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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What's a Ritualist to Do?



The offering bears the prayer. Every ancient pagan that ever went to a temple knew this.

Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that many—perhaps even most—modern American pagans, accustomed to a very different theory and style of ritual—the standard modern Ceremonial Magic-derived circle—do not.

So: when leading temple-style worship for a roomful of folks accustomed to summoning, stirring, and pointing knives at, what's a ritualist to do?

That's my dilemma. In March, we'll be kicking off Paganicon 2022 with a temple-style offering to the many-colored and many-named Lady of Spring.

Myself, I've always been of a mind that it's a poor ritualist that needs to give directions in ritual (“and now we're going to....”): the parts of a ritual should flow organically into one another. That said, if you have to give directions, make them part of the ritual itself.

So here's what we're going to do.

Just before the Threefold Libation of water, milk, and (red) wine, the presiding priest (= yours truly) will turn to the people and say:


Call to Prayer



My sisters and brothers,

the ancestors said:

The offering bears the prayer;

so today, as we pour out

the traditional Threefold Libation

of water, milk, and wine,

I would invite you to pour out

the prayers of your own hearts as well.

And so we begin.


[Libations are poured.]


As the Triad says:


Three things give wing to prayer:

the needful occasion, the offering,

the soaring prayer of others.


Hope to see you there.




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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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