Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Academic Lecture on Cattle Magick

I've often joked about the old folklore belief that a magician could put a "bad word" on their neighbor's cow, presumably using some sort of spell rather than spray paint and a thesaurus. Later this month a lecture by Dr. Karen Cullen at UHI, an educational institution located in Inverness, Scotland, will explore these beliefs and discuss their historical significance.

The lecture is amusingly entitled "Charmed Cows and Contentious Neighbors" and it is part of a continuing positive trend in academia involving the scholarly study of esoteric beliefs, from mysticism to folk magick. For practicing magicians these studies can be a wellspring of new (or more properly old) practical ideas, and from the standpoint of history folk beliefs have not been taken very seriously by historians until relatively recently despite their influence within societies and cultures.

I don't really need a collection of cattle-related spells, but if I lived in Scotland I would still be interested in attending. You never know, someday I might find myself in a bizarre situation that would require me to hex a heifer.

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