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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Blow You a Kiss on the Wind

It's an ancient act of pagan adoration that anyone can perform anywhere, any time.

Kissing the hand.

In 158 CE the Roman novelist Lucius Apuleius, author of The Golden Ass, involved in a lawsuit against a guy named Aemilianus, is trying to make out his opponent as a model of impiety:

If he is passing by some shrine, he thinks it wicked to raise his hand to his lips in adoration.

(Apuleius, Apologia 56)

The Roman historian Pliny also mentions the prevalence of this custom in Roman practice (28:5).

The Hebrew Bible describes (and, of course, condemns) the act of kissing one's hand to the luminaries:

 If I beheld the Sun as it shines,

or the Moon walking in brightness,

and my heart has been secretly enticed,

or my mouth has kissed my hand...

(Job 31:27)

My age-mates who grew up watching Bewitched may remember Samantha's evil twin Serena's performance of the Boyce and Hart song I'm Gonna Blow You a Kiss on the Wind at the Cosmic Cotillion:

Wherever you are tonight,

I've got a feeling that you look outta sight,

so I'm gonna blow you a kiss on the wind.

Whenever I see the Sun or the Moon for the first time in the day, I always kiss my hand to Them.

Love to you, my Light.

When in the course of my daily travels I have occasion to cross the Mississippi, I do the same:

Father of Waters, I kiss my hand to you.

It's quick, it's easy; you don't need tools or a magic circle.

It's a rite you can enact any time, any place, publicly or in private.

The pagan ideal is a life in which religion and everyday life blend seamlessly. In our oh-so-secular society, this may seem difficult to achieve. But really it's very easy.

As easy as blowing a kiss.






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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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