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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Ocher and Earth

 Ocher and earth: that's what I want.

Like the ancestors, ocher and earth.

When the time comes, dig me a hole

and lay me in it. Lay me on my side,

limbs folded, like a baby in the womb.

By my head, set the little earthenware goddess

that stands in the garden in summer.

(In winter, check the big cupboard in the pantry.)

Sprinkle me with ocher, head to foot.

(Be heavy-handed.)

 Lay over me leafy branches

—evergreen, if you have to—

before you shovel the dirt back in.

Then pour out the dark drink and burn the herbs,

and dance me a round-dance, for rebirth's sake.

That's what I want, like the mothers and fathers:

ocher—red ocher—and earth.


For GR:

Brother and Son


Last modified on
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.


  • Rod Thorn
    Rod Thorn Sunday, 12 August 2018


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Sunday, 12 August 2018

    I remember seeing a show on PBS abut the Red Paint People in New England and the Maritime Provence's. Apparently the same culture can be found in Scandinavia where it's called the Red Ocher People. There are of course the Cro-Magnon burials that also contain red ocher. I think I've read that the oldest artistic artifact found so far is a lump of ocher with a cross hatch marking on it from Africa. Hope your friends and family can get their hands on a supply.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Monday, 13 August 2018

    Iron oxide is one of the most common minerals on the planet, found practically everywhere. No wonder we've been using it forever.
    Some years back I was privileged to see the Lady of Willendorf. 35,000 years old, and you can still see the ocher in her hair.
    "Mammoth Woman's Finest Red Ocher: Lasts 35,000 Years, or Your Clamshells Back!"

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