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 Calf: A Rite of Private Devotion

The Golden Calf:

A Rite of Private Devotion


 Cleanse yourself. 

A bowl of rose water stands beside the door;

sprinkle a few drops on your head.


Ring the bell.

This calls the god's attention.


Bow before the god and greet him.


Pray before the god. Make an offering.

Vessels for libation and offering stand before the god.

Candles are available for purchase at the Gallery door.


Circumambulate (walk around) the god 7 times.

In the Middle East, this is traditionally done widdershins.


Anoint yourself to receive the god's blessing. 

A bowl of olive oil stands before the god.


Bow before the god and thank him.



As presented at Paganicon 2014

Photo: Katie Clapham


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.


  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Wednesday, 09 April 2014

    Thank you, am always glad to see idol worship. It is such a heartfelt practice. Yes, joke intended and, yes, I am sincere about thinking it an awesome practice. And lately have been thinking about the notion of worshiping the golden calf, so it is lovely to see someone else thinking about it. Synchronicity. Rock on.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Friday, 11 April 2014

    Satire aside, in my opinion, sacred images as a spiritual technology are much underutilized in contemporary paganism. The genius of the paganisms has always been to touch the universal through the specific.

    I first saw The Ten Commandments at maybe 5 or 6, laying on my belly on the living room floor. O the slavery! O the suffering! Then suddenly there they all are, dancing around the Calf and having a great time. Of course I thought--who wouldn't?-- that's what I want to do. Gods help me, it was probably at that moment that I became self-consciously pagan.

    Neither should we underestimate the entertainment value of religion.

  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Friday, 11 April 2014

    Re "sacred images as a spiritual technology are much underutilized in contemporary paganism."

    Exactly. As a poet, ritualist, and experiential mystic, I *live* in imagery, it is not a "side dish" to a main course of other parts of paganism.

    Re "The genius of the paganisms has always been to touch the universal through the specific."

    Wow, I thought I was the only one who felt that. I often explain to my students that we will not go into an overview on a topic but, instead, address a small portion on it through application, and that *living* a small portion creates understanding of the whole better then any theoretical overview would.

    Side bar: Years ago, when I released my album, Pick the Apple from the Tree, my dear friend Alison Harlow, who loved and recommended the album, also said to me privately that she did not think the title song was Pagan, bc it was a Christian reference. Aside from the fact that the apple on the tree of life was originally pagan, it is also a prevalent pop culture paradigm that can be used in its specificity, for any purpose. I love using pop culture to create deeply esoteric shifts.

    Blessed be.

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