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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What If the Word for 'Make Love' Were the Name of a Goddess?

Frig and Frig.

Etymologists are pretty much agreed that there's no direct connection between the verb frig (euphemistic for f**k) and the divine name Frig (the Anglo-Saxon goddess for whom Friday was named).

But what a gift of a coincidence it is.

Imagine: a culture in which the word for 'making love' was the name of a goddess.

How good is that?

Robert Cochrane, the father of the contemporary Old Craft movement, used to sign his letters 3 (or 4) Fs. This alludes to an old tongue-in-cheek Devonshire saying: Flax, flags, fodder (and frig). These are the three (or four) necessities of life: clothing, shelter, food, and love.

Flax. Linen, of course, is one of the two sacred fabrics of Europe, wool being the other: plant and animal respectively.

Flags. We tend to think of shelter as having a roof over one's head, but the ancestors saw it instead as having a floor beneath one's feet: not so much protection, as a place to be.

Fodder. Technically, this means 'animal feed,' but—like I said—the saying is intended humorously. And, after all, we're animals too.

Frig. Here, 'love,' or 'sex.' This is, after all, a list of basic biological necessities.

But Old Craft reads this as 'Goddess' as well. After all, we can't get along without her. As well we know, she's a spiritual necessity of life. This reading is emphasized by the use of the saying as a greeting:

R: Flax, flags, and fodder.

V: Flax, flags, fodder, and Frig.

It also suggests that all four elements of the Four Fs have both a physical and a spiritual component.

As indeed they do.

We live in a culture in which to say F**k you is an act of oral aggression: essentially, wishing rape on someone. (Yikes!)

But as we think about the pagan civilization of the future that we want (and need) to become, maybe we need to reach out and take with both hands the gift that English, the sacred language of the Witches, has given us.

A language in which the word for 'make love' is the name of a goddess.


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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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