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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Riot Wine

I live in the pagan neighborhood of Minneapolis, the very area which bore the brunt of the looting and arson following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the MPD on Memorial Day.

It's been a hard time for the people of this neighborhood. In addition to everything else, we've been left without a functioning bank, pharmacy, grocery, liquor or hardware store in the area. In an already difficult time, life here has become that much more difficult.

Recovery has been slow. You still have to go elsewhere to bank or get hardware or (legal) drugs, but the first local grocery reopened (thank Goddess) about a month ago. Two weeks ago, the first neighborhood liquor store reopened its doors.

The store had been pillaged during the Four Nights of Terror, but (as one would expect) the looters mostly went for the hard stuff.

So now they're having a Riot Sale: fire- and water-damaged bottles of wine—some of it quite good—at the unbelievably low price of $3 apiece. Gods know, we've earned it.

It's Saturday Eve, the end of another trying week. Like they say, it's an ill wind that blows nobody some good.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Two Birds, One Stone

 Note to Reader:

In my posts, I generally try to avoid the vicious and mean-spirited.

Not today.


So, Kenny Klein is dead: a man who, by his actions, betrayed his people, his Craft, and his gods.

Of some, I say: let them be forgotten. But as for Klein: what he has done, let it be remembered against him.


In addition to being a man of no honor, Klein was, of course, a songwriter. You may be familiar with a Samhain chant of his:

Down we go to the World Below:

we bring with us our Light to show.

Up we rise with the Dark in our eyes:

we bring to Light a piece of the Night.


Personally, I've always disliked it. “...our light to show”: 'tis a poor poet that needs to rearrange grammar to suit rhyme. A good artist controls his medium, not the other way around.

One time-honored way to destroy the unworthy is, of course, with satire.

Two birds, one stone.

Down we go to the World Below:

but where it stops, we just don't know.

Kenny Klein got in hot water

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, Perhaps Mr. Klein will join Phlegyas as an official greeter in the Kingdom of the Dead. Another man who betrayed his p

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Columns of Aya Sofia

All of the world's big-box religions—including, be it noted, Hinduism and Buddhism—have built their houses on pagan foundations.

As we rebuild the paganisms of the future, this fact has implications.

Let us be frank: much—most—of the Old Lore has been lost forever; there's simply no way ever to recover it.

So, when it comes to the intangibles—tunes, tropes, vocabulary—I would contend that, as pagans, it's our right to take from the Dispossessors whatever we might wish.

Think of it as Reparations: the making-good of that which has been taken from us. In the old Hwicce/Witch language, this would have been called a grith-geld (as in wergeld): payment to make peace between communities.

As for the tangibles: the places, the fungibles? All in good time, my little pretty: all in good time.

If we're wise, for now, we'll draw the line at intangibles. Remember that pagans are the Original People.

If there's one thing we know, it's how to wait.

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The Lunasa Song

Waiting to fall back asleep, I found myself improvising The Lúnasa Song à la Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song:

Chant the Witch's Rúnasa

every year at Lúnasa.


Don't act like a goonasa

just because it's Lúnasa. 

Fortunately, I soon fell asleep.

For which the gods be praised.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Traffic's cover of "John Barleycorn" was, for a long time, the only pagan song that I knew. I sang it over and over, and never got
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I figure the song "John Barleycorn" is appropriate for Lammas.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Confessions of an Idolater

The old Somali man from down the street doesn't speak much Arabic; neither do I. But it's our only language in common.

'Eid mubarak, I wish him, going past: Happy holiday. In the Islamic calendar, today is 'Eid-al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice.

He looks as surprised as I would be if he were to wish me a good Samhain.

He quirks his head.

“Are you Muslim?” he asks, dubiously. Funny, you don't look Muslim.

I laugh. I don't know the Arabic word for “pagan.”

(Looking into it later, I find that, as among Anglophone pagans, there's no agreement among Arabic-speaking pagans—of course there are Arabic-speaking pagans; there are pagans everywhere—on what to call themselves. If it were me, I'd say hanîf, the Arabic cognate of the name by which the Aramaic-speaking pagans of the Mesopotamian city Harran, where the Old Ways survived well into the 11th century, called themselves. But, of course, I don't really get a vote here.)

“No, I'm an idolater,” I tell him.

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Respecting the Virus

I've posted several times previously about the traditional pagan approach to diseases such as the new corona virus.

So let me just reiterate.

Covid-19 is a Power in its own right.

The Wise respect the Powers and behave accordingly.

When necessary, the Wise propitiate.

Disrespect a Power, and you will feel its wrath. If you need evidence, look at the US's current failed presidency, its epic unwillingness to take this pandemic seriously, and the deadly results that such intransigence has wreaked—and continues to wreak—upon our land and our people.

It could have been avoided, but the president is no pagan, and a fool.

Pagans: The Red Hag is a Power, an awesome Power.

Respect that Power, and propitiate.


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Will Covid Change the Craft for the Better?

My first outdoor ritual broke my heart.

It also sowed the seeds of my disenchantment with Wicca, and, in a way, set my feet on the path that I've been walking ever since.

Of course, I'd been doing things in the woods since my teen years, but this was to be my first group ritual outdoors. It was what I'd always wanted, and I couldn't wait.

In retrospect, I'm guessing that it was probably the coven's first attempt at outdoor ritual, and they made all the mistakes that you would expect. In effect, they tried to do the usual Book of Shadows ritual, but outside instead of in.

Naturally, the candles blew out. There wasn't enough light to see, read, or dance by. Ritually speaking, it was a disaster.

The gods were speaking loudly that night, and what They said was: No.

“This isn't a nature religion,” I can remember thinking, anguished in my new understanding. “It's a living room religion.”

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