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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in goat man

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Horns Up!

“Horns up!” says my friend, grinning and flashing the accompanying Sign.

It's become his usual valedictory. I find this delightful.

Horns up: a polysemous—many-meaninged—greeting. Go for it! it says. Don't take any guff! it says. Forge ahead! it says.

But for witch-folk like us, it's also an invocation. And of course—so it is with witch-lore—it tells a story as well.

Because, naturally, “Horns up” implies an equal-and-opposite inverse. “The Goat Above, the Goat Below,” the Basque witches used to say at their sabbats. (No doubt they still do.) “Horns up” signs the living god, “Horns down” the dead.

And there's his story. Unlike most gods, the god of the witches dies. Being a god, of course, he doesn't stay that way, but that doesn't obviate what went before.

(How does he die? In fact, sad to say, we kill him ourselves: in love, we kill him. Witches are a tribe of deicides, which explains much of our long, sad history.)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Deck the Goat

October waning away, Samhain coming on. That means it's time to deck the Goat.

Like most witches, I'm a full-fledged aigolator (< Grk. aix, aigo-, “goat”). Whence our folk's affinity for things caprine?

If you think that it has something to do with the Bible, you're probably right. The Bible famously prefers sheep to goats. Well, sheep are passive and stupid, goats smart and headstrong. As Dion Fortune says, Some love one, and some love the other, but let me ask: Which would you rather be?

But the witch's aigophilia runs deeper than this.

Long ago, when the tallfolk's red bronze broke our people's blue flint, we got pushed up into the unfertile hills that no one else wanted. There's not enough graze up there for a cow, but goats thrive on the spiny browse that grows from the rocks. That's how the witch-folk became a People of the Goat: like us, they're survivors.

In this, we are like the Kalasha of what is now NW Pakistan, the only Indo-European-speaking people who have continuously practiced their traditional religion since antiquity. They too got pushed up into the mountains, in this case the Hindu Kush. They too survived thanks to the Goat.

Along with their herds of domestic goats, the Kalasha also reverence the argali, the white Himalayan wild goat, which they call “the cattle of the fairies.” Interestingly, the Scots refer to deer by the same title. On deer's milk I was suckled, goes a fairy song from the Highlands.

If it should seem strange that a lifelong vegetarian should have an argali head mounted above his fireplace, let me hasten to add that it's an antique from the 1920s. Crowning the head, the magnificent horns spiral out horizontally on either side, like the ram-horns worn by gods in Egyptian art. (The Egyptian wild goat, a relative of the Himalayan species, went extinct in pre-Dynastic times but—Kemet being Kemet—the Egyptians portrayed their gods with its horns to the very end of pharaonic civilization.) That's my deckable Goat.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Although I've never seen it, I've heard for years about National Lampoon's Satanist Catechism for Children: "This is the Goat. We
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember seeing a YouTube video of baby goats on sheet metal. They were adorable.
In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Realizes That He's Both More—And Less—of a Purist Than He Thought

Check out HeatherAnn's jaw-dropping Great Goat/Black Phillip mask over at High Noon Creations.

Stunning. (And let's hear it for the model.)

It's enough to make any aigolater's* heart beat faster. Oh, the sabbats we could do.

Here's the catch. The mask is made from urethane rubber with NFT faux fur and acrylic eyes; its horns are lightweight plastic backed with a rigid foam.

The Minnesota Osser (sometimes spelled ooser, but rhymes with bosser), which for almost 30 years the witches of the Driftless have used at their Grand Sabbats, is made—in the old style—from wood, antlers, and leather. I am privileged to be its keeper. It lives in a shrine in my home, and I worship it with incense and offerings twice daily.

Call me old-fashioned, but it's difficult for me to imagine something made from urethane and acrylic as the recipient of cult.

Theological question: Granted this distinction between—shall we say, ritually fit and unfit components—could High Noon's Black Phillip mask be used at a sabbat?

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Well...while plastics and synthetics dont appear in natural form, after watching nylon be created in a chemistry class from rearra

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Yule Goat

The ethnic Santas stood together on the shelf.

Scottish Santa in a kilt. French Santa avec béret. American Santa in red, white, and blue.

And the goat.

The white goat with panniers of colorful presents at his sides.

“So,” I say to the clerk, already knowing the answer, “What's with the goat?”

She shrugs.

“Oh, that's the Swedish Santa Claus,” she says.

Well, one could put it that way.

The Yule-Buck has brought gifts to Scandinavian children for nobody knows how long. The Goat that Gives Gifts.

Any witch could tell you Who That is.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Satyr Dance

 I. A Satyr Remembers

 Imbolc was coming up, and I remember we were all thinking: Oh gods. The ritualists here in town were in a pretty major rut, and had been for years: it was All Brigid, All the Time, and not only that but pretty-pretty, nicey-nicey too, all gauze and Laura Ashley. Boring. “We need something with some juice in it, some testosterone,” we kept saying. So we put together the Dance of the Satyrs. The initial inspiration came from the old Roman Lupercalia, but the goat-men danced (and still do dance) all over Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, so it felt like something we could do here in Minnesota, too.

The satyrs agreed beforehand that we would all refrain from ejaculating for a week before the ritual. I made it, but just barely. I swear, that must be the longest I've gone without since I was a kid and first figured out what my body could do. I swear, by the end of the week, it was coming out my ears. I could practically taste it. I'd get aroused taking the garbage out.

So just before the ritual, we're all in back getting ready. We stripped down and Paul [B. Rucker] painted us up. We looked like something from off a Greek vase, or maybe a cave wall. And you could practically smell the spooge. It was raunchy, like a goat barn or something.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Goat-Man of the Hindu Kush

The Kalasha are the last remaining pagans of the Hindu Kush. Numbering about 4000, in three adjoining valleys in northwest Pakistan, they are known for their proud polytheism, the freedom (and beauty) of their women, and their wine-drinking.

The Kalasha are a transhumant society. In the spring, the young men take the herds of sheep and goats up to the high mountain pastures, where they spend the entire summer and autumn. In late October, they return, just in time for the Prun, the three-day harvest festival that marks the end of the growing season, the return of the flocks, and the first drinking of the New Wine, led by a mysterious figure called the Budálak, the Goat-Man.

The Budálak wears horns and goat-skins, and on the third and final night of the festival, as drums throb around the bonfires and wine flows freely, the women garland him and he joins their wild dance. He is the embodiment of the purity, fertility, and rampant maleness of the high mountains, the realm of the peri (“fairies”), and his role is to transmit this fruitfulness to the entire community.

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