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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A Song for Everything

I'll tell you, those old pagans had a song for everything.


Not just holidays, not just fun. Work, too.

Rowing. Plowing. Sowing. Mowing.

Chopping wood. Cleaning. Weaving.

Hell, they even had a song for wiping your butt.

(As a matter of fact, the butt-wiping song is one that I happen to know. So does anyone that's ever raised a kid. And no, I'm not going to sing it for you.)

The worst fact of pagan history is that we've lost most of our old songs forever.

But not all of them.

Today I sang the song for taking down the Yule tree. (As it happens, the last ornament off the tree this year was the asparagus ornament, asparagus being the quintessential vegetable of Spring. If that's an omen, I'll take it.)

The name of the song is Candlemas Eve; it's about 400 years old. It tells about taking down the Yule greens, and putting up the Candlemas greens. Those in turn come down, the song says, to make way for the greens of Ostara, then Bealtaine's; all the way to Midsummer it goes. From Yule to Midsummer, taking down the Tree: from one solstice to the other.

You know those old songs: they're all about connection.

In non-literate cultures, songs carry lore. Songs remember.

So when the old songs have come down to us, we sing them gratefully.

And when they haven't, we write new ones.

Because you know those pagans.

They've got a song for everything.


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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.


  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak Tuesday, 24 January 2017

    I still lovingly cherish your Solstice songbook from Pro Dea.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Wednesday, 25 January 2017

    Thanks, Chris, that makes for good hearing.
    I might add that in the most recent edition of the coven songbook, there are nearly 70 pages of Yule carols.
    More songs, more riches.

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