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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Carol, the Ancient Yuletide Troll

 monsters – Medieval Studies Research Blog: Meet us at the Crossroads of  Everything

A friend is introducing us to the characters in his pagan Nativity set. He points to one hulking, beetle-browed figurine.

“That's Carol, the Ancient Yuletide Troll,” he mugs.


(If you've ever wondered about “trolling the ancient Yuletide carol,” it actually has nothing to do with either internet predators or those terrifying denizens of Northern legend; “trolling” here is used as in the phrase “trolling for fish,” meaning “to go round and round in circles.” A carol was originally a round dance performed to a song. ["Follow me in merry measure."] Here in Paganistan, it still is.)


Well, I don't know about yours, but in the pagan Nativity set under my Yule tree, the Great Mother on her birth-stool is surrounded by (nudge, nudge) a circle of animals, all come to witness the holy birth.

Don't all our lives, after all, revolve (quite literally) around the Sun?

But my friend's approach makes good sense. When the Sun is born, don't all of Earth's children, all the peoples, come to pay their respects, and lay down their birth-gifts: elves and dwarves, as well as humans? Trolls being said to be Sun-averse—I would be too if its light froze me to stone—I'm not sure how Carol the Ancient Yuletide Troll deals with the situation.

Maybe she wears Sunglasses.


If guests bearing birth-gifts, and the whole concept of pagan Nativity sets, set your pagan teeth on edge, well, here's my take.

When it comes to intangibles—let's set fungibles to the side for now—we, the new pagans, have a right to anything Abrahamic that we damn well care to help ourselves to. (Indigenous religions, now: that's another matter.) Call it restitution.

Of course, these things must be done delicately, or you hurt the spell.

I mean, really: “The little lord Sun god, asleep in the hay”?






With special thanks

to RR (and Mari)






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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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