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 Dance of the Green Men

Called by the drums, we gather to the fire.

The chant begins.

Green God, Maple God,

living god of the forest:

hey ho hey ho

come to us.

It is the chant of calling. Biome by biome we call, back and forth: wetlands, prairies, tundra, orchards, gardens, fields, vineyards.


One from each quarter, the Green Men burst into our midst from behind, hooting. They rush in to the fire and turn, eyes bright.

Four there are: green, naked, rustling with leaves at head and wrist and ankle.


Feet stomping, they dance around the fire: the Dance of the Green Men.

The drums thunder.

The Green Men burst outwards, and we are dancing, all of us, dancing, each, it seems, with a Green Man. How many Green Men? One? Four? Many?

The bottles, green bottles, pass from hand to hand, and we drink, we drink. Wildly we dance.

Green fire fills our veins. Now we are all become Green Men.

Then they are gone.

We stop, catch back our breaths. In the panting silence, one lone, clear voice raises the hymn:

You are the shaft of pleasure,

you are the child of delight...

The libation shines as it pours, winding, red. It hits the ground singing.

The rite is ended. The trees stand tall around us. They rustle.



Green God was written by Donald Engstrom

Hymn to Dionysos (“The Shaft Song”) was written by Batya Podos


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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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