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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The Compleat Pagan

 

In Hopi, the expression ka-Hopi means “un-Hopi.” It describes, not non-Hopi (who, after all, cannot rightfully be expected to act like Hopi), but rather fellow Hopi whose actions lie outside the Hopi way.

It is not a compliment.

Similarly, among the Kalasha, the last remaining pagans of the Hindu Kush, the phrase sau Kalasha, “completely Kalasha,” describes someone who embodies the Old Ways in their entirety.

It is the highest praise one can offer.

In the absence of a universal definition or central authority to decide paganness, pagan identity is largely a matter of individual determination, and I (for the most part) am willing to take people at their word. Who, after all, better knows the truth of your heart than you do? Certainly not me.

For those of us who come to the Old Ways from elsewhere, learning to be who we are can be a matter of many years. While we may call ourselves pagan, we may be acting or thinking in ways from elsewhere. Here those of us who claim the name have a right to say: un-pagan.* After all, we too have a stake in this identity.

 

Becoming the pagans that our time needs us to be can be a long and hard work, but, as any lover of the Old Ways can tell you, there is no work more worth the doing.

In this season of the ancestors, a New Year blessing:

When they see you, may they say: completely pagan.**


*In Pagan (True): unTrue.

**In Pagan (True): full(y) True.

Martin Wittfooth, Shaman II

 

 

 

 

 

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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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