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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Steven Posch

Steven Posch

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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Here in Paganistan, we're heading into our ninth consecutive day of 90-degree heat. Air conditioning being for the weak (or at least the terminally un-stubborn), it's too hot and thick to do anything, including think.

So, something mindless instead. What follows is a list of pagan kid's books that we can all devoutly hope will never be written.


The Dork in the Torc

Expelled from his own time by Druidic magic, ancient Britain's geekiest warrior creates havoc in a modern pagan household.


The Orc in the Torc

A youthful Aragorn son of Arathorn sets out to retrieve an heirloom of power from the most dreaded goblin-chieftain of all.


The Bork in the Torc

How Ronald Reagan's favorite anti-environment judge discovered paganism and became the US's foremost legal eco-warrior.


Le Porque en le Torque

The Dun of the Pigs is under siege by the XIV Legion. Can Asterix rally the animals of Gaul to save it?


The Cork in the Torc

Ancient Celtic warriors regularly went into battle naked. So how did they keep hydrated?

How an unknown Halstatt goldsmith solved the problem.

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From: The Book of the Horned One


Oath Taken Crouching


Everything between my left hand and my right

I give to the Horns and the wandering Moon.

Body and soul, whole and all:

I give myself to you.


Your name:





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PEONY • Rosa Black Baccara | Beautiful roses, Black flowers, Beautiful  flowers


The Osser Opens Like a Flower


The Osser opens like a flower.


Place the black bundle on the altar.

The outer cloth, which covered

the altar at the first Grand Sabbat

(which altar enthrones)

itself is black, but look

—here and here—

these two white ovoids:

prints of His sweet seat.


(And here, between, is where you kiss.)


Unfold the black. O shocking red!

Rich red silk, of course,

enwraps the witches' Hallow:

truly, what other color could it be?

Red petals unfold. Behold

the rose's heart: antler,

wood, the paint, the fur.

Animal, vegetable, mineral.

White, red, black.


How do you transport the sacred?

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sugar maple | Description, Uses, & Facts | Britannica


With the Summer festival season nearly upon us, I thought that I'd write a chant to honor our regional pagan land sanctuary, Sweetwood Temenos: so-called from its sumptuous sacred grove of sugar maples

Among other things.


I've Got Sweet Wood


I've got Sweet Wood

(clap clap   clap CLAP clap)

You've got Sweet Wood

(clap clap   clap CLAP clap)

We've all got Sweet Wood

(clap clap   clap CLAP clap)

la la la la la la


He's got Sweet Wood

(clap clap   clap CLAP clap)

She's got Sweet Wood

(clap clap   clap CLAP clap)

They've got Sweet Wood

(clap clap   clap CLAP clap)

la la la la la la


Then you go around the circle, naming names, to embarrass honor those present.

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She is my sweet tuxedo cat :B : aww


Interspecies communication has always fascinated me. Miss Squeak was a past master of the art.

She learned early on how to get exactly what she wanted from human beings. When she was young and lived in the country, she led an indoor-outdoor life.

If it so happened that she arrived back home late at night after the doors were already closed, no matter. She'd climb the big old blue spruce next to the house and hop off onto the roof. Then she'd sit outside the bedroom window and cry until they opened the window to let her in.

What Miss Squeak wanted, Miss Squeak got.

Later in life, she came to live with me in the city.

One day I took a workman down into the basement to do some updates on the water meter. Unbeknownst to us, Miss Squeak followed us down.

I heard the story later. While working on the meter, he was puzzled by an incessant series of sharp, demanding cries from elsewhere in the basement.

Following the cries to their source, he found a little black-and-white kitty sitting on the laundry room floor in front of the closed door that led to the stairs. Miss Squeak never did like closed doors.

Mind you, if she'd just wanted to get back upstairs, she could have gone up by the same way that we came down; that door to the stairs still stood wide open.

But, of course, mere access was never the point. There must be a lot of satisfaction in getting the big, dumb animals around you to do precisely what you want.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, Thanks for sharing! We have an older female cat reminiscent of Miss Squeak. My wife informed me that our male cat rec

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“We come in peace!”

These days, if you need a visual symbol to indicate peaceable intent from a distance, you hold up a white flag.

How a white cloth came to mean “peace,” I don't know. I suspect that, in part at least, it's a matter of pragmatism: holding up a cloth shows that you have no weapon in hand. White tends to be visible from a distance, which is good—you want to be sure that they don't fill you full of arrows before you get close enough to be heard—and I'm guessing that, in any given group of people, we could probably come up with at least one piece of white clothing to keep us from getting our butts shot off before we're close enough to parley.

Of course, this wouldn't get you very far if you happened to be traveling with witch-folk, we being, in the main, wearers of black. Fortunately, there's another option for a sign of peace: an old sign, a pagan sign.

“We come in frith!” we say (“frith” is Witch—and Heathen—for peace), holding up our green branches.

The green branch makes a good symbol of peace. Like the white cloth, it shows that you have no weapon in hand.

Unlike a white cloth, you can find a green branch almost anywhere. Even during the winter, there are generally evergreen branches to hand. A green branch is like unto that old pagan distance weapon, a spear, but it's a spear of peace.

A green branch is alive, growing. (Well, it was up until just a little while ago, anyway.) Think of it as a branch from the Tree of Life.

We may even find a theological statement here. How if the Green God, lord of vegetation, is the proper pagan god of truce, of peace? It's the Red God, lord of beasts, that's the fighter; but under the sign of the Leafy One, we meet in frith. The trees are a peaceful people. Where but beneath the branches of a tree do we hold our peace parley?

In half a Moon's time, on Midsummer's Eve, the coven will be up on the hill, dancing the traditional Dance of the Wheel with fresh, green branches in our hands.

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The Rise and Fall of the Goddess of Democracy - The New York Times


June 4, 2021

30 Years Since the Tiananmen Square Massacre


May the Goddess of Liberty

once again raise Her torch

in Tiananmen Square,

for Her children in China,

and through all the world.

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