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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Hot Line

Back in the days BC (Before Cell), a priestess from Minnesota was visiting another priestess in California.

As she's showing her around, the Minnesotan notices a red phone on the desk.

“Is that what I think it is?” she asks.

“The Hot Line,” says her friend. “Direct to Big Mama Herself.”

“Do you mind if I make a call?” asks the Minnesotan. "I've got a question I need to ask. I'll be happy to cover the cost.”

“Be my guest,” says the Californian.

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The Great Remembering

The Khazí is the guardian of the legends. With his songs and his stories he reminds us all who we are and where we come from.” (Saifullah Jan, of Khazi Khoshnawaz)

 

Paganism is a matter of remembering.

We are pagan because we remember.

For a long, long time we forgot who we are. We forgot who our people are. We forgot what our people do. We forgot our stories, our songs, our rituals. We even forgot our gods.

It was a time of forgetting, the time between the Old Paganisms and the New. You could call it the Great Interruption. You could call it the Great Forgetting.

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What Am I?

The ancestors loved to hone their wits on a good, gritty riddle, especially on long winter nights. (Words in winter are light, they say.)  Here's one that occurred to me while out walking today.


Go ahead, kill me.

Break me in pieces;

see if I care.

In one winter's night,

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    I love the riddles in the Exeter Book, this is my favorite: https://youtu.be/AMrVhkq0954 Yes, I agree with your comments, border
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    It's interesting that, according to the conventions of the riddle genre--as, for example, among the Old English riddles in the Exe
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    That's it. I was out early enough that what, during the day, had been puddles of melt-water, were still frozen smooth.
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    Ice?
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Fractured? Or melting and reforming.

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The Futhork Song

 Just like the Witch kids used to chant.

 

Fee, Ox, Thurse, Ose

Ride, Keen, Gift, Win

 

Hail, Need, Ice, Year

Yew, Pear, Elk, Sol

 

Tew, Birch, Horse, Man

Lake, Ing, Ethel, Day

 

Lo, I have kennëd my futhork:

is this not a worthy work?

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Those Old Witch Songs Are All a Little Bit Sad

There's a round that we sing in the Spring about new life rising up again out of the darkness:

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain:

wheat that in the deep Earth many days hath lain.

Love lives again, that with the dead hath been:

love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

The tune is delicate, poignant: a song of joy in a minor key.

This is no ignorant joy, a happiness too inexperienced (or too stupid) to know anything different. This is the joy of the wise: the happiness of those who know life and all the sorrows that it must inevitably bring, and yet choose joy.

Witches are well-acquainted with trouble. As a people, we've seen many, many sorrows down the long years, nor (alas) are they over yet. As we must, we remember them all.

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The Alchemy of Dyeing Eggs

Tomorrow's one of my favorite days of the year.

Egg-Dye Sunday.

This year will be our 38th Annual. (Usually it would be the Sunday before the Evenday, but next weekend we've got Paganicon.)

The year was 1980. I'd just blown into town, and Ostara was coming up. I'd been reading about dyeing eggs with natural dyestocks in folklorist Venetia Newall's indispensible An Egg at Easter and wanted to give it a try.

So a small group of us—myself, Knight, Tanith, Volkhvy, and Grog—got together in Tanith's kitchen to give it a try.

We've been doing it every year since. It's the oldest ongoing tradition in the local community that I had a hand in helping to found.

This being the Midwest, of course, we start off with a potluck: in this case, brunch. Then we stoke up the dye-pots—natural dyes are mostly heat-applied—and the annual alchemy begins.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    ...asparagus, strawberries, deviled eggs, cheesecake....
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Ham, sweet gherkins, and deviled eggs are the foods I associate with Spring/Easter.

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Everyone Wants to be a Radical

When Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act in the late 60s, writer and Druid Isaac Bonewits (1949-2010) couldn't wait to see his FBI file. What would it say?

Subversive religious thinker?

Dangerous radical?

Finally the file arrived. Eagerly, Isaac tore it open.

Harmless religious fanatic, said the file.

 

These days, it sometimes seems like everyone wants to be a radical.

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