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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You Are What You Worship

I would say, We're of the Old Religion, but that's not what the ancestors would have said.

The ancestors didn't even have a word for religion.

No; if they'd deigned to tell you at all, they would have said: We're of the Old Worship.

And that's much Truer.

Some people are what they believe. We're not.

We are what we do, and there's something else that we know.

You are what you worship.

Some of our people these days get squeamish around the word worship; to them, it's come to imply self-abasement and power-over.

But that's not worship at all. Or maybe it's one kind of worship, but it's certainly not ours.

The ancestors may not have had a word for religion, but worship was one of their words since long before the New Ways took it for themselves. Our worship is "worth-ship": what you give worth to, what you value.

Worship isn't just something you give to the gods—judges used to be called “Your Worship”—but if you don't find worth in the gods, you're probably not one of ours anyway.

For we're of the Old Worship, "sired of Time."

And we know that you are what you worship.









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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.


  • Roberto Pagliaro
    Roberto Pagliaro Sunday, 04 March 2018

    I read your excellent RTicle. I am a novice and quite unsure of where I can find paganist groups in my location, though I am sure they exist. My question is: I am searching for a patron god, the one best for me to serve, and to have as a protector. Can you tell me how I might go about finding this information? True or not, I think that knowig will help me greatly in my search. Thank you, and continued good luck with your writing.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Sunday, 04 March 2018

    Och, Robert, your question is so evocative that I want to reply with a post. Keep with me and I'll have it for you as soon as may be, I promise.

    But meantime, here's the gist:

    You are the hunter. Track him (or her) down with the hunter's subtle awareness of every small sign. Track actively, but also wait quietly, watching.

    Of this be sure: your god (or goddess) is hunting you back. That's how it works.

    Luck o' the Hunt,


  • Roberto Pagliaro
    Roberto Pagliaro Sunday, 04 March 2018

    Thank you. Please don't forget me and if you have any more ideas please let me know. Someone has recommended Poseidon because I am from Italy and live in Florida (water, I guess) but I don't think it is a comfortable fit. Best, Roberto

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Sunday, 04 March 2018

    As I understand it Florida is having a problem with salt water encroachment into their water table. I can see how Poseidon might be an uncomfortable fit.

    In one of his many books Christopher Penczak suggested imagining yourself walking on a path until it branches. One branch leads to the Goddess the other branch leads to the God. You might give it a try and see what comes of it.

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