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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A Call to Pagan Artists

 If you build the candy cottage, the children will come.

 

So: the well-heeled patron (or matron) of the pagan arts comes to you and says: “I want a temple, expense no object.”

What would you design?

What will the pagan temples of the future look like?

The New Paganisms are, for the most part, young religions, virtually all under 100 years old. For various reasons that I won't go into here, temple-building hasn't so far been a priority for us.

But that won't always be the case.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sarah Avery
    Sarah Avery says #
    The complex needs an outdoor amphitheater, so we can reboot the Dionysia and any other performance-related sacred activities. It w
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Goddess bless 'em. And of course there's the new Asatruarfelgid hoff-in-building in Reyjavik: I've seen sketches but no blueprints
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Not sure about "large scale" but may I be so bold as to point out the Cascadia druids blog about building their shrines, right on
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    May we both live to see it, Michelle, even so.
  • Michelle Gruben
    Michelle Gruben says #
    Interesting! I believe there is some Pagan temple planning astir, albeit in the realm of fantasy film/fiction. I'll bet you anythi

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Are Easter and Ishtar Related?

Contrary to what you may read in the local papers a few weeks from now, there's no historical connection between Easter and Ishtar.

Easter is the modern English name of the pan-Indo-European Dawn Goddess, also known as Ostara, Aušrine, Austra, Aurora, Eos, Ushas, and by many other names. All these names clearly derive from the Proto-Indo-European root for 'east.'

Ishtar is the Akkadian ('Babylonian') name of the pan-Semitic goddess known to the Greeks as Astarte, the Phoenicians as 'Ashtárt, and the Hebrews as 'Ashtóreth (originally 'Ashtéret). The name's original meaning remains unclear.

There's no known historical connection between these goddesses (or, better perhaps, families of goddesses). One is Indo-European, the other Semitic.

The fact that the Indo-European name is clearly derivable from an Indo-European root precludes the possibility that Indo-European speakers could have borrowed her from Semitic cultures. Although the origin of the Semitic name remains unclear, the fact that the goddess was already known among Semitic-speakers before their initial contacts with Indo-European-speaking peoples precludes the possibility of borrowing in the other direction as well.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Seems dubious to me. My Sanskrit dictionary turns up Asharha as a month-name (June-July). Asherah's links to the sea are unclear;
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    In "Crete to Egypt: Missing Links of the Rigveda" Dr. Liny Srinivasan links the Canaanite Asherah to the Minoan As-sa-sa-ra, the B

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Ever-Young Goddess

Hail Dawn, goddess of many names!

 

Éostre (Old English, West Saxon dialect) AY-aw-streh (ay as in say, aw as in awe)

Éastre (Old English, Northumbrian dialect). AY-ah-streh (ay as in say)

Both forms are used by contemporary pagans. Occasionally—probably under the influence of Ostara—written Oestre. (Technically, this form is historically incorrect, if you care about such things.)

*Ôstarâ (Old High German) OH-sta-ra (but most English-speakers say oh-STAR-a; technically, this is historically incorrect, if you care about such things.)

Name reconstructed by the Brothers Grimm. Probably the most frequently-used name for the goddess, and her springtime festival, among contemporary pagans and heathens.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Black Egg

Behold: black eggs.

Bright black.

To some, this might seem strange.

To us, it makes perfect sense.

Black is fertile. Black is rich. Black holds everything.

Other priesthoods wear white.

Not so ours.

Black as Mother Earth, who bears the red rye and white barley.

(See her likeness on the goose's egg?)

Black as Mother Night, with her great sky of stars.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Goat or the Hare?

 A Poem About Love

 

My friends all loved the Yule Goat best.

But I loved the Ostara Hare.

 

I know, I know. The Yule Goat brings presents.

Everyone likes presents, right? But look at them.

Shirts and socks and underwear?

You call those presents?

And the rest isn't even what you want.

(It's maybe what you'd want

if you were who they thought that you were.)

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Hare and the Sugar Bush: An Anishinabe Tale

As nights grow shorter and days grow warmer, the sap begins to run, and it's time for the year's first harvest. And while the Sugar Moon shines, it's time to tell tales of Hare, as we of Great Lakes Country have always done.

 

Well, nights were growing shorter and days were growing warmer, but in the lodge where Hare lived with his grandmother, the birchbark buckets were empty and the last of the food was gone.

Woe, woe, said Hare's Grandmother.

Woe on an old woman with no relatives left but one no-good grandson who can't hunt for shit. Shame, shame on a worthless grandson who would let his old grandmother starve to death.

She kicked him out of the lodge and told him not to come back until he'd found something to eat.

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Meatless Diets Promote Climate Change, Warns Scientist

AP: Minneapolis, Minnesota

You may have heard that the single most important thing that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is to become vegan or vegetarian.

Not so, says Dr. Stanley Friehl of the University of Paganistan's School of Bio-Chemistry.

In an article in the current issue of Scientific American, Friehl suggests that the average plant-based diet actually increases the amount of greenhouse-gas emission.

“Admittedly, meat is bad for the environment,” writes Friehl.

“But while it's true that reducing the amount of meat that you consume will significantly lower carbon emission, studies show that giving up meat is actually worse for the environment,” he adds.

While this conclusion may seem counter-intuitive, the fact that the average vegan or vegetarian is far more likely to consume greater quantities of pulses—beans, peas, and lentils—than the average practicing omnivore, means that they in turn emit higher amounts of methane.

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