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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Moon Horns

Shortly after sunset, the horns ring out.

These are the Moon Horns, sounding from the Tower on Witches' Hill, the highest point in the city, a signal from the official watchers. It can mean only one thing: New Moon!

The First Crescent has been sighted in the sky, marking the beginning of another month. Across the city, horns ring out in reply, passing along the happy news, washing out from the Tower in concentric circles like ripples from a lake-cast stone.

The Moon Call is broadcast on local radio and television as well. Everyone that can dons their finery and rushes out, facing West, to greet the First Crescent in the sky with the traditional incense, hymns, and libations.

Hail to thee, thou New Moon,

guiding jewel of gentleness;

I am bending to thee my knee,

I am offering thee my love.

Others hasten to light the bonfires in park and backyard where people will gather to welcome the return of She Who Shines by Night and to wish one another Merry Moon.

The sound of drums rises across the city. The parties will continue well into the night.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Soon may we see it, Sarah!
  • Sarah Israelson
    Sarah Israelson says #
    I love this. I love the imagery it portrays and the longing that it creates in my heart.

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Identity X

Let us call this figure Identity X.

Virtually everyone knows about Identity X, but for the most part it is a figure of folklore only. No one self-identifies as Identity X. From time to time, people scapegoat others as Identity X. This is dangerous, and often results in death for the accused.

Suddenly—for many reasons that I won't go into here—people begin to claim Identity X for themselves.

First a few, then hundreds, then thousands, then tens and hundreds of thousands, and finally millions of people claim Identity X for themselves.

In the process, they change the very definition of Identity X. They transform Identity X into something that it never has been before: a real-world entity, a claimed identity.

In doing so, they become a people.

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Virus-in-Chief: An Anti-Tr0mp Charm

A Reminder to the Wise:

Spells are best used in conjunction with, not instead of, more direct action (such as voting).

 

Speaking of noxious opportunistic infections like the covid virus, how's about a charm to "disappear"

the Virus-in-Chief?

 

T  R  U  M  P           T  R  U  M  P

R  U  M  P             R  U  M  P

U  M  P                  U  M  P

M  P                   M  P

P                       P

T  R  U  M  P

R  U  M  P

U  M  P

M  P

P

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A Charm Against the Virus

 A Reminder to the Wise:

Magical protection is best used in conjunction with, not instead of, practical measures.

 

Pandemic or no pandemic, it's Spring and time to clear away the Winter detritus.

I'm out in the front yard raking up leaves. What with the molds and the dust that I'm stirring up, I sneeze again and again.

Aha! I think, whipping out my handy-dandy anti-covid face-mask.

Of course, it works like a charm.

Call it a covid benefit.

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The Goddess Abides

I stand on the stage in the Roman theater of the ancient city of Ephesus, thinking of how different history might have been.

Here, if the anonymous story in Acts 19 is to be believed, the enraged citizenry of Ephesus nearly lynched Saul of Tarsus, known later to the church as “saint” Paul. Angered by his blasphemies against their patron goddess Artemis—known to the Romans as Diana—for two solid hours they chanted “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”

Alas, Saul's life was saved by a conscientious city magistrate who talked down the crowd by reminding them that extrajudicial killings are morally wrong.

Such conscientiousness in a public official is surely to be praised. Still, one can only wonder.

According to Acts, the crowd's anger was fomented by a souvenir manufacturer worried about potential loss of trade. One need only think about this to see how unlikely such a scenario really is. Why do non-pagans find it so difficult to believe that pagans, too, might actually love our gods?

Walking the streets of the city earlier that day, I had been struck by the frequency with which one found little bas-reliefs of the Ephesian Goddess, with her distinctive polymastate (many-breasted) shape, carved into the gateposts of doorways, watching maternally over the comings and goings of her people.

Me, I know a mezuza when I see one. You can't tell me that the ancients didn't touch these little goddesses and then kiss their hands, coming and going. In fact, I did so myself.

Thanks to this episode, historical or not, Artemis/Diana is the only goddess to have been mentioned by name in the New Testament. If Craft historian Ron Hutton is correct, for this reason through the Christian centuries She became the paradigmatic example of the pagan goddess—think of all those medieval accounts of wicked women flying by night with the goddess Diana, dea paganorum—and thus, eventually, the patronal Lady of Revival Witchery, She Who Shines by Night.

If that's so, then I'm standing in the place where the New Paganisms were seeded, nearly 2000 years ago.

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The Opiate of the Left

I'd have a lot more respect for activism if so much of it weren't basically reactivism.

Back in the day, the big Cause here in the Twin Cities was Honeywell. Honeywell was a local corporation (the headquarters were just a few blocks from my house) that manufactured, inter alia, cluster bombs. The Honeywell Project was determined to stop them.

Now, cluster bombs are pretty despicable. So the Project mounted demo after demo: civil disobedience, yadda egalitarian yadda. The pattern quickly became predictable: another demo, more arrests. Over the years, the Project spent tens of thousands of dollars bailing civil-disobedients out of jail. My friend Stephanie, ever the pragmatist, observed that if the Honeywell Project had used all that money to buy Honeywell stock, maybe they could actually have accomplished something.

Once a Big Name activist witch flew into town for one of the demos, and gave a public lecture the night before to psych up the non-violent troops.

We'd met several times previously, so I went up afterward to welcome her to town.

"Are you coming to the demo?" she asked eagerly.

Activism is a luxury. The demo was scheduled for 10 o' clock on a weekday morning.

"Um, no," I told her, a little amazed at the different worlds that the two of us inhabited. "I'll be at work."

The story has a happy ending, kind of. Eventually, H-well stopped making cluster bombs—but only (of course) after there was no more money in it for them.

Sigh.

Demos and actions are for beginners, the opiate of the Left. Do you know who I really respect, though?

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, I agree, and see this as a consequence of the triumph of the New Left in the anglosphere. Look, I'm not going to be t

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Dream Sabbat

 In Which an Old Bit of Witch-Lore Takes On New Life

 

The ancestors were resourceful people.

In the old days, in time of persecution or plague, it wasn't always safe to attend the local Sabbat.

So the ancestors developed a strategy.

Come Sabbat Eve, you schmeer on the dwale, lay down, and fly off to the Dream Sabbat.

But do not for this reason think the Dream Sabbat unreal.

This, too, is my True Sabbat, says the Horned.

The Sabbat is the Horned's love-gift to his people. Be sure that, in time, we will dance once again by firelight beneath the trees, and taste all the joys of the witch's true paradise. This, the Horned promises.

Till then, he gives us the Sabbat of Dream.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks for the recommendation, Anthony. See you at the Dream Sabbat!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    One of the books I'm reading now is "Witchcraft and the Shamanic Journey" by Kenneth Johnson. He mentions in the witch trials whe

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