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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The Stangmen

They call them the Stangmen.

They also call them the Witchmen, though generally out of earshot.

A bunch of grizzled old farmers that look just like anyone else, though everyone knows who they are.

Everyone knows that at the Old Times they go up to the Hill—the one that everyone still calls Old Baldie, though the trees grew back long since—and there they do their work.

Back before the trees grew back, you could see every field and pasture in the district from up there.

They call them the Stangmen because they keep the four old stangs, handed down since no one knows when.

Different stangs for different times and different purposes: Ram, Bull, Stag, Goat.

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Samhain in September

My gods. It just gets earlier every year.

Oh, not the stores. I gave up on those years ago. Samhain stuff going up? Must be September.

What's next? Jack o' lanterns at Lunasa?

Oh, well. In its own way, commerce helps turn the Wheel.

But at home? Folks, we're not even out of the Harvest thirtnight yet. Isn't it a little early for orange lights and skeletons?

Don't get me wrong; I love Samhain as much as the next guy.

But then—let's remember—comes Winter.

And for that, quite frankly, I can wait.

A while back the youth of Zuñi pueblo put together a traveling show of traditional dances. Before they hit the road, they danced for the elders, to get their blessing.

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Stands-In-the-Sky

In the old language of the Witches, frith means “peace.”

They say that it's also the name of the Goddess of the Rainbow.

Why? Not difficult.

Daughter of Sun and Thunder, contentious couple that they are, she is child of their reconciliation.

Last new moon I set out for our coven meeting just before sunset. Although the day had been gray and rainy throughout, suddenly the clouds parted and everything began to glow with a long, red equinox light.

And there in the east She stood in the sky with Her twin sister, vast and shining.

I live in a gritty urban neighborhood where it's sound practice to be a little chary of people you pass on the street.

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Care of Souls

"Michael, what's wrong?"

Standing in the doorway, my friend grimaces.

"I realized today that I don't believe in the existence of god any more," he says.

The god that he means is the god of Abraham. I'd come to the same conclusion myself years before, but for Michael, who'd gone to seminary, nearly become a priest, and later considered conversion to Judaism, this was huge.

I pondered my response. Souls need careful handling.

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In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Gets Angry and Lays a Curse

Words matter.

That's why I'm laying a curse upon a certain word.

Not wishing to draw said curse onto my own head, I will refrain from writing the word here, for indeed it deserves neither to be written nor spoken.

But this much I will say:

The word that I hereby curse is a portmanteau of “romance” and “bro” (sic).

This sneering, belittling, condescending term denotes an intimate emotional relationship between two men.

And everyone knows that men shouldn't have those.

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Little Clay Goddess

The little clay goddess went out into the garden on Planting Day.

Ohmigods.

Now I practically need a machete to get into the garden.

The tomatoes have been the size of grapefruits.

The collard leaves are as big as skillets.

The squash vine, umbilical, not content with taking over the garden, is in the process of claiming the entire back yard. I'm expecting it to grab me as I go out the door any day now.

The butternuts it bears are each more than a foot long. The last one I cooked weighed two and a half pounds.

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Crowning the Harvest

 Now the falling of the leaves, now the shortening day:

for Summer is a-going out, and Winter's on the way.

 

You won't find our Autumn Evenday ritual in any Book of Shadows.

In some ways, it looks more like Thanksgiving at your mother's house.

Well, assuming your mother was Sybil Leek.

After all, this is Witches' Thanksgiving.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I've quoted from seven different songs here; there are lots of Harvest songs. Here's Albion Band's version of the last, The Reapho
  • Haley
    Haley says #
    How does the tune of this song play? I hear something akin to 'Oak, Ash and Thorne', perhaps.

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