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 Technology of Idolatry

From the spiritual technology of the ancestors, let us consider the hallows—in Latin, the sacra—those holy objects of presence, in which a god is. If the work of religion is the making-present of the gods, this work the hallows accomplish, for the hallows are points of communication, articulating radical immanence. The genius of the paganisms has always been to understand that we best touch the universal through the specific.

To say “idol” implies a statue, but hallows take many forms.

One thing to remember about hallows is that in them, by them, through them, we look upon a god.

The other thing to remember is that in them, by them, through them, the god looks back at us.

In the hallow we encounter the god in his entirety. That the god may be present in his entirety in a hundred hallows simultaneously is a mystery one must experience to understand.

The keeping of a hallow is an obligation not to be taken on lightly or lovelessly, for it is a relationship of persons which, like all such, requires ongoing care. You don't leave a friend on a shelf and then, when you need her, take her down and dust her off. With hallows as with people, regular attention is necessary—tending, attending, offering—and in the case of an intimate relationship, better it be if daily done, twice daily even better. Best is to begin with what you can sustain, for to begin in these things and then to stop is worse than not to begin at all: on this point, all the authorities agree.

When offering to a hallow, one's focus should be the hallow itself, the god-made-present here. My experience has invariably been that if while offering to the hallow, I direct my thought, prayer, and power to the god-out-there, the offering miscarries, goes astray. There is no need to think of the god-out-there; that is the hallow's work. My work is to shine the bright beam of my thought, my prayer, my power, directly to the hallow itself. The hallow, like a lens, will focus the thought, the prayer, the power, and direct it to the god. That is its work, its power, its purpose.

Let us consider the hallows, loci of presence, by which gods are made present. The ancestors kept them and so do we.

And unto ages of ages.

Eric Gill, "Golden Calf"


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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.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Monday, 01 September 2014

    I've read of people feeling the eyes of the other world looking at them through icons. In his book Psionic Power Charles Cosimano mentioned the importance of having an object or symbol for the Psionic Power to grab onto in order to manifest instead of just disperse. Mr. Cosimano's work seems mostly secular humanist/materialist in nature while your experience appears to be more animist.

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