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.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Grand Sabbat: Naming

The Horned One holds the baby in his arms.

He sits on the altar, cross-legged, shining in the firelight, each tine of his branching antlers tipped with its own delicate bud of flame. He holds the child to his chest, as if suckling him. Not everyone is privileged to drink from the breast of the witches' god. It is a promise, the ancient gesture of adoption.

He rises to his feet, towering—his horns reach up to heaven—and holds the infant out to the assembled people.

“Shall we name?” he thunders.


“Name!” they answer, their arms outstretched toward the two.

“Shall we name?” he repeats.

“Name!” they call again, louder.

A third time he asks it: “Shall we name?”

The third cry is the loudest of all: “Name!”

He marks the child's brow. “I name you...”

“W----!” “W----!” “W----!” The people call out the child's name three times; each time, the Horned lifts him high.

When the tribe of witches forgathers in immemorial grand sabbat, they mark in rite, as is their wont, the changes of their lives. Naming the newborn together, the people claim him for one of their own, a son of the tribe, theirs to them. It is a solemn and a joyful moment, this coming of new life to the ongoing life of a people.

The Antlered returns the child to his mother's arms. Beneath the fire-lit trees, the drums call out their ancient welcome.

Photo: Paul B. Rucker







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.


Additional information