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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On the Reading of Omens


My favorite form of divination has always been reading omens.

Of course, there isn't always an omen lying around when you happen to need one. Hence the cards, the runes, the lots: systematized omen-taking.

What's so compelling about omens is the way that they offer themselves. There you are, in the middle of everyday life, and suddenly something out of the ordinary happens. Voilà: a sign!

Of course, omens aren't always favorable. Then it's good to have some counter-magic handy, usually spoken. Absit omen, said the Romans: May it not be an omen. Keinehora ("no evil eye") my grandmother used to say. Hornie avert, I say, making the sign of the Horns.

There was a hole in the pasture fence. That's the simple explanation for why five cows kept coming up to the wooded ridge in southwestern Witchconsin where the Midwest Tribe of Witches had gathered this summer.

Of course, one has to wonder why five cows would keep coming up to be with the witches, again and again.

Well, our people have counted their wealth in cows for, oh, say the last 6000 years or so.

So the omen seems clear enough to me.


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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.


  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert Monday, 14 August 2017

    Loved it, I like omens too and have always found them useful. Messages are all around us wherever we care to look. You are so right on! Thanks for sharing, Tasha

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Wednesday, 16 August 2017

    Let's see; five cows-five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Dream. I know most people would write spirit instead of dream, but I recently figured out that when I say spirit I'm talking about the dreamscape so from now on I'll just use Dream as one of the five elements. I usually associate cows with Hathor, though an all white cow would bring Audhumla to mind. Of course it could just be that from a cows point of view witches are more interesting than watching cars go by.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Thursday, 17 August 2017

    Or that you can get a different kind of browse on a wooded ridge than you can in a pasture!

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