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.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Lord of the Trees

“No, hold,” said the sergeant-in-arms to the crossbowman. “First let them watch their god die.”

 

He sat on the great stone in the clearing.

Arriving, we went first to greet him: to kiss his hand, and receive his blessing.

When all had gathered, he rose and raised his arms: so naked, so tall. Between his antlers, constellations wheeled.

The bolt took him just below the breastbone.

He fell like a star out of heaven.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Quotable Herne! So many to choose from. Herne: "There is no end and no beginning; it is enough to aim."
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, "I am Herne the Hunter, and you are a leaf blown by the wind..." Brings back some great memories! Best. Robin Hood. E
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Oops... I looked it up on IMDB. The correct phrase was, "Driven by the wind", not 'blown by the wind'.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    To misquote the Talmud: "One who correctly cites quotations hastens the Return of the Goddess." Herne bless us all this Lammas-tid
  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah says #
    Love that series! And that was one of my favorite episodes. Now I need to pull out the DVD's and watch them again

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The White Goddess: Her Seal

It's an icon of the new paganism, really, known to millions all around the world: the Triple Goddess sigil on the cover of Robert Graves' White Goddess.

It's also a prediction.

It could almost be a Minoan seal, although it's not. In fact, it was designed by Graves' gifted friend and secretary Kenneth Gay ( Karl Goldschmidt, 1912-1995) to Graves' precise specifications; Graves stood at his elbow throughout the making of the image.

In it, we see the Triple Goddess herself: three bare-breasted women in flounced Minoan skirts, their arms intertwined around each others' shoulders. But this is the Three that is Nine, Graves' Ninefold Muse: above her, three cranes, below her, three linked spirals. In each of the Three Realms, She is sovereign: Heaven, Earth, the Sea.

Standing before her in adoration and supplication, we see a long-haired youth, naked (except his for belt) and ithyphallic. He is her worshiper, her consort, her poet. Above him, we see the signs of his twin natures: the fivefold star of life, and the spotted serpent of prophecy and death, the light and the dark together. For he is his own twin and contrary.

But this is no simple scene of adoration that we see before us: it is the making of an agreement between the Goddess and her Poet. The seal seals the deal. For she bestows upon him a gift, the reception of which marks his fealty to her: an eye.

For love, she gives insight: the age-old covenant.

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  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    I do indeed. Since this past Spring when I was helping Jo write and design the Green Pulse Oracle based on Fred Adams' work, I've
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Remember when, if you wanted more about the Goddess, The White Goddess was the only place to turn? Yikes. Talk about Memory Lane!
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Bravo!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Glamorye

It's one of the witch's most important powers.

Glamor.

Glamorie, glamory, glamorye: n. The art (and craft) of making others see what you want them to see, and (by implication) think what you want them to think.

In common usage, the term implies “...making others see what isn't there.” “She's got him glammed,” we say.

But in fact, the term is neutral. Glamor can be the lie that tells the truth. Ask any artist. A painter can take a piece of stretched cloth and some paint and make you think that you're seeing a landscape.

If you want to learn glamor, watch those that are good at it: make-up artists, actors, demagogues.

As a storyteller myself, I can tell you for certain that narrative works a very powerful glamor.

This beat-up old knife may not look like much, but if I tell you that it was Sybil Leek's athame, well...it sure looks different than it did a few seconds ago. Glamor = resonance. In some ways, the history of the modern Craft is a glamor: a worldwide glamor now several million strong.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Chest of Tools

It's the question always asked of the witch.

If your magic is so powerful, then why are they hanging you?

When things go wrong in your own life, you may well have asked yourself much the same question.

If I'm such a powerful witch and all, then why is my life such a mess?

Well, as they say, sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't.

But that's to miss the point.

When they gave us the Craft, the gods never promised that life would be easy.

They never said that there would be no hardship.

In fact, they gave us the Craft precisely because they foresaw that there would be hardship. Hardship, alas, there will always be.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Gods, that's great, John. Good old Zen.
  • John Zelasko
    John Zelasko says #
    There is a saying in Zen that goes something like this: Before enlightenment - haul water, chop wood. AFTER enlightenment - haul w
  • Chris Moore
    Chris Moore says #
    That's a big chest of tools, depending on whom you ask. What tools of the Craft are the most needed, here and now?
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Athame, chalice, and pentacle. Ha, ha: just joking. Three come to immediate mind, and of course they're all powers/strategies of t
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    In Medicine Wheel by Sun Bear the Author says he is not interested in any philosophy that doesn't grow corn. Witchcraft grows the
Rename the Falls of 'Saint' Anthony Now

Minneapolis, the capital city of Paganistan, has the great good fortune to be home to two sacred waterfalls.

The better-known of the two is Minnehaha Falls, on Minnehaha Creek as it approaches the Mississippi River. This year for the seventh year running, the local pagan community will process to the Falls and make the traditional offerings to her as we kick off our annual Pagan Pride celebration.

The other is the falls on the Mississippi River in the heart of what is now downtown Minneapolis. (In fact, the city of Minneapolis was originally sited where it is precisely because of the falls.) This is the Mississippi's only waterfall; it loomed so large in local lore that in Dakota the Great River itself is known as Hahawakpa, “the river of the falls (haha).” In the whirlpool at the waterfall's foot lived Wanktehi, god of waters.

In 1682 Belgian explorer and missionary Louis Hennepin “named” the falls for his patron saint, Anthony of Padua. They've borne this imposed name ever since.

Well, it's time and high time to lose this imperialist name, which has absolutely nothing to do with the falls themselves.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Of Gods and Bodies

Possibly the most disquieting sentence that I've ever read opens Robert Graves' retelling of one of the Greek myths:

One day Mother Earth was visiting Athens.*

Say what?

Also up there on my list of theological “What-duh-f**k?” moments is Isaac Bonewits' “Invocation to the Earth Mother”:

Thou Whom the Druids call Danu,

Come unto us.

Thou Who art Erde of the Germans,

Come unto us.

Thou Whom the Slavs call Ziva,

Come unto us....*

 

Half a mo here. We're calling Earth to come to us?

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  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Exactly.
Thirteen Things to Do with Giant Zucchini

Gods help us, it's that time of year again.

Wait one day too long, and watch those tender little fingerlings balloon overnight to forearm-sized (if not thigh-sized) behemoths. What to do?

 

Hollow them out for snake o' lanterns.

Play Harvest Softball with zucchini and green tomatoes.

Carve wooden shoes.

Float them in lakes and let people worry about alligators.

Make a dugout canoe.

Build a raft.

Bomb Raqqa.

Raise one as a Maypole.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Fifteen!
  • Haley
    Haley says #
    Build a zucchini man to burn for the fields. Recreate your very own Tower of Babel.

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