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 Golden Barque of Isis

 Frederic Odun De Arechaga | MEMORIAL SPACE

In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Makes Some Really Bad Puns and Denies Being Anti-Kemetic


Who? Me? Anti-Kemetic? Gods, no. I'm not anti-Kemetic. Seriously, one of my best friends is. Kemetic, that is.

Yes, it's true: I do call him my “effete shaveling.” Hey, he calls me his “vile Asiatic.”

But that's not anti-Kemetism, just what passes for humor in the pagan community.

(Why “vile Asiatic”? Well, because, when the bristles hit the breeze, my sympathies—such as they are—lie with the Hyksos, not the Egyptians. I suppose it's remotely possible that some of my ancestors actually were Hyksos.)

Yes, it's true that I did once describe Kemetic ritual as being “props-intensive,” but that's not anti-Kemetism, either.

Listen, I'll tell you a story.


The Golden Barque of Isis


Say what you will about Odun and the old Sabaean Temple of Chicago back in the 70s—and I've heard the stories, just like everyone else—their craftsmanship was immaculate. They're the ones that made the Golden Barque of Isis: just like the processional shrines that they used to use in ancient Egypt.

When the Sabaeans moved from Chicago to New Orleans, my Kemetic friend Sirius inherited the Golden Barque and he, in turn, brought it to the Return to Avalon festival. The spectacular Barque of Isis procession that he staged there in the 90s was by far one of the most memorable rituals of that festival's entire 13-year run.

I had the honor to be one of the Barque's bearers that day. I'll never forget the sight of the Processional Way, lined with people, all dressed entirely in white. As someone remarked at the time, only Sirius could possibly have turned out so many witches all in white.


Egyptian diy costume


Along with the other Barque-bearers, I was kitted out in a white kilt and nemes (= head-cloth: think King Tut). Bare-chested, be-kohled, I looked like something out of C. B. deMille; at least until the moment that we lifted the Barque's carrying poles to our shoulders.

Um...Sirius...ah...this kilt isn't long enough.”

After a quick reconnoiter, he smiled and patted my shoulder.

“That's okay,” he said. “This is a fertility ritual, after all.”


Oh my effete shaveling: hear the words of your very own vile Asiatic.

Siriusly, you're a nemes to society.



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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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