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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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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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