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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Thinking Outside the Magic Circle

“I've never been to one of those kinds of rituals before!” the little girl enthused.

What she meant was a ritual with offerings and prayers. Clearly, the experience had come as something of a revelation.

We'd just completed our annual Offering to Minnehaha Falls. The priestess stands at the head of the Falls and makes the traditional threefold offering of water, meal, and flowers, while praying for life, sustenance, and inspiration for the People, for the year to come.

I don't know about where you live, but around here pagan ritual tends to involve casting circles, calling quarters, and raising cones. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's more to pagan ritual than summoning, stirring, and pointing knives at.

A lot more.

Frankly, when it comes to ritual—especially of the large, public variety—we need to start thinking outside the magic circle.

“Can I do that too?” the girl asked, breathlessly.

She'd collected a handful of new green acorns from the nearby oak grove, and wanted to offer them to the Falls.

Offerings are part of our inherited spiritual technology. They open the way to speak with the gods. Anyone can make an offering, anytime, any place.

“Absolutely,” I said.

So she did.



Three things give wing to prayer:

the needful occasion, the offering,

the soaring prayer of others.






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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.


  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert Sunday, 10 September 2017

    Thanks for your lovely and well said column. As I learned long ago, it's not just about "church on Sundays" so to seak, it's having a worshipful attitude toward all that is life. Blessed be and all good wishes, Tasha

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