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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You Can't Make a Picture of the Sky

--Khristiani? Mussulmani?

--Worship Living Blue Father Sky...not stupid gods from books.  (S. M. Stirling, "Ancient Ways")


I'll admit it: the Abraham religions make a certain amount of pagan sense.

Since in pagan terms they address their prayers to Heaven, to Sky Father--so baldly stated, it seems reductionist, but it's nonetheless historically true--it makes sense that the friend of Heaven should go up to the top of the mountain to hear the god's words and to speak with Him. Or that Heaven should sire on a mortal maid a son who becomes culture hero to his people. These are stories we've heard before.

Since Living Blue Father Sky is over--actually around--everything and sees everyone, it also makes sense that He should concern Himself with justice and with how His children act.

I can even understand why one might choose to address oneself to only one god at a time. (Every good relationship sometimes requires this type of focus.) I will admit to a certain sense of incompleteness for lack of the others, though; I suppose that's what makes me a pagan.

Even the aniconism of the bnei Avraham seems understandable on these terms. You can't make a picture of the Sky, after all: what would you draw? In the Baltic raksti, the symbol of Dievs--God, Heaven--is the Holy Mountain (as shown above). Heaven Himself remains eternally undrawable.

At a certain point in the journey to adulthood, one needs to learn to forgive one's parents for the mistakes they made along the way, for not being perfect parents. One does this for the sake of one's own maturity, if nothing else.

The same is true of the spiritual traditions we came from but never found a home in. At a certain point I realized I could go back and, pagan that I am, participate--if not entirely fully--in those worships again. And sometimes I still do.

Temple-lover that I am, though, I still can't bend my mind to understand why anyone would go in under a roof to pray to Sky.

Those wacky non-pagans. Whatever will they think of next?

For more on pan-European traditions of Sky Father and His attributes, see M. L. West, Indo-European Poetry and Myth (2007): Oxford, University Press, pp. 166-173.



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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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