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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What Gods Feel

What does he feel, the Horned, as he sits upon the altar and gazes on the faces of his people?

What does he feel?

This I can tell you, I his priest, who have sat upon his shoulder and watched with him there.

It is love.

When he sits upon the altar and looks upon his people, he feels for us a love so unbounded, so all-encompassing, that he would do anything, give anything, for us.

Even to the laying down of his life upon that very altar, that we might feed on his flesh.

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A Song for Everything

I'll tell you, those old pagans had a song for everything.

Everything.

Not just holidays, not just fun. Work, too.

Rowing. Plowing. Sowing. Mowing.

Chopping wood. Cleaning. Weaving.

Hell, they even had a song for wiping your butt.

(As a matter of fact, the butt-wiping song is one that I happen to know. So does anyone that's ever raised a kid. And no, I'm not going to sing it for you.)

The worst fact of pagan history is that we've lost most of our old songs forever.

But not all of them.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, Chris, that makes for good hearing. I might add that in the most recent edition of the coven songbook, there are nearly 70
  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak says #
    I still lovingly cherish your Solstice songbook from Pro Dea.

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Invisible Gods

We've lost the Winds.

Quick: which direction is the Wind blowing from today? Do you know?

Your ancestors would have known. It would have been one of the first things that they noted on waking every morning.

Because to the ancestors, the Winds weren't just moving air, or an “element.”

They were gods.

Gods, and messengers to the gods.

Messengers because they bear news. Swiftest of gods, they carry information. They can tell the future, and what they tell is always true.

If you know where the Wind's coming from, you know what weather the day is likely to bring. What you do today may well depend on that.

You'll hear sound from farther away if it's coming from downwind.

And smells, borne on the Wind. Every hunter has to know the Winds. They'll tell you where the animals are. But they'll also tell the animals where you are, because the Winds never lie.

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Taking Omens

The word inauguration originally referred not to the ceremonial transfer of power but to the act of divination that preceded it.

It makes sense that the state, before embarking on a major endeavor such as a war or a change of government, should consult the will of the gods on the matter. The augurs (diviners) take the auguries (omens) to see what the future will bring.

I haven't heard yet what omens the US College of Augurs got today. (Their headquarters is down on the Mall someplace, I think; I'm pretty sure I walked past it a few years ago.) No doubt tomorrow it will be all over the web.

(State augur. Now there's a job I wouldn't mind having. I hear the benefits are great.)

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Hail to the Chief?

Abuser-in-chief

Bully-in-chief

Complainer-in-Chief

Despot-in-chief

Ego-in-chief

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • John Senesac
    John Senesac says #
    Whats wrong is people like you!We need to heal the divide in this country,and not whine about it.We are one people and we need to
  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    HEAR FUCKING HEAR. May his reign be as short as humanly - hell, as divinely - possible. And may we manage to combat his VP who is

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Are the Gods Archetypes?

If I could zap one word from the pagan vocabulary, it would be “archetype.”

Don't ask me what it means. When I press people for a definition, they're mostly hard-put to provide one. So far as I can tell, archetypes seem to be something like Platonic Ideas.

If so, what does it mean to say that the gods are archetypes?

Me, I'm an Old Style Pagan. I worship (to name only some) the Sun, the Moon, the Storm, Earth, Sea, the Winds. Whatever it is that They may be (when asked “What is a god?” the poet Simonides replied, “I find that the more I think about the question, the more opaque it becomes”), it doesn't seem to me to be in any way meaningful to say that they're archetypes.

Whatever that may be.

Craft historian Michael Howard has contended that the reductionist tendency to regard the gods as archetypes—essentially, as parts of ourselves—has actually stood in the way of entering into any sort of real relationship with Them.

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  • Anne Forrester
    Anne Forrester says #
    I also love this posting and agree with everything that Shiri says above. I was going to write a lengthy comment until I read her
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks for your generous words, Shiri; I'm in full agreement with your observations. I continue to be astounded by the simultaneou
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Thanks for this. I've been finding a lot resonating in your microposts about the profundity of basics and the ancestors. Modern pa

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Candlemas Carol

At first glance, Steve Ashley's Candlemas Carol might seem something of a downer.

Don't be fooled.

On Candlemas beware, old man,

the wind, gale, and the storm;

and if you think that Winter's dead,

it's barely being born.

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