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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Sacrifice: The Ritual

Animal sacrifice having been one of the primary expressions of public worship in the old days, the ancestors took it pretty much for granted, and as a result, there are, rather surprisingly, no step-by-step descriptions in the surviving literature of how sacrifices were actually performed.

So here's the entire ritual, as reconstructed by Classicist Ken Dowden in his 2000 book European Paganism: The Realities of Cult from Antiquity to the Middle Ages (174).

Just in time for Pantheacon.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Whenever I read of sacrificial animals I start thinking community barbecue. From what I've read in archaeology the shift to grain

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Unsympathetic Magic

I made a mistake yesterday.

More than halfway through [winter], I thought, and I haven't lost a glove yet.

Ha.

So today—of course—I lost a glove.

Let them talk about sympathetic magic.

Everyone knows that unsympathetic magic is far more powerful.

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  • happywheelsgame
    happywheelsgame says #
    I was born in united states but grew up in New York. happy wheels. These are probably my two favorite games of all time, and I'm t
  • Alvina
    Alvina says #
    The agnostic rabbi and one of Paganism's best ritualists, Steven Posch draws formal experience from a wide assortment of foundatio
Where Summer Lives: Recovering Pagan Sweat Traditions

Och, it's the hairy armpit of Winter.

Here in the North, Winter has a cold armpit. The lakes and streams are all frozen, and who wants to strip off in this cold anyway? Get wet and face hypothermia.

Even for those of us fortunate enough to live with central heat and hot running water (and thank Goddess for them both), bathe or shower too frequently and—in our Winter Desert air—you'll shred your own dry hide with the itching.

That's why the gods gave us saunas.

The sweats that I've attended at festivals have all been structured along Native American—in fact, Lakota—lines. There's a reason for this.

The sweat is a Circumpolar tradition. When those very first ancestral Americans entered this continent, they brought their sweat traditions along with them. Time was, pretty much every Indigenous People here had their own.

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  • Alvina
    Alvina says #
    Agnostic culture is exceptionally open to the Sweat Lodge. It is a function that is frequently shrouded in secret in light of the

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Hair on the Chest

“That'll put hair on your chest!”

It's what my father always says when the tea's too strong.

It's a standing joke. Legs aside, none of the men in my family have much body hair to speak of. If there's any Neandertal DNA left in there, it must have got diluted out a long, long time ago.

“Gee,” I quip, “You mean I'll have seventeen?”

“Quit bragging!” says my father.

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Barleycorn's Revenge

You know the Grain God: him they call John Barleycorn.

You've heard the songs; you know the stories. It's pretty disgraceful, really, what they do to that poor guy.

They cut him with scythes. They tie him up. They stick him with pitchforks. They beat him with sticks. They crush him. They drown him.

As if that's not enough, they eat his flesh and drink his blood.

Not to worry: he's a god, after all. He always springs up again.

And in the end, he'll have his satisfaction.

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  • tehomet
    tehomet says #
    I came across this guy making beer using ancient Egyptian murals as a reference... https://pacificsun.com/beer-issue-barleycorns-r

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The Greater Courage

Which is the greater courage?

To die with the Old God's name on your lips?

Or to speak the usurpers' words, and to live with the Old Ways in your heart?

To hide, to lie if need be, to this end: that “ever the Craft shall live”?

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  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Both/and is my stance.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Well observed.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I suspect that some must die so that others can hide.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Fimble-Winter

Just before Ragnarok, according to the Elder Edda, will come a terrible winter called Fimbulvetr, the “mighty winter.”

(Thanks to Edward Lear—remember the fimble-fowl, with the corkscrew leg?—we may anglicize this nicely as the “Fimble-winter.”)

The Fimble-winter, it is said, will last for three whole years, with no summers in between.

Shudder.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    So mote it be.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I remember one of those PBS shows; either Nova or Nature, saying that if the Yellowstone Caldera erupts it would cover all of Nor

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