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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Magic Most Sympathetic



Whew. There's the garden finally planted. First we did the work; now we do the magic.

We dance leaping dances to show the crops how high to grow.

(“The higher we leap, the higher they grow: around and around and around we go!”)

We plant wide-hipped little terracotta goddess figurines around the edges, to encourage and oversee.

We make love in the fields, that most sympathetic of sympathetic magics.


In the 2005-7 BBC series Rome, set in the time of Julius Caesar, ex-centurion-turned-senator Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) is finally granted a latifundia (country estate) by the Senate. In the official rite of seizin (land-taking), he and his wife Niobe (Indira Varma) process, along with the estate's people and the village priest, out to a newly-plowed field.

As the others respectfully look on, they walk together out to the middle of the field. Niobe lays down in the midst of the furrows; Vorenus lays on top of her.


Vorenus: For gods' sakes. How long are we supposed to lay here?

Niobe: Until the priest rings the bell.

Vorenus. Oh, for gods' sakes.

(They lay there.)

Niobe: Oh!

Vorenus: (Grins.)

Niobe: Oh! Oh!

Priest: (Rings bell.)

Priest: (Rings bell.)

Priest: (Rings bell.)



Photo: UrsaDea


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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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