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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Solstice People

Back in high school, a non-pagan friend and I were discussing the winter holidays.

“But we have Solstice, too,” he contended, meaning non-pagans.

Well, in the sense that the Solstice happens whether or not you pay attention to it, I suppose that they do.

But here's my question. The Sun, the Earth: are these (so to speak) just people that you walk past in the street every day without really noticing, or are they People that you actually know and engage with?

As I write, we're nearing the end of the Samhain Thirtnight. Every morning—I'm awake then, I actually see it—the Sun rises a little later, a little farther South. Every day, he goes a little farther away, and we see that much less of him.

I don't know about you, and I don't know about non-pagans, but personally I feel that that fact somehow involves me.

That's what makes me a pagan. That's what makes Solstice—insofar as an astronomical event can be said to belong to anyone—ours in particular.

In the ongoing life (and relationship) of Earth and Sun, we're pagans because—somehow, for whatever reason—we feel personally implicated.

That's what makes us (as I tell well-meaning non-pagans when they wish me “Merry Christmas”) Solstice People instead.


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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.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Monday, 11 November 2019

    I remember a time when people would actually say Happy Holidays and nobody got upset about it. Then for some reason I don't understand conservative talk show personalities decided it was an attack on Christmas. Now I admit that Happy Holidays was not Irving Berlin's best holiday song but I do remember Andy Williams singing it and I don't think of it as an attack on Christmas. Anyway Happy Holidays, whichever ones you celebrate.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Tuesday, 12 November 2019

    Conversely, I used to get all bent out of shape when someone would wish me "Merry Christmas," as if it were some sort of attempt at proselytizing. Maybe sometimes it is, but mostly people are just being nice.
    So now--when I want to make an issue of it, which (frankly) i mostly don't--I just laugh and say, "Oh, thanks: actually, we're Solstice people."
    And almost always they smile and say: "Well, have a happy Solstice, then."
    Of course, I do live in Minnesota.

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