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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Spilling Seed

Well gentlemen, it's that time of year again: time to spill that seed on the ground.

Call it a religious obligation. Good old paganism.

Making love in the fields at the sowing to make the crops grow has probably been around for as long as we've been agricultural animals. It's sympathetic magic of the most basic kind, no explanation needed. I sure do hope that there are places in the world where they still do it. According to folklorist Vance Randolph, they did in the Ozarks during the 1950s.

I'm reminded of a scene from the jaw-dropping BBC series Rome. The newly-ennobled Senator Lucius Vorenus has acquired a new country property. To take official legal possession, he and his wife process out to a newly-plowed field along with a priest and their tenant farmers. After the priest makes offerings, Vorenus and Niobe go out into the field. She lays down, and he lays on top of her.

Vorenus: How long do we have to lay here like this?


Niobe: I think, until the priest rings the bell.

Priest: (Rings bell.)

Niobe: Oh!

Priest: (Rings bell.)

Priest: (Rings bell.)

End of scene.

And while you're out there in the fields, remember: the traditional flavor of the day is c. interruptus. The reason for this I don't need to explain to anyone likely to be reading this. Just possibly this is what underlies all those Biblical injunctions against “spilling seed on the ground.” Probably these were less concerned with family planning than with keeping up with the Canaanites.

Good old Canaanites.

Let 'em scoff. “This you call religion?” they sneer.

You bet it is, and it has been since the end of the last Ice Age.

This is the pagan way, you say?

Well, sign me up.


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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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