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.

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Besom Brigade

Time was, here in Paganistan, the Besom Brigade used to show up at the Heart of the Beast May Day Parade, black steeple hats and all, doing our precision broom drills down the middle of Bloomington Avenue.

There's no need to be afraid:

we are the marching Besom Brigade.

Schmeering on that herbal lube,

riding all night on our brooms.

Sound off.

Thir-teen!

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Tale of the Horned Skier

If ever you wondered who in ages of ages first invented the art of skiing, this 4000-year old petroglyph from Rødøy ("Red Island") in Norway should leave little doubt.

That wily old Guy with the Horns: father of arts and sciences, wellspring of human culture. Is it not he who brought us Fire and instructed us in its use? Is it not he who taught us to hunt, and gave us the Old Law: to take no more than is needful, and to kill both quickly and ruthfully?

The story of how he taught us to ski has been lost to time. Can we doubt, though, that it was originally a hunter's tale?

It may be that the tale of the Horned One, the Two Serpents, and the First Skis is not, after all, lost beyond all recovery.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Weather is What the Gods are Doing

New to Minnesota, my Israeli friend threw up her hands in exasperation.

Augh!” she groaned. “Doesn't anyone around here ever talk about anything but the weather?”

Well, this is the Midwest. We have lots of weather here and we talk about it a lot. We're proud of our weather, and find it intrinsically interesting. Hell, we have weather here that can kill you. That's pretty interesting.

For pagans, of course, there's added incentive. Earth, Sun, Storm, the Winds: what we call “weather” is what the gods are doing.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Mom's family is from Kansas. The family surnames I'm sure of are Horkman, DuPoe, and Klotz.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    We must be related, Anthony. The family joke is; what do we talk about at lunch? What we'll be having for dinner, of course.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Time was when my brother-in-law Marty complained that my parents and I talked about food all the time. In more recent years he de
Pagan Delivers Historic Invocation at Presidential Inauguration

 AP: Washington DC

Minneapolis man-in-black Steven Posch made history today by becoming the first pagan to deliver an invocation at a US presidential inauguration.

...
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Snow Dance

Och. I've been shoveling so much snow that my butt hurts.

Usually by now I'd have my shoveling muscles well in place, but we've had so little snow this winter that I've gone slack.

Well, the Great Groundhog's Day Blizzard of 2016 put paid to all that. It's time to take up the shovel and show what we're made of.

Here in Snow Country, shoveling is something of an art form. Good shoveling is a dance, a balanced pitting of muscle strength against weight resistance. You want maximum clearance for minimum energy output. You want rhythm, regularity. You want to do as much pushing and as little lifting as possible.

Push and two and push and two and lift and throw and

push and two and push and two and lift and throw and

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Groundhog He Say

Minneapolis, Groundhog's Day 2016. It's a snow sky, sunless and white: there's a big blizzard coming.

Thank Goddess.

If you've ever wandered where the song-and-dance routine about the groundhog and his shadow comes from, it's a naturalized American version of some old European folk meteorology.

February 2 marks the mid-point of winter, and supposedly the hibernating animals come out of their hibernacula to reconnoiter. No groundhogs in Europe, so other animals do the job: bears, marmots, hedgehogs.

Traditional weather lore has lots of examples of days whose weather is said to portend what's coming. “If it's sunny on St. Whoozit's Day, the Sun will shine for the next 40 days.” Interestingly, Candlemas Day is the lone example when bad—cloudy—weather portends good weather coming. A cloudy Candlemas predicts only 6 more weeks of winter. (Which brings us, roughly, to the Equinox.) If it's sunny and clear instead, winter will last longer.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    It is nice, but when my family moved back to Richmond in the 70's they didn't bloom until the last week of February/first week of
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Wish I were a cartoonist, Anthony: I'd like to see that one myself. Around here we won't be seeing crocus or maple flowers for (go
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    For some reason I carry the image in my mind of a giant groundhog reaching 12 feet high as it sits on its hind legs wearing a crow

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Greenface

No, we don't worship Satan. No, we don't practice human sacrifice. No, we don't eat babies.

Gods. Is there anything more boring than Wiccans being earnest?

Give me satire over earnestness any day of the moon. The stereotypes are a tool, up there with wands and athames, handed to us on a silver pentacle.

Back when, here in Paganistan, the Besom Brigade used to show up at the Heart of the Beast May Day Parade, black steeple hats and all, doing their precision broom drills down the middle of Bloomington Avenue while chanting cadences about eating children.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xvVX2saeBo
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Is that Besom Brigade on youtube by any chance? I would love to see them in action.

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