The Best of Raise the Horns 2017

The Best of Raise the Horns 2017 December 24, 2017

Some of you like me, you really really like me. We had about half a million different people stop by this little old blog in 2017, and it has to be a record. What follows are my most read posts of 2017 and some thoughts about each one.

"Red Deer Stag" photo by Mehmet Karatay.  GNU License.
“Red Deer Stag” photo by Mehmet Karatay. GNU License.

WITCHCRAFT BEFORE WICCA: THREE IMPORTANT MAGICKAL BOOKS

This post was the result of Llewellyn rejecting a chapter I had written for my book, The Witch’s Book of Shadows. But a good Witch never wastes a piece of writing that took them several hours to put together so it got turned into a blog post. What I liked most about this particular article was how it mixed some history with actual spells and examples from the books I was writing about. It also resulted in some extra sales for my book, which was a nice added bonus.

I’ve been told the title of the article is a bit clickbaity, and that’s not something I’d deny. Of course it’s clickbait! I’m a writer, I write to be read, clever headlines attract eyeballs. Most everyone who writes something and posts it in a big public space is looking for readers, and I’ll admit that I’m not different.

EIGHT WAYS TO CELEBRATE BELTANE

I think I write more sabbat related stuff than anyone else at Patheos Pagan, and my “8 Ways to Celebrate ___” series has become one of the most read at RtH. After Samhain and Yule, Beltane seems to draw the most eyeballs here, and this one drew more eyeballs than any other one.

Oddly, I ended up writing it in a New Orleans hotel room in between festivals and away from my wife and my coven. But if you are going to be stuck somewhere near Beltane without your chosen family, New Orleans is probably a good spot to be. It’s great for food, drinks, and all sorts of magickal tourism.

Gwion, Laura Tempest Zakroff, Harmless Drudge
Gwion, Laura Tempest Zakroff, Harmless Drudge

SUMMER PAGAN FESTIVALS 2017: A GUIDE

No posts takes me longer to write than the Pagan Festival ones, and few are more widely read. Mostly the response to them is fun, but sometimes people take them a little too seriously. They are meant to be kind of sarcastic, and since I have yet to visit every festival in North America, a lot of them I know very little about outside of their websites.

Between April and September of last year I went to six different festivals. That’s a lot of workshops, rituals, and ciders! I write about and go to festivals because I absolutely love them and think they are super important when it comes to creating Pagan Community.

8 WAYS TO CELEBRATE SAMHAIN

It’s more sabbat stuff! Sometimes I feel like I should write deeper pieces, but now that I’m writing books I need to escape from the world of footnotes now and again. Besides, I find that my favorite part of Paganism these days are the sabbat celebrations I share with my coven. It’s nice to get out of my head and simply focus on the doing.

That's me, John Beckett, and Heron Michelle
That’s me, John Beckett, and Heron Michelle

WICCA A NEW MAJOR RELIGION

This post drew some heat from people who thought my numbers were way too big when it comes to the amount of Witches and Pagans in the United States. But I based my number of at least a million Wiccan-style Witches on a few factors:

-Previously published surveys
-The amount of readers we have at Patheos Pagan
-Witchy spaces, such as bookstores, festivals, etsy stores etc.

I think when we look at all of it, it presents a picture of at least 2 million Pagan types in the United States. One of my more vocal critics said that there were maybe 200,000 Pagans in the United States and I couldn’t help but laugh. If that were the case it would mean every Pagan is reading this blog and I know that’s not true!

STUPID WITCHCRAFT MISTAKES

The response to this article really caught me off guard. I did not expect it to be read nearly 10,000 times, but here we are. I think it was popular because it’s relatable. We all screw up when we get started with Witchcraft, and those mistakes aren’t written about very often.

I also think some people just enjoyed laughing at my foibles.

Damh, Selena Fox, and Me.  Photo stolen from Selena's Twitter.
Damh, Selena Fox, and Me. Photo stolen from Selena’s Twitter.

PAGAN THINGS MADE BY PAGANS FOR PAGANS

I do one of these every year, and after the festival post, it takes the longest to write. Part of the difficulty in putting it together comes from just how much really good stuff is out there in our community. Sadly I can’t write about all of it, as much as I’d like to. I alawys worry about hurting someone’s feelings when they ask for inclusion and don’t quite make it into the article. It’s never personal, it’s mostly because I don’t own a working time-turner.

RAYMOND BUCKLAND: A REMEMBRANCE

Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft was one of my earliest Witch books and it had a tremendous impact on my practice. A few years later I was lucky enough to Mr. Buckland at a local Pagan gathering and found him to be an extremely warm and welcoming person. In my eyes he was a huge rock-star like figure and he couldn’t have been nicer.

Buckland’s influence on the Modern Craft movement was second to none. He’s most certainly a part of Witchcraft’s Modern Mount Rushmore along with Valiente, Gardner, and Starhawk.

Thanks for reading in 2017, coming to workshops, sharing blog posts, buying books, and whatever else. I really appreciate it. I feel blessed and privileged to be a part of the Pagan Community both online and off.

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