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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Know Your Lake

Let's face it: Revival Paganism has an authenticity problem.

This state of affairs is hardly to be wondered at. Our roots have been cut. Things that should, by rights, have come down to us, we've had to figure out for ourselves. Like every learner, we've made our share of mistakes.

But there's a ready solution.


They say that there are 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. 10,000 lakes, and every single one of them is different.

Every lake is an individual.

When you live on a lake, you live in relationship with it. You have to know it. You have to understand its moods.

You need to know when the lake is angry.

You need to know where the fish gather, where the tubers and the stands of wild rice grow.

You need to know how many fish, how many tubers, how much rice you can take, and how much you need to leave unharvested.

You need to know when it's safe to go out on the water—or the ice—and when it isn't.

You need to know where to draw water for drinking, and where to stay away from.

You need to know your lake.


Revival Paganism has an authenticity problem. The problem is, the only authentic pagans that we can possibly be are the pagans of (and for) our own time and place.

But we're fully capable of being that.

All we need to do is know our lake.




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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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