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 Goddess That Flows Through Paris

 A Paris Guide: The River Seine

When's the last time that you heard an article in praise of a pagan goddess on the radio?

I've always liked NPR's France correspondent Eleanor Beardsley. (Yes, I'll admit to riffing off of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" whenever I hear her byline.) With her quirky voice and delicious sense of irony, she strikes me as something of an American Alistair Cooke during his "Letters from America" days, affectionately explaining the curious ways of France and the French to an American audience.

She lives in Paris, and this morning had a sweet little piece (“France's Seine River is a Place of Solace During Covid-19 Pandemic”) about the River Seine, and how it—perhaps I should say she—has helped her through a dark year of lock-down.

The Seine is a goddess. (In the Celtic world, rivers are female.) In Gallo-Roman times she was called Sequana, which is where her modern name comes from, and was widely known as a goddess of healing. Pilgrims came to her healing shrine at the source of the Seine from as far away as the Mediterranean and the English Channel.

She still heals. Beardsley talks about how walking along the Seine has offered her a welcome encounter with the natural world through a pent-up year of pandemic in an over-built urban environment.

The goddess Sequana, in fact, helped save Notre Dame cathedral during the recent catastrophic fire. Half the water used to extinguish that fire came—via fire-boat—from Dea Sequana Salvatrix, the River Seine, the goddess that flows through Paris.

(A delicious irony, non? Such is the generous nature of the Old Gods. The Sun shines for us all, pagan or not.)

Everyone knows of Hinduism's veneration for Ganga Ma, Mother Ganges, but in fact the ancestors worshiped the goddesses (and gods) of rivers wherever they went.

If we are wise, my friends, we will do the same.


Eleanor Beardsley

gave a report from the city of Paris today.

What will she say?....




















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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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