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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Bragging on the Warlocks

So, I'm going to take a little time to brag on my brother warlocks. In traditional language, this is known as a vaunt.

I'm just now back from a weekend with the warlocks at Sweetwood sanctuary, among the incomparable autumn vistas of the hills and misty hollows of Witch Country's Driftless area.

The weather was miserable, cold and damp. It rained torrentially most of the time.

I haven't had so much fun in months.

The Bull Stone continues its two-year journey from its bed in the wall of the south coulee (ravine), across the coulee floor and up the other side, to its eventual new home in the shrine we're building for it. Progress report soon to follow.

We worked, we talked, we laughed, we ate good food, we sang. Gods, what a quality group of guys.

Lest anyone worry, no plans were made to Subvert the Matriarchy. There never was (as there never is) any talk of men v. women, of gay guys v. straight guys, or of any such adversarial  functions (maybe “dysfunctions" would be better) of the overculture. Such tired tropes have no place in True (=pagan) society, in which the right to men's time/space and women's time/space is viewed, not only as an inviolable right, but as an inherent societal good.

I've often lamented the lack of formal rites of catharsis—soul-cleansing—in contemporary Pagandom.

But among the warlocks the cleansing takes place without need of rite.

We talked about the times we've f**ked up. We talked about our moral failings. (Everybody has them.) We talked about the things we regret, and need to atone for.

And thus begins the healing.

I myself talked about the one time that I seriously thought about killing myself, back when I was in high school. Even in an era of marriage equality, the single greatest cause of death among GLBT youth is still suicide.

I was lucky: the Craft saved me.

My life ever since has been a tribute of gratitude.

Catharting wasn't all we did, of course. For how long have men sat around fires trading hunting stories? (The best one was the arrow that curved up into the tree in one beautiful arc and down on the other side in another. It wasn't until the arrow hit ground that the groundhog fell out of the tree, dead. The arrow had gone clean through.)

Shitty weather. Hard work. Blood, sweat, and tears.

Hauling the Bull Stone, I rolled down the side of the coulee and bruised my ribs when I landed.


When can we do it again, guys?

Seriously, I can't wait.


Photo: Kile Martz, Bull Stone (Sweetwood, June 2017)













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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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