Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Steven Posch

Steven Posch

Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.
Shine On, Harvest Moon: The Same-Sex Version

I grew up singing this charming little courting ditty with my parents, who grew up singing it with theirs; its seasonal relevance gives it perennial interest. Here's my updated, same-sex version, for all those boys out there falling in love with one another right now. Hey, everybody needs a pal.

Spooning” is old slang for “making out.” Think of two spoons fitting together.

Some day, we'll have songs for all the Moons of the Year. We begin here.

 

Shine On, Harvest Moon

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  • Kay Schoenwetter
    Kay Schoenwetter says #
    Of course, lesbians do not have to change the words at all.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
You, Your God, and a Stick of Incense

You, your god, and a stick of incense.

That's all that you need to get a daily observance in place.

And—believe me—if you don't have a daily observance going, you need to start one stat. Every good garden requires regular cultivation. What would you think of a friend who only comes to you when she needs something?

Stand before an image of your heart-god.

(I'm using the word “god” inclusively here.) This can be a statue, a picture, or an aniconic symbol.

Stand, don't sit. (Sitting is passive, and this needs to be an act of active engagement.) Think of it as standing to attention. Think of it as rising when someone important enters the room.

Light the incense.

"The offering," they say, "bears the prayer." Actually, coals and a grain or two of quality natural incense would be better, but you can't beat the ease of stick incense. Here, as always in pagan ritual, the offering is the go-between, the mediator.

Be in the presence of your god.

What you do next is up to you. If you pray, pray. If you know a hymn, sing it. If you'd rather stand silently in rapt contemplation, do that. If a state of no-mind better suits you, that's fine. (Silent time with a friend is sometimes the most intimate time of all.) Always, you should be listening for the voice of the god.

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An Older, Realer Paganism: The Life and Times of a Saami Shaman-Poet

 the guests had one month fewer

they do not speak the language of nature

 

We take ancient gods and goddesses, revive them, and think that that's paganism.

But that's not paganism; it's a cartoon, a caricature, of paganism.

For an older, realer paganism, read the work of Saami poet Nils-Alsak Valkeapää (1943-2001).

Here there's a life lived so thoroughly among the old gods—the Sun our father, Earth mother of life, the Moon, the Winds, the Lake, the Mountain, the Reindeer—that there's no space between: a living relationship with a living world.

Listen to his shaman's song:

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The Danger of Thinking in Pagan

the guests had one month fewer

they do not speak the language of nature

(Saami poet Nils-Alsak Valkeapää)

 

Och, maybe I've just gone too far into the mists.

Cowans just don't make sense any more.

I find that I can't even bring myself to write (or say) “God”—with a capital G, like a name—as cowans do, without the quotations. The way that they use the word is wholly a misuse, a misconstrual, of an old word, a fine word, our word, which never meant, nor means, nor can mean what they mean by it.

That's the problem of thinking in Pagan. Once you start to do it, it makes so much sense that, in time, nothing else does.

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  • M.T. Noah
    M.T. Noah says #
    i can't say i'm a decades long person in this fold. but i can't say i'm not. the 1/2 trained grandchild of someone who also cann

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In Praise of Tribalism

Among the chattering classes on both the Left and the Right, it's become fashionable to decry what they call “Tribalism,” meaning solipsistic hyper-partisanship.

You'll notice that none of those doing the decrying actually belong to a tribe.

Those of us who do know that, in fact, they're wrong.

Tribalism is not the problem. Tribalism is the answer.

It's the lack of true tribe that is the problem.

Human beings are tribal animals. We're born with a need to belong: to be part of the life of an ongoing people, a group larger than a family but smaller than a nation. This provides us with a sense of belonging that nothing else can satisfy.

Since the longing to belong is inherent, when we don't have it, we seek it out. The tribe-substitutes that we end up with instead are all too often either something destructive—like a gang, or the Party—or something ephemeral and utterly trivial, like the Game, or the Concert.

Pagans, I would contend, are an emergent tribe, at least in potentia. Thou mayst not be a pagan alone. All pagan religions are tribal religions: they come with an inherent affiliation to a particular people. A paganism without a people is an incomplete paganism.

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Record Attendance at Twin Cities Pagan Pride Leaves Stomachs Rumbling

Minneapolis, MN

Well, it was a beautiful late summer day at one of the great local beauty spots, so there were plenty of non-pagans at Minnehaha Falls regional park yesterday, too.

Even so, pagans turned out in such numbers for the 17th annual Twin Cities Pagan Pride celebration on Saturday, September 8, that the only food vendor in attendance had run out of food by mid-afternoon, leaving behind plenty of hungry pagans.

Numerous merchants reported record sales.

Reportedly, Pagan Pride organizers had originally contacted a second food vendor, who had declined to participate on the grounds that such an event would not generate a large enough turn-out to be financially worthwhile.

Moral: Pagans turn out. Pagans like to eat. Pagans spend money.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Saturday I went to the 60th annual Armenian Festival. Armenian refugees wanted a church of their own and raised the money to buil

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The Original People

We are the pagans.

We are the Firstborn.

We were here in the beginning.

We have been here all along.

While humanity endures, we will always be here.

We are the pagans, the Firstborn: the Original People.

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