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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Primal Fire

There's no true religion without fire.”

Robert Cochrane


A horn calls: the Voice of Thunder, speaking the Primal Word.


A young man runs in, bare-chested. He's carrying a torch. The flame streams behind him as he runs, like the tail of a comet.

He rings the clearing once, then darts to the center and lights the laid and willing wood.

And so we begin.

As circle-castings go, it's pretty basic.


But it's both old and real.

It embodies an ancient story: how the god of witches saw his people cold and frightened, hungry, and so, filled with ruth* and daring, he gave us the fire of the gods. In this act was the making of humanity. All culture streams from that first fire. So He is shown with the flame between His horns: Fire-Bearer, Light-Bringer.

This rite is close kin to the land-takes of the ancient Germanic peoples, who claimed land by carrying fire around it and kindling fire upon it.

Old Craft is an inchoate art. There's no Book of Shadows, no prescribed way of doing things. But there's almost always a story lurking around in the background somewhere.

And its echoes are primal and deep.

Like the Voice of Thunder, maybe.

Like Fire.

* = Mercy, remembered in modern English largely for its opposite.




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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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