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 Power of the Witch

If they came and took you away today, who do you think they'd come for tomorrow?

Your family, of course.

Because any family with a witch in it ipso facto becomes a witch family, whether they like it or not. One witch is enough to transform—some would say to taint—an entire lineage.

Not everyone in a witch family is a witch. In most witch families, most aren't. But in most generations there's generally at least one clanking around in the kitchen somewhere, and we remember our witches.

Centuries later, people in the family still talk about the witch. “Oh, she was burned at Salem,” they say, with pride if not with accuracy. Stories grow as stories do; no story ever lost in the telling. What they remember may not be what happened, but memory of the witch herself endures.

A family with a witch becomes a witch family, whether they like it or not, whether they even know it or not, and so great is the power of the witch, that this power extends both into the future and into the past as well. One witch is all it takes.

People remember witches. While memory endures, they will remember.

They will remember you and your life. Make it worth remembering.






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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.


  • Grant
    Grant Friday, 23 May 2014

    Well said Steven, I think one thing which helps with this "tainting" if you will, as you well know, us pagans, now and before, have always been story tellers. Not only do we tell stories but we see the world much more vividly I feel, we can turn seeing a tree on a simple walk, into a journey and awaken to the presence of a land ancestor.
    One story I have always remembered came from Arthur Hinds, which I heard him tell one warm summer evening at a PSG. He was telling a group of us how he had been building a stone circle on a friends land, using as much human effort and old methods as could be used. But alas the central stone was far too big to safely or successfully place. So his friend, (will call him Joe) decided that they would use his bob cat with chains attached to it to pull it up. Joe sat upon the rock as it went up. This would be a non-pagans telling, but he was quick to point out that not a few hours later he was hearing the story being told again. But Joe didn't just sit and do some tending as our modern technology lifted this stone. No, Joe saddled the stone, like a great steed and rode the stone to its rightful place.
    Now that has always been a wonderful image in my mind! :)
    You want the boring facts, talk to a non pagan. On the other hand you want the TALE talk to a Pagan.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 23 May 2014

    That's a great one, Grant: I'm adding it to the repertoire.

    Years ago my friend Tanith went to talk about the Craft at a local elementary school. "It's all in the intent," she told them during first period. "If you really wanted to, you could walk through a wall."

    By third period, of course, the kids were already talking about the witch who had walked through walls. Some had even seen it.

    Every people lives by its stories: they're our intangible treasures. An athame or a Book of Shadows can be taken away, but they can't take away the stories.

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