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

What Do You Swear On When You Take a Public Oath?

You're giving testimony in court, or maybe you're assuming public office.

In both cases, it's customary to swear on a holy object.

So, Pagan: on what do you swear?

Strike me dead if I'd swear on one of their accursed books.

Strike me dead if I'd swear on a book at all.

In the old days, there were statues of the gods in law courts for people to touch while taking their oaths. In these barbarous days, a small one would do, I suppose: provided it were handled with respect.

You can swear on the coven sword, I'm told. (An Alexandrian trope, I believe.) Good luck with the metal detectors.

Me, I'd swear by the Oldest, as our people have sworn forever.

So witness Earth (bend and touch her).

So witness Sky (raise hands).


Last modified on
Tagged in: oaths Old Gods
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.


  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes Wednesday, 13 June 2018

    I've thought that an altar pentacle could work for a witch.

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Wednesday, 13 June 2018

    I once read that the ancient Egyptians took their oaths on an onion. Something about those concentric rings in an onion.

    I like yours about taking oath by land and sky, though I might include the waters that circulate between the two.

  • The Cunning Wīfe
    The Cunning Wīfe Thursday, 21 June 2018

    Traditionally, Slavic people would take a lump of earth in hand while making an oath and then eat it. I like it.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 22 June 2018

    Makes sense: who is as stable or trustworthy as Earth?
    And, of course, she knows everything.

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Additional information