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.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
What's Your North?

It's a basic question of being-in-space: where do you face?

Orientation. The word itself documents the immemorial tendency of both Indo-European and Semitic cultures to face East.

Qibla (“direction”) is the Arabic word, and in Islam has come to mean specifically towards Mecca. (Qibla ultimately comes from the same Proto-Semitic root as Qabala, lit. “received,” but there's no real connection.) In Old Craft we say “North,” because the Old One sits in the North and that's the default, well, North.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Fire Kim Davis Now

Rant Alert

If a Mormon barrista suddenly refused to serve coffee because caffeine is "against her religion," she would be fired.

If a tattooist converted to Orthodox Judaism and refused to tattoo anyone because the Torah forbids it, he would be fired.

So a county clerk in Kentucky refuses to issue marriage licenses because her form of Christianity forbids same-sex marriage, and they send the matter to court?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Goddess bless separation of church and state. It really is the best idea anyone's had in the last 500 years.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks for the clarification, Raven, and shame on me for not doing my homework. Life is so much simpler with easy answers. Too bad
  • Raven J. Demers
    Raven J. Demers says #
    I'm not certain they were prepared for this outcome, but the Supreme Court has denied her any grounds on which to continue this pr
  • Raven J. Demers
    Raven J. Demers says #
    I wish it were as simple as firing her. As an elected civil servant, the choices are: jail and impeachment, compliance, or resigna

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The War on the Gods

To make is hard. To make takes skill. To make is godlike.

To break is easy. Any bully can do it.

This the desecrators, the icon-breakers, have never understood. Nor do they understand that, smash as they will, in the end they cannot win.

Shown above are three of the greatest gods of ancient Palmyra. In the center is Thunder: Ba'al Shamin, “Lord of Heaven,” here shown without his usual attributes of thunderbolt and eagle. To his right stands Moon (see his crescent horns): Aglibol, “Ba'al's Calf.” To his left stands Sun: Malakbol, “Ba'al's Messenger” (or “Angel”).

The breakers of the world can smash Their images, they can blow up Their temples. And let us make our due and worthy laments for such lost and broken beauty.

But the gods Themselves they cannot touch. Thunder, Moon, and Sun stand in the heavens as They always have: our very makers, givers of life to maker as to breaker.

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Urban Witching: Full Moon (with Frogs)

About half an hour before moonrise, we meet up at the coven bench in the park, big enough to hold a whole coven. Well, almost.

We catch up, laugh, dish a little. It's August, almost September, so zucchini bread, curds and apples circulate along with the wine.

When bats begin to wheel, it's time to make our magic: down the hill and around the lake, still high with summer rain, we go. We stride purposively, silent with intent. Cowans clear the way without realizing it. Frog after frog hops along our path as we walk: tens of them, scores of them. Clearly the frogs have magic of their own to make tonight.

We circle, right shoulders to night water. We meet up again where we started, where the three paths join. By Bat, by Moon, by Frog: So mote it be.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Killing the God

To the best of my knowledge, in the entire 3000-year span of its existence, not once in ancient Egyptian art do we see the death of Osiris at the hands of his brother Set.

If true (and my knowledge of the field is nowhere near exhaustive), this is a remarkable fact, and makes some profound suggestions about the thought-life of the ancients.

What is shown endures. What is shown is empowered. What is shown is made real.

So that the death of a god, the Great Sacrifice, while—terribly so—a necessity, can never in itself be an inherent good.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Indeed. The midnight Resurrection service is one of humanity's great liturgical masterpieces. Until you've been to Orthodox Easter
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    When I was taking my history of western Art class back in the early 80's I remember the teacher mentioning that art in the Eastern
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It's a powerful, shocking image, to be sure. As an outsider looking in, it's hard not to see the crucifix as an image that glorif
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Many of us who identify as Christian are also horrified at the fixation on the Crucifixion and how that fixation has twisted and o

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Do the Gods Still Speak?

I was reading some “locutions” purportedly spoken by the Virgin Mary to a visionary in Medjugorje, Bosnia, when I noticed something interesting.

Not a single one of these “messages” sounded even remotely like something one would expect a 1st century Palestinian Jewish woman to say.

“From today,” she supposedly told seer Yakov Colo, “I will not be appearing to you every day, but only on Christmas, the birthday of my son” (375).

Well, there's a 1 in 365 chance that the historical Jesus was born on December 25. I suppose that if anyone could tell you when he actually was born, it would be his mother.

Assuming, of course, that it really was her you were speaking with in the first place.

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Witch Country

They call it the Driftless Area.

What strange forces spared one isolated region along the Upper Mississippi River, asks Timothy S. Jacobson, from the repeated crushing and scouring effects of massive continental glaciers during the last million-plus years? What pre-Ice Age throwbacks survived here in this unique refuge that holds more Native American effigy mounds, petroglyph caves, strange geological features, and rare species than anywhere else in the Midwest?

Every tribe has a territory. In this, the Midwest Tribe of Witches is no different from any other.

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