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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in cowans

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Herd of Vigilante Florida Cows Helps Police by Corralling Suspect |  Southern Living


“You stinking cowan,” I say, fondly.

My friend returns my grin. He's no cowan, and we both know it.

“Now, now,” he says in mock-offense. “No need to get insulting.”


Cowans. (First syllable like the animal.) What is it about non-pagans that makes them so...well, cowanish?

You're cowanish if you're:

  • Clueless to the point of offensiveness, especially about things pagan.
  • Unobservant, especially of your environment.
  • Ignorant of the natural world and its processes.
  • Uncomfortable with the body and things bodily.
  • Incapable of seeing other people's perspectives.
  • Unquestioning.
  • Insensitive.
  • Incurious.

Of course, these stereotypes are utterly unfair, and largely a product of pagan self-conception. You certainly don't have to be a cowan to be cowanish.

But, then, that's kind of the point of the exercise, isn't it? Nobody wants to be cowanish, not even cowans.

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Your Warlockry:

I'm not a witch, but many of my friends are. Over the years I've noticed that, while my non-witch friends all throw their Halloween parties on Halloween Saturday, my witch friends usually throw theirs two Saturdays before.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you: double the pleasure, double the fun. Just wondering.

Clueless in Cowanistan


Dear Clueless Cowan:

There's a simple and obvious (to a witch) answer to your question, which (if you had asked them) any of your witch friends could have told you before you could count to thirteen, and it has to do with convenience and the fact that, just like everybody else, most witches hold down day jobs.

This means that, most years—ah, the times!—most witches don't actually hold their Samhain rituals on Halloween itself. The vast majority of Samhain rituals end up taking place, by default, on Halloween Saturday instead.

In short, my dear cowan: witches tend not to hold their Halloween parties on Halloween Saturday because, for many of us, that's Coven Night. Hence—witches liking a good Halloween party as much as anyone—the forward displacement.

If Boss Warlock were a different kind of warlock, he might decry what, on the face of it, might seem to be a disconnect, but in fact this Long Samhain actually has a profound theological basis. Samhain isn't just a single day on the Gregorian calendar; it's a tide of axial change in the natural year.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs



“You one-a them Wick-ins?”

The pentagram must have slipped out of my shirt when I reached for my wallet. His question is not curiosity, or interest; there's a sneer to it.

I'd stopped to fill up the tank while driving through deepest, darkest Trump Country. Now there's a Central Casting Capitol invader leering over the counter at me.

I fix him with my eyes and wait just a little too long for comfort before answering. The little will o' the wisp smirk playing on my lips is not really intentional. Actually, I've wanted to say this to someone who deserved it all my pagan life.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


 A Kalasha Tale

Long ago, in the dawn of days, First Man and First Woman had seven sets of twins. Each set of twins consisted of one girl and one boy.

When it came time for the twins to marry, First Man and First Woman carefully broke up the sets of twins, so as to avoid incest.

But one set of twins mated incestuously with one another instead.

That's where non-pagans come from.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Full Moon reflected in Water, Normandy, Slow motion 4K ⬇ Video by ©  slowmotiongli Stock Footage #156700990


“Oh, I'm sure we'll manage to muggle through one way or other,” says my friend.

I love in-group humor. She's riffing, of course, off of the phrase “to muddle through,” but the Harry Potter allusion appeals, rather poignantly, to our shared paganism. I suspect that "struggle" is somewhere in the mix as well.

One way or another, she's saying, we're going to get through this.

“Muggle,” of course, is J. K. Rowling's name for those who live—truly a shudder-inducing prospect to some of us—without benefit of magic. The precise etymology of the word is unclear—to me, anyway—but clearly “muddle” is somewhere in the mix, with its connotations of imprecision and the slapdash.

I've never much been one for spells myself but, after nearly 50 years in the Craft, I'm so accustomed to living magically that the prospect of living in any other way seems grim indeed.

What does it mean, to live magically?

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The 700 Club


Hey Pat:

Got a question for you.

You said that your god told you that Donald Trump would win the 2020 election. He didn't. Even you admit that now.

Given what you've said previously, then, that leaves us with several possible explanations.

  1. “God” was wrong.
  2. “God” changed his mind.
  3. You misunderstood what “God” told you.
  4. What you thought was “God” speaking to you wasn't “God” at all. (I'll leave aside the question of who, or what, it actually was.)
  5. Your god doesn't exist, and you're living in a fantasy world as much as Donald Trump.
  6. "God" exists, but he doesn't talk to you.
  7. Trump really did win the election; he just lost the presidential election.
  8. Some other god, more powerful than yours, intervened and changed the results.
  9. After all these years, you still haven't learned to tell the difference between "God"'s voice and the promptings of your own unconscious mind.

So, Pat, read me this oracle. In all candor, let me ask you: which one was it?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I expect of any priest or priestess that he or she be able to tell the difference between the voice of the god or goddess and the
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I'm pretty sure that the only "God" that the Evangelical Christians have been listening too for the past four years is Mammon the

Let me tell you about the Yule that I considered becoming a suicide bomber.

Now, I'm as gay as the next guy but, for reasons that I won't go into here, I'm no fan of gay men's choruses. My housemate at the time, though, regularly attended concerts of the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus: more, I suspect, for the social opportunity that they offered than for the “music.” So I wasn't surprised to see, while bringing in the mail at the end of a November back in the 80s, an invitation to that year's TCGMC Christmas concert.

It wasn't until I read the description of the concert that I started thinking about explosives.

I can't remember the title of the concert, but the stated theme was: “Moving from the darkness of the Winter Solstice through the lights of Hanukkah to the true illumination of Christmas.”

There's so much wrong with this theme that it's difficult to quantify, but underlying it all is its triumphalist religious Darwinism. That lying old story has killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, down the long years.

And they thought they were being inclusive. The sheer cluelessness of it all—and the fact that this atrocity was being perpetrated by gay men on other gay men—just makes it that much more offensive.

Well, I didn't buy the suicide vest and (of course) I didn't attend the concert. But I can, nonetheless, tell you (why are these things so bloody predictable?) exactly of what that program consisted.

For the Winter Solstice, a secular Christmas carol of some sort. For Hanukkah, a medley of old Yiddische tunes guaranteed to include “Dreidel.” Then the gaggle of Christmas carols that everyone had really come to hear.

Hey, all you organizers of “Holiday” Concerts out there:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I am blissfully clueless. When I want seasonal music I go to YouTube and listen to Weird Al Yankovic singing Christmas at Ground
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, I guess I just don't get triggered by Christian tokenism like you do. My take on it is this: Christians will always c
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Jamie, are you familiar with Rosemary Sutcliff's teen novel Frontier Wolf? The protagonist/hero is himself a young Mithraist, and
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, You're the best. Thank you for providing us with such interesting and humorous articles. I always look forward to rea
  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak says #
    Hehehe ya well. I still cherish your Pro-Dea Solstice Song book. Drag it out every year. Merry Yule!

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