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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The Devil's Lash

At old style sabbats, they say, the Devil would stand at the edge of the circle and whip up the dancing.


(In the mountains back East, where I come from, they say that he'd use rose canes to do this. Yikes.)

One of the few truly effective ritual initiations that I've ever witnessed was priested by one of the local dungeon daddies. Now that scourging really meant something.

Burtrand of Minnesota Church of the Wicca—the grandfather of the local pagan community—used to insist that the scourge is one of the Horned's most important, and least understood, attributes.

Those who have drunk from the Old Buck's breasts know that only one of them is sweet. The other is bitter, so bitter.


Me, I've drunk from them both, and felt the sting of that lash myself.


Isn't he exactly that kind of god, himself a transgressor of boundaries, who shows you who you could be by pushing you beyond yourself, by whipping us past our own self-imposed limitations? Dance harder! he says. Leap higher!

Isn't that exactly the kind of god that he is?

Those who laugh off the scourge as an old man's personal kink ill-serve us all.

A pox upon flaccid embroidery-floss scourges, which make the truth a lie.

A very pox. 


For CM and GR







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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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