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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in cowans

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
  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak says #
    Hehehe ya well. I still cherish your Pro-Dea Solstice Song book. Drag it out every year. Merry Yule!
The One Thing Never to Say to a Cowan Man

Although as contemporary pagans, we spend much of our lives surrounded by cowans—non-pagans—there remains much about cowan thinking that pagans find opaque.

So, in the interest of maintaining grith—the old Witch word for “peace between communities”—I'd like to offer a point of inter-communal etiquette that might well save you from a potentially embarrassing situation.

Never compare a cowan man to a woman.

If you do, he will interpret it as an insult.

If you're thinking: But that doesn't make any sense; why would anyone find being compared to a woman insulting? please be aware that I share your bewilderment.

Even so, counter-intuitive as it may seem, this is how many cowans think, and as good pagan neighbors, it's our responsibility to be aware and to be respectful, even when we disagree.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Confessions of a Pagan Triumphalist

Yes, I'm a pagan triumphalist.

I believe that the ways of Abraham are an anomaly in the history of human religion.

I believe that eventually we will simply reabsorb them, as Hinduism reabsorbed Buddhism.

I believe that their envisioned apocalypses predict nothing but their own eventual demise.

I believe that everyone is born pagan. Anything else, you have to be made into.

I believe that paganism is intrinsic to humanity.

I believe that (unlike the rest) paganism is natural.

I believe that paganism is inherent.

I believe that paganism is instinctive.

I believe that paganism grows from the Earth like a tree.

I believe that paganism inheres in existence.

I believe that, where there is intelligent life, there is—and will always be—paganism.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Do Witches Throw Rice at Weddings?

Do witches throw rice at weddings?

Seriously? You are actually asking me if witches throw rice at weddings?

For gods' sakes. What kind of cowanish question is that?

Of course we don't throw rice at weddings.

(“Do witches throw rice at weddings?" Ye gods.)

Cowans throw rice at weddings.

When it comes to weddings, witches don't hold with anything so newfangled as rice.

Witches hold to the Old Ways.

What's the oldest grain? Barley. Barley, which, in the dawning of days, the Mother gave to our people to be our food forever.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Danger of Thinking in Pagan

the guests had one month fewer

they do not speak the language of nature

(Saami poet Nils-Aslak Valkeapää)

 

Och, maybe I've just gone too far into the mists.

Cowans just don't make sense any more.

I find that I can't even bring myself to write (or say) “God”—with a capital G, like a name—as cowans do, without the quotation marks. The way that they use the word is wholly a misuse, a misconstrual, of an old word, a fine word, our word, which never meant, nor means, nor can mean anything even vaguely resembling what they mean by it.

That's the problem of thinking in Pagan. Once you start to do it, it makes so much sense that, in time, nothing else does.

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  • M.T. Noah
    M.T. Noah says #
    i can't say i'm a decades long person in this fold. but i can't say i'm not. the 1/2 trained grandchild of someone who also cann
In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Reviews a Book on a (Gasp!) Non-Pagan Subject

This is Not the Resurrection You're Looking For

 

Resurrecting Easter would be a better book if it knew what it wanted to be. Art history? A husband-wife travelogue? A mystery novel à la Da Vinci Code?

Unfortunately, it never manages to decide.

In it, Jesus Seminar rockstar John Dominic Crossan and his wife Sarah travel (literally) to the ends of Christendom to tell the story of the emergence of the iconography of the Resurrection. He writes, she takes the pictures.

This important topic has received surprisingly little attention from art historians. Apart from Anna Kartsonis' magisterial 1988 Anastasis: The Making of an Image, there are virtually no monographs on the subject. The Phaidon Press series of anthologies on the art of Holy Week—Last Supper, Crucifixion, and Descent (i.e. deposition from the cross)—does not, surprisingly, devote a volume to the art of the Resurrection. Somehow, when it comes to art history, it's always Nativity, never Pascha.

So I praise the Crossans for perceiving this lack and attempting to address it. It's a pity they couldn't do so more successfully.

Oh, they do manage to chronicle the emergence and development of Christendom's two major visual representations of the Resurrection, with some attention to various dead ends and roads-not-taken along the way. Unfortunately, the art-historical material is interspersed almost randomly with pointless tales from their travels, including local-color details about what time they caught the cab and what T-shirt the driver was wearing. The quest—and narrative—are driven by forced cliff-hanger questions about the iconography (“What happens to the universal resurrection tradition in Eastern Christianity during that same fateful period?”) that are meant to seem urgent but mostly fall flat.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I can go onto Bing images and type in resurrection to get a whole bunch of pictures. If I haven't run out of ink in my printer I
An Open Letter to the Editor of 'City Pages'

Dear Editor,

This concerning your coverage of Paganicon 2018 (“The Twin Cities—AKA Paganistan—Will Host a World Gathering of Witches”).

In the vocabulary of modern Witches, the word cowan (rhymes with plowin') refers to a non-Witch. It is not necessarily a derogatory term.

Not necessarily.

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