history of what we really must call the Christianities; reading too many tends to make me morbid. I get angry; I start making stupid and thoughtless generalizations; I fall into an “us and them” mode of thinking that, down the years, I have come to eschew as ultimately counterproductive.

But we are who we are because we remember, so I read on. Many times during the reading of Nixey's engagingly-written, but devastating, history of the horror show that was 4th- and 5th-century Christianity, I've found myself laying the book down because I simply couldn't bear to read any more. Each time, though, I find myself picking up the book once again, needing to know the rest.

Let me quote from Nixey's introduction:

As Samuel Johnson...put it, pithy as ever: “The heathens were easily converted, because they had nothing to give up.”

He was wrong. Many converted happily to Christianity, it is true. But many did not. Many Romans and Greeks did not smile as they saw their religious liberties removed, their books burned, their temples destroyed, and their ancient statues shattered by thugs with hammers. This book tells their story; it is a book that unashamedly mourns the largest destruction of art that human history has ever seen. It is a book about the tragedies behind the “triumph” of Christianity (Nixey xxiv).

Last modified on

Additional information