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When I heard Elwood “Bunky” Bartlett, an accountant from Dundalk, MD, attributed his Mega Millions lottery win to Wiccan gods and goddesses, I thought, “Wow, what a way to legitimize Wicca!” I immediately had visions of dyed-in-the-wool conservative Christian lotto players mulling over the pagan pantheon, if even for a mere second. People who would laugh off Wicca as a belief system only for those that enjoy Dungeons and Dragons and the Society for Creative Anachronism might have stopped laughing when they heard that Bartlett could potentially collect pre-tax winnings of more than $48 million.
Bartlett and his wife were on their way to Mystickal Voyage, a New-Age bookstore and gift shop, when they decided to stop into a nearby liquor store and purchase a ticket.”If it wasn’t for this place I wouldn’t have won the lottery,” he told the local WJZ newscast, referring to the book store. According to the station’s website, Bartlett “added, matter-of-factly, that he made a bargain with the multiple gods associated with his Wiccan beliefs. “You let me win the lottery and I’ll teach,’ he said.”
(Both of Bartlett’s ticket numbers were randomly chosen by computer and the odds of any ticket matching all five numbers is calculated at one in 176 million.)


Sure, people pray to the Abrahamic God all the time to win the lotto. In fact, Joe Hornick Sr., a devout Catholic who hit the jackpot four times between 1898 and 2002, claimed that “divine intervention” helped him win, explaining to the “Today Show’s” Matt Lauer that, “I’ve got the Lord on my side.”
I genuinely feel that this is a victory for Wicca and other pagan belief systems. I’m not Wiccan or pagan myself, but I have very good friends who are serious practitioners and I know it annoys them when their beliefs get short shrift from those in mainstream America. Pagans and Wiccans are not just hippies who sit around hugging crystals and casting spells all day.They are normal everyday folks; heck, Bartlett is an accountant. How much more normal can you get?
But with the winnings may come a begrudging respect for these belief systems. Bartlett, who already occasionally teaches Wicca and Reiki healing at Mystickal Voyage, now plans to invest some of his lottery winnings in that institution and possibly franchise it, imbuing the whole episode with a kind of overtly acceptable Protestant Work Ethic feel about it. In fact, when Bartlett told his children they wouldn’t have to work a day again in their lives, they told the proud father that they both plan to keep on working. Max Weber is smiling in his grave.
So, way to go Wicca! And take note, America: Paganism could equal potential profit. Because, let’s be honest, no matter what God or gods one worships, who wouldn’t bow down to Mr. Easy Money, Mammon, in the end?

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