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.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
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
Witchbury

In the tribal territories of the Hwicce, the old Anglo-Saxon Tribe of Witches, stands a hill called Wychbury Hill. The name means “Hill-fort of the Witches.”

It was once our tribal capital.

The old Northern ancestors didn't live in cities. Most people lived dispersed on their own holdings, but in every clan territory there would be a burg or hill-fort (= Keltic dún): a hilltop fort surrounded by high earthen walls topped with a wooden palisade. At the foot of the hill stood the village, the thatched houses of the yeomanry.

In the burg itself stood the main hall of the drighten, the chieftain, and the homes of the dright, his war-band. The dright prided themselves on having been born within the walls; it meant that you were nobility. But during times of war, the entire village would take shelter behind those walls.

As, whenever we cast a circle, we still do.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Alas, Haley, the answer to your question is lost to the ages. Really, though, one has to imagine a certain amount of ribbing on th
  • Haley
    Haley says #
    So, then, would those born behind the wall in wartime be noble as well?
How Does a Coven Manage to Stay Together for Nearly 40 Years?

 It takes three witches to make a coven. Two witches is just an argument.

(Craft proverb*)

 

Come Harvest Home, we'll have been together for...well, for nigh on 40 years.

(“That's 90-something in cowan years,” my friend and colleague Sparky T. Rabbit would have quipped.)

In the fractious and ephemeral world of contemporary Witchdom, where covens tend to come and go, this is a pretty remarkable achievement.

So how have we managed to do it?

Well, every group is different. What works for us might not necessarily work for you.

But it might.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    So wise, you crafty old witch.
  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    All excellent points to remember. Thank you for sharing this!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Bride of Light

In Sweden, she comes on Old Solstice Day

But elsewhere in Witchdom, she comes in early February.

The Bride of Light.

Singing she comes. Crowned with candles and greenery she comes. Gowned and veiled in white she comes.

Before the Sun, she wakes us.

We rise, dress, and follow to where she leads us.

To breakfast.

And to sunrise.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Epicycles

What does Winter dream of?

In observational astronomy, there's a phenomenon called an "epicycle," a cycle within a cycle.

If you watch a particular planet from night to night—Venus, say—you'll see her move along her regular path. Then she stops and goes backwards. She makes a widdershins loop in the sky, then resumes her regular course.

Of course it's all a matter of perspective and bodies in simultaneous motion. But what it looks like is time in reverse.

The Year is Earth's story. From youth she waxes into ripe maturity and wanes away into age.

And now the serpent catches its tail in its mouth, time runs backwards, and old woman becomes young girl.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Candlemas Dance-Mime

We generally do this dance in a circle, facing in, with everyone singing and clapping. One by one we jump into the center and act out the verse.

You could also do it with the lord (or lady) of the dance leading the singing in the middle, with the dancers circling and miming around.

Likewise, although when we do it everyone usually sings the whole thing together, you could do it as a call-and-response:

One: There was a pig went out to dig

All: Candlemas Day, Candlemas Day

One: There was a pig went out to dig

All: Candlemas Day in the morning.

There Was a Pig Went Out to Dig

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Stomp

Our religion is a danced religion, and right now it's time to stomp.

The ground is frozen, so we dance our stomp-dances for sleeping Earth and the sleeping animals and the sleeping seeds.

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

The stomp-dances begin now and continue while the ground is frozen.

Come thaw, of course, you don't stomp any more. That work will already have been done, that magic made.

No, then we'll start spring's leaping dances. The higher we leap, the higher they grow.

Grow! Grow! Grow!

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Let me add that, since summer is the time when the tribe gathers together (as we still do), it's the time for dances of seperation
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Reaping dances tend to have lots of bending, reaching, and gathering in them. Imagine using a sickle or scythe. But that's a littl
  • Chris Moore
    Chris Moore says #
    Stomping, then leaping, then...? What is the reaping step?
De Tribu Huicciorum: Concerning the Tribe of Witches

With all due respect, Uncle Gerald got it wrong.

Witches aren't a religion.

We're a tribe.

A tribe: what in the old Witch language would be called a thede.

Some of us are lineal descendants of the old English tribe of Witches, some not. But that's the way of tribes: you don't need to be born in to belong. You can marry in, you can adopt in, you can 'enculturate' in. Tribes have porous boundaries.

That's not to say that we're not all related. Of course we are.

Old Hornie sows his seed wherever he will, far and wide.

So you'll find us all over the world, on every continent (yes, even Antarctica!). Naturally (as one would expect) we come in different clans.

But wherever we go (and we go everywhere), we do share a certain family resemblance.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    We're tribal animals, we humans. We've lived this way since the beginning, and chances are we'll be doing so again in the future.
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Steven. I hear ya!
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    So mote it be.
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    I really enjoyed this reminder. Tribe is a focus for me--intentional tribe calling. Thank you.

Additional information