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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Wearing the Hat

Now where is that Witch-English dictionary? I know I left it here somewhere.

Copintank, n. A sugar-loaf hat.

On the off chance that you've ever wondered what the technical name for a witch's hat is, well: now you know.

I'll take Witch Words for a thousand, Alex.

Also known (mostly by cowans) as a “steeple hat” (!), the copintank has been associated with English witches since some of the earliest woodcuts of them were made during the 16th and 17th centuries. Not surprisingly, this was also the period during which the copintank was considered fashionable. We witches have always been dressers.

Don't ask etymology; even the experts don't agree. It seems likely that the first syllable reflects the archaic word cop, “head” (= German kopf), but the rest is a mystery. One thing we can be sure of: it has nothing to do with either vats or vehicles. That word comes from the Subcontinent, and didn't enter English until centuries after witches were already sporting our signature headgear with its distinctive name.

If ever you've wondered why we wear them (no, Virginia, it doesn't have anything to do with the cone of power), well: let me tell you a story.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    During the Yule baking last year, I ended up grating a block of old dry brown sugar. I guess there's something to be said for maki
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Over at colonial Williamsburg they sell sugar cones and tell the tourists that that is the way sugar was sold in colonial times.
Minoan Ecstatic Postures: The Realm of the Dead

A couple of weeks ago I started exploring some of the ritual postures we find in Minoan art, mostly in the form of bronze and terracotta figurines. I began with the famous Minoan Salute and then had a look at the posture I call Shading the Eyes (and no, that’s not an ancient Minoan Weeping Angel, I promise! LOL).

This week I’ve done some experimentation with a posture that’s most common in Cycladic art, one that appears to link the user to the Realm of the Dead. You can see an example of it in the photo at the top of this post. These figurines, usually made of marble, show a person (most often a woman) with their arms across their abdomen, the left arm above the right.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Nettles & Mugwort

While I was reading Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes, a too much neglected classic of witchcraft fiction, I was struck by a rhyme Lolly's Nannie Quantrell had taught her as a child, which she had learned from her grandmother:

If they would eat nettles in March

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Pagan News Beagle: Fiery Tuesday, July 19

Protesters decry the nomination of Donald Trump by the Republican Party. Concerns rise in China about public censorship. And we consider the role gender has to play in this year's election (and what that has to do with Paganism). It's Fiery Tuesday, our weekly segment on political and societal new from around the globe! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Oak Moon: the love affair of Pan and Selene

Let the beauty we love, be what we do.

There are a thousand ways to kneel and touch the ground.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Message Found on a Cell Phone

Hey Anita, it's Steven.

I can't remember whether or not there's reception down where you guys are camped. I know that Iacchus has a signal up top at the Big House, so presumably you'll get this sooner or later.

As you'll recall, my original plan was to get to the festival tomorrow—Wednesday—but I'm afraid there have been a few, ah, developments around here.

In fact, you're not going to believe this, but at the moment my house is surrounded by a mob of irate villagers, complete with pitchforks and torches.

Seriously, I am not making this up. You may even be able to hear them in the background. [Muffled shouting.] Like you say, life imitating art.

Gods, with all the kids around here, you'd think they could spare one or two every now and then. I mean, a guy's got to eat, right?

But no.

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, July 18

The new Ghostbusters film is released. The world goes crazy for Pokémon. And writer LeSean Thomas talks about the importance of POC characters in fiction. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment on magic and religion in popular culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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