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
Magic With a Boner

Screw the athames and quarter calls.

Let me tell you something about Warlock Magic. It's gritty, primal, old: some of the oldest magic that we have, its prime locus the male body.

I'll give you an example.

Some friends of mine are buying a new place. I passed along a bit of old warlock magic to the man: Go around the outside of the house, and pee on each of its five corners.

Like other predators, warlocks mark out our territory. Scent-marking: it doesn't get more primal than that.

Warlock magic is body-magic, men's magic. It's not for the over-civilized or the fastidious. It's magic with a boner, magic with juice.

Let the dried-up old wizards keep their grimoires and athanors, their tower rooms and chalk circles.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
On the Necessity of Self-Initiation

There's been much making of words down the years over the question of self-initiation into the Craft, and whether or not such a thing is even possible.

Well, I'm here to tell you that not only is self-initiation possible, but that you cannot be a witch without it.

Life is a series of initiations, but no matter how many rituals you've undergone at Lady Such-and-so's hands, you cannot truly count yourself a witch until the moment when you look yourself plain in the face and say: I am a witch.

That is your deepest, truest initiation.

Witchdom is not so much conferred, as claimed. Someone who has undergone every ritual initiation from Azarak to Zamelak, but has never said to herself, I am a witch, is no witch.

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The Curse on the Burners of Minneapolis

 Cursed be the burners.

Cursed be they.

Cursed be they, forever.

 

They really should think twice before they start setting fires in the Witch neighborhood.

In the four nights of unrest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, assholes came to our city to set fire to buildings: assholes from the Right, assholes from the Left, and just plain assholes.

Cowardly-wise, they came here to do their morth-work and then ran away, back whence they came.

Well, we can do morth-work too. Hit us, and we hit back.

Here in the Witch neighborhood, we rebuild, but we do not forget. Whenever I pass the site of a burned-out building, I renew the curse.

 

Cursed be the burners.

Cursed be they.

Cursed be they, forever.

 

Their ill-work will dog them, wherever they go. To their graves, it will hound them.

There's only one way out: remorse. Remorse, and it better be public.

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All Sacred, or: Jim Morrison Reincarnates in Minneapolis

If I believed in reincarnation, I would say that the guy from across the street is the young Jim Morrison come again, hair and all. Now here he is in all his glory, out walking the dog.

He's so beautiful that you just want to stare at him, but of course I don't. That's no way to treat someone, especially someone who's giving you pleasure, and besides, who wants to be the creepy, leering old guy across the street?

Ah, aging. You can be resentful, or you can savor the gifts of time. As Sokrates said, the contemplation of beauty is its own reward.

In his old age, poet Victor Anderson, Father of the Feri tradition, was on a bus one day when someone, noticing the direction of his gaze, said—probably disparagingly—“Well, you certainly like looking at the young ladies, don't you?”

Anderson smiled.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Plum Butter

There's a bag of plums waiting by the front door when I get home. Earth be praised, it's that generous time of year, and my friend's backyard tree is bearing well.

Some love clear, light jellies, but me, I'm a fruit butter kind of guy: heavy, dark, earthy. I wash the plums, pit and halve them, and throw them into the electric cauldron (= slow-cooker) with a generous pinch of salt and just enough apple juice to cover the bottom.

When the fruits collapse, I run them through a food mill to catch the skins, and return the puree, now an outrageous magenta color, to the cauldron.

Reduced by half, it would be the most delicious plum sauce that you've ever had, but I'm aiming for something even more intense. Many hours, and much stirring, later, I've finally arrived at the Land of Promise: plum butter.

The color is porphyry, the flavor almost overwhelmingly intense.

The jars go onto the shelf along with the others: concentrated Summer, Sunlight in glass, stored for the long dark months ahead. I admire their assembled variety of rich, jewel tones.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Blessed Be the Moon

What follows is a witches' back-and-forth song to be sung at New Moon, Full Moon, or whenever. Everyone sings the first, second, and fourth lines, while a single voice improvises a new third line each time through. I've given thirteen examples here, but obviously the possibilities are endless.

The tunes, of course, are many. (Witches!) Feel free to come up with your own.

 

Blessed Be the Moon

 

Blessed be the Moon

blessed be She

Lady of Heaven

so mote it be

 

Blessed be the Moon

blessed be She

Queen of the Stars

so mote it be

 

...Mother of Witches...

 

...Flier by Night...

 

...Three-in-One...

 

...One-in-Three...

 

...Lamp of the Poor...

 

...Silver Maiden...

 

...Sun of the Night...

 

...Lady of the Lake...

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In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Sees the Summer's First Bare-Breasted Bicyclist, or: The Minoanization of America

Saw my first topless female bicyclist today.

Now that's brave, I thought.

The Minneapolis authorities finally made the way-too-long-in-coming decision this summer to stop citing women without shirts in public. Time and high time, of course. Cowans and their weird body-shame: I'll never understand it.

Still, Portland and 25th isn't exactly the friendliest or, shall we say, most enlightened part of town.

I wanted to do something to show my support, but really, what is there that you can do in such a situation that won't come across as a**hole-ism? Sometimes the most supportive that thing you can do is nothing at all.

Well, blessings on the topless bicyclists of the world: one more step, if only a small one, toward the Way Things Ought to Be. Call it Minoanization.

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