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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Pray for the Pagans of Afghanistan

Posted by on in Culture Blogs



At Twin Cities Pagan Pride this Saturday, we'll be making the twelfth annual Offering to Minnehaha Falls, and praying for the well-being of pagans everywhere.

If you can't be there, I invite you to join us anyway in praying for the well-being of pagans everywhere.

In particular, I invite you to join us in praying for the well-being of the pagans of Afghanistan.

Are there pagans in Afghanistan? Well might you ask.

Truth in advertising: I don't know any Afghan pagans personally. But I feel quite confidant in declaring that yes, of course there are pagans in Afghanistan. There are pagans everywhere. Wherever (gods help us) the internet reaches, there are pagans. Wherever people are in chains, some dare dream of freedom.

There were pagans in Afghanistan—real, old-time, rifle-toting, goat-sacrificing pagans—up until the 1890s, when the emir of Kabul (of cursed memory) declared jihad against the mountain tribes of what was then called Kafiristan: “Unbeliever Land.” Those that weren't killed were forcibly converted to Islam, and their mountainous territory was officially renamed Nuristan, “Land of Light.” Light at rifle-point: welcome to Abrahamic history, boys and girls.

(Their close cousins, the Kalasha of what is now Pakistan, being on the British side of the Durand Line, were spared the genocide, and practice their ancient religion to this day, the only Indo-European-speaking people to have done so.)

So yes, Diana, there are pagans in Afghanistan. There are (gods help them) pagans even in the deepest, darkest, most repressive Muslim countries of the world, like Saudi Arabia. Wherever people are in chains, some dare dream of freedom.

Consider what life must be like for the pagans of Afghanistan. The very worst that we've seen here in the US—even in the deepest, darkest Bible Belt—pales by comparison.

Some day, the women (and men) of Afghanistan will rise up in armed resistance against their oppressors. Until then, my friends, let us pray—and offer—for the sake of our brothers and sisters, the pagans of Afghanistan.

Gods know, they need it.




Kalasha girls dancing, Joshi (Spring) festival 2017








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Tagged in: afghanistan Kalasha
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.


  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton Thursday, 09 September 2021

    Good post. I'll split hairs on the "only" part: The Mari-El have kept a Pagan tradition going. Their old language is not in the Indo-European family, but then they all speak Russian too, which is.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Thursday, 09 September 2021

    Interesting quibble. Can one be a Celt if one doesn't speak a Celtic language? My neighbor's ancestors came from West Africa, but she speaks English. Does that make her Indo-European?
    I speak a Semitic language; does that make me a Semite?

    Reply hazy. Try again later.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Wednesday, 15 September 2021

    Mr. Posch,

    Thanks again for reminding us all about the Kalasha.

    I love the part about renaming Kafiristan to Nuristan.

    "Land Of Light". Right. They do their best to snuff out the true light of the Goddesses and Gods, execute all the priestesses and priests as witches and warlocks, and outlaw religious freedom. Like you say, it all sounds so familiar.

    Maybe this is the battle we'll have to fight here someday, when Q-cultists/Proud Boys/Oathkeepers finally succeed in overthrowing the government. I'm sure that President Marjorie Taylor Greene will uphold the highest standards of Christianity...from the 7th century.

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