“A Wiccan Army Chaplain? The Brass Wouldn’t Buy It”

The Seattle Times 
February 24, 2007

Alan Cooperman


The night wind pushes Don Larsen’s green robe against his lanky frame. A circleIn some Pagan traditions, a “circle” refers to the people who gather for a ritual. When standing in a circle, all the participants are able to see each other, with no one member elevated over any other. This practice is often felt to encourage egalita... of torches lights his face.

“The old godsThe term god with a small “g” is used to refer to a deity or class of deities whose power is understood to be circumscribed or localized rather than universal, or to refer to a plurality of deities. are standing near!” calls a retired Army intelligence officer.

“To watch the turning of the year!” replies the wife of a soldier wounded in Iraq.

“What night is this?” calls a former fighter pilot.

“It is the night of ImbolcImbolc is the Celtic name for the Neo-Pagan High Holiday celebrated on or near February 2. This time of the year signifies creativity, initiation and the taking of form of the new year that started at the winter solstice. It is also known as Brigid, after...,” responds Larsen, a former Army chaplainA chaplain is a member of the clergy who serves in a prison, a hospital, a college, or some other institution outside the context of the normal congregational life of a religious community..

Of the 16 self-described witches who have gathered on this Texas plain to celebrate a late-winter paganThe term “pagan” (from the Latin paganus) originally meant “peasant” or “country dweller.” For many Pagans, the term suggests a life lived close to the land. Today, nature spirituality is an important thread in contemporary Paganism. Some Paga... festival, all but two are current or former military personnel. Each has a story. None can compete with Larsen’s.

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