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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Those Old Witch Songs Are All a Little Bit Sad

There's a round that we sing in the Spring about new life rising up again out of the darkness:

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain:

wheat that in the deep Earth many days hath lain.

Love lives again, that with the dead hath been:

love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

The tune is delicate, poignant: a song of joy in a minor key.

This is no ignorant joy, a happiness too inexperienced (or too stupid) to know anything different. This is the joy of the wise: the happiness of those who know life and all the sorrows that it must inevitably bring, and yet choose joy.

Witches are well-acquainted with trouble. As a people, we've seen many, many sorrows down the long years, nor (alas) are they over yet. As we must, we remember them all.

In spite of which—because of which—we are joyful nonetheless, because in life there is beauty as well as suffering. Yes, there will always be Winter.

But after Winter, Spring.

Therefore the songs of the witches, even the most joyous, all have that little note of sorrow to them.

That's life as we know it, life as the wise know it.

A song of joy in a minor key.



Check out Marcel Duprès' monumental Variations on a Noel: Spring as a jig, a minuet, a whirlwind, a tornado. Amazing.


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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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