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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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.

At this point, we've got house-temples all over the world (probably tens of thousands of them), but very few actual—and virtually no monumental—temples.

So again I ask: What will our future temples look like?

You know how these things work.

To get there, we have to imagine it first.

So you there, artist.

Yeah, you.

Dream us up a temple, would you?


For the MCPA

Cartoon: Warren Miller






Last modified on
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.


  • Michelle Gruben
    Michelle Gruben Tuesday, 14 March 2017

    Interesting! I believe there is some Pagan temple planning astir, albeit in the realm of fantasy film/fiction. I'll bet you anything the first large-scale new-built Pagan temple looks just like something from Tolkien or Games of Thrones.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Tuesday, 14 March 2017

    May we both live to see it, Michelle, even so.

  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven Thursday, 16 March 2017

    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 this very blogosphere:

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 17 March 2017

    Goddess bless 'em. And of course there's the new Asatruarfelgid hoff-in-building in Reyjavik: I've seen sketches but no blueprints as of yet.

  • Sarah Avery
    Sarah Avery Saturday, 18 March 2017

    The complex needs an outdoor amphitheater, so we can reboot the Dionysia and any other performance-related sacred activities. It would need to be a wonder of acoustical engineering, so that soft-voiced elders could tell their stories and still be heard from the farthest seat. That involves a lot of hardscaping, so the landscaping would have to compensate with a major rain garden. A rain garden is a good place for propitiating weather deities, groundwater deities, etc., so a shrine would be in order. Those among us who are called to athletic pursuits would probably want grounds for sacred games, sufficiently shielded from public view for nude participation for those so inclined. There should be some sort of megalithic structure in/from which to celebrate the exact moments of solstices and equinoxes. Some sort of provision for a fire circle or circles should be incorporated. There should be a place for idols whose people can no longer care for them, like the one in Hong Kong that made the rounds in widely forwarded newspaper articles, so those images can continue to be cared for and venerated even when they are no longer sharing house space with humans. There should be a combination temple to healing deities and healers' station, one with enough open/public space for large-scale healing workings when needed. A library and general archive would make sense as part of a shrine to the ancestors, the mighty Pagan dead, and deities of learning, writing, and memory. There should be a shrine to child deities and deities who care for children, with lots of indoor and outdoor space for kids to play -- a place where Maria Montessori's ideas about the prepared environments have been taken into account, so that just about everything the kids can think of to do in the space is appropriate and safe enough. Come to think of it, that should be near the healers' temple and healing station. The whole complex should be built on a site with not too much vertical rise, so that people with mobility impairments have some chance of getting around independently. And that's more than enough for one reply.

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