The Best of Raise the Horns 2013

I’ve had a ridiculously good year at Raise the Horns. Lots of visitors, lots of good conversations in the comments section, and there’s even been some decent writing. Eye-ball wise, October and December of this year have been two of my best months ever. That October number is especially gratifying because it was mostly all Pagan traffic, so thank you.

2013 has also been frustrating in some ways too, and a lot of that has to do with social media, especially Facebook. As one little ship in an ocean of blogs and other online entertainments I rely on things like Facebook to share my blog posts and get the word out that I exist. To that end, I have two personal pages I use to share my ramblings, along with the much larger Patheos Pagan page. The idea behind those pages is that you share an article on them and then people see it and hopefully read it. Sadly Facebook doesn’t look at it that way, and seems to suffer under the delusion that blogging is immensely profitable. Now if I want the privilege of people seeing my work on a page they already like I have to pay for it, which I really can’t afford to do.

So if you like this blog, or any blog, your best bet for finding out when I or someone else has posted is to get it sent directly to your email or add it to a web-based news reader. You can do that by clicking the RSS button on the right of this page, near the Facebook and Twitter logos. You can also share the posts you like on social media, I don’t have to pay when you share an article (not yet anyways). If you like an article the best gift you can give a writer is an online share, leaving comments doesn’t hurt either (especially when you leave them on the blog).

There were over 120 posts at Raise the Horns this year, and all from just one lone writer. I think that’s a pretty big accomplishment, and you’d be hard pressed to find a Pagan blog that features more diverse content than this one. I don’t like tooting my own horn so loudly, but I think I’m justifiably proud of this.

Now that I’m done complaining it’s time to pick the best of RtH. Since it’s impossible to be subjective when it comes to my own work, I’ve come up with two lists. One of them is simply a list of the ten most read posts here this year, while the second one lists my personal favorites that weren’t widely read. So catch up on what you might have missed, and re-read some old favorites. I’ve also included a few comments and regrets on each entry. Thanks for reading this year, and I’ve got a lot of great stuff in store for 2014.

Ten Most Read Posts on Raise the Horns

Christmas Traditions: Christian or Pagan? The Holiday Season is always a good time for my writing and this year was no exception. When I wrote this I kind of knew it would be “click bait,” but the reactions to it went far beyond that.

The History and Origins of Santa Claus I meant to write this last year, but I hadn’t done enough research yet to do it competently, so I held off. In years to come I have a feeling that people will still be reading this article.

Pan: The God of All When this was originally posted no one bothered to read it, and it’s not been shared a whole lot on social media. This post has generated a lot of traffic via search engines, and ten months after first going up, it’s still sometimes the most read thing on this page in any given week.

25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism: American Wing If you combined all three of the posts in this series it would be the most read piece on RtH this year. I loved this series, and especially loved that it inspired a few other similar lists and generated a lot of thought and debate. I wish more people would have read “the Top 5″ and “European Wing” entries, but at least people were reading.

Eostre, Easter, Ostara, Eggs and Bunnies I like writing about holidays, especially the history of those holidays, so it’s not surprising that many of those holiday histories are in my top ten. This post was originally shared on Agora so it was kind of a retread.

Good Tidings & Great Joy: The Sarah Palin Book Review If comments were a clear indication of popularity, this would be number one, but I’m glad it’s not. Between the mean-spirited comments and a blurb on the front page of Patheos labeling my review “No Middle Ground,” this all ended up feeling negative and adversarial. I thought it was a rather fair review and I made a concerted effort not to be an asshole. I think that all got lost somewhere along the way.

The Confusion of Imbolc This was another retread, so apparently I should stop writing fresh content and simply recycle old posts.

Your Responsibilities in Ritual Sometimes I sit down to write a blog post and come up with something in just an hour or so (which is fast for me). Those often end up really popular on RtH, none more so than this post. Maybe it’s the awesome pictures in the article, or maybe it’s just that people don’t write about this side of ritual enough, but whatever the reason, this ended up being a very big one.

Interview With An Atheist Pagan In June of this year I went to Michigan to see my family and participate in a friend’s wedding. Since I didn’t want the blog to go through two weeks of no updates I interviewed an atheist-Pagan friend of mine as a kind of place holder/one in the bag sort of post. It set off a firestorm. This post got a lot of reactions, generally negative reactions, and poor Amy B was so embarrassed by the situation that she refuses to talk about it seven months later.

Everything Samhain & Halloween Apparently putting the words “Samhain” and “Halloween” together results in lots of page views.

Not mentioned in this list is that the landing page for Raise the Horns actually garnered more traffic than any of these posts. That’s awesome, because it means people are just coming here to find things to read.

My Five Favorite Posts of 2013

Jesus and Pagans: A Tired and Divisive Debate There is no post I’m prouder of this year, and even if you don’t agree that there can be Christo-Pagans, you still have to appreciate my arguments. This post was inspired by something someone else wrote and I remember sitting down for three hours and spitting this all out in response.

10 Tips for Large Group Ritual 2013 was the year I began to really think about the differences between good rituals and great ones and ended up writing a lot of pieces on that topic. I’m not a ritual expert by any means, but after twenty years I do have a pretty good grasp on what works and what doesn’t.

Hand to Hand, Face to Face One of the saddest things about the Pagan Blogosphere is that adversarial and argumentative posts often gather the most attention. Write something positive emphasizing our commonalities over our differences and no one reads it. That’s what happened here.

Pagan Folkways: Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer When I started this blog I thought I’d spend a lot of time writing about music, when I figured out that no one was reading those posts I dialed that back a bit. I remember writing this one and crying by the time I was done. I cried some more after it was barely read.

The Rede of the Wicca There was a lot of good history in this post, and I ended up liking it so much that I put it into my own Book of Shadows.

Thanks for the amazing 2013! Lots more to come!

About Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey has been involved with Paganism for the last twenty years, and has spent the last ten of those years as a speaker, writer, and High Priest. Jason can often be found lecturing on the Pagan Festival circuit, so you might just bump into him. When not reading and researching Pagan history he likes to crank up the Led Zeppelin, do rituals in honor of Jim Morrison (of The Doors), and sing numerous praises to Pan, Dionysus, and Aphrodite. He lives in Sunnyvale CA with his wife Ari and two hyper-kinetic cats.

  • Ken

    I liked your music posts(as well as the others.) They introduced me to music that I may not have heard otherwise.

    • JasonMankey

      I won’t stop doing them, but it’s kind of a bummer they haven’t been more read.

      • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

        Have you tried sharing them on music forums rather than Pagan forums? It’s possible that a non-Pagan audience might be interested.

        • JasonMankey

          When I write things specifically for Pagans I don’t like promoting them in non-Pagan places. If I write something like the “The History of Santa Claus” I don’t worry about it so much because that’s written with a very general audience in mind.

          • http://www.patheos.com/Pagan Christine Kraemer

            *nod* I suppose you could write music posts for an audience that includes but isn’t limited to Pagans. Like, there’s definitely a much larger audience than just Pagans for spiritual music that’s about the earth.

            I’ve also been reminded recently that a large part of the US uses the word “Wicca” rather than “Paganism.” I think there are a ton of self-identified Wiccans out there who never see our stuff because they don’t use “Pagan” as a search term.

  • Natalie Reed

    Thanks Jason, for this wonderful blog. It is the one I most look forward to seeing in my inbox!

    • JasonMankey

      All right, I have now literally blushed online. Thank you.

  • GoblinCarl

    I just discovered your writing. I must say I really enjoy it a lot. It takes me back to my faithful days, and I like that.


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