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 Passion of the Harvest

At noon on the first day of the festival, we blew the horns. Then we pulled the young Corn King in his chariot through the grove in which the gathering was held.

By the next day, word had begun to spread. A few came out to watch the Corn King in his noon progress among his people.

The third day, there were more. Some would bow, or kneel by the side of the way to receive his blessing as he passed. These he would shower with kernels of corn.

As the week went on, people began to join the procession. They brought their children to receive the Harvest Lord's blessing. Late arrivals to the festival heard about the processions by word of mouth.

People had known the Young Lord since his boyhood, during the festival's earliest years. They had watched him grow up there, year by year. Now they welcomed his triumph. Grown to beautiful, golden manhood, he was everyone's son, everyone's beloved.

Everyone came out to see the Corn King's final procession. Accompanied by musicians, and his court of youths and maidens, the handsome young King in his corn crown and red cloak passed among his people for the last time, waving, and we followed him to the dancing ground. 

There, from the raised bed of his chariot, he married the people: the ribbons in his hands joined him like a Maypole to the youths and maidens of his entourage.

When the music rose, we all leapt up to dance in his honor. Gladly we danced. He was our son, our beloved.

Then the dance grew ragged. One by one the instruments fell away.

Hooded, shrouded, the Shadow moved through the midst of the crowd that parted to let her through. Against the black of her cloak, the sickle in her hand burned with the red light of the setting Sun.

Seeing her, the young King laid aside his cloak and crown.

Silently she took his hand. Silently the two of them walked through the crowd. Silently they entered the cornfield, walking together between the tall rows into the setting Sun.

The King is dead; long live the King.

The breaking of the lot sounded loud as a shot. Together the six youths of the Corn King's entourage converged. Together they drew.

One shouted, and held the broken lot above his head. Truly, he had desired this.

Crowned and cloaked, the new young Corn King mounted his flower-decked chariot.

Singing, we pulled him through the grove, in triumphal procession.

The Corn is dead.

Long live the Corn.


The Passion of the Harvest was created by Frebur Moore and Robin Grimm.

It was first enacted at Sacred Harvest Festival in 2004.



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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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