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 Gospel According to Lawrence

 “The Goddess is great.”

(Jesus of Nazareth)

 

So, here's the story. After crawling, barely alive, out of the tomb (they took him down from the cross too soon), Jesus is thoroughly sick of his previous life and ministry. Physically alive but dead within, he wanders off into the world as a wounded itinerant healer.

So begins the “20th” century's most unlikely pagan novel, D. H. Lawrence's 1928 The Escaped Cock, a.k.a. The Man Who Died.

Well, but there's more. In his travels, he chances upon a Priestess of Isis. He stays with her in her temple, in its sacred seaside grove, and in time she heals him of the world-hating philosophy and physical impotence from which he has suffered heretofore.

“I am risen!” he proclaims when, courtesy of the priestess' ministrations, he achieves his first post-crucifixion erection.

In Escaped Cock, the gospel morphs into—and is healed of dysfunction by—the story of Isis and Osiris. Jesus, become Osiris Risen, sires tomorrow's Horus, and once again wanders off into the wide world of experience.

“Tomorrow is another day!” he proclaims (along with Scarlett O'Hara) as he sails off alone into the sunset.

Oh, Lawrence. So jejeune: if only we would all just shed our sexual inhibitions, the world would be healed and everything would be just peachy. Ah, if only things were so simple.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "Those who go looking for Jesus down the dark well of history will never see anything but their own reflections looking back at th
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I once came across a story on the internet about Jesus moving to Japan after the crucifixion getting married and fathering three d

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Time and a Little Incense

Did you know that you've got people making offerings on your behalf every day?

At the Temple of the Moon, that's what we do.

Here at the Temple of the Moon, we offer and pray twice daily, morning and evening.

At each offering, along with the more specific prayers, we pray for the well-being of pagans everywhere, old and new alike.

That means you. Remember that next time that you're feeling stressed.

And, of course, we're not the only ones. In temples and shrines across Pagandom, the same thing happens every day.

Know them or don't, people are offering, and praying, for you. Every day they do this: and, indeed, across the world, our numbers grow daily.

You, too, can join this worldwide offering.

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  • robert
    robert says #
    Blessings and Thank You!!!!!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Do You Know When a God Is a God?

Every pagan knows that there are gods walking among us: seen, unseen, and (most often of all, I suspect), seen but unrecognized.

So how do you tell when that radiantly beautiful guy across the street, or the old woman that just happened to whisper exactly the right thing in your ear, is one of us or one of...Them?

According to the sages of India, there are three things to look for.

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  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Its true about Jesus of Nazareth (we.were.forced to watch it every Lent); Powell has these remarkable icy blue eyes, and not once

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The Rose in Winter

It's the Eve of Russian Christmas. Perfumed with incense, the church is dark, lit only by candlelight.

I stand with the other worshipers, savoring the chewy Slavonic chant. For me, it is Midwinter's Eve all over again: we gather together in cavernous darkness, awaiting the Momentous.

After the service, we file forward. Wielding, with practiced deftness, a delicate little paintbrush, the priest anoints us, one by one.

As the bristles brush my brow, my nostrils fill with the ghostly fragrance of roses. In the heart of Midwinter, the voluptuous scent of Midsummer.

I think of Her who is called Rosa Mundi, Rose of the World, Mother of Witches.

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This Post Is a Spell

Let me tell you something else about witches: we don't hold with self-pity.

Feeling sorry for yourself (and poisoning the lives of those around you with your whining) concedes powerlessness, and that's something else we don't hold with.

Witches don't whine. We do something.

What we do, of course, varies from situation to situation. We specialize in indirection. Witches don't usually go for frontal assault. Instead, we look for a way around. Or under. Or over. Or between.

When you hear that sing-song “poor me” whine start to come into your voice, strangle it at birth.

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  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    Magic only happens with action -- 'the doing of it' to paraphrase you. Inaction is the antimatter of the craft. Get up and do!
Thirteen Reasons Why Monotheism Is Better Than Polytheism

Monotheism is better than polytheism because...

...it's easier. With monotheism, you never have to waste time wondering “Which god?” You'll already know.

...it's cheaper. Gods are like children: the more you have, the more it costs to keep them all happy. Think of what you could do with all that extra time and money.

...it's more unifying. Having different gods is just one more thing for people to fight about. Imagine how much more peaceful and conflict-free the world will be when everyone, everywhere, worships the same god!

...it's simpler. Think how much simpler life will be when humans are the only beings that have rights. In polytheism, you always have to be worrying about the rights of animals, trees, stones, rivers, mountains. In a monotheist world, you can forget about all that. They don't have any.

...it's more psychologically healthy. In a polytheist world, you always have to be thinking about relationships. In monotheism, on the other hand, you only have to look out for Number One.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    "Do we know the number of the gods? "It would be rash to say that we do. One should be content with a reasonable number." (Ezra Po
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It's worth remembering that "polytheism" and "monotheism" are both terms coined by a monotheist (Philo of Alexandria). For pagans
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I would contend that all fully-realized paganisms are, in effect, ethnic religions. (Let me leave aside for the moment just how fu
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    Quite a few good zingers in there! I will say this -- I think the gods and how many and who prays to whom is the least important

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W3PHDRP+

A Modest Proposal

 

Face it, folks: there's strength in numbers. We need a term that includes us all.

Once “pagan” was our prime term of art, but since (like fractious adolescents) we tend to define ourselves by rebelling against what we're not, that simply doesn't work anymore.

So here's my suggestion.

I think that we need to take a page from the GLBTQI+ playbook.

(Interestingly, both “gay” and “queer,” originally intended as terms of inclusion, have since come to be used exclusively instead. Hai mai, it's nice to know that you're not alone in the world.)

We need to come up with a long, unwieldy, mysterious string of capital letters that's constantly bloating into a longer, more unwieldy, and ever more mysterious string of capital letters that never quite manages to resolve into a pronounceable acronym.

Of course, since—for all our egocentricity—we tend to have fragile egos, we need to be as inclusive as possible when we do this.

Let's see: Witch-Warlock-Wiccan-Pagan-Heathen-Druid-Reconstructionist-Polytheist....

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  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    How about a nice short one like FD for Fucking Different?
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Happy Pagan Bloggers we! Don't like what I write, then don't bother to read. So many posts out there to peruse, it's okay to pick
  • Meredith Everwhite
    Meredith Everwhite says #
    Despite what I think I'm detecting as a degree of sarcasm, at least on one subject here, I think "we" are all a little too varied
  • Murphy Pizza
    Murphy Pizza says #
    BWA HA HA!! *snort*..Hahahaha!! So true!

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