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.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Why the Craft Is Different

There were many horned gods in antiquity.

There's no evidence that any of them were “dying gods.”

(Osiris, perhaps the preeminent dying god of antiquity, was a horned god, it's true. But since most of the other gods—not to mention the goddesses—of ancient Egypt wore horns, but were never said to have died, it's questionable how much the case of Osiris can be said to prove.)

We have no evidence, for instance, that the Cernunnos of the Keltic world was a dying god, much less a dying-and-rising god. In a single story, Pan is said to have died (“Great Pan is dead!”), but this is a one-off story, not a mythology of an Eternal Return.

Yet, in the modern paganisms, the Horned God is preeminently He Who Dies and Rises: the great and sacred story of humanity's lifelong religious involvement with the animal species which, through the history of our kind, have been the source of our food.

Where, then, did this identification come from, if not from the ancient paganisms? Why do we think of the Horned as He Who Dies to Feed the People?

This is what makes the Craft different, and what gives it so much of its power. Unlike the other paganisms, the Craft is a paganism that has arisen in response to Christianity. It is a paganism that has been wise enough to learn from, and to be changed by, Christianity. This is a paganism that has had the audacity—and the courage—to absorb Christianity, as Hinduism reabsorbed Buddhism, and to go on from there.

We can't just pretend that the Great Interruption never happened. In fact, the Great Interruption changed everything. But the Great Interruption was not the end of our story.

There's no evidence that, in antiquity, the horned god was a dying-and-rising god.

But today he is.

That's what makes him the Patron of the Pagan Revival.

That's what makes his story, our story.




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.


  • Greybeard
    Greybeard Thursday, 07 June 2018

    Interesting observation about the dying God as a Christian concept. Maybe that's why I have never been comfortable with the whole Dying God story.

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Additional information