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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3D Gods

 Rällinge statuette - Wikipedia

Chances are, you've seen pictures of the Rällinge Frey many times before.

But how often have you seen His back?


 Rällinge statuette - Wikipedia

Note the complex, swirling patterns worked in gold. Whoever it was that took the time and care to make them clearly felt that the god's back was important, perhaps just as important as his front.

What are they? Vegetation? A tree, maybe? If so, this tells us something important about this god that we would never have guessed if we'd only seen him from in front.

Across Pagandom these days, gods tend to get shoved onto altars, and there's an end to it, but that's not how the ancestors saw it. To them, the god's back was as important as his front, and they took care to lavish attention—and craftsmanship—on both.

It's intriguing that this should be so regardless of the perspective from which the image was intended to be seen. This makes sense, of course: who would leave a god's likeness incomplete? Such would hardly be a worthy vessel for the divine.

A major way to venerate a statue—or, rather, the god present in the statue—was to circumambulate: to walk around the statue. Anyone that knows gods knows that there's more to any given god than what you can see from the front alone. Much, much more.

One of the pleasures of traveling to Greece was finally being able to see what famous statues looked like from behind; for some curious reason, rear views rarely tend to make it into books. There I was quickly disabused of the notion that I knew these works well. How can you claim to know a work of art when you've only seen half of it?

(One of my discoveries at the time was that the ancient Greeks really liked big, muscular butts on their guys. Well, come to think about it, that makes all kinds of sense.)


Hirschlanden: comparanda, Ptoon Kouros


Pagans, insist on 3D. Don't be content with knowing only half your god.

When it comes to Them, there's so much more to see.





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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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