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 Real Paganism Looks Like

 For many Hawaiians, lava flows are a time to honor, reflect

The Real and the Store-Bought

If you want to see what real paganism—as distinguished from the store-bought kind—looks like on the ground, check out this article about Traditional Hawaiian response to the current eruption of Mauna Loa.

In a sacred version of volcano tourism, Hawaiian cultural practitioners are making pilgrimage to the lava flows that are the living presence of Madame Pele, both to witness, and to honor, the ancient Power that (literally) made their islands.

There, they make offerings of dance, chant, and prayer, as well as offerings of a more tangible kind: bottles of gin, red scarves, ti leaves, money, tobacco.

A goddess is present, and so we go to meet and to honor her. That's what the real thing looks like on the ground.


Standing With Our Backs to the World


I think of a Samhain ritual that I recently attended. The best I can say for it is that it was well-intentioned.

The ritual, rightly, began at sundown. During the Summer, from the ritual circle in its sacred grove, you can't see the Western skyline for the leaves; but now, with the trees newly naked, the setting Samhain Sun stood, splendid, upon the horizon.

A god was present, but no one paid any attention. (Well, I did: I slipped out of the circle, made the wonted observances, and—unobtrusively, I hope—slipped back in.) No, we were too busy casting our circle to notice, standing—as is, alas, all too often the way of neo-pagans—with our backs to the world.


Learning Authenticity


My people, we are young in the Old Ways.

Let us have the wisdom, and the humility, to learn from our elders.






Seriously, take a look at the linked-to article above.

You'll find more wisdom there than in a whole shelf-full of Pagan 101 books.


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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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