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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Reweaving the Reft in Time

The ancient Greeks dated years from the (mythic) foundation of the Olympic Games.

The ancient Romans dated years from the (mythic) foundation of the city of Rome.

We, however, date our years from the (mythic) birth of Christ.

Call it “Common Era” if you like, but clearly we need a more fitting way to count sacred time. We need some other pivotal mythic event from which to number our years.

For my pentacles, the best proposal to date comes from Merlin Stone's seminal 1979 essay “9980: Repairing the Time Warp,” in which she proposes that we date our old-new year-count from the beginning of agriculture.

For better and for worse, agriculture has changed everything that came after it. It's an event of both historic and mythic proportion. Better yet, it's something that we all share.

Since we don't (and never will) know the specific year in which the Great Mother first taught us the mysteries of digging-stick and seed, Stone suggests that we simply bareback onto consensus reality instead.

Back when she wrote her essay, it was thought that agriculture had originated some 10,000 years previously. Hence, 1980 became 9980 ADA: After the Development of Agriculture.

Well, time marches on. Archaeologists have now pushed the origins of agriculture back to about 12,000 years ago.

OK, so. Twelve-oh-seventeen.

12,017.

ADA, that is.

 

With special thanks to Magenta Griffith,

for archival archaeology.

 

 

 

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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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Comments

  • Kayly
    Kayly Tuesday, 10 October 2017

    But the changing dates are the problem. If we set our current year as 12,017 and in ten years, they find that agriculture is 10,000 years older than that, will we have to readjust dates?
    I propose calling our current year 525 N.O.W. (New + Old World) because 1492 was the first time Trans-Atlantic voyages led to something permanent, and it should please those who favor agriculture, as it marked the introduction of New World plants and animals to the inhabitants of the Old World, and vice versa.
    In the end, we will probably stick to the B.C./A.D (B.C.E./C.E.) method because it sounds less cheesy than mine.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Wednesday, 11 October 2017

    Well, since all dating systems are, in effect, arbitrary, I suppose some would recalibrate their calendar in the wake of new archaeology and some wouldn't. That's just how people are. We do love having things to fight about.
    Columbus, eh? Well, it's momentous. Mythic, even. Dating years from a disaster seems to me a bit of a hard sell, though.
    I'm not really arguing for a thoroughgoing replacement of the secular calendar; even I haven't gone quite that far into the mists. I'm afraid your prediction about the persistence of CE/BCE is good for the foreseeable future.
    But for religious purposes, we need something better.
    And for that, I'm sorry, but I'm just not buying Columbus.

  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert Wednesday, 11 October 2017

    Interesting idea, and perhaps impractical for actual use, however interesting all the same.

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