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 Pleasant Disquisition Upon That Inveterate Haunter of Pagan Homes, Known Otherwise as the Altar Creep

We come now to that inveterate haunter of the pagan household, known since antiquity as the Altar Creep.

Authorities agree that the wight known as the Altar Creep takes the form, variously, of a small, round man (or woman) dressed in ritual robes. Whether seen or unseen, it manifests in its actions, to whit: the unfailing tendency of any otherwise unoccupied vertical surface in a house to turn into an altar.

It is said that a certain pagan family in Devon awoke one morning to find that, while they slept, every flat surface in their home had undergone such a transformation.

More often, this process of altarization is a gradual one, but the end is never in doubt: that in time, the house becomes unlivable, since no profane space remains on which to do the practical work of living: exemplo gratia, the preparation of food. This point reached, the sole possibility remaining to the unhappy inhabitants thereof, is to remove to another habitation.

It therefore behooves the pagan householder to avail him- or herself of these powerful prophylactics against said Altar Creep, to whit:

  • Item: The maintenance of a number of flat, unoccupied surfaces in the home, on which no item is permitted to rest for more than a brief time.
  • Item: That such altars as are to be found in the house be faithfully maintained: kept tidy and clean, and in good repair, with offerings duly made and cleared away.
  • Item: That such altars be not suffered to remain ever unchanging, but be constantly renewed and rearranged as the Wheel shall turn.
  • Item: Do not feed the Altar Creep. This is best accomplished by not acquiring more pagan  chatchkes than your immediate environment can bear.

This rune is said to be sovereign against the Altar Creep and is best pronounced while dis-assembling an unintended altar:

 

Here-out, here-out, old Altar Creep:

arroint thee, wight, arroint thee!

 

So much, then, for the Altar Creep.

 

 

From: Posch's Book of Wights, Volume III: House-Wights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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