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 God Who Hears

The Horned goes everywhere, all the stories agree on that.

And where he goes, he listens.

Shown above is a striking Mississippian mask found in Craig Mound (one of the famed Spiro Mounds) of Leflore County, Oklahoma, carved ca. 1500 CE.

Note in particular the ear-spools, originally probably inlaid (like the eyes and mouth) with mother-of-pearl.

The ear-spools denote status, no doubt. But they also serve to emphasize the ears. This is a being who listens.




Now check out “Moab Man,” a petroglyph (ca. 1200 CE?) from Moab, Utah. Note the fancy earrings.


In iconography, there are no meaningless elements. Jewelry means wealth and status. Earrings mean listening.

The ability to listen, and to hear, came into the world along with animal life. It makes perfect sense that the Lord of Animals should be, in a preeminent sense, the God Who Listens.

Insofar as the collective fauna of planet Earth make up his corporate body, He Hears when we hear, He listens when we listen.


The master craftsman who carved the Minnesota Ooser, used at Midwest sabbats for almost 25 years, carved it—like the famed Cernunnos from Notre Dame de Paris—with what novelist Louise Erdrich calls a deer's “leaf-like ears,” pricked up to listen.          

For He who sits enthroned upon the altar and gives his own body to be our food, He who pipes a merry tune and comes down to dance with us: is He not the god who hears, and has throughout history heard, the cries of His people?

The Horned goes everywhere, all the stories agree on that.

And where he goes, he listens.

More on the God Who Hears here.


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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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