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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A couple of coven-sibs have variously mentioned husbands who get up and walk around the house naked first thing in the morning.

Men's Magic, maybe?

I ask because I find myself doing this too. Now, in the general course of things, I'm not much one for walking around the house naked, but I mean: you get out of bed, you go downstairs to make a pot of tea. The neighbors to the South can't see; the neighbors to the North don't care. Why bother getting dressed first?

The resident priest of a local pagan land sanctuary walks the bounds of the land every morning. Weather permitting, he does this naked.

I think of the alleged apotropaic qualities of folkloric nudity.

I think of the martial nudity of the ancestors: part boastful exhibitionism, part distraction, part implied threat.

I think of warlockry: the men's magic of the tribe of Witches, grounded in biological maleness.

Human beings are territorial animals, males preeminently so. Maybe that's what's really going on here: nudity as territorial claim.*

As for scaring off unfriendly wights, well: call it value added.

Well, there's the morning writing done now: signed, sealed, delivered.

Guess I'll go put on some pants.



*In his 2000 book The One-Eyed God: Odin and the (Indo-) Germanic Männerbünde, Indo-Europeanist Kris Kershaw observes that "Another, even proto-human form of territory demarcation, is phallic posturing" (p. 67n51).

Well, now.





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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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