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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Pagans, Pagans Everywhere

And this year's award for Most Beautiful Working Pagan Temple goes to...the pagan community of...(drum-roll, please)....Armenia!

The Temple of Garni, shown here, was likely built during the 1st century CE as a temple to Mihr (= Mithras). Toppled by an earthquake in 1679, it was reconstructed between 1969 and 1975, and has since become the national shrine of the New Pagans of Armenia. They hold rituals there regularly and, in fact, are in the process of planting a sacred grove of almond trees around it.

Now that's style.

Yes, there are pagans in Armenia. There are pagans everywhere. Check out the Wikipedia page on the Armenian community and follow the links at the bottom. You'll be amazed at where they take you.

Ossetia. Daghestan. Kirghizistan. Mongolia. Across Central Europe and Central Asia, New Pagan movements have sprung up since independence like mushrooms after rain, as people ponder their post-colonial identity and direction. Tengrism—the traditional shamanic worship of Tengri, Blue Father Sky—has undergone a massive resurgence across the steppes of Asia. In some countries, pagans actually constitute a substantial percentage of the population.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Waiting for Prince Charming

A Note to Readers: As a general rule, I try in my posts to avoid shameless generalization, the spiteful, and the mean-spirited.

So humor me this once, OK?

 

Did you know that The World Teacher for All Humanity is Now Here?

Or that Millions now know that their awaited “Teacher,” whether they call him [sic] the Christ, the Messiah, the fifth Buddha, Krishna, or the Imam Mahdi...is already living among us and is gradually emerging into full public recognition?

No, neither did I.

But according to the local New Age rag, he [sic] is.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and now (if you'll pardon the comparison) the vapid narcissism of the New Age: all waiting for Prince Charming.

Well, let 'em fantasize. That's what makes pagans different.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Those that wait get impatient, I guess. Me I don't wait either, I just have confidence that the Immanent is always with us and doe
  • Celeste Lovecharm
    Celeste Lovecharm says #
    I had a similar reaction when I saw the advertisement. I'm glad that I'm not the only one.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Old Covenant

Life for life: the Old Covenant.

(The Old Oneness, we would say in the old Witch language.)

And the sign and seal of the Old Oneness—“There's a oneness between us”—is the apple.

The apple is deep, deep. At its heart, cut one way, the Gate of Life (i.e. yoni). Cut the other, the fivefold Star of Birth, Life, Love, Death, and Rebirth.

They say that Elfhame's Queen took a mortal man to be her bard and lemman: Thomas Rhymer he was called.

Seven years he served her: and all his payment was an apple.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Awww, thank you ! I am honored. You are most kind. Blessings Bright, Tasha

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Contract with Death

Life is a contract with death, annually renewed.

At Samhain, we renew the contract.

At Samhain we stand before the great black void of Non-Existence.

She offers us an apple.

Others die; we eat. Some day, we will die and others eat.

The ancient story: feed and feed.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Good eye, Tasha. It's based on the Samhain ritual that we've been doing for...well, decades now. Which in turn is based upon one o
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Interesting...Apples and symbols, bobbing for apples, Snow White and the apple...lots of interesting stuff there. Love myths and t
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Oh My! Is this based on an actual myth or is it simply a metaphor? Just curious. Very special! Thanks for sharing, Blessed Be, Tas

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Imperfect Canes

As we learn—or relearn—our native paganisms, the lessons sure do come from some strange places.

After surgery, a friend needed a cane. He told me what he wanted and I went down to the store to get it for him.

It soon became clear to me that his dream cane didn't exist. Eventually I bought the one that was closest to what he wanted, on the principle that, when you need a cane, it's better to have an imperfect cane than not to have the perfect one.

Planning this year's Samhain, we needed a song to call the ancestors.

In a traditional society, of course, we would call the ancestors with the song that they themselves had handed down to us. We'd all know this song, and it would have the quality and the worthiness that centuries of honing can give.

Alas, that song—along with so much else—is now lost to us.

Instead, we have a new song which, frankly, isn't as good as I would like it to be: the dilemma of much modern paganism.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Warning to All Students of the Craft

 Caveat discipulus.

(“Let the student beware.”)

There may be some things that unquestioning obedience can teach you.

The Craft isn't one of them.

The Wise take initiative. The Wise know how to say No.

Alas, it needs to be repeated in every generation.

If your teacher wants you to do something that you don't feel right doing, Grab your broomstick and get out of there.

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Changing Minds

The fact is, people do change their minds.

The question is, how to get there.

I came across an interesting story recently in Leonard Zeskind's 2009 Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream.

Zeskind was interviewing a heathen who held to a staunchly folkish position: i.e. that the Northern Way is exclusively for those of Northern European descent.

Well, but.

There's a man who has been part of the informant's local heathen community for years. Decades ago this man decided to make heathenry the center of his life, and he's done so ever since.

He knows the Old Lore thoroughly. He does lots of work in the community.

He's a committed Thorsman who offers to the Thunderer every day.

He's black.

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