PaganSquare


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 salem witch trials
William Penn and the Witch of Ridley Creek

February 1684: Pennsylvania's first witch trial.

A woman named Margaret Mattson stands before Governor William Penn, accused of witchcraft.

The evidence is flimsy. Mattson is said to have bewitched the cattle of two neighbors, and a third neighbor testifies that she appeared spectrally at the foot of his bed and threatened him with a knife.

Mattson denies the charges.

Penn asks a test question. “Have you ever flown through the air on a broom?”

To everyone's amazement, Mattson answers: “Yes.”

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Dancing with the Black Man

I recently had an e-mail from a friend who, after this year's Midwest Grand Sabbat, had packed up the family and headed out on a road trip, destination: Salem, Mass.

As an offering, she'd brought a cork from the Grand Sabbat night.

Now, this may seem an odd kind of offering to make, of little or no intrinsic value, but think about it.

Gods help us, the Salem witch craze of 1692 is probably the most famous witch hunt of history. (Americans have always been good at publicity.) Personally, I doubt that we see here anything more than scapegoating and the pathological inner workings of theocratic society.

But let us say for a moment—call it “mythic history”—that there actually were witches of our sort in “17th” century Salem: people who fled to the New World because it was no longer safe to keep to the Old Ways back in the old one.

What do they find when they get here? A mighty Forest (and such a forest!) and in that forest, who but the Black Man Himself, our beloved Horn-God, more beautiful and terrible than ever, already waiting for us.

Waiting to dance.

Would you not want to know that, 300-some years on, our people are still here?

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Call It Payback

In his 1693 book, Wonders of the Invisible World, New England Puritan divine Cotton Mather (1663-1728) wrote that “The witches are organized like Congregational Churches.”

By this he meant that individual covens were fully autonomous: each one ruled by a council of elders, lacking any overarching jurisdictional body.

281 years later, in 1974, Covenant of the Goddess was founded.

As it happens, founding mother Alison Harlow (1934-2004) once told me that while drawing up CoG's initial paperwork, she and her colleagues remembered Mather's words—which Margaret Murray had cited in her 1921 Witch-Cult in Western Europe—and decided to follow Mather's advice. That's how they ended up taking the charter of the Congregationalist churches (now the United Church of Christ) as the new organization's starting point.

In this way, the Archpuritan himself, Scourge of New England Witches, Champion of the Salem Witch Trials, was instrumental in helping to found the oldest, largest, and most successful organization of witches, warlocks, and covens in the world.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    There must be particularly high levels of it around here. I hear there are plans to mine it, if they can get it past the EPA.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I believe that Irony is one of those subatomic particles that our scientists are trying to identify.
Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, July 13

Welcome back! We hope you had a great weekend. This week for Pagan News Beagle's Airy Monday section we take a look at what is arguably the biggest pop culture phenomenon of our times: Comic Con! We share a number of stories from the cross-media extravaganza held at the end of last week, including new details about Once Upon a Time, The Legend of Korra, and Warcraft. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Last modified on

Additional information