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
The Realest Magic

You laugh. Go ahead. It doesn't change the truth of what I say.

Among the most potent of all magical tools is the clipboard.

Believe me when I tell you that with this clipboard in hand, I, middle-aged white guy, can go anywhere.

Anywhere.

With this in my hand, I could walk into the room where they keep all the money, and no one would stop me.

Not only would no one stop me, but they would avert their eyes as I did it.

You don't want to make eye contact with Clipboard Guy. You do not.

Invisibility, impunity, ability to instill fear: these are the powers bestowed by the magic clipboard.

Who needs a Hand of Glory?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    It's rumored that Marvel was about to green light a new super hero series about a guy with a clipboard, glasses, and a badge. Stan
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    There was a guy in the warehouse today. Vaguely familiar, I think I've seen him before, wearing a yellow safety vest and holding
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Damn, Anthony! You mean you didn't recognize me?!?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Game of Claws

One week from today begins the long-anticipated eighth and final season of Game of Thrones. Meanwhile, back in Westeros...

 

Game of Claws

 

Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum

he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum

There's a kitty-cat,

so dumb and...

Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum

Inner-city cat,

so dumb and...

Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum

Name of Rudycat,

so dumb and...

Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum

Tootie-fruitie cat,

so dumb and...

Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum

Evil, stinky son of Binky,

so dumb and...

Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum

Brainless libido in a tuxedo,

so dumb and...

Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum, he's a Rudum

He's a Rude.

 

Tune: Game of Thrones Theme (Ramin Djawadi)

Photo: Paul B. Rucker

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I'm almost convinced that, in the beginning, all songs are kitty-cat songs.
  • Mary Lanham
    Mary Lanham says #
    How weird... when Game of Thrones comes on at my house, the theme is about *my* cat. Must be some kind of streaming glitch.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
To Those Who Stay

I think of the Big Names of the American Craft who, before they died [bitterness alert] went crawling back to the Church: Eddie Buczynski, Jesse Wicker Bell (a.k.a. Lady Sheba)*, Marion Zimmer Bradley. I don't doubt that among the rest of us, we of the little names, there are others, locally known, who went the same way.

I'll be the first to admit, it hurts. Even to those of us who didn't know them personally, what the leavers did comes as a betrayal. To those who were their friends and students, I can only imagine the dissonance. What do you do when your mentor in the Mysteries, in the end, betrays those very Mysteries?

At the end of The Mists of Avalon, after fighting spiritual imperialism all her life, Morgaine realizes that maybe, as her elders have been telling her all along, All Ways Are One. Bradley's own cowardly defection demonstrates why this is such a poisonous belief. If all ways are equal, why take the harder?

I'm sure that, in the early days, Christianity had its share of defectors, too. Their stories haven't come down to us, but—human nature being what it is—we can be sure that they were there. In the end, the defection of a few Big Names, and unnamed others, proves nothing about the Craft itself, only that in extremis even the strong can be weak, the which we already knew.

That some, even among the leadership, should choose to go should be no surprise to anyone. What is perhaps even more surprising, under the circumstances, is that so many should choose to stay.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I enjoyed Bradley's Darkover series, especially Darkover Landfall. I tried reading one of the Avalon books but couldn't get into
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    An article on her collaboration with Carl Weschcke, etc. could be really interesting.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    She was before my time, but I'm in the process of interviewing some of the few remaining community elders around here who still re
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Bell, really? I don't know much about her biography.
The Silver Beaker: An American Faerie Story

Up around Westby, they say, there was a wedding one day, and the bride, she steps out for a breath of air, being a touch winded from the dancing and all.

Out she goes in her finery and her wedding crown and, it being a fair day, she walks a bit, and doesn't she hear more music, coming from over the fields, so she walks on over, and sees that it's coming from a little green hill.

...
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Moon is a Mirror

Our temple Goddess wears a crown of Three Moons, and the disc in the center is a mirror.

Many are its meanings, but this foremost: that the Moon is Herself a mirror.

...
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Not to Rename a Lake

“Then turn right when you get to....”

The clerk pauses in her direction-giving. A year ago, she would have said “...when you get to Lake Calhoun.” But last summer the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) decided to change the official name of Minneapolis' largest lake back to its original name.

“...Bde Maka Ska,” I say. She nods, gratefully, and continues with her directions.

Really, you can't blame her not being able to remember the “new” name. She doesn't speak Dakota. Most people don't.

I applaud the DNR's decision to shed the imposed triumphalist name, and to call the Lake formerly known as Calhoun what those who originally dwelt on its shores called it.

But I think that they've gone about it wrong.

It's a little much to expect most English speakers to wrap their tongues around a word that begins with bd-. (When's the last time that you used the word bdellium in a sentence?) To most non-Dakota speakers, Bde Maká Ska reads as gibberish: hard to pronounce, hard to remember.

So they end up calling the lake “Calhoun” anyway, which rather defeats the purpose of the change.

Here's what I think that the DNR should have done. The Dakota-speakers who lived on the southern shores of the lake named it Bde Maká Ska, “White Earth Lake,” for the deposits of white clay found on its banks.

White Earth Lake”: that's the new/old name that the DNR should have chosen.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Greetings fellow Twin Citizen, and thanks: blessed are they that do their research. Luck to the work of language preservation: the
  • Mary Lanham
    Mary Lanham says #
    Fellow Twin Cities pagan here! My initial reaction to the name change was also that the English translation would have been more e
All The World Is the Country of the Wise

It once so happened that, in their travels, a Greek, an Egyptian, and a Northman came to the far-famed Sabbat of the witches.

There, with the others, they danced for the Horned, drank his wine, and made love for the corn.

...
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