Posted by: aediculaantinoi | April 28, 2014

New “Queer I Stand”: Don’t Write About Sleeping Dragons…?!?

My latest “Queer I Stand” column is up at’s Pagan Channel. It is a review of Don Cerow’s book When the Dragon Wore the Crown–Center and Circle: Putting Starlight Back Into Myth (for some reason, they screwed the title up in the version they printed at Patheos–?!?), which can be found here. Spoiler alert: I didn’t really find it to be very good. Feel free to comment there or here as you may prefer…

Also, note that elsewhere on the Pagan Channel, beginning at the end of May, T. Thorn Coyle is going to be hosting a book club that will be reading The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, which I and several other cool folks will be joining in with. So, if you’re interested in that topic, and can obtain the book, please do feel free to take part!


  1. Where do they get this “it sounds kinda like this English word, so it must have some Ancient Significance” idea? I keep seeing it around…

    Thank you for making the sacrifice of reading this, to save others from having to do so.

    • I’m always happy to sacrifice on behalf of the community in this fashion! (Well, not really, but sometimes…!?!)

      That variety of folk etymologizing has a long history, not only in Ireland, but in Greece and Rome long before it, and we owe its medieval prevalence and validity to Isidore of Seville, who was steeped in Graeco-Roman intellectual methodologies, and whose work was pervasively influential in Ireland from a very early period (7th c. CE onwards). That having been said…there are limits to where it is valid, and “other languages -> English” homophones as equivalent to proper etymologies is ridiculous in the extreme.

      (I’m reminded of what one of my Russian Celticist colleagues said to me the first time we met in Ireland, as we were departing: “I suppose since we are in Ireland I should say slán, but in Russian this means ‘elephant.'”)

      • I had no idea it was such a venerable fallacy. Thanks. I’d only encountered it in current (bad) argumentation recently, so I’d wondered if there was something in particular that had popularized it.

        Now that I think about it, at least one or two of the folks whose internet argument in favor of, for example, Saturn’s moon Prometheus being the literal rock to which the literal Prometheus had been chained sounds very similar to what you’re describing in this book. It may not be a coincidence.

      • Yeah…this not understanding the difference between myth and physically descriptive sciences is a strange bugbear, to be certain. Just because modern paganism doesn’t oppose or conflict with science doesn’t mean our myths are literal, either. *shrugs*

  2. I’m unfamiliar with the dragon book in question, but I’m glad to hear of the “New Jim Crow” book club, my Unitarian church had that as a “congregation read” but I wasn’t able to get my paws on a copy in time.

    • It will be great to have you aboard if you can do it! 😉

      You can skip the dragon book entirely…there are far better ones out there!

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