Ask Angus 21: Music for Bats with Hats

Ask Angus 21: Music for Bats with Hats October 14, 2013

Burn in Ben Lomond: What is the most magical music?

Dear Burn,

The most magical music is that which is created by your own hands, either in performance or assemblage. Folk magick is built around an extremely personal bias – we define everything in the mythos for ourselves. The soundtrack for our individual cosmologies then functions best when it is as personal as possible. This is music just for you. You and The Goddess and God.

There are two routes to this goal:

1) First, make it yourself. A very wise woman once said that “Music is too important to be left to the professionals.” Go ahead, give it a shot; you can’t sing any worse than Bob Dylan, Mrs. Miller, Bon Scott, or Billy Bragg, and 90% of guitar songs use the chords from the first 5 pages of the Mel Bay Guitar book, volume 1.

There are frimge benefits to being a musician. Just sayin’.

Or whap on stuff. If you have a working appendage and can count to four you can be a drummer. (Trust me on that one. Beneath the thin veneer of civilization we are all drummers.)

And you needn’t work your vocal cords to the bone trying to be the next Maria Callas, Eddie Van Halen or Gene Krupa*. I think Aphrodite and Cernunnos (or whoever) respond quite nicely to simple wooden flute tones or a simple, repeating drum pattern – as long as you are playing with Intention, Devotion and complete Abandon. (Abandon your ego, your worries, your sense of Time – abandon your civilization. THAT’S where you will find your deities, and they will find You.)

2) If you are still intimidated by croakin’, strummin’ and percussing, consider the up-to-date art of assembling your own musical montage from your own collection. The art of the mix tape is just now reaching its delirious apogee. Dial up your iTunes and make a playlist that you think Osiris and Freya (or whoever) would enjoy tapping their toes to. And don’t be shy and wimpy about it. Osiris is the God of the Dead and Freya is no stranger to bloody sacrifices and also throws a hell of a party. Bust out the Zeppelin, baby!

Me and Captain Jack in concert with the lovely Alisa Rose.

Genius is often demonstrated as the resultant third way that arises from the combining of disparate disciplines. What mind-bending musical combinations can you come up with? There are few gifts more personal, and few soundtracks more powerful than those which you assemble yourself. And we moon howlers lead the way in wacky musical montages, as it has been amply demonstrated that witches have a tough time sitting still for an entire album. (Remember; Devotion does not necessarily equal Solemnity, just as Ecstasy is not a passive state.)

In short, Burn, the most magickal music is that which is closest to us, because the gift we give to the Gods is all of ourselves, without guilt or reservation. Your music is by definition Their music because they created us to make merry, make love, make mistakes, make hay, and make music.

(P.S. I wasn’t kidding about the Led Zeppelin, and neither is Jason over at Raise the Horns.)


Chris Morgan and Stef Dunaway show off the objects in question.
(Hats. Remember? Look UP. Yeah there.)

Simon: What’s up with the pointy black hats?

Dear Simon,

Oh. Those. (*grin*) Well, what we have here is the odd phenomenon known as ‘beating them at their own game’.

Since Inquisition times (at least) the tall, tapering hat has been associated with those awful, old, evil witches. Boo – hissss. Hollywood picked right up on that one (witness the wondrous Margaret Hamilton in ‘The Wizard of Oz’).

But curiously the real witches seemed to fight back by appropriating the very tools associated with their allegedly evil ways. Nowadays its mostly a cute prop, worn mostly around Halloween, but the history of them goes back many centuries…..

Ancient mummies have been found in the Gobi Desert of modern-day China and Mongolia, buried wearing their black witch hats as well as European style cloaks in tartan patterns. They were red-haired Caucasian women to boot.

Tlazolteotl on her broom, and wearing, frankly, a way cooler hat than the black, pointy kind.

On the other side of the world the Aztec pantheon included Tlazolteotl – whose name is guaranteed to get your tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth. She was a witch goddess who wore a black witch hat and rode a broomstick. So the association may go back much farther and be more widespread than it first would seem.

The meaning, unfortunately, is less clear: There is plenty of info about Merlin’s hat, which is really just a brimless variation on the classic cone chapeau. His hat was

supposed to show how much closer he was to God than mere mortals.

For us witches though I prefer an answer that is less Ceremonial and more folk magick oriented. I think the idea behind the shape and height is to assist the priestess with the cone of power, the tip of which could touch the top of the hat and still encompass the entire circle. The cone could even be released through the High Priestess and out through the focusing cone of the hat.

Also witch hats are great for storing ritual scripts, recipes, and light snacks.


Sunny in Sunnyvale: What’s the deal with witches and bats? Doesn’t seem very positive, let alone hygienic.

Dear Sunny,

On the contrary, there are as many misconceptions about bats as there are about witches, and more than a few similarities. Both, for example, are harmless.

This is rather recent information though, at least to the Civitas world. Historically the connection is simply that we were both

Evil? Not a bit. This flying fox is thinking nothing but “Mmmm……tasty fruit….. *BURP*……mmmm…….tasty fruit……

out at night, and we’re both allegedly Satan’s towel boys or something. In reality though its just that insects are at their most active at dusk, and a persecutory populace is mostly indoors after the sun goes down.

Let’s look at some other things that Chiroptera and the Crafty have in common:

  • There are over 1,200 species of bat, most no bigger than your hand even with wings outstretched. And there are countless varieties of witches, in sizes from handsome Hobbit to hows-the-weather-up-there, and shapes from pixiestick to P.R.P. (Perfectly Round Pagan).
  • Both can be seen flitting around forest meadows without a stitch of clothing on.
  • Bats are beneficial to the environment, eating tons and tons of harmful insects every night. Witches also work for betterment of the Earth, and we also eat lots after dark.
  • Witches and bats are both mammals and both fly (but bats don’t need brooms).
  • Bats are very sensitive to change, and many species are endangered. Witches are also very Sensitive, and although the ranks of the Wiccan continue to swell, we are nonetheless constantly threatened.
  • Both are both guided by extrasensory abilities.
  • Bats disseminate fruit seeds and pollinate flowers. Pagans have also been known to spread their seed, especially around Beltane.
  • And they’re both damn cute.
Mmmmm…….tasty mosquitoes…….*burp*……..mmmmm…….tasty mosquitoes……..

~Ask Angus

Angus McMahan


Send your questions to: angusmcmahan

*And yeah, wouldn’t THAT be a ball-buster of a record.

(Pics from: Secondlife marketplace, Collection of the Author, Collection of Alisa Pierini, Collection of Chris Simmons Morgan,  Encycopedia Britannica for kids, and Wikipedia commons {both batty pics}).

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