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 the Bones Said

At the end of each tribal conclave, we throw the bones to see when our next Grand Sabbat will be.

When a given event happens every year, people begin to take it for granted. That's why the Grand Sabbat—the great ritual gathering of the clans of the Witch-tribe—takes place regularly at irregular intervals.

The last was three years ago. Three years was far too long to wait between Sabbats. But that's what the bones said, and the full longing of those too-many years between, their course finally run, swept us together into a vast wave of fiery consummation.

In the usual way of things, one generally goes into the throwing of the bones with a plan: next year, or the year after.

But if you throw the bones, you have to listen to what they say. Sometimes they agree with you, and sometimes they don't. In the end, the bones have final say.

Well, the bones have spoken.

On our last morning together, the Antlered led us up out of the forest into the full light of day, to the hayfield, bright with flowers and lark-song. Raising a hand of farewell, he turned and walked off up and over the shoulder of the rise. In a great blaze of white flame, we watched him descend into the earth.

After the final blessing and the song of parting, we spread the cloth on the ground and threw the bones.

“Next year,” said the bones.

Thank 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.


  • Tyger
    Tyger Monday, 06 August 2018

    I would like to learn more about this gathering. Who can go and where is it?

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Monday, 06 August 2018

    The Grand Sabbat is a private, invitation-only tribal gathering held regularly at irregular intervals in the matchless Driftless Country of SW Wisconsin.
    For now, Tyger, basically you have to know someone to be invited. Indeed, these things must be done delicately, or you hurt the spell.
    But, as part of the retribalization of contemporary Pagandom, if we do our work well, there will in time be like gatherings of the Tribe of Witches in other parts of the country.
    And then the world.

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