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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Thinking in Circles

Thinking in circles.

Imagine: some people think that's a bad thing.

6000 years ago, the Mother Language had a word: *serk-. It meant “make restitution, compensate.”

It also meant “make a circle, complete.”

Restitution is an important cultural value. When you screw up, you need to make up for it. People are going to hurt one another, and restitution helps heal the wound.

So what does restitution have to do with circles?

This: in pagan societies everything comes down to a circle.

Likewise, in pagan societies everything comes down to relationship.

And a healthy relationship is a circle.

It's called “reciprocity.” You give, I give. Do ut des, they say; a gift for a gift.

Thinking in circles? The ancestors thought in circles.

Pagans still think in circles.

We think that's a good thing.


J. P. Mallory and D. Q. Adams, eds., Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture (1997). Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, p. 123.




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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.


  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert Friday, 10 November 2017

    And what goes around comes around, also a circle. Do unto others, as the saying goes, (And be sure it is what you would like done unto you--if you were they) or you will get done unto, as your own comes back to you. Don't you love it?

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Wednesday, 15 November 2017

    I remember an article in Science News that said reciprocity is the basis for all moral and economic activities.

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