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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Goddess Earth

It all begins with Earth.

Recently, at the Summerland Spirit gathering, I spent a day in walking meditation, fasting, naked, covered with ash. I'd suspected beforehand that I might be bored. Nothing could have been further from the truth. That day was the busiest I've spent in a long time. They say that the naked ascetic sitting beneath the tree has fought and won more battles than the bravest warrior.

So there I was, sitting under a white oak in the mid-afternoon heat, reeling with the concept: Goddess Earth.

What radical words these are, utterly subversive. They fly in the face of Abrahamic thought. They declare, they proclaim, a radical immanence, the sanctity—no, the divinity—of material existence. To say that Earth is Goddess acknowledges ultimate value in materiality. It redefines what a “god” is; it denies that gods are “spirits.”


Years ago my teacher Tony Kelly (of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland) observed that “The one thing we can say for certain about Earth is that she is Mother.”

As a good, doctrinaire Second-Wave feminist, of course, I could hardly have disagreed more. “It's wrong to value women only on the basis of child-bearing,” I replied.

Well, yes, that's so. But look at the other planets in the divine family we call the solar system. Burning rock, gas giant, frozen rock. Then look at Earth. What is the difference?

She is Mother, Mother to us all, Life and the source of life.

It really is true. It all begins with Earth.

Goddess Earth.




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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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