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 Rose in Winter

It's the Eve of Russian Christmas. Perfumed with incense, the church is dark, lit only by candlelight.

I stand with the other worshipers, savoring the chewy Slavonic chant. For me, it is Midwinter's Eve all over again: we gather together in cavernous darkness, awaiting the Momentous.

After the service, we file forward. Wielding, with practiced deftness, a delicate little paintbrush, the priest anoints us, one by one.

As the bristles brush my brow, my nostrils fill with the ghostly fragrance of roses. In the heart of Midwinter, the voluptuous scent of Midsummer.

I think of Her who is called Rosa Mundi, Rose of the World, Mother of Witches.

Through the night and the day that follow, I catch now and then a haunting remembrance of Summer, here in frozen Winter.

The Mother has brought forth: the Light is born.

 

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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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