Friday, March 25, 2005

Your Own Personal Isis, Astarte...

The Friday night dance was lots of fun. I did have to pause when I realized that I was bouncing around to a 20-year-old (at least) pagan song, Burning Times. The chorus is a perky chant of various goddess's names; the verses are a rehash of the Margart Murray burning times thesis. This would be fine except that it doesn't jive with any historical records.

  • While certainly people were burned at the stake for being witches, the number of burned witches was probably much less than 9 million -- more like 1 million (still bad).
  • An examination of court records from the times suggests that where the Church's civil authority broke down, people were more likely to be burnt as witches.
  • Pagans today have problems organizing; so far little evidence has been found that would support the theory of a pan-European, organized goddess religion.

So it was weird to look around the disco-ball lit room and see very earnest con-goers mouthing the words to Burning Times who were probably born after the song was written. It would be like discovering your parents cha-cha-ing to a song about the hoax about the US Congress taxing e-mails -- the information's wrong, but you know that they'll dance to it because it's got a cool beat. I've tried imagining using the tune of the song to set Ronald Hutton's Triumph of the Moon to music, but it would probably be too long to put into a song (and very dry in some places).

this is an audio post - click to play

At least they followed Burning Times up with a very funny selection.

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