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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Book of Shadows Thumping, or: Evangelical Paganism

 BOOK OF SHADOWS Celtic Tree of Lifeby Jen Delyth - Celtic Art Leather Gifts  and Celtic Tree Gift


The woman four people ahead of me in line, the one with the hennaed hair, is clearly a pagan. I really wish she weren't.

I also wish she would shut up.

Ugh: evangelical pagans. Oh, I understand the sense of homecoming that finding answers to your questions can bring. There's something profoundly unpagan, though, in the wrong-headed (not to mention condescending) belief that my answers should be your answers too.

I can't help but pity the poor stranger that she's evangelizing so aggressively, who listens along politely, but is clearly wondering what she did to deserve this.

Like most bores, Henna Head leaps from topic to topic: breast-feeding, polytheism, Youtube, the Goddess, exploitation of workers in the sugar industry, the moral superiority of veganism, routine circumcision. Like most bores, she maintains the pretense of conversation as she monologues. Occasionally, she solicits agreement: Don't you think? She never pauses to listen for an answer, though. Why should she? Why listen to anyone else, when you've already got all the answers?

Gods. Was I ever this obnoxiously evangelical? (I hope not.) Was I ever this smug? (Probably.) Was I ever this predatory? (Absolutely not.)

People incapable of self-doubt always amaze me. Are they lying to themselves? Or are they too immature—or maybe just plain too stupid—to conceive the possibility that they might be wrong?

Our Pagan Preacher is wildly indignant about all the injustices of the world. I empathize, but her story is always the same story (and a non-pagan story it is at that): Us v. Them. It's Moral Dualism, Good Guys/Bad Guys all the way, with never a moment of doubt as to which Side she's on. From self-pity to self-righteousness is not very far.

From victim to perpetrator is not very far.

Evangelism, whatever the flavor, is always ugly. You'd think that pagans, of all people, would understand this.

Like the other good Minnesotans in line, I think loudly, but say nothing. Eventually the line moves on, and the nonstop Gospel According to the Goddess, mercifully, comes to an end.

Along with everyone else in line, I heave a sigh of relief, and shake my head.

Congratulations, Red: you've managed to do something that heretofore I would have thought virtually impossible.

For just a moment there, you actually managed to make me feel ashamed to be pagan.










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Tagged in: dualism proselytizing
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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