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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Like Wind Through Wheat

 Wheat blowing in the wind | Tim Fletcher | Flickr

In all my years of pagan ritual, I've never seen anything like it: a spontaneous act of mass adoration, utterly organic.

Grand Sabbat 2022: the covens of the Midwest Tribe of Witches, gathered before our god.

He Whose Horns Reach Up to Heaven towers on the altar; we his people stand before him. Me, attendant to the god, I stand with the rest, beside the altar, rapt. He fills my eyes, my heart.

Behind me, beside me, I sense, more than see, a ripple of motion. One by one, in the presence of this Mystery, we bow to the ground, a wave of loving adoration, like wind through wheat.

(Talking with others later, I find that no one can remember why it happened, or how it started, only that it did.)

Now, witches in general are not bowers, nor do the rubrics of the ritual require it.

This, though, was no act of humiliation, of ceremonial self-abasement, but rather, paradoxically, an expression of collective pride: natural, unforced, its rightness like the rippling of a field of standing grain before the wind. Before the Mystery of our god, we bow.

And me, I bow with the rest.

In love, I bow.








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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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