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.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form


In the intellectual adventure that is modern paganism, we've reached a pretty significant milestone.

We've actually created a new literary genre: the theography.*

I'll define a theography as, broadly, a book about a specific god.**

Some contemporary theographies are anthologies, with contributions by various writers. Others are a single author's tribute to a particular god.

I'm reading one such now.

I'm enjoying the book. My relationship with my own patron being what it is, I'm always interested to hear what other people have to say about their relationships with theirs.

Every theography must balance traditional lore with contemporary experience, and this author does a good job of doing just that. The book is both well-written and entertaining, with hymns, stories, rituals, and a thorough bibliography. All in all, it's much what you would want from a theography: both informative and useful.

But something is missing here. It's not so much what is being said as what isn't.

In our eagerness to impart, it's easy to say too much. Here as always, when talking about the gods, it's important to leave room for mystery.

The Horned is my heart-god, and when I talk with others of his sons and daughters, I frequently encounter a certain reticence. In our stories about Him, we tend to go so far and no farther. Some things, as they say, are just not for the telling. When I talk with others about Himself, I always get the impression that there's so much more than what is being said. You can hear the echoes, the resonances, beneath, between, and behind the words.

Still and all, folks: in the Wide, Wide World of the Many, together we've succeeded in making something exciting and new.

In the intellectual adventure that is modern paganism, that's pretty bloody significant.


*As a literary genre, theography is characteristic of polytheist societies. Theographies are also found in the writings of—to take only two contemporary examples—Hinduism and Santeria.

This makes it doubly interesting that the form has arisen independently among modern pagans.


**I use “god” here as the ancestors did, inclusively, to mean a deity of any (or no) sex or gender. “Deity” is too clinical, “god or goddess” too awkward, “goddess or god” too metrically annoying, and “god/dess” just plain too ugly.


Last modified on
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.


Additional information