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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If Pagans Had a Food Taboo, What Would It Be?

By and large, the pagan religions are not known for their food taboos.

Oh, we may have our dietary preferences, but it's worth noting that, when food taboos are present among pagans, they tend to apply only to the priesthood, or to be observed only for a certain period of time. Otherwise, generally speaking, the default food setting for pagans is Omnivore.

But if, say, Indo-European-speaking pagans did have a food taboo, what might it be?

Please note that what follows is neither prescription nor suggestion. It is, merely, three points of historic data.


Julius Caesar notes in his Gallic War that the Gauls accounted it wrong to eat chicken.


Eusebius reports that initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries were expected to abstain from both eggs and the flesh of barnyard fowl, at least for the duration of the Mysteries themselves.


The Kalasha of NW Pakistan, the only remaining Indo-European people who still practice their traditional religion, despise chickens as “the Muslim bird” and refuse to eat them.*

So, three points.

If you want to draw a line, that's up to you.


*The story goes that in the 15th century, a Kalasha dehár (shaman) predicted that soon a new bird would come to Kalashastan, and that hard times for the Kalasha would follow. Soon after came the arrival of the chicken, and shortly thereafter the last Kalasha king was defeated by a Muslim army. The Kalasha subsequently lost most of their territory, and were driven into the three valleys that they still occupy.

Enough to put anyone off chicken, if you ask me.




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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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