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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On 'Abrahamic' Privilege and the Pagan Consolation

So: a rabbi, an imam, and a pastor walk into a radio studio.

Actually, they skype in.

Are you as sick as I am of hearing the media's treatment of “the religious response to covid-19” being reduced (over and over and over and over and over again) to the usual voices of the usual Big Three?

Where are the Hindu voices, the Buddhist? Where are the Native elders? You'd think that the rest of us don't even exist.

Ironically, the media thinks that it's being inclusive. Good old "Abrahamic" privilege.

These segments always end with the same question: In these hard times, what gives you strength?

Said rabbi, imam, or pastor invariably respond with some navel-gazing citation from Scripture or well-polished nugget of wisdom from their respective traditions.

Figures. Their narcissistic fixation on humanity is one of the great historic wrongs that the “A-list” religions have visited on the world.

As for me, I'm a pagan. For me—as for the ancestors, as for Indigenous peoples of the world to this very day—the very heart of our living inheres not so much in looking in as in looking out.

What gives me strength in these hard times? I'll tell you.

The sap flowing in the trees, that gives me strength.

The geese writing runes on the sky as they fly, that gives me strength.

The beauty of the strong Spring sunlight streaming down the hallway, that gives me strength.

The red haze of swelling buds.

The playful mating of squirrels.

The smokey blooming of the flower called prairie gosling.

Folks, there's a wide, wide world out there that goes on, with or without us.

If that's not strengthening, I don't know what is.








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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.


  • Katie
    Katie Sunday, 05 April 2020

    Every time I go outside, breathe the air, feel the breeze, I am strengthened. Every time I see the sun shining, I am energized. When I hear the rain, I am grounded.

    When the natural world touches us, we are connected and whole.

    Thanks for this post.

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Sunday, 05 April 2020

    I've looked at a couple of coronavirus lock down effects on wild animals videos on YouTube. The sight of wild boars in the streets of Haifa Israel and Coyotes wandering San Francisco gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Sure the ones on desert reclamation are nice too, but I find comfort in the knowledge that the rest of the natural world can get by without us.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Sunday, 05 April 2020

    Venice is under lockdown for, what, a month now? Already the fish are coming back into the canals.
    "Nature"'s ability to regenerate: now that's power.

  • Mark Green
    Mark Green Monday, 06 April 2020



  • Sarah Israelson
    Sarah Israelson Monday, 06 April 2020

    Yes! I was just saying this to myself as I took time to witness Nature around me yesterday. The whales are migrating by our beach, the mountains hold strong in the distance, the strength and amount of sunshine continues to grow. Nature continues. And in all of this uncertainty it helps me continue.

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